I didn’t want to post news of the recent eradication of the Amazon Puddle at 24th and the Amazon Bike Path until I’d seen the results in action. I first noticed on March 17th that the City had regraded the area around the puddle, but it wasn’t until yesterday’s deluge that I could really assess the results. Despite abnormally high levels of water and flooding in many other areas, the Amazon Puddle did not appear. The rains did cause some significant erosion in the regraded soil, but that is to be expected until the planted grass becomes established in the area.
In other flooding news, the Fern Ridge Path flooding has garnered some significant media attention – including the front page of the Register-Guard (with perhaps the best picture of the flooding yet), and more pictures and video on the South Eugene KVAL blog.
A reader mentioned that Fern Ridge Path flooding also occurred under the West 11th and Beltline underpasses, in addition to the previously reported Chambers and Garfield underpass flooding.
It’s natural at this point to wonder what can be done about future floods. However, unlike the Amazon Puddle, the Fern Ridge flooding is rare and would be much harder to prevent. For this reason it may be more important for the City to focus on cleanup and repair after floods occur than for them to spend valuable infrastructure dollars figuring out how to prevent the floods. There are dry alternatives to all the underpasses during periods of flooding, and it would seem that occasional flooding is a necessary consequence to the normally very positive below-grade bike trail crossings.
While I’m sure that the City is busy cleaning up flood debris all over town, the debris on the Fern Ridge path was still present this morning, long after the flood waters receded. The underpasses are strewn with mud, sticks, and broken glass that washed up with the water. Personally, my chief concern is how quickly this debris is cleaned up in the event of a rare flood, rather than how to prevent them in the first place.
If you encounter debris and glass on your bike ride, please call the city maintenance line at (541) 682-4800 and report it.