Thursday, April 29, 2021

Zoning Subcommittee Meets Friday to Start Looking at Six Zoning Concepts to Reduce Pollution

On Friday the 30th, the new Zoning Subcommittee for Our Salem will convene to receive what looks to be mainly an introduction to the concepts for analysis and debate.

Six zoning concepts for GHG pollution reductions

The agenda is pretty minimal, and, again, what appears to be the case is that popularity and palatability rather than effectiveness is going to frame and drive the discussion. The new subpage for the committee is also very thin and lacks any information about the six options. You have to know to go back to the full Our Salem page for that. Even so, the presentation to Council on March 8th in which they were first made public doesn't give any analysis for why they were selected and how much additional carbon pollution they would eliminate.

Meeting agenda

There is no more now. Maybe the analysis and discussion will get a different frame, but in the absence of any kind of Staff Report or other preparatory memo is a little worrisome.

Just generally, it remains strange that there is not more of a deductive shape to the project: 

  1. Our initial goal is for a 50% reduction by 2035
  2. Here are the strategies that will be most effective in reaching that goal
  3. Therefore, here are more specific policies/tactics to instantiate those strategies. 

But that is not at all how the project has gone. Instead it's more like spitballing: Here are a couple hundred ideas, which ones do you like best?

And now it looks like: Here are six ideas, a subset, which do you like?

Without more context for why these six in particular, and just taking them absolutely without reference to any other context, in general they appear to be an effort to protect exclusionary single detached housing in existing neighborhoods.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Oregon Passenger Rail Wraps First Phase with Final EIS and Record of Decision

No surprise, the Oregon Passenger Rail project selected the existing alignment for improvements.

Selected Alternative uses existing tracks

The Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision was published yesterday. 

Maybe there will be more to say as others comment, but the decision looks reasonable and like the obvious one. It doesn't drill into much detail, reserving that for a second phase, and there is no specific information on sections in Salem that might be double-tracked or other local improvements. It's conceptual rather than a very detailed plan. It also seemed a little brief at only 46pp.

As for timing, even though Environmental Impact Statements are a slow process, it is possible to wonder if they delayed publication a little until Amtrak superfan Joe Biden was inaugurated. The draft EIS came out back in 2018, and it has not seemed like a process, as Environmental Impact Statements go, that was very contentious. 

The publication of it now could position the valley for Federal investment under a large infrastructure package. 

We will see what this really means in practice, if it is aspirational and theoretical, or if it starts to move more quickly into reality.

(It's also not a high-speed rail concept, and if the greater Cascadia corridor, BC to Eugene, got traction, that would be a different project, as I understand it.)

See previous notes on the process here.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Beefing with the Population Research Center: Forecasting at the MPO

The Policy Committee for our local Metropolitan Planning Organization zooms on Tuesday the 27th, and they will be asked to sign on to a letter containing a critique of the latest population forecasts from the Population Research Center at PSU.

This might seem like a minor technical matter, but the memo paints it as a big deal, and from here the problems are emblematic of and ingredient in the way our transportation planning is pretty messed up. 

The agenda item: forecasts look too low

In more detailed memo inside the meeting packet, MPO staff say that the new forecasts issued this year show, relative to the last forecast from 2017, a "sharp decrease in growth projections" and this delta, this change, they "find...very alarming."

 "sharp decrease...alarming"

Just in neutral terms, sure, a change in forecast is an interesting matter and analysts would be interested in learning more about why there is this change. Trying to understand the change better is, in and of itself, not weird or objectionable.

But why is the lack of growth so alarming? Is there some reason we have to assume greater growth? Strong Towns might say that the "growth Ponzi scheme" depends on outrageous projections of growth, and default planning assumptions for growth might be worth a closer look. Does debt service on bonds and the sales of bonds require these assumptions? Formulas for Federal funding? (And politics and redistricting? What all is at risk in this? If we are adjusting forecasts every 4 years, what gets out of whack over the four year interval?)

There might be an interesting subtext here.

And there is more. A section in the memos talks about the "importance of having reliable forecasts for long-range transportation planning."

Ostensible interest in "reliable forecasts"

Sunday, April 25, 2021

City Council, April 26th - MUHTIP

Apart from Councilor Stapleton's motion for opening Union and Winter Streets for people on foot and on wheel during the Saturday Market, when Council convenes on Monday there are a few other items to note in passing.

