Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Bikeways in the Neighborhoods: Speed Hump Questions; New Interest near Bush Park

Will the next couple of years be when we finally decide what we are going to do about a citywide bike network? Assessing one Neighborhood Greenway and figuring out potential next steps on new ones have been topics at neighborhood associations this fall.

Highland Neighborhood Association meets on Thursday the 12th, and it sounds like the new speed humps on the Winter-Maple Greenway are not as effective as neighbors would like.

via Twitter
From the October minutes:
[S]everal neighbors had some concerns about the speed humps that had been installed on Maple St. N.E. and how it was felt that the bumps were actually not helping the area in the way it was understood it would as traffic has not slowed down. A new traffic study is being done and several others have been done in the area and once the results are compiled, [City Traffic Engineer Kevin] Hottman has promised to return to the Highland Neighborhood meeting and give a more thorough report. This will probably be sometime around March of 2020 and once the board has been notified, he will be placed on the agenda.
So this is something to watch. So far we have not much installed traffic diverters, and it may be that we need more seriously to consider them or other stronger forms of traffic calming.

The Highland Neighborhood Association meets Thursday the 12th at 7:00 p.m. in the North Neighbors Resource Center, 945 Columbia St NE.


SCAN also meets, on Wednesday the 11th, and minutes from the last two meetings had several tidbits of note.

Taking next steps on connections immediately south of downtown has been on the minds of neighbors.

Priority Bikeways in SCAN:
Cemetery connection, Church St route, et. al.
(2017 version of TSP)
From the November minutes on a huge barrier in close-in South Salem:
Council Nordyke said that she had attended an afternoon meeting at Fairmont Cottages before the SCAN meeting. There was a lot of interest in the idea of a pedestrian path thru the cemetery. She is really interested. When she grew up in the Candalaria, she didn’t know about the playground at Fairmont Park that she and her friends could have used, if there had been a path.
And then the board approved a resolution:
SCAN supports a path connecting upper Hoyt to upper Rural Ave. S and encourages the City to implement a path called for in its TSP immediately.
Did someone exit too vigorously from the gas station?
Caution tape, broken pipe, crumpled chain link mesh
(early October, and as of this week had yet not been repaired)
Protecting the cemetery from vandalism continues to be a worry. This fall it appears someone drove into the chain link fence, and for whatever reasons it has not yet been repaired. This just makes the case for a connection through the cemetery so much harder.

(May 2012)
Still, earlier in the decade there was a vigorous debate that really did not get anywhere, and it might be a good time to restart the conversation. (See some previous notes here and here.)

They also talked about connections in and around Bush Park:
Victor said that he met with Angela Obrey [Obery] later in the October. She and her husband spearheaded a multi-year effort to designate the Maple-Winter family friendly bikeway. It connects the bikeway along the Salem Parkway to downtown Salem. It was a big effort, taking tens of neighborhood and community meetings along the route of the Maple-Winter bikeway to build support.

Angela suggested that SCAN focus on the Church Street – High Street route that is indicated in the TSP rather than High Street. There may be too many obstacles to designating a route on High Street because High Street is a collector.
Angela is right (you can see on the map nothing is designated for High Street until the jog at McGilchrist by McKinley School), but maybe we should take more seriously problems  with the "High Street Bypass."

High Street Bypass says it's for "local traffic only"
If we are serious about "local traffic only" then we should consider reassessing High Street (and more recently here) in the street hierarchy and considering a traffic diverter at Cross, Lincoln, or thereabouts, to enforce the restriction against through traffic. There's already the problem with excessive speed on the crest of Gaiety Hill itself.

A Church Street alignment really would require a restoration of the carriage path north of Bush House, and also managing conflicts with people walking in Bush Park. When I am walking in Bush Park, as in other parks, I really don't like when people biking zoom past me, and the enduring solution is to calm the cars, not to countenance scorching. People like the paths for biking, but this leaves the autoist system intact, and we have to give greater thought to ways that our autoism harms us.

