WBE is now a community run site. Want to write for WBE? Then go here to register, and do it. Got a ride you want to promote, got an issue you want to rant about, got a question you want ask the world? Do it. I still get final say on what gets published*, but YOU get to write it now! I’m giving the site to YOU. Don’t break it.
*That’s for anti-spam measures. If I know you or you’ve published a few times before I’ll probably remove that.
The City of Eugene will hold a public open house on Monday, Nov. 18, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Eugene Public Library Bascom-Tykeson Room, 100 W. 10th Ave., to present three proposed changes to City bike and skateboard laws. The session will include a staff presentation followed by questions and comments from the public.
Proposal 1: Allow electric assisted bicycles to be ridden on off-street shared use paths. Currently, city code does not allow electric assisted bicycles to be ridden on off-street shared-use paths with the electric assist device engaged although electric bikes are considered bicycles under state law. Eugene’s prohibition is inconsistent with other cities in Oregon. Electric assist bicycles are increasingly popular because they allow users to travel for longer distances, carry more cargo on their bikes, and to get an extra boost when needed.
Proposal 2: Expand the downtown bicycle and skateboard “no sidewalk riding” zone to cover new areas where pedestrian safety concerns have been expressed by the public. Several alternative zones will be presented for consideration inside the area bounded by 6th Avenue, High Street, 13th Avenue and Charnelton Street. This proposal is intended to improve public safety in high-pedestrian areas.
Proposal 3: Allow skateboards to be ridden on city streets. Currently, skateboards cannot be ridden in the portion of a street designated for automobile traffic, except when crossing a street in a crosswalk or at a right angle. Skateboarding is currently completely prohibited in areas of downtown Eugene and near the University of Oregon, where it is also banned on the sidewalks. This proposal would make skateboarding a more viable transportation option especially in areas where it is illegal to ride in the street and on the sidewalk. Skateboarding is increasing as a travel option, and the new WJ Skate Park will generate more demand for skateboarding from current residents and visitors from out of the area.
(Editors note: I have heard from city staff that there are major concerns from the police with this possible change on the skateboard law and that could be a major barrier especially if there isn’t a major advocacy push for this. If there is interest from people to create legal and safe transportation options for people using skateboards then we need people to step up and push for this change! Otherwise it will remain illegal for people to use skateboards on our streets. With changes in board technology, usage, culture, and how we want to use our public space we really need to change this law).
The public input received at this open house will be used to help determine what changes to the code will be recommended to the City Council at a work session in 2014. For more information about the open house or these proposals, contact Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator Lee Shoemaker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-682-5471.
Both the City of Eugene and the City of Springfield are looking for new BPAC members. Apply and get engaged on building a better active transportation environment for our community! Eugene applications are due Nov. 22nd and Springfield on Dec. 2nd.
The City of Eugene is seeking new Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee members.
The application period is open until November 22, 2013. Terms begin in January 2014.
BPAC 2014 Application HERE
Info about Eugene BPAC:
Current Eugene BPAC
Eugene’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) advises the City of Eugene Transportation Planning staff and community organizations and partners on the following:
- Implementation of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Strategic Plan
- Community and constituent interests in transportation planning decisions
- Provides feedback to staff on projects relating to walking and bicycling
BPAC meetings are held on the second Thursday of each month in the Sloat Conference Room at the Eugene Atrium Building (99 W. 10th Ave) from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.Guests and members of the public are always welcome to attend.
All BPAC meetings are open to the public. Guests will be provided with opportunities to speak at the beginning of each meeting.Use the links on the right side of this screen to access meeting notes and related information.
The staff liaison to the BPAC is Lee Shoemaker, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator. He can be reached at (541) 682-5471.
Applications for Springfield Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee Available
The City of Springfield is currently seeking applications from Springfield residents to serve on the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee; applications will be accepted until December 2 at 5:00 PM. The City will fill up to eight (8) positions on the Committee from the applications received by the deadline.
The Committee provides citizen input on pedestrian and bicycle policies, programs, and facilities. Applicants should have an interest in promoting pedestrian and / or bicycle interests in Springfield. The Committee meets approximately six times each year and candidates will be appointed to serve a two-year term beginning in January 2014.
What: Applications being accepted for Springfield’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee
Who: Springfield residents, electors, or property owners within Springfield’s Urban Growth Boundary can apply.
When: Applications will be accepted until December 2 at 5:00 PM.
Where: Applications are available in the City Manager’s Office at 225 Fifth Street in Downtown Springfield
Additional information: Contact Molly Markarian, Senior Planner, at 541.726.4611 or email at email@example.com.
Today I shared some information with a group that is considering endorsing Option One of the South Willamette Street plan, which is the plan to keep it the way it is. With the long op-ed last week and the signs cropping up on the street saying “Four Lanes for Safety” (a pure untruth) it is time for those who want to see a better street for all to speak up! Write your council member, attend the City Council meeting next week (Facebook event), write your own letter to the editor and educate your friends and neighbors about Option Three. City staff are working with EcoNorthwest on an economic impact study and once that is complete the City Council will be making a decision on the matter. We need to get the information out there that a complete street is a safer street and that we want a vibrant business district where walking and biking (and driving) are better!
Here is what I shared with the group (after giving a brief intro the five E’s of Safe Routes to School):
Alternative Three- Wouldn’t that be nice
Today I am here to talk to you about the E of Engineering and the importance of how we build our transportation system in a way that creates a safe environment for our children. Engineering is the infrastructure piece of how we create safe routes not only to and from our schools but as a whole transportation system for families. Infrastructure dictates behavior and when we build a system that makes it very easy to drive everywhere we get an outcome like the one we find ourselves in today; which is walk and bike rates to school have declined from more than 50% in the 1970′s to down to less than 10% by the 2000′s. Along with our major decline in students using active transportation to move themselves to and from school we have seen a huge increase in obesity. We know that our built environment effects how we move around our city and we know we need to make some major changes in our built environment to make active transportation the easier choice for kids and families. We’ve seen it around the world and we’ve seen it right here in Eugene. When you build a better place for families to choose active transportation they make that healthier choice because they like it!
Here’s yet another local bike accident:
Accident, Vehicle-Bike on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 @ 11:19 a.m. PDT
Police response: 11:22 a.m. PDT
Incident description: Accident, Vehicle-Bike
Location: CHAMBERS ST & RIVER RD, EUGENE
Event number: LEP131029107819
No word yet on if the cyclist was wearing a helmet, although we know none of the bus passengers were wearing seatbelts. Hopefully, the following story on the R-G will be updated as more info comes available.
They are still finishing up the painting as well as the traffic diverter at 20th ave. but in this video you can see the brand new “wiggle” the city installed for northbound cyclists on Willamette to get you from 20th and Willamette around to Willamette and 17th. It’s certainly not as clean as a straight shot down Willamette if it was two way like the rest of Willamette and I’m sure many folks will still elect to take the east side sidewalk. However, for those who don’t want to deal with that more dangerous (and unrecommended) sidewalk ride there is now a better option!
You’ll see a new bike box at 18th & Oak that is used but is not complete as the green colorant is not down yet.
Get ready to ride the Willamette Wiggle:
Fresh new bike lanes have just been painted on South Willamette Street!!
No, it’s not the much talked about section from 24th to 32nd but the one from 18th to 23rd. The northbound cyclists on Willamette will pick up the bike lane at 23rd then be diverted (with the rest of the traffic) onto 2oth before heading North again on Oak…eventually that zig-zag will also have bike lanes, including the Oak one which will take you to the 18th Ave bike lanes! The city decided to wait to do the section from 23rd to 24th even though it was being repaved because they wanted to see where the 24th-32nd projected went so they knew where to line up the lanes.
These new bike lanes are a major improvement to the corridor as they now connect to the bike lanes on Willamette from 13th avenue. It will surely increase bike traffic on Willamette since this section was a barrier before. Now that it is open more people will want to ride to their destinations on the South Willamette section from 24th onward.
Here’s hoping this major improvement is a step towards making Willamette A Place for Everyone!
Here are a few photos Larry Price sent in. Click one to see a little slideshow.
Looking North near Civic Stadium. Photo by Larry Price
Looking North at 19th towards 18th. Photo by Larry Price
Looking at Civic from West sidewalk. Photo by Larry Price
Looking South at 19th. Photo by Larry Price
Looking South towards Civic. Photo by Larry Price
Looking North towards the diversion at 20th. Photo by Larry Price
Diversion at 20th Ave. Photo by Larry Price
From the City of Eugene:
The East Bank Path will be closed overnight (between 7PM-7AM) under the Beltline Hwy overpass from October 14 – 21. During the day (7AM-7PM) passage will be controlled by a flagger and escort. The closure is necessary to install a new 36″ water main that runs beneath the path. For more information call EWEB at 541-685-7464
This post deserves more time, photos, and editing but that just isn’t going to happen so I’m going to choose a less refined product for one that will at least get done. So here’s the latest:
The South Willamette Street Improvement Plan has passed another milestone and it appears to be on the right track. The official consultant recommendation is for “Alternative Three”; the five lane option with two bike lanes, two motor vehicle lanes, and a center turn lane. At a meeting on Wednesday the consultants from DKS Associates and Cogito, along with city staff, presented the executive summary of the consultants report. They wanted to gather one last round of comments and to get feedback before the final report and plan was complete.
Alternative Three- Wouldn’t that be nice
There were two stakeholder meetings held; one in the morning with more of the business owners and one in the afternoon that included a mix but with more bicycle and pedestrian advocates and general community members present. The presentations were pretty quick, giving an overview of the process and then a review of the findings, including more information on case studies than had been presented in the past. There was also a new set of Bluetooth data that wasn’t presented at any previous community forum. It showed that 63% of traffic (between 24th & 32nd) was a local trip (starts, ends, or stops on Willamette St., or uses local street for access) while 37% were through trips with 13% between 24th and 32nd and 24% via 29th.
More local trips that some expected.
After looking at all the previous case studies, analyzing all the data, and holding a major public involvement process (with focus groups, stakeholder meetings, 3 community forums, technical advisory committee meetings, and many staff and consultant meetings) 6 design alternatives were narrowed down to 3 and now 1 has been chosen as the BEST design for South Willamette street. That design would include 5 lanes; a bike lane in each direction, a motor vehicle lane in each direction, and a center turn lane. They call it the “3 lane with bike lanes” which really is 5 lanes but when they say “lane” they mean motor vehicle lane. Got it? That’s how you get the current car-centric thinking that “four lanes are better than three”. But to many the concern really is all about moving cars. Never mind the elderly, kids, disabled, or un-interested who choose or are forced not to drive. Never mind that it’s been shown time and again that it’s people that make a vibrant shopping district, not how many cars go through it. Never mind that multi-modal streets provide safety, equity, and prosperity to a neighborhood. Clearly a street with better sidewalks, bike lanes, and a safer lane configuration is better for our community. It’s good to know the professionals think so too.
After discussing the advantages that all the research shows for these type of “right sizing” street projects: safety improvements (S. Willamette currently has an 80% higher collision rate from the statewide average), the speed reductions, and equal traffic volume and capacity (a newer design could handle the numbers that are on Willamette now and into the future) the one question that still remained for people at these stakeholder meetings was “what is the business impact.” The unfortunate part is that the consultants and city staff choose to ignore the research (1) (2) (3) (etc) that is out there that shows that roads that are reconfigured to be more multi-modal have either an increase in business sales or no effect. The concern they stated was that the source material was from organizations that were pro-right sizing streets. It’s true that there could be more hard data on the topic but the real problem is that all the data that is out there shows that businesses are NOT hurt by these kind of changes and often are helped by such a change. Many businesses just refuse to believe this and say “well that may have been true for X,Y, or Z community but our street is different.” Except that’s what all of those other community businesses said before their streets were changed. Yet no one has been able to find studies that show that these kind of complete street improvements decrease business…because they simply don’t. Maybe there will be one or two outliers in a community that did the design work wrong or the study parameters were off but there are dozens of places where it has worked amazingly well for businesses AND they have improved safety, health, equity and livability. Go back and ask those businesses now what they think and most say they can’t imagine going back to the old design.
