Friday, January 22, 2021

City Council, January 25th - Pringle Creek Path to Riverfront Park

Council convenes on Monday and the application for the path along Pringle Creek between Mirror Pond and Riverfront Park is the main item of interest. (See "Pringle Creek Path Grant Application Shows Boise Project Heading Toward Completion" from earlier this month for more on it.)

The retaining wall, cap, and fish ladder are all gone

It will complete a vision started two generations ago with the 1970s urban renewal area along the mill race. 

One important link is a little newer, only about a generation-and-a-half ago. The path system near the Hospital dates from 1984. And they were clear it was primarily a walk, and not a bike path.

Silent on bicycles - it's clearly a "walk"

Because we have lumped walking and biking together as the greater "alternative modes," we do not always attend to their different needs, and the path segment between Mirror Pond and Riverfront Park will, like the other segments, be much better for walking than for biking. 

Any new segment we construct today will be wider than the older ones, and will in fact be more useful for people on bike, but it still won't connect to downtown businesses and destinations. For users, people biking often crowd people walking and degrade their experience. So we should not overvalue the path connection as a bicycle facility. We'll hear lots about it as a bike-ped connection, but the whole conversation would be better if we really stressed that it was a walking path primarily - and then made an actual effort to upgrade our downtown streets to serve people biking.

For more on paths, biking, and the downtown system see:

Other Items

Every time Travel Salem hits Council agenda, I look to see how they do or do not employ bicycling and bike tourism. And then something else stands out. A year ago it was a misidentified historic church, a surprising misstep for a tourism agency that's supposed to know the ground here. This time it's a set of charts that do not seem internally consistent. Beyond the jargon and hype, they often seem careless and it's hard not to wonder if it's too much of a lifestyle gig and not enough of an effective marketing agency.

Top chart shows Pandemic decline.
The bottom chart an increase?

A third shows the decline again

One "top preforming" is just a typo.
Two is a problem of inattention!

It's not that the concept of promoting tourism is necessarily bad, but that Travel Salem may need stronger oversight and a better set of metrics. Is social media engagement really very meaningful, especially with only double-digit numbers? Or just a way to pad out a "report." If the City's business and economic development reports are generally thin, this annual report is overstuffed and vaporous. How about finding a more substantial middle?

And there is a Memorandum of Understanding, presumably modeled after the one with Grand Ronde, with the Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians of Oregon for better collaboration and communication.

Addendum, Saturday

The City published its first list of positions on bills at the Legislature, and there are a few trends that may deserve more notice.

Wariness on HB 2488 for Climate Justice

They also appear to oppose outright a cluster of concepts making land division and smallplexes easier, an extension of the middle housing law. And they oppose a cluster of concepts for reducing barriers and costs in public record requests, including one specifically about police disciplinary cases.

1 comment:

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Added brief note on Legislative positions.