Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Open Streets Salem Moved to May 2020, Kuebler Crosstown Route Proposed; DAB Notes on Parklets and Crosswalks

The Cherriots Board and the City's Downtown Advisory Board meet on Thursday the 22nd, and there are a few things to note in passing.

Postponed now to May 2020
Communication on Open Streets Salem has been pretty lousy, but perhaps also that testifies to low demand. There don't seem to be many people missing it or screaming about it. Buried in the Trip Choice update is notice that Cherriots proposes to hold Open Streets Salem now in May 2020, keyed to National Bike Month and the Bike More Challenge. (Entire Board agenda and packet here.)

They're also starting to analyze a proposal for a new crosstown route to link the south Commercial Walmart, Lancaster Drive, the potential new Costco site, and the Mill Creek Corporate Center (with Amazon, etc.) by Kuebler Boulevard. This will be interesting to follow.

Investigating a new crosstown route on Kuebler
Not on the agenda at all, but happy to note, is that it turns out it's surprisingly easy to reach the beach by bus. Biking and increasingly walking are the focus here, and transit is not central. Here's something you might already know. A friend of the blog pointed out that bus service to the beach runs three times a day. I had no idea. It was great. The casinos and tribes almost certainly subsidize the ride, and it's not expensive. If you don't want to drive and can tolerate some scheduling, it's a great option. Both Lincoln and Tillamook Counties run connecting transit from Lincoln City. Conveniently, the McMenamins' Lighthouse Pub is right there, and makes any wait quite pleasant.

The 60x in Lincoln City right at the Lighthouse Pub!!!
Cherriots used to operate this, but they opted out a couple of years ago and now Tillamook County's transit agency operates it even though it stops at the Downtown Transit Center. Whatever. From a user standpoint it was effective, and it may not be important to understand its place in the administration of a regional transit system. There used to be rail connections to a lot of these places, and maybe we can return - are returning? - to a robust set of connections by bus.

Seasonal rail fares, August 14th, 1919
The Salem Area Mass Transit District Board of Directors meets Thursday the 22nd, at 6:30pm, in Courthouse Square, the Senator Hearing Room, 555 Court St NE.

Downtown Advisory Board

The Downtown Advisory Board also meets, and they are gearing up for some kind of big Public Meeting in September. There may be more to say about this later. In the minutes from previous meetings are a couple of details of interest.

In an earlier phase, the Congestion Relief Task Force
considered closing three crosswalks on Front.
Most recently they considered only the north crosswalk at Court.
The DAB opposes closing the north crosswalk on Front Street at Court Street. This was proposed to make right-turning traffic flow more freely from downtown onto Front and then onto the bridge into West Salem and beyond. But it's also anti-walking. The DAB was not a fan.

DAB opposes closing the crosswalk on Front at Court Street
They also noted static on the mid-block parklets on Commercial and Liberty earlier this summer.

Opposition to the mid-block parklet pilot
But at least in the minutes they do not explore ways that any "frustration" might be unfounded by the actual loss of two parking stalls on Liberty or four on a very slack block of Commercial. Surely we are dealing with perception, not reality. But as far as perception goes, do the aesthetics of the cinder-block temporary installations also affect the pilot's reception? The project was not very pretty, and it might be more important in this context to be attractive.

On Liberty Street in May
So it'll be interesting to see what they do next. It may be that until we right-price curbside parking, we are not able to engage this matter in a serious way.

The Downtown Advisory Board meets Thursday the 22nd, from 12:00 pm – 1:30 pm in the Urban Development Conference Room, 350 Commercial St NE, underneath the Chemeketa Parkade.    

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