[updated] Action Alert: Lorane Highway Being Repaved Without Room for Bikes

Update: We received a response from the city.  Click the “more” link to see it and keep writing e-mails.

I received important this e-mail from a WBE reader:

I am not sure if you are aware that Lorane Hwy is going to be resurfaced from 29th to Chambers starting in May.

It was believed that when Lorane Hwy was improved it would have an uphill bike lane and a sidewalk for pedestrians as put forth in the Eugene Master Plan.

However, they have decided to do a resurfacing job that will cover the existing surface of 18-20ft with no shoulder at all and no sidewalk.  The average life of the resurfacing job is expected to be 16 years.

To me this is unacceptable given Lorane is the gentle gateway to the south hills and the Crow and Lorane Valleys.  The traffic calming that they have put on the Crest Drive project has pushed commuter traffic elsewhere. When commuters  find out Lorane is no longer full of pot holes we will get more traffic at faster speeds on this narrow winding road.   To date the pot holes have kept cars to a minimum and the local traffic at slow speeds. That will all change once the pot holes are gone.  Those of us who bike and walk along Lorane will be put at higher risk.

I am not sure where you are with WBE but if you are still sending things out maybe a notice about what is happening would get more people to question public works about the plan so they think of measures to protect bicyclists and pedestrians.

Additionally:

We were told by Chris Henry that because it is under the heading of maintenance it is not considered as anything other than that. […] Of course a 16 year fix keeping the status quo is what we are concerned about with a 1930’s roadway serving a 2013 population.

E-mail the project manager Katie Martwitz here, and Eugene Public Works here.

The project fact sheet is here.


This is the response I received from Katie.

Thank you for your email and your interest in the upcoming Lorane Hwy project.

The proposed work on Lorane Hwy is a repair project and is a continuation of the repaving work done between Paige Ave and Chambers St. last year. Like last year’s project, the work planned for this spring on Lorane Hwy between Washington St. and Paige Ave is to repave the surface and is not an improvement project to upgrade the road. The scope of the project is limited to pavement work within the existing roadway and is constrained by the existing width and available funding.

We have received a wide range of valuable input form Lorane Hwy residents and the cycling community. We are aware of the renewed interest in the long term vision for the roadway. Planning for improvements that would change and add to the functionality of the road would need to be carefully and thoughtfully developed through a larger future process involving the neighborhood and receiving the full support of City Council. The repair work to rehabilitate the roadway surface this spring will not preclude future improvements to Lorane Hwy that City Council may choose to implement. The uphill bike lane project in the master plan is for striping and signing only, but not until after the widening is done by some other mechanism.

I am happy to answer any questions you may have as we move forward with the repair project.

The argument that I’ve heard is that the potholes keep the traffic down, and fixing the road without widening it is dangerous.  Should this project be stopped until the funds to widen the road are available?  Remember, this is supposed to last 16 years.

Author: C-Gir

Contributor