Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Hope Plaza is Opportunity to Commit more fully to Alley System

The City's published a Hearing Notice for the long-awaited Hope Plaza, a three-story redevelopment on the former bus station site on Church Street across from the Macy's parking garage.

View from Church Street

The Hearing is for

Consolidated applications for a Class 3 Design Review, Class 3 Site Plan Review, three Class 2 Adjustments, and a Driveway Approach Permit for the development of a three- story mixed-use building with retail and office uses, and 20 units of multi-family housing.

Mostly it's all terrific. (See "Unexpected millions from legislature will make Salem domestic violence housing project a reality" at Salem Reporter for the latest.)

But the driveway is a detail to question.

A driveway on Church Street would require
right turns across the buffered bike lane

With the alley, the site has complete alley access from Marion and Center Streets, and there is really no reason to have a driveway on Church Street. That mars the fabric of the street frontage, creating a gap, and also is an unnecessary right-turn conflict across a recent bike lane addition.

The site has full alley access

The buses used to use that alley, and there is no reason smaller cars as well as freight deliveries could not still use it.

The bus depot had had a driveway off Church, but now is an opportunity to close it. We should consider that more strongly. The Staff Report is certain to discuss the driveway, and there may very well be more to say later.

Why retain the drive? (2012 and 2019)

The Planning Commission will consider the proposal on August 17th.


Robert said...

A brief look suggests that the access is to get the parking numbers required. My uneducated eye sees a narrow lane with angled parking getting more spaces than would fit with layout like the rest of the site.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Yes, that is likely true. I was going to talk about that more when the Staff Report comes out. Eliminating the driveway might reduce the number of parking spots, and here that is a feature rather than bug.