South Willamette Street Plan- Bike Lanes?!

Tomorrow the City of Eugene will be hosting the third community forum on the South Willamette Street Improvement Plan.  It’s very important that those who want a multi-modal street attend the meeting and give their input on making a street that works for all users, including pedestrians and cyclists. Here’s the basic information and then some information from the “Bike Willamette” campaign:

Community Forum #3: Rank & Refine the Alternatives

WHEN: Tuesday, June 11, 4:00 – 5:45 or 7:00-8:45
We are holding two meetings to accommodate the high interest in this project. Please come to the earlier time if you can, as many can only come to the later.

WHERE: South Eugene High School Cafeteria (back of school), 400 East 19th Avenue

Come hear study results for the three alternatives:

* Conceptual layouts
* Cost estimates
* Projected travel times
* Function for cars, pedestrians, bicyclists, and buses.

If you plan to attend and have not yet sent us an email, please RSVP now to help us prepare. Send an email with your name and which time you prefer (4 pm or 7 pm) to: chris.c.henry@ci.eugene.or.us

Can’t make the meeting? Visit the project website between June 12 -18th to take a survey.

Option 3-Bike Lanes!

What will happen at the meeting and why is it important to attend?

** Results of a couple of months of traffic surveying, analysis, and conceptual planning – mostly related to the five-lane option for Willamette St. (one bike lane and one motor vehicle travel lane in each direction plus a center turn lane) – will be presented. A potential intersection design for 29ths and Willamette will be presented which has the potential to provide adequate through and turn lanes for motor traffic while also accommodating both north and southbound bike lanes.

Vehicle capacity of a redesigned street and the impact on travel times will be addressed.

** There will be an opportunity to rank the three *alternatives* which are under consideration – four motor-vehicle lanes only, five lanes including bicycle lanes as outlined above, and one with extra-wide sidewalks and a street with one motor-vehicle each direction, the center turn lane and no bike lanes.

Tiresome as it can be and redundant as it may seem, it is so important to be there to show support for bike lanes on the project and to encourage anyone who can’t be there to contribute input via phone, email or on the web survey. It is important in large part because the outcome of this project – transportation choice for all users vs. optimum through-put for single occupancy motor vehicles – will set the tone for most of the important transportation projects and choices for the next several years.

This project and this meeting are important for bicycle access along Willamette St. and for many more upcoming projects and streets. Let’s get it done right once and for all.

There is only one option being presented which allows for on-street bicycle access along Willamette – please choose the one with bike lanes when given the opportunity.

How does this work for a complete street that serves a multi-modal goal?!

How does this work for a complete street that serves a multi-modal goal?!

Why not put bikes on a wide sidewalk as the third option would do? It is far more dangerous for cyclists to ride on the sidewalk than it is to ride in an adjacent bike lane. Every driveway is an intersection and every side street crosswalk becomes unpredictable for motorists due to the difference in speed between pedestrians and cyclists. Heavy bicycle traffic on the sidewalks would degrade the pedestrian experience and make sidewalks effectively no wider than the 9-feet proposed under the other options.

Bicycle lanes on the street will provide a six-foot buffer of space beween the motor-vehicle lanes and the sidewalk. That will provide a better environment for pedestrians than a wider sidewalk shared with lots of bicycles – a sidewalk which would still have the motor-vehicles right up against the curb.

No matter which of the seven design options were chosen by participants in the last forum, the majority of the comments accompanying the choices expressed a preference for the option to somehow include bike lanes on the street. Please participate and continue to contribute to that body of public sentiment. When a choice is finally made, that will be there to inform the choosers.

Author: Shane MacRhodes

Contributor & co-editor. Papa. SRTS Program Manager. BEST Board Member.