|The two main choices for a new traffic signal and intersection|
As we saw previously (and the Planning Commission approval is here and previous notes here) the TSP currently calls for a collector street along the west edge of the property, and that logical alignment there is with Cougar Court.
|The assessment matrix at least nods to walking and biking|
The traffic memo submitted to the City recognizes of this:
The impact of the traffic signal on cyclists depends on the travel direction. For southbound cyclists that want to continue onto 49th Avenue the location of the intersection provides little difference in conditions. The farther west the signal is located the longer cyclists will be on the higher-volume State Street, but the maneuver to 49th Avenue is a right-turn allowing cyclists to remain in the bicycle lane. Northbound cyclists will have a more difficult connection, with only more experienced riders turning left directly onto State Street, and less experienced riders using the sidewalk system to access the signalized crossing. Direct alignment with 49th Avenue is ideal for cyclists and pedestrians, but the closer the signal is to 49th Avenue the more ideal its location will be for multimodal travel. [italics added]But eastbound traffic onto or across Cordon Road will back up across 49th, and so a connection further west seemed desirable.
The corner at Oakmont will also be the site of the commercial cluster, and an Oakmont alignment also supports retail access and the bus stops on State Street.
So the compromise they've settled on is at Oakmont Court.
This seems reasonable.
|The project is now right-sized for three auto lanes|
Nothing in the traffic memos suggests five lanes was necessary here, and any walking and biking northbound along 49th and connecting to Greencrest continuing north would have found a five-lane cross section very formidably indeed. A three-lane section is the right thing here.
Other Transportation-adjacent Items
The Riverbend project zoning change (not the site plan or design review, just the zoning change with concept plan) is under appeal. The criticism is mostly NIMBY complaint and not anything very well founded. Significantly, neither ODOT nor the City has filed any meaningful new comment by way of Staff Report on the appeal. The decision seems very likely to stand as-is. (See previous notes here.)
|Second phase to the north with apartments;|
also expands the southern half shopping center
There's an interesting note about Mobile Home Parks on the agenda. "Shall the City Council incorporate the preservation of mobile home parks into the City’s broader housing strategy when pursuing and distributing funding sources and updating the Salem Area Comprehensive Plan?"
Plainly the answer is yes. The Mobile Home Parks are a significant class of affordable housing, they often have slow-streets, and they offer slightly higher housing densities. (See "Reclaiming 'Redneck' Urbanism: What Urban Planners can Learn from Trailer Parks" and "The Other Affordable Housing Option" at Strong Towns.)
But the details are another thing, of course. The City analyzed two proposed preservation or rent containment actions as unlawful:
Representatives of the Sundial Mobile Home Park asked staff if the City could prohibit park owners from buying individual mobile homes and either renting them out or replacing them with newer mobile homes and then renting them out. Such a restriction would likely be a taking under Oregon or U.S. Constitutions and could require the City to pay park owners just compensation.This is something to watch and to support as an unglamorous but effective approach to housing affordability.
Further, a requirement that park owners give tenants a right of first refusal before selling the park to a third party would also likely constitute a taking of the park owner’s property rights.
|Advertising "luxury apartments" at 13th & Chemeketa|
The building was constructed in the 1960s as an apartment building, but was then converted to office space. It is (or has) returned to apartments and the owner wants the property tax break. (See previous notes here and the City's site plan review here.)
Here are the current and historical beneficiaries of the program:
Since 1976, seven properties have been approved by Council for this Program:All this is new construction, and I wonder if this application for existing construction really meets the spirit of the program. It's also possible to wonder how effective it has been. If the program was meant to incent new housing, why have only 7 projects been approved since 1976? If we were serious about new housing, wouldn't we want an incentive program to create many more projects than this? It may be that this approach with property tax breaks is not the best way to create new housing downtown. (Especially when Council is looking at an Operations Fee and Employee Tax.)
- Koz on State Street/Nishioka Building (142 units) - 260 State Street Tax exemption period expires in 2031.
- The Court Yard Apartments (40 units) - 211 Court Street NE) Tax exemption period expires in 2030.
- South Block Apartments (178 units, Phases I & II) - 315 Commercial Street SE Tax exemption period expires in 2025 & 2027 (Phases I & II respectively).
- The Residences at Riverfront Park (118 units) - 230 Front Street SE Project cancelled prior to construction.
- Willamette Landing Apartments (89 units) - 1601-1675 Water Street NE Tax exemption period expired in 2000.
- Forum Apartments (62 units) - 350 13th Street SE Tax exemption period expired 1990.
- Mill Bridge Terrace Apartments (24 units) - 728 Church Street NE Tax exemption period expired in 1987.
Bullets for the rest:
- New phasing for the Mill Creek Corporate Center.
- A pass-through and fund-shuffling on the $1M for the Rotary Amphitheater.
- A reduction/exclusion for the State Hospital Historic District, carving out the park land and site of demolished buildings on the North Campus. Yaquina Hall and the Dome Building will remain inside. This all seems reasonable.
- A small vacation of a segment of Dogwood Street South. There didn't seem to be anything to say on this.
- Public Hearings for the Operations Fee and Employee Tax.
- An empty agenda item for the Resiliency Task Force. (Maybe it will be populated later and there will be more to say. Update, noon Monday: It's not populated with a report yet, but here is more comment in a separate post; and any further comments on a report if one is published will be over there.)