Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Ride Salem looks to Shut Down

Salem Reporter has the unsurprising news that the public bike rental program is nearly certain to be dissolved.

via Twitter

One detail in it was particularly interesting. In July of 2021, Ride Salem claimed to have about 2000 rides on 33 bikes. That's very near two rides per bike per day. That's slightly above industry averages. So that's a good number. Maybe not great, but good. (With a much larger system Eugene at launch had three, you may recall.)

Still, the piece places most of the blame on theft and vandalism, but does not look at how systems in Portland, Eugene, Corvallis, and Bend cope with those problems. Theft and vandalism have not shut down systems in Portland and Eugene. (I have not followed Corvallis and Bend much, and do not know about those.)

Additionally, consideration of the prospect of shutting down does not look at structural problems with the system.

Those July 2021 numbers came mostly in Riverfront Park. It was a recreational park amenity, never a part of the transportation mix in the streets. With a small number of hubs and few bike lanes downtown, the system was inaccessible for casual cyclists except on park paths.

A new station right before Pandemic shutdown

You may recall the hoopla when the Amtrak hub was launched. But a person couldn't actually ride home from the train. Because all the hubs were downtown, you'd have to travel back downtown to return the bike - making two extra trips! You need hubs in neighborhood areas to be able to ride home from the train.

So a real ingredient in the ending of the system is that it was too small, and the City did not think it necessary to support ordinary people who might like to bike occasionally (as distinct from committed cyclists who brave the crappy lanes anyway) with a better bike lane system, especially downtown where the hubs were concentrated.

from Walkable City Rules

We need better bike lanes downtown!

The City found it more useful as a symbol of hipness than as a usefully functioning system. 

And now the problem with theft and vandalism may be a convenient cudgel for complaints about people who are camping and bike chop shops.

For all previous notes on the public bike rental system, see here, in particular these early notes:

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Opening Installment on Downtown in the Sunday Paper: Nostalgia and Churn

The paper's cranking up a big series on downtown. When they had announced a poll earlier this month, it seemed like they were going to stoke the parking mania, but at least in today's introductory survey and background discussion, they represented things reasonably and alluded to oversupply.

The parking issue seems to be more perception than reality, at least based on numbers. Downtown has thousands of free parking spaces with additional metered spaces.

[Jim] Vu said the free parking garages, which have hundreds of spots, are underused. People often don’t want to walk that far, not realizing if they’ve ever parked at Costco, they are walking much farther, he said.

The comparison with big box parking lots and walking distance is a good one.

Hopefully they will drill more into the reality behind parking and discuss the "high cost of free parking."

Another line they touch on is the need for people living downtown.

More people living and visiting downtown will bring an increased demand for entertainment, specialty stores and eateries.

But living and visiting should be separated analytically.

Historically we have stressed attracting and serving visitors too much, and not stressed creating housing and downtown residents enough. 

We have had decades of the model of downtown as a drive-to destination to visit. It has not succeeded. Any "golden age" of downtown, the one we celebrate in all the old-time black and white photos, had a much higher proportion of downtown residents and close-in residents. Downtown was lively because people lived in it and very near it. The loss of "piety hill" symbolizes this and deserves more attention as harm to the downtown ecosystem, not just the loss of grand old houses we might wish we had preserved.

The foundational element for downtown health is not copious parking, but is copious downtown residents.

Maybe too much nostalgia

Finally, there is the way history is handled.

The piece scatters photos of various age throughout the piece. But it seems to use them for atmosphere and to invoke that lost golden age more than to argue a point about current policy or future policy.

Just on the front page there is so much more to say. The crane and building under construction seems to be one side of a "dichotomy" and the old historic buildings the other side. It sets up a now-and-then dichotomy, the history we should preserve and the threat of new disruption or demolition. The text of the piece limns a more subtle dichotomy, but the imagery points this way.

And it's not really very accurate.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

A kind of Erratic: Boulders, Plaques, and Pioneer Commemoration 100 Years Ago

A minor centenary just passed and it might be worth a little comment.