The 990 Broadway project is applying for a tax abatement, and while there may not be a reason by the letter of the law to deny it, the application's time line makes it look like it may not meet the spirit of the law.

From the Staff Report:

The Multiple Unit Housing Tax Incentive Program (Program) allows the City stimulate transit supportive multiple-unit housing in the City’s core area through approving a property tax exemption. On March 29, 2021, 990 Broadway LLC (Applicant), whose Manager is Charles Weathers, submitted an application for participation in the Multiple Unit Housing Tax Incentive Program (Program) for development of a mixed-use building to be named “990 Broadway” (Project). The Project will consist of one 17,300 square foot mixed-use building containing 23 residential rental units and one 2,500 square foot commercial unit. Approval of the application will result in a ten-year exemption for the City’s portion of the property tax for the development, with the possibility of an exemption of the development’s entire property tax obligation for the ten-year period if other taxing districts agree.

The project was announced in late 2019. The dig at the Jason Lee House site took up part of 2020.  

With the application dated in March of this year, nearly two years after the project was publicly announced, it's hard to say that the tax abatement program actually "stimulated" any construction. It does not in fact look like the tax abatement was at all necessary to start and finish the project. Even though it might not be possible to apply for the abatement until after construction, this might be an unnecessary give-away.

Additionally, the total list of projects using this abatement program isn't very long, and there are reasons from that standpoint to wonder how effective it is. 

See more on previous uses of the program:

Maybe this is an opportunity for Council to refine a program and application deadlines so it is more clearly something that "stimulates" construction that wouldn't otherwise happen. We still have so many surface lots and empty space downtown in the "core area." Shouldn't an incentive program be spurring more action there? This may be evidence the City incentives are not yet property targeted.

As we try to fill in projects downtown and build more housing generally across all price points, it might be a good time for a detailed audit of this particular incentive and of other incentive programs to see what works, what doesn't work, and how things might be improved to better accomplish policy goals.

The details on revised agreements for the loan at the Jory apartments at the former State Hospital site might remind us that there weren't very many subsidized homes created in that project after all. That is a different situation to be sure, but it also suggests that our current incentives are not as effective and targeted as we might want them to be. (Recent posts on the OSH project generally are mostly about the Jory project specifically.)

There is an interesting annexation on the agenda. Part of the land appears to contain a segment of the Croisan Trail; and some of the lots are City-owned, but also currently outside of the city-limits. It seems like there are implications here that are not being made explicit in the Staff Report.

Two approvals from the Planning Commission as information reports:

And last week Council conducted a Work Session on the airport. It had been postponed from February, and there didn't seem to be anything new to say.

Long Time Bike Club Leader Passes Away

It was sad to read in this morning's paper an obituary for long-time pillar of the bike club, Joanne Heilinger.

"Most Rides" Award 2020 (via SBC and SBC)

13 years of the high mileage award for annual ride totals!

Of course she had many other dimensions and accomplishments in rich and varied life. 

Today's paper

Condolences to John Henry Maurice and all her family and friends.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Traffic Safety Disparaged as Blue Laws and Radical 100 Years Ago

Here's an interesting piece from the afternoon paper 100 years ago.

It shows traffic safety measures framed as "blue laws," puritanical restrictions on Sunday commerce and other activity. It is clearly meant to disparage them as old-fashioned, excessive, and moralistic curbs on assertions of independence and power. It is set up as a protest against the nanny state.

We will return to these themes!

April 23rd, 1921

Friday, April 23, 2021

Councilor Stapleton Proposes to Open Streets for Saturday Market

At Council on Monday, Councilor Stapleton will make a motion for

a report to City Council regarding the feasibility of closing Union Street from...Riverfront Park to Winter Street and Winter Street from Union to Market Street on Saturdays May through October to support a safe, livable, and sustainable city, with thriving economy and a vibrant community.

That is a great idea!

The sections of Union and Winter in yellow
Arrow at Market Street terminus

It combines a little of the playful notions in a Ciclovia style Open Street event with more pragmatic notions of making it easier for non-auto travel to the Saturday Market.

By making it regularly periodic, people will figure out how to work it into their own routines. A one-time special event, like Salem's on-and-off Open Street attempts, is harder to work into a family's habit and routine. This is a good move for a revival in a new form.

The regularity also will allow it to breathe, with periods of higher use and periods of slack use. If we don't pile all our expectations onto a one-time event, if we don't necessarily hope to see large numbers of people at all times on the course, then we can give it space to grow its own identity and rhythms.

