Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Draft Chapters Seven and Eight of the RTSP at the MPO

Things have fallen into a bit of a lull for the moment, so we'll get ahead a little. Next week on Tuesday the 12th, the Technical Advisory Committee for our local Metropolitan Planning Organization meets, and they'll mostly be looking at draft chapters 7 and 8 of the RTSP.

Cars man, Why?
Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation
at a mobility conference via Twitter
A complete draft for public review is supposed to come out next month, and are we sure that Goal 7 language has been adopted? It kinda looks like they're just trying to slide this in under the radar or something. It looks a little hinky.

A public draft of the RTSP is supposed to come out next month
Chapter 7 is on the "proposed system" and it's awfully listy, mainly an enumeration of the projects. Maybe there will be more to say about it, but there shouldn't be any surprises in it. (Fingers crossed!)

More interesting is chapter 8 on "impacts."

No matter what language they might have for Goal 7, they are ignoring greenhouse gas emissions. In Chapter 8 on "environmental impacts," it's mostly about wetlands and salmon, about water run-off and contamination. There's nothing about carbon dioxide. (The section on air quality also ignores carbon dioxide, and discusses carbon monoxide and ozone only. This is a legacy of a regulatory framework a couple generations old that needs desperately to be updated.)

The section on "Environmental Impacts"
misses the biggest one
It is a great irony that in a section about "avoiding, reducing, and mitigating," they take as self-evident the need for construction projects, and do not apply the avoid and reduce concepts to drive-alone car trips themselves. (See the tweet from MassDOT at top!) Avoiding construction and new auto capacity altogether is more powerful than rerouting a road around a wetland.

A section on "avoid, reduce, mitigate"
itself avoids the central matter:
We should "avoid" and "reduce" drive-alone trips!
Together these show the ways that we need a total paradigm change in the way we think about mobility. All our efforts to minimize impacts are on the margins, and futzing on the margins doesn't get us where we need to be. (Again, see the tweet!)

via NOAA
Separately, in the minutes for February, the TAC punted questions about the SRC to the Policy Committee. This $20 million is likely more theoretical that actual, outside of the four-year horizon for any real funding commitments. But if there is an actual pot with money sloshing around, it probably should be reserved for any overages or enhancements on the seismic retrofit for the Center Street Bridge.

Confusion - and a slush fund for the SRC?
Finally, though it might not be exactly the breath of fresh air we most want on transportation, the Mid-Willamette Valley Council of Governments, which houses and staffs the MPO, hopes for some new windows, and they'll be at the Historic Landmarks Commission later this month.

At the HLC for a Major Historic Design Review
The windows are all on the interior, looking out over the HVAC equipment and a lower roof, and at least some of them had been open previously, but were then sealed up. There doesn't seem to be much to say on this.

Look for the historic sign
next to the entry
You can download the agenda and meeting packet here.

SKATS Technical Advisory Committee meets Tuesday the 12th, at 1:30pm. SKATS is at 100 High St. SE, Suite 200, above Table Five 08.


Anonymous said...

Public Service Announcement

In case anyone downloaded the March 2019 SKATS TAC packet on Tuesday, March 5th, the maps in Chapter 7 were replaced with corrected versions on March 6th.


Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Thanks for the update for the correction!

Mike said...

I also think that they should look at the induced travel from widening/building roads and the economic impacts from taking land out of productive use and turning it into asphalt.