Here's one more of many reasons the Salem River Crossing (a.k.a. Third Bridge) is a really bad idea:
An elevated bridge connection would pass about 10-15 feet over the west end of the Union Street Railroad Pedestrian and Bicycle Trail -- the way-cool non-vehicular bridge used by lots of people, including families with children, every day.
The No 3rd Bridge folks ask us to consider how the current pleasant experience of walking or cycling across the river will change when an elevated noisy multilane highway is right above people's heads. Here's their recent post about this:
The Federal Highway Administration thinks so. The Salem B. S. [Bridge Solutions] people think so. Do you? The plan is to route heavy freight and other traffic on an elevated ramp that would cover the Union Street Pedestrian and Bicycle Trail for 150' at an elevation of 10-15' from the surface of the trail. That would put it about 10 feet over this girl's head. Would you use this trail if a highway was built on top of it?
And what's worse is the fact that the trestle and trail is historic and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Is this the way we show respect to our historic sites in Salem?
Our Salem Parks and Recreation Advisory Board is having a special meeting next Tuesday to deliberate on this. We hope they find that a highway ramp over a National Register historic site is unacceptable.
It sure should be unacceptable.
But this is how the Salem River Crossing consultants talked about the Third Bridge's impact on the Union Street Pedestrian Bridge. "Constructive use" is bureaucratic-speak for the Third Bridge having an impact on those who use the Pedestrian Bridge. I've boldfaced the most absurd part.
Download SRC_Final Sec 4f_ParksRec_Memo
188.8.131.52 Determination of Constructive Use
No constructive use of the Union Street Railroad Pedestrian and Bicycle Trail is anticipated as a result of project actions. User access to the Union Street Railroad Pedestrian and Bicycle Trail will remain as it is currently. The function of the existing trail is as an active recreational facility located in an urbanized area in close proximity to highly-used transportation infrastructure (Marion Street Bridge); as such the increased noise and changed aesthetics associated with the introduction of an elevated structure over one part of the trail would not amount to proximity impacts so severe that the protected recreational activities, features, and attributes that qualify the Union Street Railroad Pedestrian and Bicycle Trail for protection under Section 4(f) would be substantially impaired.
This is complete crap.
Here's a photo I took during last month's WillaMutt Strut event sponsored by the Willamette Humane Society. ZuZu, our dog, and I are facing toward Wallace Marine Park -- where the elevated bridge roadways would pass right through the park and over the Union Street Pedestrian Bridge we were on.
The Marion Street Bridge is barely visible on the far left of the photo. It is absolutely not true that the aesthetic impact of the Marion Street bridge is the same as having an elevated roadway pass 10-15 feet right over the Pedestrian Bridge.
I barely notice the Marion Street Bridge when I use the Union Street Pedestrian Bridge. I would damn sure notice a quasi-freeway 10 feet over my head when I got to the west end of the pedestrian bridge.
Another No 3rd Bridge post from July 10 provides another perspective on the impact the Third Bridge would have on Wallace Marine Park and the Union Street Pedestrian Bridge.
TONIGHT AT CITY COUNCIL — NEED MORE TIME TO SET ODOT STRAIGHT
Thanks to Councilor Cara Kaser for bringing a motion to the City Council tonight to extend the public comment period on 3rd Bridge impacts to Wallace Marine Park and other parklands. ODOT and the City originally set a two week comment period. Not enough. Not when the subject is whether the 3rd Bridge project would harm recreational assets in parks like the nearly new Glen Creek Trail, a peaceful treelined byway that is enjoyed daily by hundreds of walkers, bicyclists and joggers.
The preliminary determination is that the impact is "de minimis," to use ODOT-speak. It means trivial or insignificant. What? Look at the map below [here, above] that shows how the 3rd Bridge "connector" would route heavy freight traffic right next to the Glen Creek Trail (represented by the black line) and over the top of the trail connecting to the Union Street Bridge. "De minimus"? You gotta be kidding.