A regular event will cultivate popup and other spontaneous or organic activity. Give people time, and they will figure out how to use it with their own creativity.

Finally, it will also be associated with commercial activity and may provide a way to move open streets from quiet residential streets to busier streets as they do in the rest of the world.

Many of the intersections are controlled with stop signs or traffic lights, and the only one that might need special attention is Union at Liberty. But, again, as an on-going event, it's not necessary to figure out the one best solution right off, but it can be tinkered with in an iterative way, with a goal of optimizing it for July, August, and September, and trialing it in May and June.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

It's Dry, Fire Season Will be Bad Again, and We Drive too Much: Earth Day 2021

Because they were metal and left the "best" ruins, and because they are also at the center of our autoist era and self-understanding, burned out cars were the dominant visual trope in the coverage of last year's catastrophic fires.

Front page, September 10th, 2020

A few days later last September

You may also recall this image of a drive-thru coffee shack soliciting business by donating to wildfire and smoke relief last year.

There was no sense of any irony that the prospect of donation induced more carbon pollution - that it would drive, and not mitigate, the indirect cause and intensifier of the fires. 

We are blind to so many dimensions of our autoism.

At the center of it all is underpriced gas.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Driver Strikes Person on Foot, who Later Dies, and Flees from Scene

On a stretch of South Commercial where people are especially likely to want to cross the street, very near Trader Joes and Winco, on Friday a driver apparently struck a person on foot crossing the street. The driver did not stop and render aid, the person stuck later died, and Police are seeking the driver.

There's no crosswalk at the bus stop
Commercial here is signed for 40mph

There are signalized crosswalks north at Hilfiker and south at Keglers, and a new enhanced crosswalk a little further south at Royvonne, near where a driver killed Shatamera Pruden in 2017, but at the bus stop on the north-bound side of Commercial there is no crosswalk and this is an instance where the big driveway corners look like they might create an unsigned crosswalk. The road/driveway design here is particularly ambiguous. The posted speed is also 40mph, too fast for this urban context with bus stops, and with people on foot and on bike.

From Salem PD:

On Friday, April 16, 2021, at approximately 8:30 p.m. Salem Fire and Police personnel were dispatched to a call of an injured pedestrian in the 4500 block of Commercial ST SE near the WinCo store.

When responders arrived, they located Galina Dvorskaya, age 61 of Salem, in the middle of the street with life-threatening injuries apparently from being struck by a vehicle. The involved driver of vehicle or vehicles were not at the scene of the collision.

Dvorskaya was transported to Salem Health where a few days later she eventually died from her injuries. An autopsy confirmed the injuries where consistent with being struck by a vehicle.

The Salem Police Traffic Team is conducting the follow-up investigation and asks for the public’s help in identifying the involved driver and vehicle. If you have any information regarding this incident, please call the Traffic Team at 503-588-6293.

This post will be updated.

Our Public History of Lord and Schryver Remains One-Dimensional

Salem Reporter had a nice notice about an Oregon Heritage Excellence Award and retrieving the history of Elizabeth Lord and Edith Schryver, "Salem woman honored for her role preserving legacy of trailblazing women landscape architects."

Society announcement a few months after
they first moved in together
April 7th, 1929

Lord and Schryver are always understood as "the first women-owned landscape architecture firm in the Pacific Northwest." But never anything else. The primary lens is always a kind of elite, white feminism, their entry to a professional class and attainment, and the aesthetics of their garden productions.

That's a big deal! 

But other dimensions are left untouched, and there is much more to say about them in Salem history. A book has been rumored for some time, but it seems to have been delayed or disappeared. It was to have been published by now, as I recall. Maybe it is still in progress and will discuss some of these things.

Queer History and the Closet

At top is a large clip from the society page not long after Lord returned with Schryver and moved back into the family home, which she must have inherited after her mother died in 1924.  (That house is not still around and Gaiety Hollow dates from 1932. More on Juliette Montague Lord in obituaries here and here.)

The paper nearly frames the move as entirely two separate instances. There's even a physical gap between them in the page layout.

January 20th, January 31st, April 28th all in 1929

And yet they are constantly in the society pages appearing together, sometimes as what sure looks like a unit!

Sunday, April 18, 2021

SF Quake Shacks are Early Model for Disaster Relief and Tiny Housing

Keyed to the anniversary of the 1906 earthquake, yesterday the San Francisco Chronicle had a fascinating piece on "quake shacks," tiny cottages built in the aftermath as emergency housing, of which a few survive scattered around the city today.

