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!