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:
The predominant design feature proposed on Alder Street is a new 2-Way Cycletrack providing a seamless north-south bicycle facility to meet the needs of a wide range of bicyclist types. Currently, the northbound bicycle facility is a contraflow bike lane adjacent to southbound auto traffic that terminates at 13th Ave. The new 2-Way Cycletrack will consolidate bicyclists on the east side of Alder in a highly visible designated space the entire length of the corridor. At the south end of the project (19th Ave), the 2-Way Cycletrack transitions to a bike boulevard that connects residential areas to 30th Ave and beyond. At the north end of the project, bicyclists (and peds) will be served by a new traffic signal providing a safe crossing of the 6-lane Franklin Blvd and easy access to the Ruth Bascom River Path network. Two other signalized intersections on the corridor at 11th and 13th will receive bicycle signal heads. Where the Cycletrack crosses major driveways and intersections, green thermoplastic, pavement markings and signs will be used to denote the bicycle space. To accommodate the extra width of the Cycletrack north of 13th, parking bays will be constructed on the west side of the street (maintaining existing on-street auto parking supply). The section of 13th Ave between Alder and Kincaid is also included in this project. The predominant design features on this section are pedestrian and streetscape-focused. Several deficient segments of sidewalks will be repaired and improved here (and on Alder St).
The sidewalk on the north side of 13th Ave will be widened by 5 feet to accommodate pedestrian travel, sidewalk seating areas for adjacent cafes and businesses and landscape improvements. To facilitate the wider sidewalk, on-street auto parking will be consolidated on the south side of 13th in a back-in angled parking configuration to maintain existing supply and to provide for a safer interaction with bicyclists and pedestrians on the street. Eastbound cyclists will be accommodated with shared lane markings, whereas westbound cyclists will travel in a wide, well-marked concrete contraflow bike lane.Other features on Alder and 13th of note include on-street bicycle parking corrals, wayfinding signs, paystation parking meters, lighting, landscaping, and the integration of public art (1% of 10% local match) into the project.
This project is exciting because it has the potential to greatly improve the safety, comfort, and aesthetics of the area. The current design with bike lanes on both sides of Alder from 18th to 13th has worked for several years but not always to the highest comfort and safety levels. Combining the bike lanes into a cycletrack will create a more visible area for cyclists to travel and increase awareness of motorists approaching from side streets. Also, continuing the cycletrack from 13th all the way to Franklin will complete a missing link for cyclists, connecting south Eugene to the great river path system.
The project improvements will also create a much better environment for pedestrians and local small businesses by widening a currently narrow sidewalk on 13th that gets crammed with lots of pedestrians, parking meters, bike parking, buskers and more. With a wider sidewalk there will not only be space for cafe seating but a better vibrant pedestrian space will be created that fits this part of the city. To get this increased space and to change the current parking layout to back-in angled parking on the south side of the street the city will be removing the bike lane between Alder and Kincaid and installing “Sharrows“. It might seem unfortunate to lose this designated space for cyclists but the current design actually places cyclists in danger by having a bike lane right in the “door zone” and also where cyclists are not visible to the many pedestrians crossing all along the street. When you watch cyclists riding through this area many already take that lane and the new design will give them a better sense that they belong there.
Seeing the city put together such a progressive and forward thinking design is very exciting and shows the great potential that is ahead once we complete the cities Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. To read more about the project see the City of Eugene’s project website.
Some photos of current conditions:
Design plans from two of the project areas: