Sunday, June 27, 2021

City Council, June 28th - the CIP

Also on Council's agenda for Monday is the Capital Improvement Plan for 2022-2026.

Eye of Salem Sauron

I will be ready for the City to move on to the next shiny, new public art. Hopefully the Library's new piece will be more engaging. I'm sure the artist sincerely thought this would be great, even healing, but can we put it somewhere else and find pubic art that is more meaningful for right there at the police station?

The diagnosis is right, not so much the treatment

It's hard to be optimistic this morning when it's already so warm, and the prospect for all-time record heat is nearly a certainty.

Our Congressman doesn't mention driving or transportation in his opinion piece today, and yesterday the State Legislature passed a bill for major highway expansion even as they trumpeted a clean energy bill and shut the door on expanding the Bike Bill.

The autoist blind spot on emissions is so glaring and our Legislators quietly flick matches behind them while they speechify and posture.

At some point we have to stop widening

Locally, we are still working on the course-correction. I look forward to the day when I see no projects that are widening for auto capacity.

Nevertheless, in this latest CIP, there is a pleasing number of crosswalk projects. More please.


Crosswalks and sidewalks!

New sidewalk!

More crosswalks!

It is very nice to register all of these in one place, with budget and schedule (even if many are likely to "slip" as they say, with a year or two of delay).

For the first time in several years, it actually seems plausible to include a Federal grant for the McGilchrist project.

After TIGER, after BUILD, now RAISE

The City had applied for and not been approved for Federal funding through several cycles of the TIGER/BUILD grant program. It was TIGER under Obama, BUILD under Trump, and now RAISE under Biden. Through the first two it had seemed wishful thinking, but now, especially if the City, as Councilor Andersen has suggested he is pushing for, can reconfigure the plan to reduce the 40mph speed and design speed, and enhance the bike lane and sidewalk treatments for better multi-modal connectivity, this becomes a strong candidate for the kinds of things President Biden and Secretary Pete will value. 

I wish that the CIP did not include speculative funding sources like this, but it does not seem at the moment so outlandish to include it.

Have we abandoned the underpass?

There is also a project for Second Street by the former cannery and Goodwill store, between Patterson and Wallace. It could be good or it could be a dud, depending on how they treat the former rail alignment and crossing, and how strongly they emphasize car travel with a view to any Marine Drive connection. This project will bear close scrutiny, and it is disappointing there are not more public statements on its design and intent.

The City acquired this lot for a shelter

With the oddball triangle lot at Portland Road and Silverton Road and the City's plan for a shelter there, the City has a suite of projects to realign Pine Street and Silverton road so they make an inline connection and remove the sharp, awkward turns.

Hopefully the project will not create a higher design speed for the whole length and will include enhancements for people not in cars.

Property acquisition

Realignment and redevelopment

Just north of the site is that underpass and we still need to figure out a better way to cross the railroad. Hopefully the work on Pine Street and the shelter will prompt more thought to this.

Portland Road underpass at RR
shortly after completion, late 1930s or early 40s
New Deal documentation, via State Archives

And there is movement on the conversion of Court Street downtown to two-way travel.

Maybe soon?

All in all we still need to apply a climate lens more intently to our transportation funding decisions, but maybe there are some hopeful signs in this current project list.

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