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."

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wallace Marine Park Perimeter Trail Build Kick Off!

On August 22, 2009 over 120 Willamette University football players , lead by coach Mark Speckman, came out to Wallace Marine Park to build the beginning of the Wallace Marine Park Perimeter Trail. Using shovels, tarps and rakes the football players spread woodchips and built over 1,500 lineal feet of the soft surface trail. This event was a United Way Day of Caring and was made possible by the collaborative efforts of the Friends of Two Bridges, the City of Salem, United Way, Hands On of Willamette Valley, and the Willamette University Football Team.

Thank you to all of our volunteers for making the Wallace Marine Park Perimeter Trail build kick off a success!

Work on the Wallace Marine Park Perimeter Trail will continue on September 12th, 2009 at 9am as an additional United Way Day of Caring. Friends of Two Bridges is looking for Volunteers to spread woodchips and trim brush. Tarps, shovels, rakes and clippers will be provided by the City. Volunteers should bring work gloves and appropriate work clothes. Volunteers will be required to sign a city waiver provided at the sign in table located at the first parking lot on the left as you enter the park. Refreshments and lunch will be provided. Please contact Ellen Miller with the Friends of Two Bridges with any questions, 503-409-9502.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Grand Opening Blogroll

The reactions pour in...all positive!

Over at AC Gilbert House, Bubble Girl frolics with the Mayor and has a slideshow.

At Pacificpedaling there's another slideshow.

Salem-News has a video and article.

Oregon Farmer calls it "awesome."

Paul Gehlar sends this great slideshow:

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

What an Opening!

Beautiful weather, wonderful crowd, great speeches and enthusiasm. What more could you ask for?

Here's the Statesman's coverage. (pdf here)
The better part of an hour was necessary to make an official half-mile trek across the river Saturday morning, but those who made it seemed to relish the experience. Hundreds of eager river crossers endured some 50 minutes of ceremonial oratory, salutation, acclamation, and approbation from at least a half-dozen speakers, waiting to get a shot at a trip across the Union Street Railroad Bridge.
For a Statesman Photo Gallery, click here.

Today it seemed just as crowded. One person on a bike counted over a hundred of pedestrians on the bridge during the 5 minutes he rode from one end to the other. A few were standing and gazing at the wonderful views of the river, but most were strolling. That means thousands of people used it this weekend!

(Photo: Thomas Patterson, Statesman Journal)

Friday, April 17, 2009

Interpretive Signs with Historic Timelines

Over at SHINE, Virginia Green has posted images of the three signs that will be mounted early tomorrow morning, in time for the Grand Opening ceremonies! Aren't they fabulous?

SJ Photo Gallery

The Statesman Journal has a nice little photo gallery of the bridge. I don't know if the link will go into the paid archive and die, but here it is for now!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

It's Almost Here! Bridge Grand Opening on Saturday

Wow! The Grand Opening is just a few short days away! It starts at 10am this Saturday, April 18th.

The ceremony will feature music by the 234th Army Band and presentations by Salem Mayor Janet Taylor, Senator Peter Courtney, Senator Jackie Winters, Congressman Schrader’s Field Representative for Marion County, Jon Pugsley, Councilor Dan Clem, and Friends of Two Bridges Chair, Hazel Patton.

A formal ribbon cutting will follow the presentations and then the inaugural bridge parade will begin. The bridge parade will be led by the North Salem Color Guard and will feature Mayor Janet Taylor on the SANYO electric hybrid eneloop bike, followed by the 234th Army Band.

Event attendees will be joined by local mascots, including A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village’s “Bubble Girl,” Salem’s Riverfront Carousel’s “Ambassador,” and the Salem-Keizer Volcanoe’s “Crater” to complete the procession across the bridge. Following the parade, attendees will enjoy cookies, coffee, hot chocolate, and family activities in Wallace Marine Park.

In addition, local businesses will be offering special opportunities for attendees in honor of this momentous occasion: The Willamette Queen Sternwheeler will be offering a 9:45 a.m. Union Street Railroad Bridge Ribbon Cutting Cruise for $5.00 per person; A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village will be hosting a FREE day for families from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Dragon Boat Club representatives will be available at the docks in Riverfront Park to answer questions about the boats and club involvement; and Downtown and West Salem merchants will be open for Saturday shopping and meals.

The event will be crowded, and the weather looks to be good, so we encourage people to walk and bike! If you must drive, park on the west side, in Wallace Park, and use the old Center Street Bridge path to get to the east side. Click through for a larger version of this map for more detailed directions.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Bridge so Popular, Impossible to Keep Closed!

Salem loves the Bridge!

Yesterday interest in the bridge was so intense that it proved impossible to keep people off it! Today the Statesman notes that demand was so great that at about 1:30pm yesterday City officials opened the bridge to bicycle and pedestrian traffic.

The Grand Opening ceremony is still scheduled for Saturday, April 18th, at 10am.