100 years ago the Chemeketa Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution placed a boulder at the Capitol to mark "an old trail."

DAR plaque and boulder, detail
(Robert West, 2006)

The plan had been announced in January of 1921. At that time it was going to be a commemoration of "the pioneer fathers and mothers of Oregon." They intended to install it in March of that year.

January 21st, 1921

Not surprisingly, it took a little longer and the exact commemoration changed slightly.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Recount and Fraud in the 1922 Primary Election for Governor

In the 1922 race for Oregon Governor, the general election with the Klan-associated Walter Pierce winning has got most of the attention.

In Roseburg (l) and Portland (r), May 20th, 1922

The Republican primary was also interesting and had its own version of election denialism. The explicit Klan candidate Senator Charles Hall of Marshfield claimed he won over incumbent Ben Olcott and forced a recount effort. The vote had been so very close, nearly tied. Some early returns found Hall ahead.

February 23rd, 1922

The Klan undertook serious fund-raising for the recount.

July 22nd, 1922

After a couple of weeks, investigators indeed found fraud, but it was in the other direction. Hall's partisans affiliated with the Klan had executed the funny business! The total amount was very small, however, and did not alter any outcome.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Targets and Emissions at the MPO

The Policy Committee for our Metropolitan Planning Organization meets today, Tuesday the 23rd at noon, and they'll be talking more about targets. 

One interesting item is that the Feds have targets on congestion and delay in tension with safety. (Called "phed" ha ha.)

Healthy or bad delay?
SF Chronicle earlier this month

This is another example of the way the "congestion" frame interferes with critical thinking about our transportation system. Because we count cars and the space they take, we miss the more fundamental mobility and safety of people.

Under our autoist system, more congestion means more economic activity. Congestion is an index of "health." But we also see fretting over "lost" economic activity because of delay.  The opportunity cost of our traditional solution to congestion, which is widening, is that we invest less in other valuable goods and further degrade cities. The whole frame of "congestion" leads us astray on urban vitality, economic activity, safety, and emissions. It is not very useful at all.

"20 is plenty" = "excessive delay"???

Focusing on "peak hour excessive delay" potentially conflicts with a "20 is plenty" approach to urban speeds.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

Deaths on I-5 and the Railroad Earlier this Month

Right around the first of the month there were two ambiguous traffic deaths and I hoped more would come out. The initial reports echoed the trope of improper walking and victim-blaming. They might have been instances of self-harm or of catastrophic misjudgement by a person on foot, but they might not. No further news has emerged, however. 

The deaths also happened on roads, not streets, to use the streets vs. roads typology. One was on the interstate, the other on a railroad. If it is reasonable for drivers and cars to proceed on urban streets at non-lethal speed and shorter stopping distance, and to ask for greater care from drivers for travelers outside of cars, the situation is different for those on highways and railroads, where inertia is so much greater and there is a greater burden on people walking to stay out of the road.

Charles Dwayne Hatfield

July 30th

From Oregon State Police:

On Friday, July 29, 2022, at approximately 12:02 A.M., Oregon State Police Troopers and emergency personnel responded to a single-vehicle crash on Interstate 5 near milepost 229.

A pedestrian entered the lane of travel on Interstate-5 and was struck by a Toyota van operated by Poblano Lopez (39) of Lynnwood, WA. on I5 southbound near milepost 229.

The pedestrian, identified as Charles Dwayne Hatfield (49) of Salem, was pronounced deceased at the scene. The operator of the van remained on the scene and cooperated with the investigation. The investigation is ongoing.

OSP was assisted by ODOT, Linn County Sheriff's Office, Salem Police Department, and Tangent Fire Department.

Maybe if the "investigation is ongoing," the release shouldn't so confidently state "a pedestrian entered the lane of travel..." placing blame squarely on the person who is now dead and cannot give their side of the story.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Driver kills Person in Woodmansee Park Parking Lot

A driver struck and killed a person in a Salem park today.

From Salem Police:

At approximately 9:15 a.m. today, August 20, park users called for police assistance at Woodmansee Park when a man in the parking lot area was struck by a woman driving a vehicle.

The man is deceased, and the driver has been questioned. Salem Police detectives have assumed the investigation....

No further information on this active investigation is available for release at this time.

Perhaps because there was on the surface evidence for criminal intent, and detectives are taking over the investigation, the police statement does not erase the driver. Even though it uses the passive voice, "was struck by," it identified the agent as a "woman" and does not use the "hit by car" formula.

Even more interesting, in churning the police release, the SJ introduces the "hit by car" formula and erases the driver! That formula survived in an update four hours after the original. (We'll see if it appears also in print and in later online versions. This is evidence, in the wrong direction of course, that newspapers can exercise editorial judgement with police reports and not simply reproduce their biases.)

A man was killed Saturday morning in the parking lot of Woodmansee Park off Sunnyside Road SE after being struck by a vehicle, Salem Police said in a statement.

Police were called about 9:15 a.m. Saturday when the man was struck by the vehicle, according to the statement.

Update, August 21st

"hit by car" trope in print

Here it is in the Sunday paper, still with the "hit by car" formula.

Additional Update, August 21st

And here is an update from police:

Salem Police detectives arrested Branda Myshelle Myers, age 29 of Salem, on two charges of murder: first and second degree, respectively.

On Saturday, August 20, patrol officers responded to the report of a hit and run collision at Woodmansee Park in south Salem. Witnesses at the scene were able to direct officers to the location of the decedent, Vince Edward Fouts, age 38, of Salem, as well as Myers.

Detectives learned Myers and her former spouse, Fouts, were in a custody dispute and attempting to resolve matters that morning at the park. The argument between the two escalated, and Myers used her vehicle to run over Fouts several times. [updated with correct spelling of Fouts]

This post will be updated.

On erasing the driver - Columbia Journalism Review

For more discussion of language see these other examples:

Follow-up on a Death in 2019

Salem Reporter has news about a crash and death in 2019 that needed follow-up. It was one of the too-common instances of a brief that hits the news without identifying the dead, and then little more or even nothing.

The initial statement about a death back in 2019 from the Marion County Sheriff was vague and blamed the person walking.

On August 8th and approximately 10:45 pm, the Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to a reported vehicle versus pedestrian crash in the 7500 block of Lakeside Drive NE. Soon after emergency services arrived on scene the pedestrian was pronounced as deceased.

The involved driver, a 16-year-old male from Keizer, remained on scene and called 911 after the collision. The pedestrian has not yet been identified.

Based upon initial information, investigators believe the pedestrian was walking in the roadway at the time they were struck by the vehicle. The driver is cooperating with investigators; alcohol does not appear to have been a factor.

But now we have more in the sad story. (Note the initial claim "investigators believe the pedestrian was walking in the roadway" and suggestions blaming the victim, who was practicing improper walking somehow.)

From Salem Reporter:

The estate of Joseph Rodriguez on Aug. 8 sued the city of Salem, Marion County Department of Public Works, Oregon Department of Transportation, the driver and his parents in Marion County Circuit Court, seeking $3.25 million....

...his estate alleged the city, county and state knew or should have known the roadway on Northeast Lakeside Drive was “unreasonably dangerous” for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers, listing reasons such as lack of lighting, sidewalks and crosswalks along the road, vegetation obstructing drivers’ view of the street, and the number of previous crashes there or nearby....

Ethan Martin, who was 16 at the time of the crash, told deputies he was driving about 35 miles per hour when Rodriguez “appeared out of nowhere,” a Marion County Sheriff’s Office incident report said.

Less than a month prior, in July a driver struck and killed Stephanie Ashford while she was biking on Lakeside Drive. 

There is more going on there than simply urban deer who come from nowhere and leap into the path of cars and their drivers.

Probably the parties will settle, and there will not be more of an investigation into road design and road conditions aired out in court. For Lakeside Drive the list of defendants seems overbroad, and that may be a sign the suit is not tightly crafted and argued. But perhaps there will be more to say later.

Friday, August 19, 2022

City Council, August 22nd

Council meets on Monday, and garbage rates will probably be top of mind for most. Here, there are few items of interest.

New City Flag, slightly modified

Salem Reporter has a nice little note about the new City Flag going up. As I was thinking about the cherry blossom, I turned from the history of "Cherry City" to its significance in Japanese symbolism with notions of transience, fragility, and beauty.

One of the items on the agenda is a minor budget and CIP adjustment to account for "a state grant in the amount of $540,388 for the purchase of equipment to support commercial air service at the airport." It is a done deal, and on the consent calendar.

To cost millions of dollars, from last month

But as Council considers all the funding and subsidy necessary to land commercial air service, I hope they will give stronger consideration to greenhouse gas emissions and climate, and to the impacts of increased leaded fuel usage. The airport has been insulated from our Climate Action Plan and any greenhouse gas analysis, and that needs to end.

Bullets for the rest:

  • Parking rules changes: "The Administrative Rules include more policy details on residential and carpool permit parking, Salem Convention Center oversized vehicle parking, and Airport parking, which were not previously reflected in the Rules." The attachment labeled "redline" is not redlined, alas.
  • A proposed revised bond explanatory statement: "Shall City Council modify the Explanatory Statement for the Salem Community Capital Improvements Bond to remove a reference to a restroom replacement at Marion Square Park?" As we debate the current omnibus bond concept for $300 million, it is worth considering that it is already in some sense split up. From last week's Work Session: "This is currently modeled at three issuances of $100 million over the 10-year period, with one issuance scheduled in 2023, again in 2026, and finally 2029." (Italics added.) Aside from the inconvenience of having to vote three times, by splitting it, Council and the Citizenry could adjust each tranche's bond project list to respond more closely to exigencies as they are known and valued.
  • Reallocating $750K in State funding for homeless response from a Front Street site to the micro-shelter site at 2410 Turner Rd. SE. The Front Street side was looking too expensive.
  • An Intergovernmental Agreement with Marion County to "connect Gaia Street SE to Culver Drive SE" at the Salem Business Campus. "The $600,000 from the City will be from the sale of City owned development lots at the Salem Business Campus and transportation system development charges, if necessary."
  • Emissions induced by travel to the Conference Center is another gap in our Climate Action Plan. Council looks to approve administrative details on the annual allocation of Transient Occupancy Tax revenues to pass through to the Conference Center for marketing purposes. "Each fiscal year the Urban Renewal Agency and Manager execute a Marketing Addendum to the Management Agreement, outlining budget line items for marketing and the Agency’s expected payment."

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Travel Salem to fund Street Painting Projects

The City Manager's Update of August 11th has some unambiguously terrific news.

August 11th update

Travel Salem is underwriting a number of street paintings! 

See "7 Salem neighborhoods will add street murals thanks to grant" at Salem Reporter today for more.

This just looks like good news and wins in many different dimensions.

Monday, August 15, 2022

Most Salemites first read about Gandhi a Century ago in the Salem Papers

March 18th, 1922

Today is the 75th anniversary of Indian Independence and Partition. (And in a terrible coincidence, the author of Midnight's Children is also in the news.) 100 years ago Ghandi appeared in Salem papers for the first time.

November 23rd, 1921

In the very first mention, the editorial concludes:

Perhaps the strongest reason why Ghandi s rebellion is never likely to accomplish much, except to stir up race hatreds, is an industrial one. Many of the natives most qualified to lead a rebellion against England have found profit from business enterprises under British rule. They are not of a mind to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

Dec. 15th, 1921

March 21st, 1922

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Hyping the Charmless Concrete Bunker: The Civic Center at 50

In advance of the official celebration on the 18th, the City and fans of brutalist architecture are hyping City Hall and the greater Civic Center complex as "groovy."

Maybe they will succeed with the rebrand.

Groovy or intimidating fortress?
(City of Salem)

Gross, not groovy (last month)

But a little like Emperor's New Clothes, it requires looking past what is plain and clear. It is too often desolate, gloomy, and gross, not groovy. It is groovy only in the sense that the undressed concrete has grooves.

So gloomy inside

Distracting us with the severe geometry
(City of Salem)

In trying to whip the enthusiasm, too much attention is given to style. There are ways that considered as a pure aesthetic object the forms of the Civic Center are interesting. The severe rectilinear geometry of the pillars and walks and building volumes can be admirable as an exercise in formalism.

But as a space humans might want to visit and work in, as a space for living activity, it is so far from groovy. How often are you or someone you know actually happy to visit or work in City Hall? And outside of business hours, it is dead and empty.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

A Disappointing Bond Proposal - Council Work Session, August 15th

Framed up as an ostensibly responsible thing for "maintenance" and "community improvement," the proposed City bond doesn't really meet our moment. It looks to a backlog of wants and needs, formulated in largely 20th century modes, but does not do enough to sift the true needs from legacy wants, and then to identify what our 21st century needs might be.

It's primarily a 4/3 safety conversion
and complete street rebuild:
That's an "urban upgrade."

Council meets on Monday for a formal Work Session on marketing the bond proposal.

All in all the project list and total package is not very inspiring

At the same time, as we see in the diminution and reconfiguration from Build Back Better to Inflation Reduction Act, making the sausage is rarely inspiring. If the proposed bond package isn't inspiring, it's not terrible either. Maybe this was the best that was possible. But enough seams, gaps, and questions remain in it to make boosting for a hard sell.

Rhetoric on Transportation Projects is Misleading

The way the City is selling it as something for walking and biking is mainly puffery and does not inspire confidence. The transportation section leads in the City marketing materials with a bicycle and pedestrian category. But that's misleading, suspicious even, and evidence the City is doing a little bit of the bamboozle.

Misleading categorization

The State Street project is $13 million for four blocks. It's not at all mainly a bike/ped project. It's a remodel for a "complete street" and a 4/3 safety conversion, and should be categorized instead as an "Urban Upgrade."

The Pringle Creek Path is a parks project, and belongs in the parks section.

That the McGilchrist project lacks a full set of protected bike lanes shows the City is not trying very hard. 

The evidence for strong walking and biking projects is considerably weaker than the City's rhetoric suggests.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Time to Think about Updating the Bike Map Again

Cherriots Transportation Options group and the MPO are talking about updating the Salem-area bike map. It seems to be on about a five year cycle, having been updated in 2012, 2017, and now discussion for 2022 or perhaps 2023.

Same area from 2012 map

Clip of central area from 2017 map

The map really hasn't changed very much. The stronger green line weight in the 2012 map makes those routes stand out better, but the density of marks on the map, even while employing a yellow-orange-red caution gradient, suggests Salem is better for biking than it really is. 

And this is the central matter. The reason the bike map is dissatisfying and not as useful as it could be is largely because the underlying network is still not very good. We have all these streets designated "low traffic," but none of them are fully upgraded to bike boulevards with diverters, robust traffic calming interventions, and any sense that non-auto travel is a priority on them. Because we haven't really committed to any scheme of bike boulevards, the green "low-traffic" streets vary widely in quality and comfort. Our old-school bike lane network on busy streets remains forbidding and uncomfortable for most people.

A person who has been around here for a while can use their local knowledge to make informed choices, but for an absolute newbie, the map may have less utility than we would like to think. We say Chemeketa is a low-traffic route downtown, and yet I often see people biking on the margin, even in the parking stalls, people salmoning, and people riding on the sidewalk. People are not yet comfortable on Chemeketa Street as a "low-traffic" choice.

Additionally, it has been clear for a while that the reification of "the bike community" as a monolith is wrong and, more than that, lately this simplification seems even harmful. Spandex-clad roadies have different needs and interests than families, than utility cyclists by choice, than utility cyclists by poverty and lack of choice, than urban hipsters, than kids biking to school, than women, than people of color. This map is not equally useful to all bike users and their different needs for safety, comfort, directness, and destinations.

Finally, this user map should better inform policy discussions. In the early draft of Chapter 5 on "gaps" for the 2023 Metropolitan Transportation Plan, the bike system gaps aren't necessarily well integrated with the levels of stress the user bike map indicates. They are using a technical definition of gap - but even just a "caution area" on the bike map might be tricky enough to constitute a functional gap for most people. A legacy bike lane on an arterial posted for 40mph might also be a serious gap. On a map that's a blue line that looks like a completed "bike facility," but it is not broadly useful and does not help us meet our bicycling mode share and climate goals.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

McGilchrist Project Finally Wins a RAISE Grant - Updated

You may recall the previous rounds of application for TIGER (Obama), BUILD (Trump), and now RAISE (Biden) grants from the Federal government on the McGilchrist corridor project.

This time, finally, it won a grant of $13 million USDOT and the City announced today.

From the full list of awards

The shift from old-school legacy paint-only bike lanes to a more separated treatment in the most recent renderings this spring may have helped the project application be more competitive. (It will be interesting to hear if there is any further discussion of this.)

Separation proposed for bike lane and sidewalk!
(The design is symmetrical, but truncated here)

Still, in the award brief, the east bound bike lane appears to disappear east of 22nd. That will be something to monitor. Is there a little bit of bait-and-switch going on?

On the whole, this is terrific news, however. (Not so fast: See update below.)

Other Oregon projects winning grants are an urban upgrade to complete streets on a loop with Hall Boulevard in Beaverton and planning funding for a new Burnside Bridge in Portland.

(See many previous posts on the vicissitudes of the project here.)

Update, August 12th

This is a very great disappointment.

The 60 percent drawings published by the City actually show very little cycle track.

Here's a section just west of 22nd. The top one corresponds with PP-07 and PP-08 below.

5' sidewalk, 6' planting strip, 6' paint-only bike lanes
(click to enlarge)

The top section is in the 07/08 zone

This is very disappointing, and fails to meet current best practices, which call for greater separation on streets posted for 40mph with large truck traffic.

There may be more to say later.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Thanks Councilor Andersen!

Last night Salem Reporter published news that Councilor Andersen was resigning to focus on his campaign for House District 19.

 via Facebook

Councilor Andersen had a distinguished run!

A favorite moment here, though it was no policy matter, and also didn't seem to bear any fruit with Steve Powers, who never biked in any public way as a City Staffer, was equipping the new City Manager with a bike.

Councilor Andersen did bike to meetings in public and modeled a real transportation toolbox, driving when necessary, but preferring to bike frequently.

Councilor Andersen was also a consistent critic of the misguided and dishonest Salem River Crossing project and strengthened a Climate Action Plan process that seemed designed to be symbolic only and nugatory in action.

It was also a great moment in transparency when for a few months he published time sheets, accounting for his volunteer hours as Councilor. It averaged about 30 hours a week. 3/4 FTE. City Councilor is a lot of unpaid work.

The Nishioka Building nameplate

Councilor Andersen's successor, Linda Nishioka, will add a kind of developer background to Council that will be useful as we start to enact changes in Our Salem and the new Climate-Friendly and Equitable Communities rules on transportation and land use. The Nishioka building is just the kind of walkable development we need more of. 

Pro-development, pro-housing, pro-walking. That addresses our housing crisis and our climate crisis. That's a winning combo for our present moment.

This is is a propitious transition on both ends, going out, and coming in.

Cheers and thanks, Councilor Andersen!

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Another Murky DLC and Parking Mania: Notes on the Sunday Paper

The front page today has a fascinating piece on the prison property for sale out towards Turner.

More family lore than history?

As with pieces on the Meyer Farm, it involves assertions about an old Donation Land Clam that is under the property.

