Thursday, May 10, 2012



Free! And brand new for 2012!

Bring your family and friends for a fun time the 2nd Friday each month, May through October!
On Your Feet Friday (OYFF) is a fun, community and family oriented series of events, similar to a scavenger hunt, and is intended to help increase awareness of and funding for the Riverfront to Minto Bridge. On Your Feet means exactly that. The format encourages people of all ages to walk or run on sidewalks and through parks in downtown Salem to checkpoints which are local businesses or attractions. On their way, participants will discover new places, get in some exercise and have fun. Every month will include different checkpoints and at least one checkpoint that requires extra effort to reach.

5:30-6:15pm - Sign-ups and Passports at Gallagher Fitness Resources, 135 Commercial St NE – downtown Salem
6:15-7:00pm - ON YOUR FEET! To the Checkpoints
7:00-8:00pm - Raffle Prizes + Party

Click here to see the OYFF event for May:

May checkpoints: Bittersweet Boutique, Venti’s – Downtown, Jonathan’s, Bike Peddler, Salem Summit, Riverfront Carousel, Riverfront to Minto Bridge future site – Eco Earth area (Great Harvest’s checkpoint), and Courthouse Athletic Club - West

Click here for more details:

Friday, January 21, 2011

City Holds Open Houses to Talk about Walking in Salem

The City of Salem is holding four Open Houses next week to talk about walking in Salem!

The City's plan for walking, its Pedestrian Element of the Transportation System Plan, is old and so the City is working on a new Walking Master Plan.

Four open houses will talk about and solicit feedback on the just-completed "needs assessment."
  • Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Center 50+
  • Tuesday, January 25, 2011, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., West Salem Library
  • Wednesday, January 26, 2011, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Main Library, Anderson Rooms
  • Thursday, January 27, 2011, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Houck Middle School Media Room, 1155 Connecticut Street SE, Salem, 97317
If you want to read the whole needs assessment, it is here. (47pp and 8MB about sidewalks, crosswalks, good and bad places to walk in Salem.)

The assessment discusses walking in downtown.

Access from downtown to the Union Street Railroad Bridge.

And conditions on the west side of the bridge as you leave the path and want to go places on Wallace.

The bridges are - and will be! - two of the most important pieces of the walking environment in Salem. This is a great way to get involved while issues with the Minto bridge are being worked through.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Bridge wins Federal Transportation Planning Excellence Award

Earlier this year the Federal Transportation Planning Excellence Awards were announced, and the Union Street Railroad Bridge was one of the winners!
The Transportation Planning Excellence Awards (TPEA) Program recognizes outstanding initiatives across the country to develop, plan, and implement innovative transportation planning practices. This biennial awards program is sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and is co-sponsored by the American Planning Association.

More than 80 projects were nominated for this year’s Excellence Awards. Eleven projects received Awards, and another eleven projects were recognized with Honorable Mentions.

(click image for larger view)

The bridge was one of the top-level awards.
In addition to realizing the vision of a connected bicycle and pedestrian system, this exceptional project met additional community goals of mitigating for past environmental degradation and stimulating redevelopment in two blighted neighborhoods, all while preserving a significant tangible reminder of the past.

Seated in the front row is Mayor Taylor and Director of Public Works Peter Fernandez accepting with the other winners.

Other winners include New York City and San Jose for large bicycle networks, the State of Minnesota for a rail plan, and the State of Florida for a climate change plan.

(For the complete list of winners and for more about the program, see the full TPEA brochure here (pdf).)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Kris Gorsuch Writes to Support Minto Bridge in SJ

In today's Statesman-Journal, F2B member Kris Gorsuch writes a counterpoint to the Captain of the Willamette Queen, who says that
A low clearance pedestrian bridge would eliminate our ability to offer cruises for almost a third of each year, which would undoubtedly force us out of business.

In response Kris says:
On Dec. 6 the Salem City Council will close the hearing on the proposed pedestrian bridge across the Willamette River slough from Riverfront Park to Minto Island Park.

The proposed bridge will connect 1,300 acres in three downtown parks and 26 miles of off-street trails. The bridge will be wide enough for emergency vehicles.

Currently, the only access to Minto is a 45 mph road without bike paths or sidewalks and which crosses the railroad tracks.

