Bike Share may be coming to Eugene. Last year there was a lot of movement and discussion of bringing bike share to Eugene. A bike share feasibility study was completed, the University of Oregon moved forward with a four station, forty bike project, and at the same time the City of Eugene applied for funding from ConnectOregon for it’s portion of a bike share system. However, also in 2014 the University project has been stalled with some red tape and the City didn’t receive the ConnectOregon funds. However, it looks like 2015 might be the year that bike share makes a big move forward in Eugene. The ConnectOregon funds might just happen and with them a renewed push from the newly hired University of Oregon Bike Program Director could bring a complete system to Eugene sooner rather than later. Here’s how it might happen:
In the last round of ConnectOregon funding 36 projects, totaling just over $40 million dollars, were approved for funding. In that total Lane Transit District received $2.8 million for three bicycle/pedestrian bridges that will be part of the West EmX project and $648,000 to move and improve some of the EmX stations along Franklin Blvd. in Glenwood as part of a future rebuilding project. These funds were approved in August of last year but there were nearly $2 million more dollars approved by the legislature for the ConnectOregon grants and since the announcement one of the approved projects has withdrawn due to “previously unknown technical issues”. So now the Oregon Transportation Commission has $2.5 million to allocate to projects. In that original round of projects the City of Eugene bike share was nearly funded but fell just short of approval. Now the Oregon Transportation Commission’s Final Review Committee members have selected the Eugene Bike Share project as one of the two it’s recommending the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) approve at it’s February meeting. The other project is the Port of St. Helens Berth 2 reconstruction project.
Next Thursday, January 15th the OTC will hold a public hearing as part of it’s monthly meeting, to gather feedback on the potential ConnectOregon projects. At the last public hearing there were a lot of comments from the public, especially regarding the Port of St. Helens project, so people should get there early to sign up to speak. The hearing is usually at the end of the meeting and since it’s up in Salem it could take a good portion of the day but if people are up for making the trek up there to support the project it would probably be worth the trip to help bring bike share to Eugene. .
The meeting time and agenda should be posted by Monday on the OTC webpage. Update: The meeting details are out, it will be Thursday, January 15th at 12:45 p.m. at the Red Lion Hotel, 3301 Market St. NE in Salem. For those who want to testify sign up begins at noon. Testimony is limited to three minutes and you are encouraged to bring 10 copies of written testimony. Comments are also being accepted through Feb. 12, 2015 via email to: ConnectOregon@odot.state.or.us or by mail to: Connect Oregon, 555 13th St. NE, Salem OR 97301. A final decision will be made at the OTC’s February 19th meeting in Keizer.
If Eugene is approved for this funding it will be the next big pedal stroke in getting a great bike share system built and that’s an exciting development!