ODOT has announced their list of recommended “Flexible Funds Projects” to the Oregon Transportation Committee (OTC). Three different Eugene/Springfield projects made the list while four others did not. The OTC will meet on January 19th to discuss the recommended list (a public hearing) and are expected to announce the final approved list of projects at their February meeting. ODOT received 115 applications requesting over $83 million in funding for this, the first round of funding for the newly created Flexible Funds Program. Proposals were for Transit, Traffic Demand Management (TDM), and Bicycle and Pedestrian projects. They narrowed the list down to 28 recommended projects at just under $21 million in funding. This pot of “flexible funds” is separate from other “Surface Transportation Program” funds or the other recent flex fund project, the Urban Trail Fund, which will bring us some important path connections along the Amazon and River Path systems later this summer. For more information on these new Flex Funds see this FAQ pdf from ODOT.
The three projects on the table for approval include two from LTD, including renovation of the UO transit station ($2.1 million) and a “SmartTrips” marketing program ($90,000) to promote the Gateway EmX Corridor in the Springfield area. The third project is the Fern Ridge Path Rehabilitation and Lighting project from the City of Eugene ($678,800). There are two other area projects that didn’t make the proposed list but are on an “additional priority projects” list. Those include a path for the Middle Fork of the Willamette applied for by Willamalane ($1.86 million) and a “Franklin Corridor” project applied for by LTD ($1.9 million). Finally, there are three other projects from the area that didn’t make any cut: an LTD/point2point Solutions project titled “Hot Wheels- Bike Parking Study”, an LTD project titled “Franklin Corridor,” and Eugene’s “North Bank Path Rehabilitation/Lighting” which would have (finally) improved the path from the DeFazio Bridge over to Leisure Lane (just past the picnic structures in Alton Baker).
Here’s a bit more on the three projects that are on the table for approval (quoted information from ODOT):
Fern Ridge Path Rehabilitation/Lighting: Replace failing section of Fern Ridge Path with new 12 ft. wide 1,400 ft. long section of path.
The Fern Ridge Path Rehabilitation is something that City has been working on ever since it was determined that it was too expensive of a project to apply to the “Pothole Bond Measure” funding that is rehabilitating other off-street paths in Eugene (including a section of Fern Ridge East of Chambers done this past summer and the Amazon Path done the summer before). The section in this grant is West of Chambers up to the underpass at Arthur and will include a realignment of the current path away from Amazon Creek through Garfield Park. Part of that realignment will effect the community gardens located off Hayes & 15th and the City plans to expand the garden area to replace space taken away. The realignment will also allow the City to continue improvements to Amazon Creek including drawing the banks back to allow better flow and flood control. I personally was hoping to see a bridge connection at Hayes (similar to the Blue Heron bridge behind Chavez Elementary), but will hold out that connection to the Far West Neighborhood for the Ped/Bike Master Plan. I’m excited to see this rutted and dangerous section of path on the list for improvements; it’s one of the worst in the city and having another wider and smoother section of this old path will be much welcomed by many.
U of O Transit Station Renovation: Renovate the UO Transit Station along Kincaid in Eugene to accommodate increased passenger/bus needs.
The UO Transit Station renovation fits well with the major improvements happening this summer with the Bike/Ped grant received for the University District Improvements that we reported about back in December, though it’s unclear if LTD is ready to move ahead with this project this summer or not. *Update- I just spoke with LTD spokesman Andy Vobora. LTD is working with the City to try to incorporate this project with the Alder and 13th improvements happening this summer. We can hope it’s just the first phase in improving the University station, focusing on the area between 13th and 12th. See the end of this post for a draft of schematics for the project.
Gateway EmX Corridor: Use Regional SmartTrips marketing program to educate and promote LTD’s new service and other alternative transportation options, complementing the opening of the new Springfield BRT line, Gateway EmX.
Not much more to say about this project. It will use material similar to Eugene’s existing SmartTrips program to get more people out of their cars and onto EmX and other transportation modes besides single occupancy vehicles.
Altogether it looks like it is going to be a very busy summer of bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure construction! Here’s a list of some of the projects that will potentially be happening:
-University District Improvements (including Alder & 13th)
-MLK & Coburg repaving (with $100k bike/ped improvements as part of them)
-South Bank Path Rehabilitation (Part of the “Pothole bond measure“. It will replace areas of failed concrete path and replace existing asphalt sections with concrete from Greenway Bridge to the Peter DeFazio Bridge)
-A whole slew of other repaving (and restriping) projects that have the potential to make cycling smoother & easier.
Schematic of LTD University Station: