In addition to the City's budget, as part of that three Councilors have various motions specifically about Police reform. Others will have more informed things to say about them, but they are worth close attention.
Still, early in the decade one solution seemed best, and this solution still seems best.
|The alleys, streets, and easements potentially in play|
And the Planned Unit Development
that currently enjoys a "private" alley as part of their commons
|Commercial is nasty for people on foot or on bike!|
The following six options are presented with no implied order of preference:Option No. 6 is Best
Option 1: Take no action.
Option 2: Initiate amendments to remove a path from master plans and vacate the pedestrian access easement.
If the Salem Transportation System Plan and the Salem Comprehensive Parks Master Plan are amended to remove mention of the potential for a trail connection and if the vacation of the public access easement is adopted by Council, these two actions will effectively remove from future consideration a pedestrian path at this location.
Option 3: Improve pedestrian facilities along Commercial Street S
Among the issues raised in the past regarding this issue is the inadequacy of the sidewalk on Commercial Street S connecting Candalaria and Fairmont neighborhoods. Commercial Street S from Rural Avenue S to Hoyt Street S is approximately 730 feet, approximately 520 feet of which abuts Pioneer Cemetery. The sidewalk on the west side of Commercial Street S (abutting Pioneer Cemetery) is five feet wide. There is no planting strip separating the sidewalk from vehicular traffic. There is a six-foot-wide bike lane on Commercial Street SE from Rural Avenue S to Hoyt Street SE. There is a project currently in design to narrow the travel lanes on Commercial Street SE in this section and create a painted buffer between the bike lane and travel lanes. No plans exist in the Salem Transportation System Plan to modify this stretch of sidewalk or at the intersections of Commercial Street SE at Rural Avenue S or Hoyt Street SE to make them more pedestrian friendly. Improving the pedestrian environment would require either:
Option 4: Construct a trail through Fairmount Park.
- Reconfiguring the sidewalk and landscape area and possibly purchasing land from Pioneer Cemetery and from the property to the north (2001 Commercial Street SE) to widen or relocate the sidewalk towards the west. There is an approximately 19-foot wide strip of land (containing shrubbery and 10 shade trees) along Pioneer Cemetery that divides the sidewalk from the fence surrounding the cemetery. This width tapers down to about nine feet at the intersection with Rural Avenue S. The location of the sidewalk in this area could be moved closer to fence surrounding the cemetery, leaving room to create a landscaped buffer between the pedestrian realm and the travel lanes. This would require removal of the existing trees and would likely require construction of a retaining wall due to topography. Such modification would also require determination of impacts to the historic cemetery.
- Reconfiguring Commercial Street S to accommodate widening the sidewalk on the west side of the street.
The Salem Transportation System Plan identifies a shared use path through Fairmount Park and connecting Rural Avenue S to Crestview Drive S for future improvement as a recommended Tier 3 Pedestrian Project. There is currently an unpaved trail that connects Fairmount Park and Crestview Drive S near the Willamette View Apartments. This trail is approximately a quarter-mile long and is primarily packed dirt with occasional sections of mud owing to groundwater seepage. Some segments of the trail may be too steep to meet accessibility requirements and might require relocating and redesign.
Option 5: Construct a connection through Pioneer Cemetery.
A connection between John Street S and Hoyt Street S through Pioneer Cemetery would be approximately 500 feet long. To meet ADA requirements, a firm and stable surface would need to be provided with a minimum width of 36 inches, with additional width for passing spaces at intervals of 200 feet. To accommodate the path inside the cemetery, a storage area and composting bins must be relocated, and vegetation removed. A gate at the northern boundary of the cemetery must be installed and landing area leading from the cemetery into the Fairmount neighborhood at John Street S constructed. This could be accomplished by either:
If this option were pursued, Parks Operations would need to assign responsibility for opening and closing the gate to align with cemetery hours.
- Purchasing an easement over private property to connect the existing easement area to John Street S over the location of the current shared driveway; or
- Constructing a pathway over the currently unopened alley right-of-way connecting to Rural Street through the open space within the Pioneer Alley PUD.
