Wednesday, December 9, 2020

City Publishes List of Forthcoming Projects for Walking and Biking

The City's published a potentially helpful guide to forthcoming crosswalks, sidewalks, and bike lanes.

December 2020 promo tile

The full list would be helpful for reference and we'll post it here. It would be nice for the City to keep it up and publish it regularly, and not simply use it as part of the PR response to recent catastrophe.

December 2020 list of projects

But it's also not clear they've fully edited the list and it may not in fact tell us very much useful.

Inconsistency on different project lists

Take this enhanced crosswalk for the intersection of Commercial and Triangle. The promo tile list says 2020. The detail list says 2022. The City also says "Follow the progress of these projects on the Pedestrian Issues Requests Map," which doesn't show this crosswalk at all.

The release and several lists don't talk about reductions, either. Crosswalks at Triangle and Waldo had seemed to be deleted, and the flashing beacons deleted also. Maybe the one for Triangle came back, but it still lost the flashing beacon. Projects here have been diminished for the sake of cars, but of course the City's hyping them as wonderful new things only. When the City talks about the Union Street bikeway, which is oddly omitted here, they will be silent on the segment they cancelled.

The detail list also duplicates a few projects, and makes it seem longer and larger than the full collection really is.

And they are all spot projects, still not really part of any systemic approach to speed, emissions, and our lethal autoism. Cars and their drivers are the problem, but we continue to treat "pedestrian safety" as if people on foot were the problem to be mitigated.

"Salem community is mostly unaware
of the overall progress" (a year ago)

The project list, then, should be mainly understood as PR offered in response to catastrophe. That doesn't make it bad or wrong, but it's not fully up-to-date or complete, and its framing does qualify it a little as spin. As with Climate, the City may see itself as doing enough already and that the main problem is messaging, not the quantity and substance of progress. "We are misunderstood" rather than "we need to do more."

But if we are serious about safety, and if we are serious about a Climate Plan and reducing emissions by 50% in 2035, this list is going to have to be a lot bigger.

Update, December 13th

The City silently published a revised list!

Revised Dec. 11th

It eliminates the duplicated entries, adds the Union Street Greenway, and adds some additional detail. The promo tile was also updated with new copy, but the dates were not corrected. So the lists still aren't consistent.

The City also published a separate note about the Union Street project.

They say we will see some design options, and the way car parking is handled will be determine a lot about truly how "family-friendly" is the design.

The Union Street NE project is early in the design phase, which is expected to result in several different design options. Community members will be able to provide comments on the design in early 2021, through a virtual project open house. Construction on the project is expected to begin in spring 2022.

1 comment:

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Updated with revised City list and a few comments.