Monday, February 11, 2019

Cherriots Retreats and Regroups on South Salem Transit Center - updated

December 13th update on South Salem Transit Center
Back in December, in the Board Meeting of the 13th (from the January 24th meeting packet), there was a brief update on the South Salem Transit Center. Cherriots and Walmart had reached an impasse and, apparently even with Eminent Domain proceedings, Cherriots would have missed ConnectOregon deadlines. So they've called a strategic retreat for the moment, and are giving up the ConnectOregon funding.

Concept for the South Salem Transit Center -
Slices a strip of parking lot from Walmart (December 2015)
The whole ConnectOregon grant has been problematic - maybe it was doomed from the start! Of course that might be what you get when you make a highly political funding source that is based on lottery proceeds. It's not very clean money, really. You may recall the mess in 2015 that made Cherriots eligible for the funding. It involved coal, allegations of low-dealings by the former chair of the Oregon Transportation Commission, who had been forced to resign, and other messiness and drama, including resentment that Eugene won a big project for walking and biking, which contributed to later limits on using ConnectOregon funding for bike/ped projects.

Back in 2015
All this is notable today because Cherriots had announced a Work Session for today on planning next steps on a South Salem Transit Center. But there is no agenda or meeting packet posted publicly to the Cherriots website.

I had hoped to have more of an update to post this morning.

If it turns out there was a meeting and materials are published, we'll update this post. (Updated below, with links and a couple of remarks.)

Update, midday

Two things stand out from the summary of the history.

Turnover. There have been four Capital Projects Managers since 2010, and at each transition hand-off and documentation seems to have been a problem. Even if the project had proceeded under ideal external circumstances, this internal detail created real problems with continuity and knowledge.

Range of next steps to consider
Opportunity. There's a substantial opportunity to reconfigure the whole project - in addition to the possibility of doing nothing. Two of the options are interesting, though there's no information on how effective they might be. A nodal network of "super-stops," for 2 or 3 buses at a time, could replace a larger hub concept. Cherriots might consider including residential and commercial buildings at a transit center in a full "Transit-oriented Development" concept. Maybe new warehouses in the Mill Creek Corporate Center will also show new demand patterns the buses will need to serve.

But overall, there's very little concrete here that is new on the South Salem Transit Center, and probably it's accurate to consider it a new process going forward. Mostly the report is a rehearsal of the past history.

Request from Northwest HUB
A totally separate matter, the HUB has formally requested the donation of a surplus vehicle, and it sounds like Cherriots has one!

That's great news.

Later this month on the Board meeting of the 28th they'll handle the formal action on that.


Unknown said...

The agenda packet has been posted to Thanks for catching that. My apologies for being late.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Thanks for the info!

Added a couple of notes to the post.