Two Candidates – One Question
The question that we asked was:
“With the Canal Street project including the flood mitigation due to wrap up next year, what do you see as the next major improvement to be addressed in Ward 5?”
Polly Wilbert – We Need A Comprehensive Ward Assessment Project/Plan
The next big project in Ward 5 will not be what it should be: a comprehensive assessment of the ward and a block-by-block plan for undertaking long neglected city maintenance. While we have had replacement of some sidewalks and paving of streets, what we need is a transparent, time-lined, budgeted plan for repairing or replacing the basic amenities of our neighborhood: pot-holed streets, heaved and broken sidewalks, lost and damaged street trees (and the trimming and pruning of them), installation of ADA-compliant ramps at corners, clearly painted crosswalks, no parking striping 20 feet from corners, 10 feet from hydrants, and 4 feet from driveways, placement of trash barrels (emptied regularly) at busy bus stops on entrance corridors, and syncing and re-timing of traffic signals to ensure traffic flow, especially during rush hours and school closing times. We also need to sweep the streets in the fall after the leaves have come down, which now occurs in early November rather than in late September or early October when sweeping has been done. Then, following snowstorms, we need to ensure that sidewalks are shoveled or plowed clear so people can walk safely.
And, as a key part of this neighborhood plan, we need consistent enforcement of parking and traffic laws. Across South Salem, we have vehicles illegally parked any which way. This has led to the apparently common expectation that the police don’t generally enforce our parking ordinances and now it’s anything goes. We also need to address the particularly frightening number of bicyclists riding at night on our dark neighborhood streets without lights or reflectors.
What will be the next big project in Ward 5 is the replacement of the Forest River Park swimming pool, which for decades has been a public amenity for children learning to swim and families escaping the heat of summer. While it is not clear to me that there aren’t possible interim repairs that could be made to the leaking pool to make it function for a longer period, a replacement plan with funding needs to be crafted that will ensure an attractive long-lived pool that will be above the coastal flood level and accessible to all Salem residents.
Josh Turiel – Forest River Pool, Old Sewer Lines, California Olive Oil
Like a true politician, I’m going to give you multiple answers because there is no one single right thing to say. The obvious answer is the renovations to Forest River and the design and construction of the new pool. That is not just a ward project, that will benefit the entire city. We also have to find a long-term solution to the sewer pipes that run above ground by Dion’s Yacht Yard, it’s a environmental disaster waiting to happen. Those are our public works challenges.
The biggest upcoming issue I’m aware of on the horizon will be whatever comes of the former Gattineri properties on Canal Street, stretching from the old California Olive Oil building all the way to Ocean Avenue. They were recently bought be a developer that mainly builds housing, and whatever winds up being proposed for that location has the potential to make a big impact on the area. We need to be very diligent in managing any proposals or permitting that goes forward on what may be proposed. Nothing is in the works as of yet, but I’m sure that will be forthcoming, and I believe my approach will wind up helping the ward benefit the most from this process