Yesterday in SF Chronicle

From the piece:

[the cottages are] the Shelby Mustang or Stradivarius of tiny houses: one of dozens of surviving 1906 earthquake shacks that are still scattered around the city. Some are lived in by people who don’t realize their celebrity status....

There were once 5,610 refugee shacks in 11 San Francisco parks, assembled with lightning speed in the months after the April 18, 1906, earthquake and fire. Today, there are fewer than 50 identified in the city. But those that remain are a symbol of civic vision, built in a bureaucracy-free utopia that included a partnership among city officials, labor unions and the U.S. Army. They’re also a symbol of post-crisis rebirth, designed to house the displaced workers who built back San Francisco better than ever....

Using redwood and fir lumber sent from Washington state and Oregon, the cottages were built in tight clusters in the parks with cooperation among the San Francisco Parks Commission, headed by John McLaren, the San Francisco Relief Corporation and the Army. Tenants paid $2 monthly rent on cottages valued at $50, with the option to own. And in 1907, many shack owners hauled their new property using literal horse power, becoming starter homes in empty lots across San Francisco and beyond.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Movement on Bike Rental Systems; Induced Demand and Evaporation on Garbage - Bits

Here's an interesting tidbit a reader passed along from Eugene. There is movement on the statewide organization that may also be operating Salem's bike rental system in the future.

Cascadia/Forth hiring in Eugene - via FB

You may recall back in February a note about Cascadia Mobility taking over the systems in several cities. Here is concrete evidence it is happening. In Eugene, Cascadia/Forth is recruiting a mechanic and outreach manager.

Jobs for Eugene bike rental system

The jobs look to start early this summer.

Public information is still thin. Forth is all about the EV Mania and does not mention the bike systems yet on their website. So the bikes are very secondary and after-thought at the moment. Cascadia Mobility remains shadowy with no public website. 

But thing take time to ripen and mature.

In any case, this is something to watch and hopefully is a harbinger of a revival here in Salem.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Piece on Building Industry Problems Whiffs on Land

Yesterday Salem Reporter published a piece on home-building in and around Salem, "Salem needs more housing. But the building industry has its own problems."

Its observations about the supply of labor and lumber were interesting. Hopefully they were accurate. When it turned to the supply of land, it was not accurate and presented the claims of builders as if they were a factual description the land supply and associated regulations.

They wrote:

Builders in the Salem area also say that there is a lack of suitable land to build new housing. The Oregon Legislature and local governments have sought to encourage denser “infill” development in existing neighborhoods. But builders say there are limits to the approach.

“I think it has some validity,” said Ryan Bloedel, co-owner of Bloedel Custom Homes. “But it’s not a solution to the larger problem, in my opinion.”

He said it’s more difficult to get an economy of scale with smaller infill development than open lots. The biggest issue the industry faces is a lack of lots, he said.

Oregon’s unique land-use laws require communities to designate where housing can be built. In Salem, most of that remaining buildable land is expensive.

The city of Salem’s most recent housing needs analysis shows that most of the vacant and buildable lands are in west and south Salem, which tend to have more hills. About 70% of the city’s land zoned for a home is on a slope, according to the analysis. About half the land designated for housing complexes such as apartments is on a slope.

At a minimum there are several claims here that really required a closer look with a both-sides balancing. Even better would have been not just to present competing interpretations and claims in a neutral way, but to try to determine what was true or closest to true.

Surplus, rather than hills, is the theme

The HNA says we have too much land zoned for single detached housing, and not enough for multi-family housing. Its focus is not on the "slope" of land. Inside, the analysis of the HNA discounts sloped land and assigns a deduction in developable capacity for the slopes. So its analysis accounts for hills.

Salem Reporter does not represent the HNA fairly, and uncritically accepts the spin offered by builders.

More generally, the piece does not examine the implied commitment to exclusionary, lawn-and-driveway zoning and development.

Criticism of the land supply hinges on a big assumption. There might not be enough land for homes if all the homes, the only homes, are single-detached housing on big lots. The company name of one of the people quote is significant. "Custom" housing is increasingly luxury housing, and the article should be more explicit about that.

The piece also doesn't factor in our autoism, the ways the big homes on big lots totally depends on cars and roads and gas, and whether we can in the future afford far-flung housing with longer commutes.