(Photo: Timothy J. Gonzales, Statesman Journal)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Vision 2020 Open House Report

(Updated with Photo! - Mayor Taylor, Stephanie Matlock Allen, Virginia Green, Tom Green, Jr. at the Vision 2020 Open House)

Almost 100 people came to the Vision 2020 Open House on Tuesday. But in many ways the most exciting part of the night featured a Friends of Two Bridges board member, Virginia Green.

Mayor Taylor gave the first annual Visionary Award for exemplifying the spirit of Salem’s Vision 2020 to Virginia for "her leadership and commitment to the long-term vitality of Salem’s vibrant City Center."

The award citation singled out her work in leading "projects highlighting the historic character of downtown." And of course the Union Street Railroad Bridge is one of them!

Another board member, Ellen Miller, staffed the F2B table. Ellen reports that
Many people stopped by the table to share their enthusiasm for the opening of the Union Street Railroad Bridge and their stories for how they were planning on using it, from Salem Bicycle Club riders to workers commuting to the downtown area from West Salem.
She also noted that the conceptual plans for the Minto Island Bridge led to two frequently asked questions. Courtney Knox from Urban Development had these answers:
What is the ownership status of the island?
Boise Cascade owns the 310 acres on Minto Island which were formerly in industrial use, supporting their downtown operations. The northernmost 22 acres of the Island was purchased by the Salem Audubon Society. The Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department had been working Boise to purchase the property. Those negotiations have ceased. As a result, the City is initiating discussions with Boise. Staff will need to resolve the bridge landing location with Boise to allow for further design, engineering and assessment to support regulatory agency permitting. However, the Coast Guard can issue a preliminary determination regarding appropriate clearance height for the bridge without resolution of the bridge landing.

Have wildlife impact assessments have been done on the island?
We're only in the conceptual design phase at this time and have not secured enough funding to continue through the additional design, engineering, environmental and biological assessments and well as other technical analyses which will be required to support a permit application for the bridge to cross the Slough. Estimating the potential wildlife impacts of the proposed bridge crossing, at this early date, is premature. As we get further into the detailed design, we'll have more precise information to begin the analysis and assessment of impact to the animals making their home on Minto Island or along the Slough.
The complete staff report can be read here (24pp. pdf).

Ellen reports that CCTV was filming, and we hope to have a link when the video is done! Also maybe some photos of Virginia!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Vision 2020 Open House - Tonight!

Don't forget about the Open House tonight at the Conference Center, from 5pm - 7pm. Learn about many different ways that folks downtown are working to make walking and biking better!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

More Good News: More Stimulus Funds

Today the Salem Keizer Area Transportation Study Policy Committee (SKATS-PC) voted to allocate $50,000 for preliminary engineering of a bike/ped path from the west end of the Union St. Railroad Bridge to Glen Creek Road. This allocation will not fund construction, however - just the preliminary engineering and planning phase.

Nevertheless, stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 are making it possible to accelerate the completion of the bridge by eliminating long gaps between staggered phases.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Good News! City Council Votes to Move Forward

Though the wait was long, and the matter didn't come to Council until just before 10pm, tonight City Council voted without debate to accept staff recommendation and to move forward with the Minto Bridge. The next step is starting a conversation with the Captain of the Willamette Queen and to work on securing Coast Guard approval.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Come to City Council on Monday the 23rd!

On Monday, March 23rd, City Council will be considering the next steps for the proposed Minto Bridge!

From the summary of the staff report:
Staff recommends that City Council direct staff to: (1) Negotiate a strategy with the owner of the Willamette Queen to allow placement of a low clearance bridge; and (2) Move forward with the low clearance tied arch design, authorizing the City Manager to execute an application to the US Coast Guard for a preliminary determination on appropriate clearance height for the proposed Minto Island Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge.
Here's the complete staff report (24pp. pdf).

Consider coming to council to show your support for the bridge! The council meeting will start at 6:30pm, but come a little early to sign up. Council meets at the Vern Miller Civic Center, in the northmost part of the complex.

Between the cost of the bridge, the navigability issues, and the environmental mitigation, this is not a simple project, and it's worth showing strong support. Please join us!

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Bridge in the News

Excitement is building for the Bridge opening! Some news pieces have been written about it, and we hope to see more in the next month.

Salem Monthly posted an article to their website and we expect it'll go to print in the April edition.

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance held the Alice Awards on March 7th, and honored Mayor Taylor and the City with the wittily named Alice B. Toeclips Award. The BTA give the Alice Awards to individuals, businesses, and organizations in Oregon and SW Washington "for stellar works of bike advocacy that have promoted the use of bicycles and increased the livability of our communities." In the bike world these are a big deal! The nomination and award citation specifically called out the Mayor's advocacy for the bridge.

Read the Statesman web version here (or the pdf here). For more local coverage of the award as well as links to a longer profile of Mayor Taylor and the Bridge, see the MWVBTA Breakfast on Bikes Blog stories.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Union Bridge to recieve $3.5 Million in Stimulus Funds

On February 27th the Governor announced that the Oregon Transportation Commission had approved a list of $10 million in Transportation Enhancement projects that would be receiving monies from the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The list includes $3.5 million for lead abatement and repainting of the Union Street Railroad Bridge!

