The Weekend Wrapup is a randomly published WeBikeEugene feature used to summarize several key news items into one easy-to-digest post. This Weekend Wrapup will cover The City of Eugene’s Leaf Program presentation to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC), Active Community Transportation Act and future STP-U funded infrastructure project updates (both via GEARs News), BikeWise.org online hazard reporting, and the University of Oregon’s FLUX magazine story and video featuring yours truly.
City Maintenance Officials Discuss the 2009 Leaf Season Enhancements and Progress with the BPAC.
The March 11th, 2010 discussion centered around the enhancements that were made for the 2009 leaf season and their results. The enhancements included the designation of 25 miles of “high priority” on-street bike lanes, the purchase of an additional leaf vacuum to focus on the high priority lanes, and the creation of a 24 hour online form used for reporting leaf hazards.
City officials explained that this year was especially successful because the weather cooperated. The same crews that clear bike lanes also deal with snow storms and flooding, and the lack of weather issues this year allowed them to focus on leaf collection. 17,ooo cubic yards of leaves were picked up in the 2009 season. This was slightly more than the previous year. Most were delivered to citizens and community gardens, and only 400 cubic yards (2%) were taken to recycling areas. None of the leaves went to a landfill.
The additional leaf vacuum was able to clear the priority bike lanes fully every week, with the exception of three weeks that contained holidays. On a personal note, I found the lack of weekend and holiday cleanup to be one of the failings of last year’s leaf program, since lanes that were blocked on Friday stayed blocked until at least the following Monday.
The online blocked lanes reporting tool was used often at first, but use trailed off later in the season. The first and second weeks had about 35 reports each, but reports were almost non-existent after the 5th week. There was no mention of the number of reports received via the leaf hotline phone number. Photos of some of the reported hazards were uploaded to the Eugene Bike Accessibility Issues Flicker Group by riders.
There was concern among cycling advocates about whether or not the clearing of the blocked lanes promptly was rewarding the bad behavior of the offenders. City officials assured the BPAC that direct personal contact was made with the offending resident or property owner almost every time a hazard was reported, and in the absence of direct contact, fliers and postcards explaining the new policy were left. The city also sent a representative out to local landscaping companies to explain the new policies. According to the officials, there were very few repeat violations. They also helped educate violators and other frustrated property owners about alternative methods for leaf disposal.
BPAC members asked city officials if there were any plans to continue the online reporting website year-round so that it could be used to report glass and other bike lane and trail hazards. Currently the only way to report hazards is to call the city maintenance hotline at (541) 682-4800 between 8:30am and 5pm on weekdays. The response was confusing, with some officials stating that the site is still up (it’s not) and others saying that is wasn’t. There is an online pothole reporting form but there is no form for glass or other hazards. The BPAC was assured that such a form is coming soon.
The proposed plans for re-building and improving Alder St. were also discussed at the BPAC meeting. Due to its complicated nature, this issue will be discussed in a separate WeBikeEugene post.
Via GEARs News: The Active Community Transportation Act
Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer introduced the Active Community Transportation Act, H.R. 4722, on March 3rd. The bill is also known as the ACT Act is a revolutionary piece of proposed legislation. The bill would create a competitive grant program where communities compete for $2 BILLION to help make their communities better for walking and biking by building out their pedestrian and bicycle networks.
The post called for GEARs members to lobby Congressman Peter DeFazio to sign on and support the bill (H.R.4722). It seems to have worked; it was announced at the March 11th BPAC meeting that DeFazio has indeed signed on to co-sponsor the bill.
Via GEARs News: Surface Transportation Program- Urban (STP-U) funds; where we’re getting it right and where we might be missing the boat.
This post on the GEARs website is a must read for anyone curious about future infrastructure projects in Eugene and Springfield.
Quoted from GEARs:
So what are some of the projects for the upcoming cycle and are we using these â€˜flexible funds’ to their highest potential? You can see the list of projects and how they meet “Regional Priority Criteria” on this PDF. We’ll do a breakdown of the projects here (based on the jurisdiction) and look at where they make some great strides for active transportation and where we might be missing the mark.
The breakdown is simply amazing, and there is no way I can do it justice by summarizing it here. It includes information on improvements to 30th Ave and Hyacinth in Lane County, A-Street and the South Bank Path Extension in Springfield, and MLK Blvd, High Street, and 15th Street in Eugene. The post also explains how STP-U funds fit in to all these projects. Check it out for yourself.
Seattle’s Cascade Bicycle Club creates BikeWise.org to report crashes, hazards, and Thefts.
The BikeWise website is for reporting bike hazards, accidents, and thefts, and works most places that Google Maps works. It could be a very useful tool in Eugene and Springfield. As you can see from the current hazard reports, many Eugene riders are already using it. Registration is free, easy, and worth the time if you’d like to help increase cycling safety in the area. The map view isn’t entirely user-intuitive, but it begins to make sense after a short time playing around on the site.
The rumor mill states that Eugene city officials already check the site, and are working to clear and repair some of the hazards.
The more publicity the site gets the more useful it will be. If we all use the site, tell our friends, and spread the word it could greatly increase the ability of Eugene and Springfield City Officials to identify hazards, crash areas, and to generally take the mood and temperature of the area cycling populace.
The University of Oregon FLUX Magazine interviews WeBikeEugene founder Mike Seager
It’s a little strange doing a news update about myself, but here goes. The University of Oregon’s FLUX magazine has continued its series on Bicycling in Eugene (previously reported here) with The Cycling Clown, an article about my involvement with The GreyMatter Jugglers, Eugene’s only bicycle powered circus. The article also covers my general opinions on cycling in Eugene, and how we can all be safer with a little perspective-taking. The author, WeBikeEugene contributor Bronwynn Manaois (the circus/cycling scene isn’t very large) also did a video interview with me in November of 2009, before the founding of WeBikeEugene.org