Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Focus on Climate: Three City Workshops Kick-off and Peace Lecture Tonight

Tonight, Wednesday the 16th, there's a chance to think globally and act locally on climate.

Some ingredients to our autoism and carbon pollution,
53% of which comes from our cars
(via VTPI, Salem notes added)
Locally, the Our Salem project is holding the first of its Workshops at 6pm. It's a chance to talk about reducing our local greenhouse gas emissions by changing transportation and land use: By making systemwide improvements for buses, biking, and walking, and by changing our land use patterns so that our homes and important destinations are closer together and better connected, we can make a real dent in our own greenhouse gas pollution.

This is probably bad framing
Alas, the workshops may be framed in too much of an open-ended way, around "how do we want to grow?" The prevailing answer will likely be in the form of "I want my immediate area to stay the same; other places are good for change." The open-ended format points to a NIMBY bias. Instead it should be framed, "we need to reduce carbon, how do you propose we do it?" Change itself should be assumed, including change for one's own neighborhood, and then the real debate is the nature and scope of it, not whether we actually need to change.

Over at they've pointed to the City of Milwaukie's Climate Action Plan, and it highlights some good themes, though it may not yet be assertive enough. It's not a Comprehensive Plan, but the themes can be carried into it and direct its shape and specific policies.

Milwaukie Climate Plan:
  • Implement the Safe Access for Everyone (SAFE) street and sidewalk improvement program to expand bike and pedestrian access
  • Partner with Metro and TriMet to increase transit service, particularly to underserved employment areas
  • Implement a Transportation Management Agency (TMA) with area partners
  • Implement “electric vehicle ready” zoning regulations for commercial buildings and multifamily housing
  • Incentivize employers to encourage active transportation and transit
  • Continue to promote the purchase of sidewalk credits in areas outside of pedestrian corridors and redirect funds to areas needing this infrastructure
  • Promote “neighborhood hubs” through Comprehensive Plan policies
  • Implement parking pricing in downtown
  • Implement variable system development charges to encourage accessory dwelling unit development
  • Lower parking ratios near high capacity corridors
The benefits of frequent service.
In many ways we need to center transit in our analysis
via Twitter
The workshops will be:
Peace Lecture on Climate

Then, at 7:30pm tonight, a lecture will focus on climate and offer a more general, higher altitude perspective. ("How do we lead with our hearts in our hands?" When our hands aren't on the steering wheel!)
Dr. Sarah Myhre will deliver this year’s Salem Peace Lecture. Her topic will be: “Living, Loving, and Loathing on a Hot and Finite Planet: the Path Towards Climate Leadership.”...

Climate change is often described as a crisis. But if it were a crisis, there would be a resolution and end to that crisis. Climate change in not a crisis inasmuch as it is a fundamental mutation in the physical, chemical, biological, and evolutionary identity of the planet. Our culture has barely begun to account for the scale and nature of the change we will negotiate. What does it mean to lead across this paradoxical and liminal time, in our families, our communities, our institutions, and our nation? And how do we lead with our humanity; with our hearts in our hands?....

The 30th annual Salem Peace Lecture will take place in Willamette University’s Hudson Hall, located in the Mary Stuart Rogers Music Center on the Willamette University campus, at 7:30 pm on Wednesday, October 16, 2018. As always, there is no charge.
From the 2019 Ann Niles Active Transportation Lecture
(via Twitter)

Postscript, October 21st

The City's published the workshop presentation and a 20-minute video presentation, and there's not a lot of new substance in it. Mostly it's about the mapping charette in small groups.

During the summer, trails, parks, and bike lanes were popular
Slide from presentation
Hinessight has an account of one of those groups.
We were so into Mixed Use, we had to do some trading of other stickers a few times.

My special sticker interest was Neighborhood Hub, defined as "Mostly single-family homes with neighborhood scale businesses." It'd be great if every residential neighborhood had a restaurant, tavern, small grocery store, or such within easy walking distance.
The neighborhood hub concept itself might be underpowered, though. Neighborhood scale businesses still need a greater number of potential customers nearby than single-family housing generally supports. We will need to look more closely at tension between the desire for spaced-out single-family residential districts and what will actually support a thriving business hub. The concept here offers a 65% increase. But that's going from like 5 homes per acre to 8 per acre. One common figure is that we need 10 to 20 per acre for truly walkable urbanism.

Three of the stickers for the mapping charette.
Is the bump from 200 to 330 homes actually enough for a hub?
Density numbers and even the word "density" scares people, but at some point we have to face the fact that expanses of single-family homes and yards don't often support lots of the other things we desire. (See this Seattle-area post on "Visualizing Compatible Density" for a nice gradient survey of different housing types and densities.)


Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Added a couple of notes on the workshop presentation - which doesn't seem to have offered enough new material for an independent post.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Regarding that comment about the "ethics of driving," here's a twitter thread on the Sacred Heart Auto League. In it is a "Driver's Prayer." The Auto League was a mid-century thing and oriented to mindful driving.