The bridge has been part of Salem's planning process for 30 years. It's in the Parks Master Plan, Transportation Plan, Downtown and South Riverfront Urban Renewal Plans and the Salem 2020 Plan. It's a council "goal." In 2009, the city held 17 forums on the proposed bridge. The community response was a staggering 91 percent in favor and 3 percent opposed.

The economic impact of linking these parks is enormous. Numerous businesses would benefit, as would the Salem Conference Center and hotel. The bridge would also stimulate the downtown housing projects. It will take about three years for design and permitting. A Coast Guard permit is also required because the slough has one commercial user, the Willamette Queen sternwheeler.

The hearing addressed two bridge designs: low and high. Numerous individuals and organizations recommended the "low bridge." In 2006, the council held similar hearings and supported the low design. Now that the city has acquired the easement from Boise to land the bridge on the island, it has become a priority.

The impediment to the low bridge is the Willamette Queen. The low bridge would impair its navigation on the slough during winter high water but accommodates all other watercraft using the slough. In a December, 2007 article in the Statesman Journal, the captain "vowed to fight the project."

I support the low bridge because of lower cost and reduced impact. The "high bridge" is nearly three times as long and costs almost $6 million more than the low design. The catastrophic impact on the parks from the high bridge is irreparable and the added cost is irresponsible. Community surveys said 76 percent favored the lowest cost option and only 7 percent felt that preserving passage to the Willamette Queen was of "high" importance.

I hope a reasonable settlement based on verifiable economic loss and ship manifests can be made soon. Currently, the Willamette Queen is moored at a city dock. In a December, 2007 Statesman Journal article, the captain stated, "I've got an open invitation from the city of Newberg and the city of Lake Oswego to moor the boat right there at their city docks."

If a reasonable settlement can't be reached soon, then maybe the best solution for everyone is for the Willamette Queen to "cast off lines," the city agree to cancel the lease and immediately proceed with the permitting process for the low bridge design.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Bridge Reopening Events, May 15th and May 18th

Friends of Two Bridges is pleased to announce the historic Union Street Railroad Bridge will be reopening soon! To celebrate, we will hold a "Passport Adventure" on Saturday, May 15th and "Bridge to Work Day" on Tuesday, May 18th

On May 15th, residents are encouraged to join the fun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in Salem’s Riverfront Park and Wallace Marine Park. Passport participants will begin by picking up event passports at any of the passport stops and then wander throughout the parks and across the Union Street Railroad Bridge collecting stamps in their passports. Passport stops include:

* A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village
* the Tom McCall statue
* the boat dock
* the Eco Earth
* the future site of Minto Bridge
* Salem’s Riverfront Carousel
* the Pavilion/Spray Fountain
* the Union Street Railroad Bridge historical signage
* the new trails at Wallace Marine Park

When “passports” are full of stamps, they are good for FREE one day admission to A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village over the weekend of May 15 and 16. Event attendees are encouraged to walk or bike to the event!

On May 18th, in the morning there will be be guided walking and biking trips from West Salem to the Capitol Mall. Other festivities are in the works! Cherriots rideshare will have prizes like $100 visa cards, massages, and $20 downtown dollars - and other incentives, too! Visit the Fast Lane site and sign up to drive less and save more!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bridge to Close November 9; Info Meeting, Oct 12 [updated]

Old structures have old paint - many layers of old paint! And one of the hazards of old paint, of course, is lead. Fortunately, as part of the Federal Stimulus, the ARRA, the Oregon Department of Transportation recieved money to take care of the lead. The project went out to bid last month, and there's a schedule now. Unfortunately the bridge will need to close. But it will be back in time for fair weather!

Last week the City sent out this notice about the fall and winter closure of the Union Street Railroad Bridge during the lead abatement and encapsulation project.
Mon., Sept. 28, 2009 – Salem, Ore. – Last spring, the City of Salem was awarded $3.5 million in stimulus funds from the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Transportation Enhancement Program for the second phase restoration of the Union Street Railroad Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge. In order to complete this work, the bridge will temporarily close to the public from mid-Nov. 2009 to mid-May 2010. During the closure, encapsulation of lead-based paint, painting, bridge repairs, and installation of security cameras will be completed. Closure signs will be posted at the entrance on both sides of the bridge. Salem residents are invited to attend the Oct. 12 Salem City Council meeting where the bridge construction funding, timeline, and an overview will be presented.
Update - The closure date has been set: According to the city's release, "the six month closure begins Mon., Nov. 9, 2009."