Friday, September 11, 2020

City Council, September 14th - Public Bike Rental Reboot

Council convenes on Monday, and the wildfires, smoke, and ruin, which are not formally on the agenda, seem likely to overshadow items actually on the agenda.

Still there are a few interesting things to note in passing.

Bike Rental Hubs on City property
There is an agreement with Ride Salem, the public bike rental system, "to operate bike-sharing stations on City property."

On November 13, 2018, Council authorized the City Manager to execute an agreement between the City and Zagster, Inc., a bike sharing company headquartered in Boston and with offices in San Francisco and Philadelphia. On June 5, 2020, Zagster was dissolved as a corporation and ceased operating the bike share in the City. Ride Salem intends to resume the bike share service that Zagster ceased. [italics added]
The stations at the Union Street Bridge and Bush Park would be substantially new.

Because of the small number of rides and the fact that there are other much more urgent issues, now may not be the right time now to drill into the system, but in the future, if the City really wants a functional bike rental system that is more than something merely ornamental, they are going to need to look more closely at operations and at the downtown bike lane system (or lack of it). How does a visitor or casual, infrequent cyclist go from the Transit Center to Riverfront Park? Our current street system does not accommodate this person and trip very well and they are likely to want to bike on the sidewalk, which is illegal downtown. There is a mismatch here, and the City should be more interested in addressing it.

Previously see, "Ride Salem, Public Bike System, on Hiatus, Planning for Relaunch."

Council will also decide whether to consider a request to vacate a north-south alley off of Pine Street at the former strip club site on the riverfront. (See a previous note from 2017, "Proposed Housing on Corner of Pine and Front Looks Tricky.")

Planning Commission saw it differently
Staff gave a strong recommendation for denial

Not far away, there is an information item on Planning Commission approval for ODOT's request to rezone property on Commercial Street at Hickory. This is a little interesting since the Staff Recommendation was, as these things go, a firm "no."

Maybe there will be more to say, especially if Council takes it up for review.

Bullets for the rest:

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