|One of the layout possibilities (with comments and Gov. T. T. Geer)|
But the first thing that came to mind is the way there seems to be an implied shift in thinking on Park Avenue. A decade ago when we were updating the Walking and Biking chapters of the Transportation System Plan, Park Avenue had seemed like a logical north-south route between State Street and Silverton Road, perhaps the most nearly continuous lower-traffic route a few blocks west of Hawthorne Avenue.
|A decade ago we abandoned Park Ave|
All of the proposed park concepts, however, show parking lots off of Park Avenue, and this implies much more traffic on it.
And that returns us to the question whether Park Avenue would be a good lower-traffic bikeway also.
If we are going to have one or more major entries and lots off of Park Avenue, even if we do decide it should not be a formal greenway, we should make sure we have adequate provision for non-auto travel on it and not just assume that it's only going to handle car traffic.
The Park Plan may also need to give more attention to the Geer Line, especially as it crosses Hawthorne and dead-ends into I-5. The path entry in the elbow on Illinois and Monroe might also need attention.
As for the internal elements, the interesting things are all TBD in some future phase. The three draft concepts for discussion don't really differ that much: They all have a skate park, one or more soccer fields, one or more baseball/softball fields. Mostly it's just shuffling things around in different places rather than different whole concepts for the park. I expected to see discussed more variety in this first pass and survey.
|First Bike Bill|
February 21st, 1899
Governor Geer bicycled some, most famously from Salem to Champoeg in 1900, and signed a sidepath law that was visionary, albeit unsuccessful and abandoned after a few years. There is the rail history of the Geer Line also. The proximity to I-5 also suggests more on the neighborhoods destroyed and altered by the highway construction.
Even if the site itself is not an historically significant transportation hub, in both metaphorical and physical ways it is adjacent to moments in transportation history. Some of them ended or failed, like the sidepath law and Geer Line railroad. But even in their failure, they might remind us that the current autoist order is unlikely to be permanent.
|We default to a triumphalist narrative:|
"graduated from the bicycle business"
January 1st, 1919
|Reductions on Geer Line|
April 13th, 1924
|Geer Park was just outside the city circa 1920|
Old city limits and modern features highlighted also
1917 Salem and 1925 Stayton USGS maps
|Interpretive signage at the Train Depot (2019)|
But is this the best way to offer historical information?
|Utility vault wrapper: |
"Salem's Theatrical History" at High and Court
|One of several interpretive signs at Bush Park (2017)|
Check out the Open House and take the survey.