Tyler Terry Answers Our Questions
Zoning, Tremont Street Traffic, North River Waterfront Development
Question 1 – North Street is one of the main entrance corridors in the city. The zoning doesn’t allow for new businesses except in places where there are already existing businesses. Is North Salem best served by this zoning?
We could definitely improve the zoning along North Street to encourage a richer mix of neighborhood enhancing businesses, but zoning isn’t the only issue. Parking is at a premium throughout Salem and there are a limited number of store fronts on North Street that have the parking to turn passengers into patrons. In the short term we can make adjustments to public parking to make the existing vacant store fronts more appealing to potential businesses, but in the long term we need to improve walkability so businesses can transition to walk up customers then the public parking can be reconfigured to service mass transit and enhance ADA compliant access.
Question 2 – The intersection at Tremont Street, School Street, and Grove Street, handles a tremendous traffic load especially during morning and evening rush hours. What are your thoughts on how to best address this issue?
We need to make it easier for people to get around without a car (This is similar to, but also very different from making it harder to get around with a car). We also need to prevent through traffic from spilling into the neighborhoods.
To make it easier to get around without a car we first need to identify the regionality of the traffic. If the bulk of the traffic is internal city traffic then we need a well designed city shuttle system. If the bulk of the traffic is regionally near(Peabody, Beverly, Danvers) then we should focus on supporting a regional system. If the bulk of the traffic is regionally wide(Eastern Mass/The 128 belt) then we need to support our state level counterparts with improving the MBTA.
Keeping congestion out the neighborhoods is a harder problem to solve. Any potential solution is likely to have a ripple effect so it is important for us to do a lot of planning and prep work before we try any of them.
Question 3 – Development along the North River Canal has been a long-term and ongoing project. The river/canal itself is neglected. How can Salem best take advantage of this under appreciated waterfront and address the flooding issues that affect not only Salem, but also downtown Peabody?
We need to start repairing the sea wall near the MBTA walking path soon and we should be proactively keeping the existent shore line stable and clean. For the long term we need to have an open discussion about what kind of shore line we want and what kind of shorelines are feasible. Do we want a scenic shoreline with housing or shops with a multi use path? Could housing or shops provide the financing for the deep cleanup that the river needs? Or do we want a more active shoreline that could incorporate the boat launch from the 2008 Furlong Park plan, but which may have a harder time accommodating a multi use path? Whatever choice we make it must use ecologically responsible/friendly development and incorporate soft shoreline stabilization.