Longtime No-See Wrapup: The Fern Ridge Path Tries to Escape into the River, GEARs Cycling Classes for Stop-Sign Runners, Eugene`s TE Grant Hopes Dashed – Willamalane Still Running, and the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide

Hey folks! I haven’t posted in awhile, but luckily Shane has kept the site alive.  I have a few weeks before grad school forces me back into hiding, so I’m going to try to cover as much as possible before then.  A lot has been going on!

Photo Stolen Blatantly from EugeneBicyclist.com (click to embiggen)

Firstly, remember how the Fern Ridge Bike Path is falling into the River?  I first posted about it almost exactly a year ago (when I had time to run this site) with an article that explained how incredibly dangerous the area is and why City fixed only the less dangerous part of the Fern Ridge Path the following (last) summer.  Eugene Transportation Planner Dave Roth said that fixing the section between Chambers and Garfield was a much more expensive project because it would require a re-routing of the path: “The path is too close to the stream, so what happens is the stream kind of erodes that side, and every year it’s sinking.  That path is sinking and falling off the edge.”

The good news is that Eugene used a rapid readiness grant last year to do all the background research and planning to fix that area, so it’s now a “shovel ready” project that is just waiting for the money.  This is good, since the path is now literally falling into the river, and the cracks threaten to swallow not only tires but entire joggers.  But wait, there’s more!

An earlier picture, showing less damage.

Shane posted last January the the City of Eugene may have found the money to do the repairs using some sort of Flexible Funding thingermadealy from ODOT  that would pay for the $678,800 fixing of the path.  This tentatively put the project on the schedule for this summer if the funding came through.

The project does require an extensive re-routing of the bike path through the community garden that is in that area. This is necessary to fix the Amazon Channel.  However, the garden would be reshaped and would actually end up with more space.  This is explained well in Shane’s earlier post. Unfortunately, “word on the street” (that’s the best I can do because I have class during the BPAC meetings) is that some of the local residents are in opposition to this change.  EugeneBicyclist.org, whom you all should be reading, also reports that the project may be in dire straits:

[Project manager John Bohnam] says the slumping means that the path may need far more extensive repairs to the “substructure” than were planned. That may mean the repaving of this stretch doesn’t happen this summer and is delayed a year, maybe two (the work involves a federal grant, various permits and environmental issues, so changing plans evidently involves some red tape).

Seeing as how the path is now literally falling into the river, this is not a good sign.  Since the Rapid Readiness grant that paid for the research and planning for the area should have already taken care of the planning, it seems that the “red tape” around the re-routing of the path may be more of a hitch than their “sudden” realization that the path if falling into the river.  Planners were well aware that the area under the path was unstable.  That’s why they drafted plans to move the path in the first place.

You can help.  There is an neighborhood meeting about the project at the Arts and Technology School by Westmoreland Park on Wednesday, April 6th from 7 to 8:30 pm. Feel free to attend and relate stories about how its matter of time until one of our front wheels is sucked into the abyss and we learn what asphalt tastes like.  If we can’t get one of our main commuting paths fixed, we don’t really deserve a Gold rating.

Via the Register-Guard:  Plan Promotes Safer Cycling

A court diversion program would allow bicyclists who break traffic laws to choose instruction over a fine by Edward Russo

Edward Russo has a fine history of writing well-balanced articles on bike issues for the Register-Guard.  I’m going to quote excerpts from the article here, but y’all should probably just read the full thing.

Eugene bicyclists who break traffic laws soon could opt to learn bike safety instead of pay fines.

Municipal Court Presiding Judge Wayne Allen said authorities are working with the Greater Eugene Area Riders — GEARs — bicycling club to start a diversion program for bicyclists by the end of May.


Under the plan, people cited for bicycle-related traffic offenses could avoid fines by attending a three-hour safety course offered monthly by GEARs.

Richard Hughes, the cycling club’s president, said he first mentioned the possibility of the diversion program to Allen two years ago.

“We want to give those violators a chance to learn what the law is and to see if they want to correct their ways, because every cyclist gets a bad rap when a cyclist runs a red light” or breaks another traffic law, he said.


Allen wrote that municipal court staff and Eugene police have taken the GEARs course and “determined that it would provide valuable safety information to a cyclist.”

GEARs’ safety classes are held at the former Whiteaker Elementary School or Roosevelt Middle School.

Participants will pay $10 for a textbook on bike safety from the League of American Wheelmen, Hughes said.

The complete GEARs safety course lasts a total of nine hours — three hours of classroom instruction and six hours “out on the road” where riders are shown proper techniques and their knowledge is tested, Hughes said.

Diversion participants would only have to take the three-hour safety class, Hughes said, but “they would be welcome to take the rest of the program.”

Remember those Transportation Enhancement Grants that Shane wrote about in January? They would have added a few paths to the Westmoreland Path complex to act as  connectors to the Fern Ridge Path and route cyclists around instead of through the ATA parking lot, to add a small connector in Bethel, and to create the Blair/Van Buren active transportation corridor that many of us attended a community meeting about in the Whitaker a number of months ago. You can read about the three projects in detail here.

Well, we didn’t make the list of 31 finalists.  However, Willamalane’s Phase Two of the Middle Fork did!  Lets focus on the good: This project is great.  It connects downtown Springfield with Dorris Ranch. You should read Shane’s writeup of it. The decision will be made on May 18th.  You can read more about TE grants on BikePortland.

NACTO stands for the National Association of City Transportation Officials, and they have created the Urban Bikeway Design Guide as part of their “Cities for Cycling” initiative.  What’s that you say? Who what?  Let me quote from an e-mail I received:

Jeanette Sadik-Khan, the New York City Department of Transportation Comissioner, announced the guide’s official release on March 9th at the National Bike Summit in Washington DC. Following this event, NACTO and its members are hoping to create more awareness and buzz around the design guide in the hopes that it will be accepted, adopted and fully utilized by cities and states all around the country.

The guide can be viewed at www.c4cguide.org. I’ll be frank, I’ve only spent about 5 minutes looking at the thing, but I’m sort of in love with it.  I’ve been putting off creating a glossary of policy-wonk terms cycling specific infrastructure, and it turns out I was right to put it off. This guide is awesome. Not only that, but there are some great names attached to this thing.  Allow me to quote from the Press Release put out by the intrepid Mia Burk, who spoke recently in Eugene:

“Portland planners, engineers and designers have learned countless lessons creating the streets and bikeways that make our city stand out for cycling. We’ve also looked to other cities and abroad for encouragement and design lessons, and are thankful for the colleagues who’ve helped us along the way,” Portland Mayor Sam Adams said. “The NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide has captured the national cycling expertise in a reference document that will enable cities to have safer and more attractive designs today.”

What do y’all think?

Author: C-Gir


2 thoughts on “Longtime No-See Wrapup: The Fern Ridge Path Tries to Escape into the River, GEARs Cycling Classes for Stop-Sign Runners, Eugene`s TE Grant Hopes Dashed – Willamalane Still Running, and the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide”

  1. Seager!
    Thanks for filling in the background on that project. Bonham told me that this particular slump couldn’t have happened in a worse spot. Apparently that stretch is hard to relocate since it’s on that narrow strip between the creek and an apartment complex to the north — and then the path heads through the underpass under Garfield. But, yes, good question as to why the “substructure” improvements weren’t part of the original planning.

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