OK, I readily admit that going to City Council meetings really isn't a fun thing to do. But sometimes it is important to show the Mayor and Salem's eight city councilors that people in this town care a lot about some issue.
Such as building more and better bike lanes, and converting busy unsafe streets into bike boulevards -- the much-needed goal of Salem Bike Boulevard Advocates.
They're calling on biking/walking-loving Salemians to attend next Monday's City Council meeting. Their email alert says:
Salem Bike Boulevard Advocates asks you to attend the Capital Improvement Planning Hearing on Monday, March 23rd at 6:30 pm in the City Hall Council Chambers.
We'll be there to give testimony on why we believe bike boulevards are important to Salem's future. Join us to give testimony ... or ... provide your silent support by wearing a "Walk + Bike" sticker (we'll be passing them out at the door).
This is a significant opportunity in the urban planning process to make a difference. Please bring your friends, family, and neighbors to help bring bike boulevards to the neighborhoods of Salem!
I'm planning to attend the meeting to show support for bike boulevards.
Not sure if I'll testify during the public hearing on the proposed 2015-20 Capital Improvement Plan. It's a ways into the agenda (sure would be nice if, at meetings where the public is invited to share their views, public testimony came early on in the meeting rather than really late).
Browsing through the draft Capital Improvement Plan, I was pleased to see some bicycle/pedestrian projects already in there. A word search for "bike," "trails," and "streetscape" pointed me to these items.
Construct, widen, and repave trails in Wallace Marine Park in order to support distance running, walking, and bicycling events and improve general accessibility within the park. [$100,000 in 2015-16]
Construct, widen, and repave trails in Minto-Brown Island Park in order to support distance running, walking, and bicycling events and improve general accessibility within the park. [$100,000 in 2015-16]
The City Council adopted the Central Salem Mobility recommendations in August of 2013 and directed staff to pursue funding for several short term projects. Project includes removing a travel lane and restriping as a bike lane on Church Street between Trade and Union, and High Street between Trade and Marion. Both of these streets may be future candidates for two-way conversion in the long term. [$600,000 in 2015-16]
The City Council adopted the Central Salem Mobility Study recommendations in August of 2013 and directed staff to pursue funding for several short term projects, including Phase I of the Union Street Family Friendly Bikeway. Phase IB of the project includes adding four curb extensions at Liberty/Union Street and design and constructing enhanced bicycle facillties on Union Street, between Commercial and Winter Streets. [$1,500,000 in 2017-19]
Streetscape improvement projects [for downtown] could include new sidewalks, pedestrian/alley lighting, and street furniture. All work would meet City streetscape standards for public works improvements. [$600,000 total in 2017-18 and 2019-20]
Well, much better than nothing. (Two other Brown Road and 22nd Street projects include bike lanes, but are mainly autocentric.)
But these five projects only total to $2,900,000 over the next five years, while the overall proposed Capital Improvement Project spending is $93,532,830. Biking and walking get a bit over 3% of the money.
Since Salem lags well behind Portland, Corvallis, and Eugene in biking/walking infrastructure, this should be a funding priority for the City of Salem. Increasingly, businesses and people thinking about relocating are interested in towns where it isn't necessary to drive a car everywhere you want to go.
So consider attending next Monday's City Council meeting to show your support for bike boulevards and other walking/biking projects.
Alternatively, send the Mayor and city councilors an email, telling them how you feel: [email protected]