There are some other topics to note in passing also.
The full Public Draft of the RTSP looks to go before the committee next month to be approved for a formal public release. Then in May they'll hold a public hearing and vote on adoption. This month they'll look at Chapter 7 with the project lists, Chapter 8 on impacts, and the Executive Summary. Next month we'll see the whole. (Chapter 8 was not in the meeting packet, however. So this post may be updated later. See notes on the Technical committee's previous draft version of Chapter 8.)
This version of the RTSP comes at a transitional moment. Salem City Council finally decided for the "No Build" alternative on the SRC, and much of previous editions of the RTSP (and a wider orbit of associated planning efforts) has been premised on some kind of big build for the SRC. Salem City Council is also finally undertaking a greenhouse gas assessment, and since the transportation sector now is the largest contributor to Oregon's greenhouse gas emissions, any kind of formal evaluation of emissions will now have consequences for transportation planning. Then there is the specific matter of Goal 7, which remains contested and in particular is a site of conflict between the reactionary forces at Marion County, and new perspectives at Salem City Council.
The RTSP is ostensibly a neutral document, but it's really shot through with assumptions and enacts a particular notion of "balance."
The balance may be tested this time around, and the supporting materials read a little anxiously.
At February's meeting, just after Council's decision on the SRC, the MPO deliberated whether to delete a set-aside of $20 million for right-of-way on the SRC.
|Let's keep $20 million for the SRC!|
(Though in fairness, as I understand it, there are two main buckets of money, and this $20 million is in the more theoretical one involving funding projections for the future: "Committed" funds, which go out four, or sometimes six, years, are hard funding commitments on projects that are actually being planned and built; this $20 million is not for that, but is for "included" projects and projected funds, and these are future projects outside the four-year horizon of the firm funding commitments. It is not terribly difficult to revise funding notions on "included" projects. Retaining the $20 million for the SRC is more symbolic than actual budgeting action. Still, serious thought should be given to re-assigning it to any overages or enhancements on the Seismic Retrofit of the Center Street Bridge. That keeps it on the "crossing," but redirects it to an actual and actually useful project.)
There's also a discussion of the procedure for adoption of the RTSP, and for the first time it acknowledges that things could get sticky. Previously the adoption has been very routine, but not perhaps this year.
Will there be a showdown on Goal 7?
You may recall that Salem City Council, as well as many citizens, had asked the MPO for a formal goal in the RTSP to evaluate projects for greenhouse gas emissions. For a year now this has occasioned wrangling and debate.
|Current State on Goal 7|
But Marion County is still not satisfied. They want to do everything possible to neutralize any consideration for greenhouse gas emissions.
|The County wants to make clear that consideration for GHG|
would be "advisory only" (highlight in original!)
|If unanimity is not possible, what happens|
|The latest scoring plan - Goal 7 wouldn't count for much|
I wonder if we would be better off yielding at the moment on Goal 7, making a tactical retreat, and looking to lay the groundwork for the next debate and battle. It's clear we need a deeper, broader cultural shift at the MPO in support for action on greenhouse gases, and a change in Goal 7 language is not itself that shift. Moreover, at this moment winning on the SRC was the big thing that mattered, not improved language on Goal 7.
It's hard to be sure, though, and you might have a different opinion. Maybe with the Clean Energy Jobs bill at the Legislature, it's useful to try to keep pressure and momentum going.
|A more narrow definition of bike-ped project (2019 draft)|
|This seemed to allow for squishy counting (2011 RTSP)|
Also in the February minutes there was more on Safe Routes to Schools efforts. But it's hard to see how an MPO so invested in the SRC can also champion Safe Routes effectively. Whatever gains we might have made with Safe Routes would have been erased by the enormity of the SRC and its autoism. (And Safe Routes still gets concern-trolled by the MPO Chair, not to mention the hostility from the County!) It'll be interesting, too, to see more of the School District's commitment, since their bond construction plans focus more on parking lot expansion than any enhanced bike parking or other projects to dovetail with Safe Routes.
|No new automobile infrastructure - via Facebook|
|Union St Neighborhood Greenway delayed a year|
|Look for the historic sign|
next to the entry
You can download the full meeting packet and agenda here.
This regular meeting of the SKATS Policy Committee meets Tuesday the 26th at noon. SKATS is at 100 High St. SE, Suite 200, above Table Five 08.