Even if some individuals can afford that kind of house, whole communities can no longer uncritically accept this as a norm. If we want to prioritize housing for everybody who wants it, we are are nearly certain have to make smaller homes and attached homes the norms rather than the big single houses of the 20th century.

The piece should at least be more explicit about the particular configuration of housing it purports to analyze, and not make the mistake of universalizing it.

There remains an opportunity to look at these factors of labor, lumber, and land in the context of Our Salem and a Climate Action Plan, as we look to the future, and not a retrospective look back at 20th century norms. The factors of labor, lumber, and land are very real constraints, and there is certainly more to say about them. But as they are presented here, the positions are ideologically motivated and not necessarily true or most accurate. The problem the builders have with land supply might just be their own problem, and not a problem the rest of us need to try to solve.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Prepping for an Infrastructure Bill: At the MPO

The technical committee for our Metropolitan Planning Organization meets on Tuesday the 13th, and they are starting to think about what could happen if the Biden administration is successful with additional big legislation.

Preparing for bonus Federal funds

A preliminary candidate list of projects

The initial draft candidate project list is a mix.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

History Piece on Safeway Buildings Tells more about Local Store Origins

It was great to see more on Safeway history in the paper today!

Safeway history in the Sunday paper

By accident or intent, today's history column builds on a couple of previous pieces here:

I had looked at the movement out south along Commercial Street, and this new take adds some additional information. In particular I had missed their origin locally in the Skaggs United Chain.

June 3rd, 1921

Skagg's had opened a new store here in 1921 and five years later Skaggs and Safeway merged.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

City Council, April 12th - Biden Rescue Plan and Speed Limits

Council convenes on Monday and they will initiate planning for the $33 million from the Biden American Rescue Plan.

Salem will have $33 million

The first two tranches are mostly back-filling the gaps caused by the Pandemic. (The City's subdivided the two Federal tranches further, it looks like.)

But the third tranche looks very interesting and a real opportunity for vision and creativity. It's supposed to be something new.

Hello, Climate!

Projects funded here have to be shovel-ready or the equivalent, with funds able to be spent by the end of 2024.

It would be nice to see the City choose something legitimately "catalytic" and selecting one or more climate initiatives to jump start might be the best choice.

Three headlines all in Friday's paper

Friday, April 9, 2021

Reactionary Politics in the April Clean-Up of 1921

You may recall that Chinatown was condemned back in 1903. Not quite a generation later, there was another episode of "cleaning," again keyed to the "buildings of Chinese." 

This time, at least in the press, its motivation and its organization are more modern. It may not be possible to situate it exactly, but we can see how it was related to the post-WWI culture more generally. It is adjacent or related to the militarism and patriotism associated with the war, to increasing nativism and white supremacy, to social hygiene and eugenics, to  the growing surveillance state, and to new tendencies to sort-and-separate in zoning ordinances. All of it is oriented to new ideas of scientific management. It's also aligned with the reactionary, right-wing politics of the American Legion. There are all kinds of subtext and context here.

April 5th, 1921

April 5th, 1921

It's hard to say whether the American Legion had been agitating behind the scenes, but once it was public, they took the lead. It is no coincidence that the front page of the morning paper on April 6th featured them in two pieces, one with a military metaphor for the clean-up project, the other about "prohibiting orientals from holding land." The "dirt" was in no small part organized along racial boundaries.

City Manager Tidbits on McGilchrist, new Website, Portland Loo

The City Manager's update has been silent for a while, nearly a couple of months, but they recently published three of them for February and March.

The most recent one for March 29th contains several tidbits of interest.

The City continues to work on the McGilchrist project, now with new anticipation of a Federal transportation bill, especially with a new kind of earmarks program. Maybe we will see some design refinements that will improve it for walking and biking safety, past the vintage bike lane treatments of more than a generation ago, and also see slower design speeds for motor vehicles.

Things looking up for Federal funding on McGilchrist

For previous notes on the saga of the McGilchrist project see here.

Back in 2017 the City rolled a new website. Apparently they feel we all need a new one.

Time for another new website?

One thing to watch is that even if the website design itself is improved, the City also grasped the "opportunity" to reduce the amount of information publicly and freely available and to make necessary more frequent formal requests for public records. So in some ways there is a loss of accessibility also.

A new website could be good, but it may not have had a life even of five years.

Finally, "the Portland Loo bathroom project" is a little vague, and it's not something we've followed here. But it's interesting to note that it's linked to the parking fund. 

