It seems that we got quite a bit more snow then our friends up in Portland, which should make for some fun biking today. Since 4J is closed I don’t have to leave the house until 3pm today, which gives me a chance to share some information with you about the City of Eugene’s policies around snow and ice, and gives you a chance to share with the world what the conditions are like on your commute and to share pictures (we need some for this story).
I can tell you that Fox Hollow is completely iced over, which will make descending it interesting when I leave to go to a meeting this afternoon. I grew up biking in the snow in Iowa, but I never had to ride down a huge hill. Also, there are seven turkeys and a squirrel currently eating my front yard – not relevant, but still cool. What are the conditions like where you are? (Update: A truck sanded and de-iced Fox Hollow around 11am while I was writing this story. The road is now fine for riding.)
Take the jump to share information, and read about the City of Eugene’ suspended leaf delivery and sanding.
WBE wrote last month about the October 15th attempted rape of a woman bike rider in Maurie Jacobs Park by the Greenway Bike Bridge on the River Path. Last weekend on Saturday, November 21st, another sexual assault occurred in the same area. While the first assault occurred at 11:44pm, this assault happened much earlier: just after the sun went down around 6pm. According to KEZI, 54-year-old Alan Dean Adams groped a woman near the bridge, who was able to call for help despite Adams’ attempts to silence her. Bystanders came to her aid and later led police to Adams. It’s not clear from the KEZI article if the woman was on a bike or walking.
Please be careful on the paths after dark. The WBE article about the previous assault in this area has a list of measures a person can take to protect themselves. My wife and WBE Copy Editor, Kendra, rides this exact section of the path every night just after dark, and stories like this really worry me. One suggestion I have for people riding home after dark is to text someone you care about and/or who is at the location you are riding to before you leave. At least then someone will know relatively quickly if something has happened during your ride.
WBE reader “AW” wrote to me today about a conflict she had with a car driver on 19th Ave between Oak St. and Pearl St. This conflict was very similar to a conflict I had with a car driver in that very same block last July, although we were going different directions. This is an area where the road is so narrow that a bike must take the lane or ride in the “door zone,” and there is no room for a bike and car to exist side-by-side on the road. Both AW and I were riding in the middle of the lane when a car flew past us, only to stop at the red light less then a block away. In my case, the car passed so closely that I couldn’t even extend my arm out to my side (I know this because I made the unfortunate decision to punch the car in self-defense); in AW’s case, the car fully crossed the double yellow line. This is where our stories deviate.
While this is a small area, it is a main route between the Amazon Bike Path and the Fern Ridge Bike Path via 18th ave, as well as being the southern terminus of the Willamette bike lanes. This area can also be seen as a case-study of how car drivers who are unaware of the law can create conflict. Take the jump to read AW’s account, the police response, and a possible fix for the area.
The City of Eugene has announced that the new Delta Ponds Bridge will officially open tomorrow! After an earlier dedication on September 11th, the city had to close the bridge down so the contractor could finish up the railing and lighting before it was ready to be really put into use.
There is an impromptu ride planned for tomorrow (Tuesday, Nov. 16) at 5:30 p.m. Meet at River Play Park (on the Ruth Bascom path below Skinner Butte) and ride together over to this great new bridge. It should be getting dark enough by then to enjoy the new “aesthetic lighting” as well as the regular path lighting that was installed. If you can’t get out there tomorrow, be sure to ride out there and check it out soon, it’s a beautiful and useful addition to Eugene’s great bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
Fall is perhaps the most dangerous time of year for cyclists in Eugene. The days get shorter and the rain returns – requiring car drivers to pay more attention to the road and our safety. It’s not unusual for a bike commuter to ride both to and from work in the dark, and the window for daylight recreational cycling shrinks to less then 12 hours.
And then there’s the leaves… and acorns, and sticks, and rocks, and whatever else happens to drop or get blown in to the bike lane this time of year. The leaves stack up, hiding potholes and other debris, or stay thin and wet, making an ice-like surface. Sometimes they pack deceptively tight and kick your wheels out to the side like you’ve hit a curb – making even minimally blocked lanes dangerous. Bike lanes often become unridable, especially at night, forcing riders to “take the lane” or risk a crash.
Luckily for us, the City of Eugene is on our side. 2010 is the second year of the City’s new leaf program. The new program (originally reported on by the Register-Guard in 2009) is a marked change from the program previous to 2009, which actually encouraged people to pile leaves in the bike lanes. The fliers distributed by the City even had a graphic of leaves neatly stacked in the middle of a bike lane, somehow still leaving room for a cyclist and water drainage.
Take the jump to find out what changed, and how you can report blocked bike lanes and paths.
This just in from the City of Eugene (emphasis mine):
Final approval was recently given by FHWA to construct the West Bank Trail Extension Project. This project will provide a shared use path connection between the Santa Clara area and the riverfront trail system south of Randy Pape Beltline. The project extends the existing West Bank Trail shared use path north along the bank of the Willamette River near the Wastewater Treatment Plant, under Randy Pape Beltline, and then west along the north side of Division Avenue, terminating at Beaver Street. This project includes path lighting, an undercrossing bridge which provides grade separation between path users and trucks entering and exiting the major Knife River driveway, and a retaining wall along the Willamette River. This project is scheduled to begin construction this winter and be completed in fall 2011.
Here is a map of the area that will be improved this winter and summer. The first phase of the project will be an undercrossing of the Knife River sand and gravel driveway, with path construction and light installation most likely happening in the summer. There are some really great projects coming down the pipe for cyclists and pedestrians. I hope to include a few reports in the next few days on those other projects as well.
We won’t say much about our own blog, though thanks for the votes, but we do like (along with our Eugene Cycles) the smart and useful We Bike Eugene, whose editor, Mike Seager, writes a super biking column in Bang! and always has new info for us.
Thanks everyone who voted for us! Next year I hope that WBE and EugeneBicyclist.com can sweep the one and two spots!
Ironically, this honor comes in the midst of a gradschool induced WBE slowdown – this one likely to last much longer (years) than the slowdown we experienced last summer. Of course this slowdown in my ability to post does not reflect a lack of topics needing to be covered, and we are once again extending the invitation for readers to become writers and join the site. You can submit stories and/or inquire about becoming a one time or regular contributor here. WBE was always intended to be a community site, and this is your chance to write for the #3 blog in Eugene!
Speaking of content: The City of Eugene’s November InMotion is, as usual, filled with titillating information, including this: (emphasis mine)
Delta Ponds Walking and Biking Bridge Update
Good News! The contractors are optimistic that they will stay on schedule and have the new bridge open the 3rd week in November. Now that’s something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season.
I’ve embedded the full November InMotion after the jump.
The Transportation Remix party at the Oregon Electric Station on October 22nd was a great time. The room was packed with over 100 people for the three hour event, and CAT’s valet bike parking was filled to capacity. The event was part of the planning for Eugene’s new Ped/Bike master plan, covered earlier by WBE here.
The first hour of the event had a party atmosphere with an open bar and snacks, followed by three 20 minute presentations and then an hour-long question and answer session with the panel. ODOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Sheila Lyons did a great job moderating the event, and had much to add to the question and answer session.
Update:Alan Pitman over at EugeneCycles.org has also published a great writeup of the Transportation Remix. He even included a link that I’d forgotten to mention: Elly Blue’s article on Grist about the “Safety in Numbers” phenomena, which was a large theme in Ed Fischer’s presentation.
If you missed the party, or just want to live it again, take the jump for videos of the three presentations, copies of the presentation materials, and a slideshow!