Weekend News Wrapup 02/06/10

A lot happened in Eugene’s cycling world this first week of February.  Here are some of the key events that happened this week concerning SRTS, the UO Bike Program, Territorial Highway Construction, Alder St./Riverbank path access, Fern Ridge Bike Path EmX construction, the Crest Drive controversy, and STP-U Funds.

Eugene Safe Routes to School received a $495,000 grant.

From EugeneSRTS.org:

The Eugene Safe Routes to School Program and the City of Eugene have just been awarded a $495,000 grant from the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the National Safe Routes to School program.

The grant applies to seven local schools and their respective surrounding areas. Improvements on way include  “Stutter Flash” crossings at 28th and Hilyard, 30th  and Alder,  18th and Friendly St,  a crosswalk at Chambers and 14th,  and scores of other improvements.  Stay tuned to the Eugene SRTS blog where more details will be posted soon.
Read more for other news items.

The UO Bike Loan Program is now the UO Bike Program and has recieved permanent funding.

According to the February 2010 InMotion newsletter:

On Friday, the Erb Memorial Student Union voted in favor of permanently funding the UO Bike Program within the Outdoor Program!!!!  Board members discussed the value and recognition of the program, and the potential it has to continue making UO a leader in sustainability and bicycle transportation. The Board was taken aback by the diverse support UO Bike Program has by campus and community leaders; we received 11 letters of support!  This funding will allow us to plan further into the future and continue to work with you on fantastic programming and events, not to mention push Eugene and UO to decrease our environmental footprint.
For more information contact Briana Orr, Bike Loan Program Coordinator, University of Oregon, borr@uoregon.edu.

ODOT announced plans and meetings concerning the Territorial Highway bridge replacement project.

ODOT Released two fliers concerning construction on Territorial Highway, a popular route for area recreational cyclists.

Date: Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010

Time: 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Location: The Lorane Grange, located at the intersection of Orchard Road and Old Lorane Road.

Please join us to learn about plans to replace two bridges on Territorial Highway between Crow and Curtin:

  • Hayes Creek Bridge, between Crow and Lorane, located south of Briggs Hill Road near the Dwane Road intersection at milepost 29.5.
  • South Fork Siuslaw River Bridge, about three miles south of Lorane at the intersection of Territorial Highway and Gowdyville Road at milepost 40.4.

Date: Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010

Time: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Location: 94334 Territorial Highway, Junction City, OR 97448

Please join us to learn about plans to replace the Bear Creek Bridge near Junction City. The bridge is located on Territorial Highway just north of the High Pass Road intersection at milepost 6.5.

GEARS board meeting discusses the Riverfront Research Park, the West EMX Extension, and Crest Drive.

GEARs had their monthly board meeting Tuesday and WeBikeEugene was able to gain some insight on some of the controversial topics currently facing Eugene/Springfield area cyclists.

Alan Hancock briefed the meeting on the current progress of Oregon Research Institute’s plan to build a facility as part of the Riverfront Research Park. The controversy centers around how the project would effect possible bicycle and pedestrian access between Alder St. and the heavily used Riverbank Trail System.  Currently there is no direct link and cyclists must navigate a maze of traffic and turns to make the connection. Advocates worry that the ORI building might  stand in way of creating such a connection.

Negotiations have begun to either install an underpass under or a bridge over the railroad tracks in this area to facilitate cyclists, however nothing in the River Front Research building plans currently call for any type of bicyclist access at that location.  Building a connection would also necessitate two-way bike access being extended on Alder St.  all the way to Franklin Blvd.

There are many barriers that still must be passed before the plans can go ahead to build the facility, and GEARs will be monitoring the situation.  WeBikeEugene plans to do a full feature on this issue in the future.

In EmX news, GEARs  appointed Judi Horstmann as their representative to the  West Eugene EmX Extension committee, which is looking at design options and routing for the line.  The project website can be found at LTD’s West Eugene EmX Extension project website. Judi will be helping make sure that the project continues to meet the needs of cyclists as it develops.

The proposed EmX route options have the potential to run along the Fern Ridge Bike Path at times, and may involve the re-routing of the bike path and Amazon Creek between 13th Ave and Seneca Rd.  GEARs sees this as a possible opportunity for improvements to be made to the bike path.

The lack of cyclist facilities on Crest Drive was a topic of sometimes heated discussion at the meeting, with attendees disagreeing on what GEARs should do in the face of an apparent disregard of cyclist wishes concerning the street design.  The road was made very narrow (18 feet wide) in an effort to calm traffic, and this decision included removing any option of a bike lane – potentially violating Oregon law.  This has made cyclist safety on such a narrow road a concern.

Only about 20% of the project is completed, and while it was generally agreed upon that the road is currently sub-par in respect to cyclist access, how GEARs should move ahead to address the issue was a subject of heavy debate.   WeBikeEugene will cover the issue in more detail in the upcoming weeks.

GEARs calls for advocacy concerning STP-U (Surface Transportation Program- Urban) funds

From the GEARs mailing list: (emphasis mine)

This is an *Action Alert* to ask GEARs members and supporters to email or call your City Council representative and ask them to support the Sustainability Commission policy recommendation that STP-U funds be prioritized for bicycle and pedestrian improvements.

Previous to the Sustainability Commissions recommendation plans for the flexible “Surface Transportation Program- Urban” funds were expected to be spent on pavement preservation projects. Many pedestrian and bicycle improvements aren’t made because there is a lack of funding (and very few flexible funding opportunities) for bike/ped infrastructure projects. The City Council mandate that required the city to spend these funds on pavement preservation projects dates back several years, before the $35.9 million “pothole bond measure” was passed in 2008, and can be changed by the Council.

By deciding to use these STP-U funds for active transportation
projects we can work to build a better, more complete network for cyclists and pedestrians. *We’re recommending that members write and ask council members to support the committee recommendation *(found below). They will be addressing this issue at their Monday February 8th work session.

To email your sentiment to the Mayor and City Council use
mayorandcc@ci.eugene.or.us. Ask them to support the Sustainability Commission Policy and to put what few flexible transportation dollars there are towards bicycle and pedestrian projects.

[…]

STP-U policy recommendation to the City Council from the
Sustainability Commission passed unanimously by the Commission, December 16, 2009:

“Recognizing that transportation funding has, by mandate, been
focused and prioritized on automobile travel, and taking into account that Surface Transportation Program-Urban (STP-U) funds and some other capital funds are discretionary, the Commission recommends that the City Council allocate these funds for bicycle and pedestrian improvements.”

Author: C-Gir

Contributor

3 thoughts on “Weekend News Wrapup 02/06/10”

  1. Seager,
    Thanks for doing this publication.
    FYI, Alan Hancock is not a GEARs Board member.

    Thanks, I’ll fix that. — Seager

Comments are closed.