Alternative Three- What’s not to like when you know the facts?!
It’s great that the extensive work the City and consultants did on this project came to the conclusion that a street that works for all is the best choice. Now the hard political battle begins to fight off the nay-sayers who don’t see that our transportation system needs improving and that we are not in the 1950 era of simply moving cars through our community anymore. We are at a time where we need to provide real choices for everyone in how they move about in their daily lives. Alternative three obviously meets the goals laid out from the beginning of the study to “help Willamette Street become a vibrant urban corridor accessible by bicycle, foot, car, and bus” and to “support the area’s businesses, encourage the district’s vitality,” and create a “balanced multi-modal transportation system.”
In the next two months staff will present the consultant report to the Planning Commission and then to the City Council along with an official staff recommendation which Chris Henry, the project director, said will most likely mimic the consultant recommendation. The final recommendation will be presented to council by the city manager on November 25th. Once presented to council they will gather more input and will hold a public hearing on January 21st and then most likely vote on something in February or March.
So now we throw it out into the Eugene political wind and see what craziness comes out. There is already a report that Capella, the small local market on Willamette, has a “Four Lanes Are Safer” sign up. Clearly more education needs to be done. So now it’s time to celebrate a little but still keep in mind the work ahead to make Willamette Street a place for everyone!
originally posted on EugeneSpringfieldSRTS.org
Concerns about crossing 30th Avenue east of Hilyard Street have been submitted to the City of Eugene for several years. Many of these concerns have been on behalf of students attending Camas Ridge Elementary School (1150 E 29th Ave) which relate to the convenience and usability of the pedestrian bridge, high speeds along the corridor, and previous crashes. The current pedestrian crossing bridge is difficult for families with strollers or bicycles (especially those with tag-along trailer bikes or other loads and small children on their own bicycles) to use the existing structure that was designed for pedestrian access and retrofitted to accommodate adults pushing regular sized two-wheeled bicycles. In response the city began the process in May of collecting data and holding a public meeting to collect community comments. Since then, city staff have evaluated the corridor and developed a recommendation for improving the crossing.
A meeting to discuss bicycle and pedestrian crossings of 30th Avenue from Harris Street to University Street in south Eugene is scheduled for Thursday, October 3rd at 6:00 pm in the Cafeteria at Camas Ridge Elementary School located at 1150 East 29th Avenue in Eugene. The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss community input, describe results of evaluation studies, and present the city’s recommended improvement option.
For more information see the city website at www.eugene-or.gov/30thcrossing or contact Reed Dunbar, Transportation Planner, at 541-682-5727.
Some good news is coming down the pipeline for local active transportation projects. At the recent Northwest Oregon “Super-ACT” meeting about $21.9 million in state transportation funding was approved for Lane County. Three of the funded projects are in Eugene and include; the Amazon Active Transportation Corridor ($1,536,708), the NE Livable Streets project ($803,000), and the Jessen Path and Lighting project ($1,898,662). The City of Eugene submitted the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) grant applications earlier this year to ODOT. The funding of the projects won’t be until 2015-2018 so even once final approval is obtained we are many years out from construction. Each project will require a unique set of outreach and design work. Reed Dunbar with the City of Eugene Transportation Planning Department stated that the Jessen Path and Lighting project would most likely be the first up since it is the most “shovel ready” project while the NE Livable Streets project will require the most communication and design work since it includes a number of different projects over 8 square miles. The Amazon Active Transportation Corridor lines up with the repaving of East and West Amazon which is currently scheduled toward the end of the 2014-2018 pavement bond measure schedule.
Here is some basic information about the three projects and what they might include:
Amazon Active Transportation Corridor
The Amazon Active Transportation Corridor helps to implement the city’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan by extending the popular Amazon Path further into south Eugene and making related investments that will enhance safety and accessibility in the Hilyard and West Amazon Corridors. This grant would fund a few key multimodal improvements that will make it easier to walk, bike, and access transit in south Eugene. The implementation of the project will help establish a major component of the River-to-Ridges active transportation corridor linking the Ruth Bascom River Path on the north to the Ridgeline Trail on the south.
Grant components include:
1. Widening the concrete sidewalk from 34th Avenue to the existing Tugman Park path network (approximately 4 blocks) to 12’ shared use path standard.
2. Install a two-way separated cycle track on West Amazon Drive featuring a physical barrier between the cycle track and automobile travel lane from Hilyard Street on the north to Snell Street on the south.
3. Reconstruct the Rexius Recreation Trail from Hilyard Street to Martin Street.
4. Install two additional prefabricated bridges and reconstruct the existing bridge to current standards. Proposed locations include even spacing along the corridor at 36th Avenue, 39th Avenue, and Dillard Road.
West Amazon two way cycle track coming…but not until after 2015. Most likely in 2018.
NE Livable Streets project
This project would implement a significant portion of the city’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan in the Northeast Neighborhoods (Cal Young, Harlow, Northeast) of Eugene. The solution would develop Livable Streets that are comfortable for walking and bicycling trips over a large geographic area (7.8 square miles) of the city and increase access to transit stops. Facility development includes a consistent wayfinding sign network and shared lane pavement markings, traffic calming in strategic areas to reduce automobile speeds and increase comfort for walking and bicycling, and installation of pedestrian islands and signals to make it easier to cross arterial streets. These improvements would also increase access to transit stops, and make it easier for school children to walk or bike to school. The project would:
1. Create 11.7 miles of bicycle boulevards
2. Install over 500 shared lane markings and 106 wayfinding signs
3. Develop three enhanced crossings with stutter flash beacons
4. Reconstruct 10 sidewalk access ramps for ADA accessibility
5. Widen almost 400 feet of sidewalks
6. Create two concrete connector paths (one to a school, one to connect two cul-de-sac streets)
Jessen Path and Lighting project
The Jessen Path will be a key active transportation facility for the 28,228 residents of the Bethel neighborhood in northwest Eugene. The Jessen Path will create an east-west link across the north side of the neighborhood that connects to the Beltline Highway shared use path and eventually to the regional path network. The 12-foot wide path will extend 7,250 feet along the south side of the 222-acre Golden Gardens Park which is a significant natural and recreational resource for northwest Eugene. The Jessen Path will include human-scaled lighting designed to light the path for user safety but with shields to reduce skyward illumination and lighting of sensitive natural areas.
Other funded projects for the metro region:
The City of Eugene (along with point2point Solutions) also received funds for another SmartTrips Regional Residential Program ($372,845), a targeted marketing campaign for active transportation.
Other projects include:
* LTD: Nearly $2 million for LTD to do an environmental study of a possible EmX line from northwest Eugene (River Road and/or Highway 99) all the way to Lane Community College.
* COBURG: Coburg Loop Path Seg 3 Bottom Lp-N Coburg Rd $408,000
* VENETA: OR126 Fern Ridge South Route Multi-Use
Path NEPA & Design $140,000
* FLORENCE: OR126 Munsel Creek-Siuslaw Estuary Trail $489,549; US101 & OR126 Pedestrian Crossing
Note that these allocations still need to be approved by the Oregon Transportation Commission, which given the approval by all ten counties (four ACTs) in northwest Oregon is likely.
This funding cycle is both the first time that the new Lane Area Commission on Transportation (LaneACT) has represented Lane County and the first time that ODOT has combined funding for all transportation modes: highways, transit, bicycles and pedestrians. LaneACT consists of roughly thirty stakeholders representing Lane County, LTD, all 12 cities in Lane County, truckers, bicyclists, airports, public health, rural interests, etc.
Special thanks to Rob Zako for information on this post.