Monday, July 5, 2021

City Barely Changes Parking Lot in Revised Plan for Geer Park

Will 117 degrees register now with the Parks and Recreation Board?

The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board zooms on Thursday the 8th, and they'll consider a revised plan for Geer Park.

Earlier in the year, our chapter and neighborhood advocates suggested a new 94 stall parking lot along Park Avenue was not consistent with our climate goals, and that generally we should seek to meet new park demand by non-auto travel as well as working to shift existing park demand away from car trips.

The Board did not agree, but when the plan came to Council, the criticism met a more sympathetic audience, and Council asked for a revised plan.

City Staff took a very measured approach, over-measured and Potemkin perhaps, and are proposing not to eliminate the new parking lot, but to reduce it symbolically by 24 stalls, from 94 to 70 stalls.

The new site plan

The previous plan

It's hard to see how this is very responsive to concerns about climate and emissions.

Our heat wave in the NY Times

Curiously, on trees, the Parks and Recreation Board is much more interested in climate, and in a discussion with the city Forester at the June meeting, even as they expressed doubt about reducing parking at Geer Park, at the same time they expressed concerns that the tree list and tree planting program was not adequately adjusted to increased drought, summer heat, and climate change generally.

The autoism is powerful.

Update, September 8th

The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board meets this week on Thursday the 9th, and while we already know how it turned out, in the minutes for the July meeting is confirming evidence about sidelining our Climate Action Plan.

Primary frame: Emissions or Parking demand?

In the discussion of the slight reduction in parking, from 94 to 70 stalls, the primary frame seemed still to be satisfying parking demand. Did we have enough car parking?

The idea that we might have to reduce driving and parking no matter what our desires for parking might be was entirely missing.

Even more concerning was the apparent way the principal Parks planner for the project, who is also a principal planner for the Climate Action Plan, did not seem to have any interest in advocating for climate and emissions reductions. City Staff do not seem to be very engaged on behalf of climate and emissions reduction, even to the point of going through the motions on a project they don't believe in.

Is there still this lack of clarity about emissions?

Later, there seemed to be uncertainty about why Council was asking for a reduction in parking stalls. "The data they have [as opposed to other data?] shows that cars/transportation in Salem is the largest greenhouse gas emitter and that may be the reasoning for them eliminating the parking."

How was there any uncertainty on this?

The whole tone of SPRAB and City Staff on climate and the Geer Park Plan seemed very much in line with discourses of climate delay.

Typology of climate delay discourses

1 comment:

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Added update with clip from meeting minutes and with commentary on what looks like institutionalized climate delay.