We might also take a moment to register on the Winter-Maple Greenway that "it was a big effort, taking tens of neighborhood and community meetings...." I want to assert here that if new neighborhood greenways are going to take this kind of intense volunteer advocacy efforts, they are flat out unsustainable. They should be a matter of course, and we should be able to redirect advocacy to other, more difficult ends. The autoist hegemony distracts us by making these small projects require seemingly herculean efforts and exhausting advocates.

In the October minutes were notes from an interesting Q & A with police:
What about red light running at the Madrona and Kuebler intersections on S. Commercial? Resp: It’s a known problem for traffic enforcement. However, traffic patrol is thinly spread; there are only four patrol officers. Why so few? It’s a problem of both money (budget) and people (recruitment)....

Is traffic ticketing a revenue measure? Resp: No, not by the City of Salem. However, Marion County traffic patrols are supported by traffic fines. He noted that the Salem Police Chief is not in favor of treating traffic fines as revenue. Rather, ticketing is seen as an opportunity to change driving behavior....

There were also comments concerning traffic speed on Mission east of 22nd and the 45 mph speed (sic, it’s 40 mph) at the new pedestrian crossing at S. Commercial and Royvonne Street....

Is jay walking a big issue in Salem? Resp: Jay walking isn’t illegal. So, no.
I had not known the County used ticket revenue and that the City did not. The police gave a good answer on jaywalking! Jaydriving is the real problem. And echoed concerns about the posted speed on Commercial at Royvonne.

Separately, two notes on art and preservation - on aesthetics really - were a little interesting.

The whole hearing and process for the mural proposed on the corner of Miller St and Commercial Street has been perplexing. Why is it so difficult? A note from November's minutes clarifies:
The Public Art Commission is trying to be careful about what it accepts into the City’s public art collection because of the maintenance cost.
So apparently the mural would not be the building owner's but becomes the City's. This is strange. I get that the City might want to have a small layer of regulation - no obscenity or libel on a building, for example - but why does the mural have to pass into the City's ownership? That really limits the number of murals we might have in Salem. This seems like a wholly counterproductive procedural requirement.

During a massive snow storm 100 years ago
we had a coal emergency.
We've moved past coal to hydro;
we need to move to solar now.
December 10th, 1919
From October there was a note on solar panels as distraction on an historic home and points to ways that an excessive concern for style, appearance, and aesthetics limits and even harms our concept of historical preservation:
The committee had two comments about the application: 1) solar panels distract from the historic character of the house; and, 2) solar panels should contribute to a historic house.
Maybe this second point, that the panels "should contribute," leaves room for them, but our obsession with "integrity" in historic preservation leads to an ahistorical kind of stasis and nostalgia. Historic resources must live in history, and our historic moment right now calls urgently for reducing carbon pollution. A more authentic historicism might require coal heating, for example, but we have moved on and would not make that requirement. Modern cars and their speeds and size aren't historic, but we look past them. We are very selective about which features to interpret as "contributing," and which features we don't have to consider, and this needs a reassessment.

The South Central Association of Neighbors meets Wednesday the 11th at 6:30 p.m. in the South Salem High School Library, 1910 Church St SE.


Anonymous said...

The speed humps seem most effective in the areas with curbs, and less effective farther north (near J Gems school), which lacks curbs. Until curbs are installed, I'd suggest some trees or planters placed to either side of each hump might be helpful.

Susann Kaltwasser said...

Wonder if you caught the comment made by Councilor Anderson at the Council meeting on Dec 9. He was talking about his feelings about the recent pedestrian death by Riverfront Park. He said that it was happening way too many times. Then he mentioned the concept of reducing all residential speed limits to 20 MPH. At that point, the mayor expressed his support for that.

I know that there have been a number of neighborhood associations trying to get this. They do it in Portland. I think it would be a good idea in Salem too!

Maybe you can do a blog on this topic...if you haven't already.