Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Bike Parking and Sidewalk Connections at the Planning Commission Tonight

The Planning Commission meets tonight, and they will have a formal Public Hearing on "clean up" code amendments that touch on sidewalk connections and bike parking.

The details have seemed minor, and the bike parking was discussed on more detail here before a work session. The changes mostly seem like a small improvement. But they aren't a very great improvement, either, and with the SRC and other things coming to a full boil this Winter, they did not seem worth a great amount of attention or energy. (But it's also a little dispiriting that such small things can't be pushed farther along without advocacy - we might have to fight on the SRC, that's a big thing, worth a fight, but do we also have to fight on very small things too?)

The explanation from the Staff Report
The sidewalks changes look a little more substantive, but yet also incremental and neither worth criticizing in detail nor lauding in excess. From the Staff Report:
This code amendment establishes a clear standard for developments to provide pedestrian connections to and throughout their development site. The proposed standards do not apply to single-family, two family, or multifamily housing. Multiple family developments are already required to provide pedestrian connections through the City’s design review process.

The proposed standards require a pedestrian connection from public sidewalks to the main entrance of buildings and through large parking lots. If there is a transit stop along the development site, at least one pedestrian connection must connect to the street within 20 feet of the stop. In addition, pedestrian connections must be established between buildings on a site and between a development site and abutting properties if a vehicular connection is provided. When an existing or planned path is identified in the Salem Transportation System Plan or Salem Comprehensive Parks System Master Plan as going through the development site, that path must be constructed, or a public access easement or dedication for future construction must be provided.

Currently, pedestrian connections are required in some zones or overlay zones but not others. The pedestrian connections are also required through the City’s Class 3 Site Plan Review criteria, which calls for safe and efficient traffic circulation into and out of developments and safe and efficient pedestrian movement through parking areas. This code amendment establishes a clear and objective standard for pedestrian connections in areas of the city where existing pedestrian standards do not apply. This removes ambiguity in pedestrian connectivity requirements and ensures that pedestrian connections are applied throughout the city. This change also responds to the City Council and community’s desire to increase pedestrian safety in Salem.
Maybe other advocates will have more to say on these things.

In other matters the Commission will consider a request to "Decrease the minimum parking requirement for the 140-unit senior living facility from 285 parking spaces to 165 parking spaces." That's a clear instance of our parking minimums being excessive.

The Commission meets tonight at 5:30pm in Council Chambers at City Hall.


There's some additional changes that either I missed or were posted late.

One of them incorporates a suggestion made here back in November.

Pictures! There will be illustrations for good bike parking
They also carved out some exceptions for public rental bike stations.


Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

From the City: "The Planning Commission voted last night to continue the public hearing on the proposed update to the City's zoning code for further consideration and additional public comment. The public hearing was continued to Tuesday, March 5."

Susann Kaltwasser said...

I don't know if this observation fits here or not, but just going to toss it out.

The City is working on multifamily design standards. They had a 'work shop' to get public input on a variety of issues.

1) there was no discussion about bike racks or storage for bikes;
2) they talked about removing the requirement for balconies or even private space. This is often where people end up storing their bikes because there is not room inside the apartment.
3) apartments are often placed along arterials. They are talking about reducing parking spaces so that people can park on the street. However, many arterials have bike lanes and do not allow on street parking. Will people try to park in the bike lanes? I know that in residential areas where there are bike lanes and only parking on one side of the street, people just park in the parking lanes. Police will not enforce these violations.

So if the City is sincere about wanting to get more people to use bicycles as an alternative to cars (or even as recreation), then they need to think about making it easier to store bikes safely and also to not be in conflict with cars when parking as well as while traveling.

At the meeting no one brought this idea at all and nothing that the consultants were talking about on their criteria lists talked about bikes.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

The slide deck/posters from the workshop have been published, and like you say, on "parking" they are silent about bikes. There will be a post in the next few days on this. You are right to point it out!