The SRC finally reached an end; Cherriots started weekend and evening service; and ODOT transitioned to a new agency head for more of the same, without also making any basic changes in philosophy or approach.
SRC Record of Decision
|Headline in February|
Council chose not to make a new set of land use changes and chose instead to recommend a "no build" record of decision.
In September, the Federal Highway Administration and ODOT formally published that Record of Decision for the No Build alternative.
Thus ended this particular process for the Salem River Crossing and one idea of a third bridge.
Probably a river crossing concept will return as its politics are popular in some circles, but the scope and magnitude of our climate emergency, as well as the cost of a giant bridge and highway, together make it less likely that it will get very far, let alone ever be built.
Cherriots Saturday Service
New ODOT Director
|New agency head Kris Strickler on right touting "One ODOT"|
(editorializing on "one ODOT" added)
This is nearly certain to mean that the agency remains committed to autoism and fails to move quickly - or even at all - on our climate emergency and on safety. It's a commitment to business as usual and to 20th century standards. It's a commitment to more driving and more driving deaths. The new Highway Head is the same old highway head.
As far as lasting things of significance, these three are without a doubt the top transportation stories of the year.
Other Notes on 2019
There was a bunch of new construction set in motion downtown that will shape the city. As a cluster, it is sizeable, but perhaps they are not exactly transformative. It's mainly a larger quantity of building more than a real change in quality, urban form, or something more enduring like that. For 2019, however, several of them did not quite break ground, and it was the associated demolition that was more significant. A few more projects look to start in 2020.
- Marion Car Park demolition and approvals for the New Holman Hotel
- Demolition of old YMCA
- Demolition for new UGM shelter
|In mid-November the crane went up at 260 State|
- Nishioka building at 260 State
- Continued work on the Police Station
- North Campus of the State Hospital got the first set of approvals
- Mushroom Plant also got its first set of preliminary approvals (and more here)
- Fairview continued to move along slowly, primarily with the single detached homes at Fairview Addition. The village center area apartments secured approvals, and The Woods was approved, then appealed.
Some small transportation things happened. As symbols they might have seemed important, but as actual things with impact they remained small. Our levels of institutional support make them largely ornamental and shallow, not yet working into full systems.
Ride Salem, the bike rental system, launched, but its use was about a third or half of national standards, and remained a very small thing.
Open Streets Salem cancelled this year and postponed to next year. It has not yet found its footing.
|Drivers have hit the sign, new in July, many times.|
Now reattached to the roadway in a different place
in front of Grant Elementary
A little more ambiguous is the SR2S coordinator grant and hiring. The initial goal is for five schools. That will not make a large city-wide difference by itself. But as a start of something, it could blossom into much greater things.
|Memorial for Roderick Drolshagen, Nov 8th|
Uncertain Baby Steps on Climate and Big Weather Impacts
|Cars are way more harmful than bikes|
Final pie chart from Our Salem
The City published an assessment for greenhouse gas emissions, and cars were by far the greatest source, but it remained very unclear what we were going to do about it.
|Are we just going to screw around with greenwash? (NOAA)|
|At the Minto Bridge during the April flood, via Instagram|
The City's ambiguous tension between charting tailpipe emissions and misrepresenting floodwater impacts is the right note for 2019. Some things were positive, some things were not. The carbon level is rising.
* If something by chance comes up in the second half of the month, we'll update and edit this as necessary. But with Council wrapping up for the year on the 9th, and many meetings being cancelled over the rest of the month for the holidays, it is very likely that the important transportation stories for the year have already occurred.