Mania for free parking hinders new Portland Loo

This is another example of the kinds of useful things that our mania for free parking hinders.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Climate Survey Results show Risks of Prioritizing Popularity

In advance of Wednesday's Climate Task Force meeting, the City's published the results of the March survey on potential climate actions.

In rough terms, it shows the risks of the popularity contest: Many of the most effective concepts at reducing emissions are also the least popular. On the broader objectives there is sometimes also a disconnect between the Task Force votes and the survey response. Our mania for free parking, and for driving generally, is an excellent example.

Salemites love driving and the free parking

Sidewalk repair and more open/green space were the most popular in the survey.

Broadly speaking the survey suggests that if we tailor a plan to what is popular, it will be ineffective and mainly symbolic. If we tailor a plan that actually accomplishes reductions in emissions, what we want it to accomplish, there will be opposition from some quarters.

It just seems like a good Plan has to be more top-down, data-driven, even a little technocratic. A bottom-up popularity contest won't be nearly effective.

On some planning horizons, it would be ok to have a middling plan and say we will revisit it in five or 10 years. But the planning horizon on this particular project is far more urgent, if we take seriously the goal of a 50% reduction by 2035 and much more by 2050.

The Task Force and City leadership will likely have to choose: Effective or popular.

For an Elected that might look like a bad dilemma, but of course it's also opportunity for outstanding leadership.

It will be interesting to see how the Task Force assesses and filters all this, and there will be more to say when the project team and City publish a more focused set of recommendations for further refinement.


Addendum, Thursday

Here's a clip and comment via FB from Wedenesday's meeting.

Trees and gardens rather than fossil fuel

The popular ideas aren't enough about reducing fossil fuels and carbon pollution. Especially on the "community" side, they are more about aesthetics than function.

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Bike Bill by Strengthening It

The Street Trust and coalition partners are hosting a zoomy celebration of the Bike Bill and trying to build more support for a proposed expansion in SB 395.

via the Street Trust

After a March 4th Hearing the bill, SB 395, remains stalled in the Joint Transportation Committee. Here, Cherriots has indicated support and the City of Salem indicated qualified support.

Monday, April 5, 2021

We Should Think more about Weaponized Autoism at Protests

At both the US Capitol and our State Capitol, there are now Jersey-type barriers and other heavy barricades. Our new Police Station is recessed from the roadway, and the landscaping interposes barriers between the street and building. In the years after 9/11 we all have learned the vocabulary of anti-terrorist design on the street and building setback zone, and at least some of these features are now just background noise, banal elements not to be noticed any more.

Weaponizing cars successfully (April 3rd)

We still haven't fully considered the ways our autoism has been weaponized, however.

This driver had sped up and nearly hit people:
Weaponizing the truck for intimidation
(via Twitter)

At the protest a little over a week ago, a motorcade from out of town with big trucks (and quite likely big guns also) had assembled and was driving to Salem to intimidate. By design the trucks constituted something of a light armor division. Their targets were not buildings, but were people.

Friday, April 2, 2021

Erasing the Driver in the Latest Attack at US Capitol

It is a sign of how messed up is our autoism that even in what appears to be a clear attack at the US Capitol, the early news stories erase the driver.

Front page of the SJ website just before noon

Four paragraphs down, they mention a driver

The SJ isn't alone.  AP, NPR, Bloomberg all erase the driver, but CBS gets it right.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Too Much EV Mania in the Biden Plan?

Probably The American Conservative magazine is not going to become any go-to source for critical thought on climate. And yet here we are. Earlier this month they asked whether the transportation side of our climate policy has become captured by EV techno-mania. And that is a very good question.

Conservatives questioning our EV Mania
via Twitter

Yesterday's announcement of the President's infrastructure plan got lots of headlines, and one particularly exciting element was more talk about Amtrak and the prospect of improving the Eugene-Vancouver, BC corridor.

Today's headline

But as Streetsblog points out with the first of their five big questions, the initial concept in the plan may have too much EV mania and not enough non-auto enthusiasm.

  1. Do we really need this much money for electric cars?
  2. How will we spend that $20 billion to make streets “safe for all”?
  3. Will road ‘repair’ projects morph into highway expansions?
  4. Will we reconnect neighborhoods right?
  5. Will transit really get its due?

We won't follow this too closely here, but as others chime in with analysis we may update this post or, if things get really interesting, it might merit a series of posts.