Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Market Street Cottage Cluster for Seniors Perhaps Still Distant from Shopping

With the parklets and Geer Park on Council agenda, I didn't look closely at the Market Street properties on the agenda, and Salem Reporter has a nice note about the plans there.

via Twitter

Properties that can be found for below-market price are rare, and it's great the City and United Way are able to coordinate on this.

Across the street from Swegle School

Still, even if the locations aren't utterly car-dependent, they might not be the best for seniors with mobility issues.

Market Street here was recently realigned, which is why the lots had been acquired by the City and now are surplus, so at least some of the sidewalks are brand new, but Market Street is still zoomy and not exactly inviting for walking.

Market Street here is not exactly friendly for walking

Fred Meyer is three-quarters of a mile away

For younger people, this might very well count as within a "20-minute neighborhood." But the utility is somewhat diminished for seniors. The number 5 "Center Street" bus route runs an awkward loop right here, and doesn't appear to offer bi-directional travel on this stretch of Market Street to Lancaster Drive. So shopping at Freds would require tricky bus coordination or a walk of three-quarter miles each way. A trip to Grocery Outlet is a mile and a half each way and would require a bus transfer.

That's not to say this is a poorly conceived project, but to say that there are limits to it, and no matter how nice are the tiny houses and the rent targets, as a whole living arrangement it might not yet be excellent. We don't give enough attention to transportation and proximity when we site social housing. (See this on the Fisher Road "Redwood Crossing" project previously.)


Anonymous said...

By bus on the #5, the downtown Safeway might actually be the most convenient with the most direct connection and shortest walking distance. So a grocery store is in reach by bus, but it might not be the intuitive one.

Susann Kaltwasser said...

Here again is you talking about an area that you do not know much about. I lived in this area for 30 years and am the Neighborhood Association Co-president and have been for almost 30 years been on the board as chair, co-chair, vice-chair and always land use chairperson since 1990.

So, we are excited about this project for a variety of reasons. It fills a need for very affordable houses. The rent will be no more than $450 but more likely $350 because it is based on the assumed social security of about $1000 that retired people will get.

This land is hard to utilize for anything because it is all on an island of sorts closed in by traffic on all sides. It would not be suitable for families because of limited yard space, but it will work for people who either do not have cars, or need much yard. The driveway agreements have not been worked out, it is true. But the assumption is that cars will be allowed to use the school parking lot for access and after hours parking, if needed. There are other houses next door who have this agreement with the school

If a resident needs to go somewhere there will be access by ample new sidewalks also. So this will allow for walking to bus stops, if needed. If a resident use a motorized wheelchairs, no problem. There is a HUD housing just up the street and several people use the sidewalks to travel easily around the area on their scooters.

There are several bus stops within a couple of blocks if that is their choice of travel. One is on 45th and about a half block away and the other is about 1 and a half blocks at Tierra and Market. But we assume that the residents are most likely to use CherryLift or Uber and we even talked to United Way about making a van available on a regular schedule for residents to go shopping once the whole complex is built out.

There is a walkway on the other side of Market where one of the lots is located that connects to a nursing home facility that residents will be able to use to get to a nice neighborhood setting to walk safely away from cars or access transportation from that side street (Glencoe).

Market Street is 'zoomy' as you point out, but there is no need to cross the street for most needs.

Swegle School has had 'grandparent' events for the local nursing homes in this area, Lancaster Village, Lancaster Woods, and The Springs. I can see an opportunity for classrooms to "adopt" these cottage residents who will be right in the Schools parking lot essentially. Adjacent to the cottage complex is an identified HUB location. If we ever get a little fruit stand or restaurant, this will be something within a block. 45th has protected crosswalks because of the school and there is an intersection at 45th and Market to use if needed.

We have a member of our board who is in an electric wheelchair and she zips around this area all the time. She goes to Fred Meyers and to The Springs to play Bingo, she comes to our NA meetings and catches the buses when needed. She is enthusiastic about the new project.

Noise from traffic is my only reservation with this project. But I think that the construction can address it.

We hope that this becomes a model for many other cottage clusters and it is so wonderful to have a partner like United Way and Councilor Hoy who have helped to make it possible.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Re:"Here again is you talking about an area that you do not know much about."

Your hostility on this is so very strange. The blog is a conversation, and rather than seeing the invitation to have a conversation, you seem to resent any comment unless it comes from perfect, intimate knowledge (your own comments on bicycling do not meet this standard, by the way). I am sorry the blog does not meet your requirements on this, but the blog will continue to offer comment and correct factual errors as they arise. You did not, I see, correct any statements about distance to grocery stores or the nature of the number 5's current route. It is interesting that a neighbor uses a scooter and "zips around this area all the time," but would she like it if things were closer together and did not require crossing Lancaster?

Anyway, it is possible that the development in the future of a hub will create a more walkable neighborhood. But at the moment, this still seems a little remote from destinations, and I do not see any important errors of fact to correct here. Thanks for the additional context and comment.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

And here are a couple of matters of opinion/interpretation, distinct from fact, on which we disagree, and it might be worth a little more on them:

Re: "Market Street is 'zoomy' as you point out, but there is no need to cross the street for most needs."

The use here of "zoomy" might not be self-evident to someone who doesn't walk very often or far. Zoomy streets are not just difficult to cross, they are unpleasant to walk along. (Just as they are unpleasant to bike along.) Dust, noise, the general feeling of threat from the lethality of cars, as well as the aesthetic dullness of the walk itself together degrade the experience of walking. They make it less likely a person will want to walk when they have a choice. We should want to make walking delightful, but whether you are crossing or traveling along, zoomy streets make it a chore and hinder the choice to walk.

Re: "But we assume that the residents are most likely to use CherryLift or Uber."

This might be at the center of our disagreement. If we are structuring housing around expectations of using CherryLift, Taxis, or TNCs like Uber, as the primary transportation, the housing is not walkable and we have failed. CherryLift should be available to fill in the gaps and be a transportation tool of last resort or for special medical needs, but we should want walking and regular local bus service to be the transportation tools of first resort. Beyond CherryLift, we should never premise anything on TNCs. That is total car-dependence and autoism; moreover, the subsidies that previously had made TNCs priced attractively are going away. TNCs are not sustainable.