As the Pioneer Cemetery is individually listed on the National Register of Historic Places there are two additional and separate approval processes required:
Option 6: Construct a connection that includes City View Cemetery.
- Oregon State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) Clearance Review This review must demonstrate that the proposed alterations will not adversely impact either the above ground resources or the below ground resources (including burials). Additionally, the City must demonstrate that alternatives have been explored to accomplish the same goal-connectivity between neighborhoods-that would avoid impacting the historic resource.
- Historic Landmarks Commission (HLC) Review Any proposed alterations at Pioneer Cemetery would require a Type III public hearing review before the HLC. As with the SHPO review, the City will need to demonstrate that the proposed alterations will not adversely affect any above or below ground historic resources. The HLC review and its decision are considered a land use actions which are appealable to the Hearings Officer. The HLC decision cannot be called up by the City Council for further consideration.
A pedestrian route could be made in which a portion or all of the path runs along the boundary between Pioneer Cemetery and City View Cemetery. The terminus of the path could be located at the northern boundary of City View Cemetery and aligned with John Street S. This option would require acquisition of an easement from City View Cemetery. The property owner of the cemetery has stated as recently as early 2020 that he is not interested in providing an easement for the purposes of pedestrian pathway.
Here is has always seemed that Option No. 6 made the most sense from a high-level perspective. It lined up most neatly with John Street, a public street, to the north and avoided any need to go through the PUD, which has over time encroached on the alley and would experience a real kind of loss of privacy were that alley opened to public through travel.
|City View logically connects with John Street|
It is also easy to see why the PUD
does not favor alley access
(not part of Staff Report)
That option, of course, would put a path on private property, and as the Staff Report says, "would require acquisition of an easement from City View Cemetery." Then it becomes a matter of a fair price that makes it worthwhile to City View.
|Delaminating concrete on the Mausoleum steps (2013)|
|Water damage to ceiling and floor tile in Mausoleum (2013)|
|December 20th, 1913|
Options Nos. 3 and 4 have seemed very inferior, and don't actually accomplish connecting Candalaria and Fairmount with a more direct route. They do not seem worth it. The whole point is to avoid Commercial, and a Fairmount Park trail would be nice, but it requires dropping down nearly to River Road to access it. Only a Skopil to John Street alignment through a cemetery keeps to a low-traffic middle geography between the crest of the hill and Commercial Street.
Option No. 5, through the IOOF Pioneer Cemetery, does not directly connect to John Street and again the alignment of any path is at least tricky. There are also the other procedural red tape matters, as well as the PUD and Friends of the Cemetery that are opposed.
|I did not understand why a swap was not pursued (2012)|
Rather than uncovering new information and advancing the analysis and debate, the Staff Report is mostly about getting new Councilors up to speed on an old controversy. As an scrupulously neutral document, presented on a very busy agenda, it seems designed to frustrate Councilors with a seemingly intractable situation and maintaining the status quo.
But Option No. 6 deserves a more serious look and an attempt to see if there is in fact common ground and a fair price. Is there a deal that gives City View something it wants? A real win-win deal so both sides feel good.
In light of all the competing interests and different values, some of which are in fact in tension with one another, negotiating a fair price with City View has seemed like the best compromise that gets closest to a balanced solution. Council should choose to explore Option No. 6 further and see if there was a way and price to have City View as full, willing partner.
(Over the weekend there might be a second post on other agenda items.)
Addendum on Cemetery Uses
The preferred solution here does not directly involve the IOOF Pioneer Cemetery, but we should remove objections against recreational visits to cemeteries. Historically there have been many different uses and reasons to visit the cemetery, not all of which entail visiting a specific grave.
|Sheep grazing in the IOOF Pioneer Cemetery|
detail, WHC 0096.003.0001
|"Picnicking was somewhat common place"|
Elisabeth Walton Potter in Salem Reporter
|"passive recreational use [and] leisure outings...helped give rise|
to the movement for urban parks"
acknowledged in the National Register listing