Eugene Bicycle History Online at City of Eugene Website

Note: I began writing this article back in May but kept postponing it due to a constant flow of more time-sensitive stories.  The recent passing of Ruth Bascom has made the publishing of this article important.   It seems that the majority of the bike infrastructure we all enjoy today came about during the 70’s, and Bascom was instrumental in this process.

I’ve been poking around looking at Eugene and Springfield cycling history recently, my interested piqued by a reader sending in this old story from 1978 about a woman being arrested in Springfield for riding her bike in the street.

“Eugene engineers, planners, law enforcement officers, and citizens explain the successful bicycle program of Oregon’s second largest city.  Twelve monographs examine the planning, design, construction, and use of Eugene’s bikeway system.”  -from 1981’s “Bicycles in Cities,” put out by the City of Eugene

Quite accidentally, I discovered that the City of Eugene bicycling website has an online archive of old “Bicycles in Cities – A Eugene Perspective” monographs. From what I can tell, the 12 volume set was originally published in 1981 in individual newsletter form.  They cover a wide range of topics – from the existence of a late 70’s bicycle committee, the previous bicycle master plan, why we have left side and contra-flow bike lanes, the building of the Willamette bridges, the Fern Ridge and River Paths, and many other things.  In fact, is appears that the majority of the infrastructure that we have today came about in the 1970’s.

The monographs are full of great pictures and amazing stories, and at only 4 pages each are a must-read for anyone interested in local history, advocacy, or biking in general.  We can learn from our past – or at the very least enjoy the 70’s era cartoons and vintage bicycles.  Give it a read, and then lets try to make 2010-2020 another 1970-1980.

Continue for an episode guide:

Continue reading “Eugene Bicycle History Online at City of Eugene Website”

“Bicycling Mayor” Ruth Bascom to be Honored Wednesday

Ruth Bascom 1926-2010

I didn’t live in Eugene when Ruth Bascom was the first female mayor of Eugene (1993-1997), nor did I live here when she was a city councilor for eight years before she became mayor.  I wasn’t around when she inspired and was the driving force behind the Ruth Bascom Riverbank Path System (named in 2003).   I wasn’t around when she helped pioneer cycling in Eugene in the 70’s and planned much of our current infrastructure.  But I do live here now, and there is rarely a day that I don’t benefit from the great work she did while she was here.  I never met her, never saw her, but I know her name because she improved my life.

Bascom passed away last Thursday from injuries sustained in an August 11th car crash near Bend.  She was 84.  The Greater Eugene Area Riders (GEARs) is planning a memorial ride on Wednesday, Sept. 1st at EWEB Plaza.

From GEARs:

Wednesday’s ride is free and open to all.  The ride will start at the EWEB Plaza, 500 East 4th Avenue, and follow the riverbank path for about 10 miles.  It will be a flat, easy, slow-paced ride suitable for riders of all ages and abilities.  Bicycle helmets are required by law for all riders under 16 years of age, and are highly recommended for everyone.

The ride is sponsored by GEARs (Greater Eugene Area Riders).  For more information, contact Sue at 541-345-2110 or sue@eugenegears.org

Take the jump to learn more about Ruth Bascom.

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Eugene Cross Clinic

Interested in Cyclocross?  Check this out: Continue reading “Eugene Cross Clinic”

Updated: How Free Car Parking Could Lead to the Loss of 165* Bike Parking Spots

The affected downtown area

On August 11th, the Eugene City Council voted to make car parking downtown free, affective October 1st. The area runs from Willamette St to the east, Lincoln St to the west, Seventh Ave to the north and 11th Ave to the south.  Whether or not this was a good idea is a debate for somewhere else.  Will the possible revitalization of downtown offset the loss of $220,000 a year in parking revenue?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that when things like this went down in other cities (Chicago, Oakland, Sacremento, New York,  Toronto, etc) it sometimes led to a huge decrease in available bike parking.