But also like the pieces on the Meyer Farm, it relies on anecdote and "family lore," perhaps a little credulously.

Mound location in the SJ

The piece assigns the location of Indian mounds in the "family lore" and marked on a contemporary map to the old Baker DLC land.

But the 1861 survey suggests the site may actually be on the John Herren DLC.

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Looking at Chapter 5 of the MTP, with vestigial SRC Language and Bad Targets: At the MPO

The technical committee for our Metropolitan Planning Organization meets on Tuesday the 9th, and they'll be looking at the next chapter in draft form on needs and gaps for the long-range Metropolitan Transportation Plan (formerly RTSP), scheduled for publication in 2023.

Worst case is less improbable than we think

In the draft, MPO staff are really pushing the SRC, and want to force the Policy Committee to give positive direction to omit it.

The intro to Chapt. 5 leads with the SRC
(yellow in original)

Minutes to June meeting (yellow added)

Chapt. 5: "No, really, we still need it"

MPO staff do not seem to think that the "no build" record of decision qualified or critiqued the initial and biased "purpose and need" statement. Instead, in the body of Chapter 5, they repeat the old claims, and a lot of other SRC material, as if to suggest they feel the record of decision was improperly made. "Are you sure about this?" they ask again and again, seemingly trying to implant doubt each time.

It's hard to Recommend this Rodeo

The police have announced a bike rodeo for next weekend and a list of partnering groups, in particular Salem Bike Club, Scott's Cycle & Fitness, The Northwest Hub.

Bike rodeo - via FB

But the police don't actually have a very good sense for bicycling. Their basic frame and sensibility on it is pretty autoist. 

Above all, they model biking on the sidewalk downtown where it is not legal.

On Center Street at Cottage violating the law (2011)

If the cops don't feel safe biking in the street, and model illegal behavior, how are they going to advocate effectively for biking?

Biking on the sidewalk in 2020, via Salem Reporter

They also use bikes for crowd control and to intimidate campers on the sidewalk and in parks.

More on the sidewalk, via the Statesman Journal

So bicycling occupies this weird and ambiguous zone for police. Bikes are enmeshed in the ways they exercise power. They are for domination.

And yet police are not confident or feel powerful enough to bike in the street like they are supposed to.

There is a bad psychology in this contradiction of power/powerlessness.

Friday, August 5, 2022

City Council, August 8th - Crowley and Royvonne Avenues

Council meets on Monday, and I don't think I have anything much to note here. Mostly agenda items are just information reports. So, bullets with a few comments and links.

There is also a final order affirming the Planning Commission's approvals of a new development for single detached housing on 46 lots south of Hilfiker Park and the Meyer Farm site. The application was for a kind of early stage approval, "Subdivision Tentative Plan, and Urban Growth Area Preliminary Declaration." Consequently, critique of the plan along some lines the City regards as premature, and they do not need to respond substantively to those parts.

Reaction to proposed RM2 zoning, Spring 2021

Back in the first iteration and proposal for Our Salem, it was in a band of parcels, including the Meyer Farm property, for RM2 apartment zoning. This generated a lot of criticism, and perhaps because this project was already in process, that zoning was abandoned.

As our housing crisis continues, not planning for more housing here, in an area not far from frequent transit and from both Winco and Trader Joe's, may be looked back on as a real missed opportunity.

Critics also highlighted traffic.

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Footnotes on the c.1908 image of Wallace Road and J. L. Stockton

You will recall the image identified as "Wallace Road, seen in 1889."

Part of historical signage at Edgewater and Rosemont

Dated to 1908 - West Salem

Though the source of the particular image on the sign is the Polk County Historical Society, there are many versions of it floating around. There are postcards available on ebay and elsewhere with a tinted color lithograph of the image, "Oregon County Road," No. 7016 published by Portland Postcard Co.

Willamette University also has a copy of the photo, and you can zoom in on it.  On a tree there's a sign for "Stockton & Co. Shoes."

Detail, via Willamette University Archives

This must refer to J. L. Stockton.