Saturday, May 21, 2011

Updates! Blaney Street and Segway


I usually try to step away from the keyboard on the weekend, but on my two trips downtown today I came across some important tidbits of information that I wanted to share.

Blaney Street Pier Update: On my first trip, I visited the Common, Cafe Valverde (my favorite downtown coffee), and the Living Green and Renewable Energy fair at Old Town Hall. One of the vendors at the fair was the Salem Ferry. I spoke with the representative from the Ferry, and asked him when the service would start. He informed me that the ferry would start Friday on schedule. I immediately asked him where from. Without missing a beat he responded with "Central Wharf, down behind Capts."

He also informed me that while the city had promised all along that Blaney Street would be ready on time, he's now been told that it will be at least two or three more weeks. Judging by the pictures I've shared, and what I saw from outside the fence last night, I'd bet on three. Maybe more. He wasn't happy at the late notice that they were given that the pier won't actually be ready.

I tweeted this news earlier today, and the mayor responded. " The contractor is doing his best to meet the schedule, but we r working on a "Plan B" in the likely event the site is not ready"

Let me repeat that, "the likely event the site is not ready"

I've asked the mayor and her aide several times recently about this, and they've both been steadfast that the work would be majorly completed by the start of the ferry season. This was true as recently as two days ago. It's good to see that there has been a plan B, because it was obvious to all but the most idealistic optimist that May 27th wasn't happening. Some previous Salem mayors wouldn't have had a plan B, and we'd really be a mess. Now, commuters used to the easy parking at Blaney St. will be inconvenienced, but many of those who walk to the ferry, and tourists from Boston, will actually have an easier walk for the short term. Of course, there could have been a little more transparency about the likelihood that a short term switch in location would be necessary.

As of 5PM this Saturday, no work was done on Blaney Street today. This makes me question the contract and whether or not there were any non-performance/late delivery penalties. I'm guessing there must not have been. I don't claim to be an expert on government RFPs. It's possible that they frequently aren't used, but it would have been wise with the absolute deadline on this project to have found a way to include one.

I'm glad the improvements to Blaney St. are being made. The dust kicked up in the summer from the dirt parking lot was terrible. It also was frequently used for boozing, drugging, selling, and sexing. Any dog owner in the area has at least one story of unbelievable things they've seen or found. My favorite was the couple having sex inside the open air trolley info booth. There was also the Blaney Street version of the Montauk monster.

Salem SegGliders update: My second trip downtown today was primarily for a haircut, followed by a burrito. Between the two, I stopped into the former West Coast Video location that we discussed as the new home of Salem SegGliders. I spoke with the office manager there, and asked her about the Segways. They don't actually have any yet, but she said they are coming in next week. More interesting to me, and not previously discussed anywhere else I've seen, was what they actually do have on site both for sale and for rent. This business is renting and selling rechargeable electric bicycles that have a top speed of 30-35 miles per hour. A full charge lasts 3 hours. They can be purchased for $1695 -$1895, or rented for an hour, a half-day or a full-day unguided. Some even fold in half. Does anyone else see the possibility of pedestrian and tourist injuries here? Currently these are the ONLY products that this business is offering. All I can say is, make sure you're looking both ways before crossing the street, even if it's a one way. You never know where one of these silent assassins might come from. Bets on how long before one of them has an accident on a sidewalk? If Segways (top speed 12.5 MPH) need special permitting, shouldn't these?

UPDATE: I went back and checked out the manufacturer and model number of the bike. You can see it below.

EZ Pedaler T300

I looked up this model, and it appears that the person I spoke with may have been exaggerating the top speed. According to the web site, this bike has a maximum speed of 20 MPH. I read a review of the bike which suggested that on downhills, or while using the motor and pedaling it was possible to exceed that speed, and the 20 MPH speed listed was specific to the electric motor alone. Apparently in most of the US, an electric bike need not be registered or insured if the speed limit doesn't exceed 20 MPH. So I'm sure the stated speed limit on these is a coincidence, right? Either way, these still sound like a much more dangerous proposition than a Segway.


  1. Salem News today quotes the mayor as saying she still expects the work to be done by Friday. I wonder if she has any end of the world dates to give us, too!

  2. The speed with which the Ferry rep answered my question of "from where" told me all I needed to know. The Ferry has been informed that Blaney won't be ready. Everything else is politics. You'd think with the number of commuters who use the ferry they'd want to inform them ASAP, but I guess not.

    No comment on the death cycles?

  3. OK. On the deathcycles:
    Who in Salem would pay $1,600 for a motorized bicycle? To go where? No one will buy them and these people are foolish to try to do business here. I almost feel sorry for them, until I see that they are trying to get $77 for a Segway ride. I give the business a year.


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