Why? The removal of parking meters.  According to Jeff Petry, Eugene Parking Services Manager, the City Council has directed that left it up to city staff to decide whether the heads be removed off 288 parking meters downtown. This would make the meters inadequate for bike parking since bike locks could simply be lifted off the pole.  It would be a grave mistake to remove 288* 165 bike parking spots from an already inadequate downtown bike parking scene.

* Update: It was just brought to my attention by Petry that many of the meters are double heads on a single pole, so the actual loss in bike parking would be less than the 288. It’s actually 165 meter poles with 288 meter heads attached to them.

Eugene wouldn’t be the first city to make this mistake.  Take the jump to read about some cities that have made this mistake in the past, and how other cities have avoided it.  This issue is real and it is now, and we have only a few weeks to change the momentum of this project.

Continue reading “Updated: How Free Car Parking Could Lead to the Loss of 165* Bike Parking Spots”

Online Bike Lane Problem Reporting, Bike Blog Roundup, and August InMotion

Good day, wonderful people.  As you may have noticed by our plethora of recent articles (sort of), our summer slowdown has mostly ended.  Yay!

I wanted to give a quick shoutout to the other area bike blogs that helped pickup WBE’s slack over the summer, and which continue to be a joy to read.  These blogs are different from the GEARs, SRTS, and EugeneWeekly blogs (viewable in RSS form on the right of this page) in that they focus more on culture and less on news.

I’ve mentioned EugeneBicyclist.com before (I think) but I feel like mentioning it again.  The man behind it is a mystery (oooh, spooky!), but I’m pretty sure he isn’t a zombie. If he is a zombie, and he eats you, I’m sorry.  Not that it would be my fault if he DID eat you, but more because I’m sure being eaten is not an enjoyable thing and I would most likely feel empathy for you.

Another newish Eugene cycle blog is Eugene Cycle Chic, a blog featuring pictures of Eugenians in their utter hotness riding their bikes, or something like that.  It’s like a Eugene version of Copenhagen Cycle Chic – the main difference being that Eugene riders sometimes wear helmets and probably don’t speak dutch danish.  I’ve yet to find a picture of me on Eugene Cycle Chic, but I think it’s because I’m too pretty and they don’t want to make other people feel embarrassed.

The City of Eugene’s InMotion continues to make our job easier by condensing tons of information into a wonderful little newsletter.  There is a lot of information in this one (posted in full after the jump), but the following bit of information has me very excited.  It’s something I’ve been asking for for awhile, they promised us in March,  and now they’ve finally delivered!

Online Bike Lane Service Request!

Online hazard reporting directly to the city – available when the city hotline (541-682-4800) is closed!  This can be used to report glass, debris, etc 24/7!  Quoted:

New Online App Offers Easy Way to Report Bike Lane Problems
A new web-based application makes it easy for cyclists to report problems and request maintenance services in Eugene’s bike lanes. The bike lane service application is located at www.eugene‐or.gov/pwm (look for the bike lane service icon). It is one of six online services (the others are report nuisance vegetation, report a pothole, get notified when street is scheduled to be swept, report graffiti, and request leaf delivery) now offered by the Eugene Public Works Department

All of the service request applications use a map-based system. Customers enter a street address to generate a marker “pin” that can be dragged to an exact location. Customers fill in an easy online form that includes a notes field. The final step is to click the “submit” button, which automatically sends the request to the correct work group. For more information about the bike lane service request application, contact the Public Works Maintenance Division at pwmaintenance@ci.eugene.or.us or call 541-682-4800.

Take the jump to view the entire InMotion newsletter.

Continue reading “Online Bike Lane Problem Reporting, Bike Blog Roundup, and August InMotion”

No Experience Required: The Trips for Kids Program

“No Experience Required.

Hard-core and girly all at once.That is what grabbed me about the email. The Center for Appropriate Transport’s “Trips for Kids” program already sounded like a good idea, since it gave youth who might not otherwise get the opportunity to get out in nature and learn mountain biking skills. The specific call for volunteers that I saw back in June was for the all-girls ride, which also got a thumbs-up from my feminist brain. But when the call for adult volunteers clearly stated “no experience required,” I went from passively approving of the project to actively writing back. “Do you still need volunteers? I have no experience…”

See, for all my current bravado as a daily bicycle commuter, I came into cycling slowly and awkwardly. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-20s that I really started using a bike, gently coaxed along by my sweetie. This same sweetie, once I got somewhat steady on my wheels, tried taking me on his favorite mountain-biking trail. And, of course, I instantly wiped out on the trail and ended up sliding down a hill on my face. Scab city!

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A New & Improved Alder. Coming Soon?!

The City of Eugene has turned in an application to ODOT’s Pedestrian & Bicycle Grant to make some major improvements to Alder Street between 19th and Franklin and 13th from Alder to Kincaid.  The plans call for a new two-way cycletrack from 19th to Franklin, a signalized crossing of Franklin, bike specific signal heads at 11th and 13th, on-street bike parking corrals, wayfinding, lighting, wider sidewalks, and streetscape improvements including public art. It’s an exciting project with some major potential for improvements to this corridor. It could also set the stage for future active transportation projects in Eugene.

Here is a more complete description of the project from the grant application:

Continue reading “A New & Improved Alder. Coming Soon?!”

A Note From ODOT

Pulled this off the Willamette River Bridge site and it’s worth passing on to remind folks to be careful, courteous and safe out on the paths, especially with all of the construction going on.

Speaking of construction, the Fern Ridge path section near the fairgrounds has opened up- it’s nice! Would post a photo if I actually had any time to take and upload one =).  They have moved the construction farther west now and are working near Chambers and the Blue Heron Bridge. Last night when I passed by they were done for the night and the fencing was down and people were going around the construction.  I think that shows two things that need to be improved: 1) People need to obey signs and barriers, not doing so can not only be dangerous but also cause the project to take longer.  2) They really need to mark GOOD alternative routes for people. I don’t think they’ve done that very well on this project- there are alternatives but they don’t guide cyclists through them (like they would car drivers). They really need to place signs telling cyclists where to go for the alternative route, not just “Path Closed- Use 17th”.

Anyway, here is the information from ODOT regarding the I-5/Willamette River Bridge work:

Last week we received comments about safety on the path in the area just north of Knickerbocker Bridge where paths from all directions merge into one very busy intersection. If you frequently use the paths near the Willamette River Bridge project in the Whilamut Natural Area you are familiar with this area. I encourage you to use caution at all times and follow the signs and flaggers.

Good news is this intersection is temporary during the duration of the project. Currently, now it balances safety and ongoing mobility for path users and construction traffic. Land use regulations and discussions with key stakeholders were also considered when this configuration was created.

I encourage you to slow down and observe path traffic in this area so you minimize risk to yourself and other path users. We have recently moved construction fencing and added signage to increase visibility and awareness of this key intersection. Please be alert through the area and stay safe.

On another note, users of the Canoe Canal Path as it passes under I-5 should watch for concrete water dripping from overhead. The bridge deck was poured on Thursday, Aug. 12, and the dripping will continue for the next two weeks as the new deck dries.

With the heatwave this weekend, stay safe!

Master Plan Input

There’s a good amount of posts in the “To Do” file but the most important piece right now is to go over to the City of Eugene’s “Pedestrian & Bicycle Master Plan” website and give your input on the plan.  You can complete an online survey, use the interactive map, or simply send in a comment on problem areas, ideas for improvements, favorite spots, or other thoughts on how to make the Eugene infrastructure more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.

UO Campus Street Repairs and Closures

WBE’s slowdown will continue throughout much of August, but we will try and repost important information as much as possible during this time.  This letter was posted on the GEARs google group by a UO staffer.

Aug. 2, 2010

To: UO faculty and staff

From: UO Office of Communications

Subject: Construction work to impact Agate Street and 15th Avenue

Continue reading “UO Campus Street Repairs and Closures”