Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Church Street and SAIF, Winter-Maple Greenway, City Archiving - Bits

The City's upgraded the closure on the bridge
across the "stream of mystery"
($140k is budgeted for a fix, fortunately)
Over at CANDO they've got a note about the demolition and clearing across the street from SAIF and just north of Shelton Ditch, the sewage pump station, and Pringle Park:
CANDO is getting a new green space on Church Street at SAIF. It's not a City park, but it will be open and green. Thank you SAIF Corporation for being willing to share your space with the neighbors. Neighbors, don't get too attached, 'cause SAIF might need the space for a building again, one of these days.
This is going to be greenspace?
But with Pringle Park and the larger the path system along Shelton Ditch, Pringle Creek, and the Mill Race, is more green space something we need here? There's already that large parking garage immediately to the east. This area suffers from too much slack space and urban renewal "towers in a park" style development.

So here's a contrary take: We would be better served by one or more buildings here. What we need here are commercial and residential uses that create incidental foot-traffic for the open space, which is currently slack and underused. More green space will just intensify the slackness. See here for more on the stream of mystery and nearby open space, and notes on the "good cents" installation and the way SAIF has fenced off other open space here. Since we are fencing off areas and have difficulty finding maintenance budget to repair a bridge, these are more evidence there might be too much open space near here.

update from the City Manager
In the City Manager's regular update, he included information on the Winter-Maple Greenway (though it's amusing that while the City adopted the "greenway" name, he reverts to calling it a "bikeway" - the old names linger!).

We knew about speed bumps, stop sign changes, and future crosswalks on Fairgrounds and Pine. And also about the ODOT grant application for the bike signal, separated path, and refuge islands.

New signs
and toppers
via Facebook
Somewhat new information:
  • 20mph Speed signs. Is this related to a school zone mainly, or is this a new thing - a bit of "twenty is plenty"! - for greenways in Salem? This is potentially exciting and something to watch.
  • Auto Group Avenue path completion.
Missing is any discussion of the downtown section of Winter Street, which will be necessary for the greenway to be a complete corridor.

All in all most of the bullet points in the update regard future projects, and there's still a good bit yet to do on the greenway.

On the City website
 Over on FB a long-time neighborhood advocate asks
Did you notice the City took down their old webpage? With it went access to many historical documents for a lot of projects!
A bunch of SRC stuff has gone missing. It and many other documents used to be archived on a different server the public could access at temp.cityofsalem.net. Now this too is down. According to the City Manager's update, "For boards and commissions, any documents older than three years are archived and not available on the City website." He says "This is necessary to keep the website functioning and to ensure that community members can easily find the most up-to-date-records."

A great problem with this bias for recency is it then reinforces a kind of preferment for insider, special knowledge, in particular the kind of knowledge a professional lobbyist or staff person might have. This approach to public records supports regulatory capture, and in fact makes it more difficult for citizens to develop an equivalent depth of knowledge on local government and local issues.

Making it more difficult for citizens - or journalists - to get older information just kinda stinks.

Also in the update are also a couple of interesting notes that may blossom into bigger stories:
  • No movement on scooters: "the e-scooter company has not followed up with the City regarding scooters in Salem." The SJ contacted Bird, who offered "no new updates." (But also no parallel update on the rental public bike system, which still seems slow to launch and perhaps is struggling a little.)
  • Possibly interesting litigation: "The City has been served legal notice of the intent of an unnamed group of plaintiffs to sue the City alleging the City’s franchise, stormwater, and streetlight fees are property taxes. The stormwater and streetlight fees were vigorously researched for state measures 5 and 50 compliance before they were implemented, and staff believes the allegation is without merit."


Susann Kaltwasser said...

I have been able to see older versions of the City of Salem webpages by using Wayback Machine webpage. They have archived many documents from February 5, 2012 and December 6, 2018. You can't find the agendas of City Council meetings or staff reports, but projects and some reports on specific issues is archived there. while it is not a good as having the original site and documents, it is better than nothing. And it is a whole lot better than having to make a records request to the City and having to pay for the printing and the staff time!

To find old archived webpages, just Google Wayback Machine....or if you are looking for the old Salem website use this link

But I still wish that the City had migrated these files over to the new site :-(

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

(Added image of the 20mph signs and "greenway" toppers.)

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

The weekly City Manager's update has some sad news on archived records:

"I need to clarify my March 13 update report item regarding public records over ten years old thatare no longer available on the City website. My statement that requestors will not have to pay a fee or submit a public records request is inconsistent with the City’s public records policy adopted by City Council. While the policy allows the City to waive fees for easily accessible items, historical archived records don’t generally meet that description. Staff is working on making the City’s records as accessible to the public as possible. There is a cost associated with searching archived public records."

By accident or design this then is a deliberate move to shift a large class of records into "non-easily accessible" status.

This is messed up.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

SBBA sent out an update by email, and they make several observations.

On the naming:
"Sadly, the wording in the updates is sometimes confusing. To clarify: the accepted plan is called the “Winter-Maple Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.” This plan includes design elements that can improve all active transportation options along the studied route.

The bike boulevard section, running from D Street to Bliler Ave, is officially called a “Neighborhood Greeenway.” This section passes through primarily residential areas and received a 20 mph designation to improve safety for all people (in cars and on bike/foot/skateboard) who are sharing the low-speed, low-volume street.

Planned areas north and south of the “Greenway” have no official name – just as bike lanes marked on Liberty, Pine, or other streets don’t have a specific title. Looking to the future, design elements in these areas (i.e. separated bike lanes and connected multi-use paths) have the potential to create a connected network with greater access....

I'm not sure about the fragmentation of names. This seems like it's a classification oriented towards planners rather than naming oriented towards users. For users the meaningful unit is surely the corridor, and drawing a hard line at D street seems counterintuitive and not very meaningful.

On the new sidepath segment running along Auto Group Avenue between Maple and Cherry:
"A request during planning to incorporate tactile warning devices for cars crossing the multi-path was heeded. Sadly, the design fell short. The texturing was done on the path - instead of before the path. People in cars won’t feel any difference in pavement until they are already in the very spot where a conflict with pedestrians or cyclists can occur."

On speed humps off of Winter Street and the intersection at Market Street:
"Two of the humps will be placed on South St. to slow cars that cross the Neighborhood Greenway route, as well as address concerns by local residents about excess speed and limited visibility on South Street.

At Market and Winter Streets, adjacent to Grant Community School, the east side of the intersection will receive a crosswalk, so as to provide balanced access. In-street paddles will also be installed to caution drivers as they pass through this busy area. A big thank you to Salem Leadership Foundation who made a financial contribution towards this meaningful safety element.

On clarification neither SBBA nor the City has made is how much of the project at Norway and Fairgrounds Road is actually funded. It has not seemed like there was sufficient funding for the whole conceptual crossing there, and so the project was likely headed to phased implementation.