This is great news. As those of you who live in old houses know, lead paint is a problem. Intact, it poses no problem to people or wildlife. But as it flakes it can introduce lead into the environment.

The bridge will open as planned as the lead poses no immediate problem. But then after the summer, in the off-season, the plans are to close the bridge again, and to remove and seal the paint as appropriate.

The news is doubly good, as there is a good chance that this will permit the city to reallocate resources for other important projects!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Railings are Going Up!

City Project Manager Todd Klocke sends these photos showing the railing finally going in! Earlier this week he took the City's Sanyo Eneloop Bicycle over to the bridge and snapped a few photos to document the construction progress.

Here are a couple of details from the trestle side on the western approach.

The railing is one of the final pieces, and gets us all that much closer to the bridge opening!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Mayor Taylor Rides the New Sanyo Bike!

I can't seem to embed the video, so follow this link. It will resize your browser window!

Here's the Statesman article in pdf form.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Salem First U.S. City to Receive SANYO Hybrid Bicycle

Thursday, Feb. 19, 2008 at 12:30 p.m., in Salem’s Riverfront Park Pavilion, SANYO will unveil its hybrid electric Eneloop Bicycle and gift one to the City of Salem and one to the State of Oregon.

The new Eneloop bike concept stresses ‘looping energy’ or a lifestyle of reusing and recycling. With this new product, clean and reusable energy is “generated, recharged, and conserved” simultaneously. Energy is generated by the rider, recharging the auxiliary battery, and conserving the energy both from the main battery and the rider.

A brief acceptance ceremony will be followed by an inaugural ride in Riverfront Park and a chance for the public to see the Eneloop bicycle.

Tim McCabe, Oregon Economic & Community Development Department Director and Salem Mayor Janet Taylor will accept the bicycles and make the inaugural rides.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Newsbits and Revised Opening Date

In the Statesman today, Dennis Thompson, Jr., writes
Mayor Janet Taylor raised the possibility of condemning the property during her State of the City address last week....

"After two years, negotiations have broken down between the owners of Minto Island [Boise Cascade] and Oregon State Parks on the purchase of the 300 acres," Taylor said in her speech. "The city could consider exercising our right to eminent domain to bring this property into public ownership."

Officials from Oregon State Parks haven't met with Boise officials concerning the proposed deal since September 2008, state parks spokesman Chris Havel said.

"We do have an invitation out to Boise Cascade to continue those negotiations, but we don't have anything scheduled with them," Havel said. "There isn't any progress being made. There aren't any future meetings scheduled."
At the February 12 Community Meeting, city staff reported that it was "well attended."
The room was set up in an open house format with stations situated around the room covering topics like scope of the study, the tied arch design, concrete girder design, and schedule. The Friends [of Two Bridges] group also had a table.

[We were] impressed by the dialogue and the thoughtful questions.
Finally, in order to avoid Easter Week, and to make sure the bridge work is complete, the City and F2B decided to move the opening to Saturday, April 18. Construction remains behind, and regrettably it's possible there will be further changes.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Easier Links to City's Sites

The links to the City's pages to the two bridges are long & tricky urls. But they just got easier! The City created a couple of redirects so that the web pages can be shared easily in print or in plaintext emails:

Be sure to share them with your friends!

And don't forget about the Community Meeting tomorrow night!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Save the Date! April 4th

The end is in sight!

At our F2B event committee meeting today we got an update from the City on construction progress. The decking is almost complete. What's left is to place the railing and then to finish painting.

So how does April 4th sound? We can't wait for it to be done!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Additional Community Meetings

In addition to the general meeting on the 12th, Friends of Two Bridges is partnering with the City to go out to other groups. We will be at the following meetings. We'd love to see you at one of them!

February 5, 7:00 PM, South Salem Neighborhood Association, Candelaria Elementary

February 5, 6:15 PM, Grant Neighborhood Association, Grant Community School

February 12, 7:30 AM, Go Downtown Salem Board

February 12, 12 noon, Downtown Advisory Board, Urban Development Conf. Rm

February 24, 7 PM, Salem Bicycle Club, United Methodist

February 25, 4:30 PM, Salem Convention and Visitors Association Board

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

You're Invited to a Community Meeting, February 12

We're gearing up to have a community meeting regarding four design concepts for the proposed Minto Island Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge on February 12 in the Salem Public Library's Anderson Rooms.

We'd love to have you stop in and learn more about what we're thinking re: the bridge project. We'll be having an open house from 5-7 PM.

Please join us if you can.

If you can't wait, you can learn more about the project and take survey here.

Please feel free to forward this invitation to others. We're looking for as much input as possible regarding the four conceptual designs.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Imagine the New Bridge

Imagine the wonderful Willamette view we will have as we walk across this historic Union Street Railroad Bridge when the walking/biking restoration is complete!

The weather has delayed some of the construction activities the last few weeks, but we are anticipating an Opening Ceremony in late March.

Friends of Two Bridges (this includes the projected Minto-Brown Bridge) is a committee dedicated to the completion and maintenance of these projects.

For more information or to make a donation, contact Hazel Patton at email her at ptn1363 (at) msn (dot) com.