What is it about a bridge? I can ride for miles along the riverfront, but I never stop to soak in the scenery and contemplate my place in the world until I am crossing a bridge.
Though it won’t be officially open until November, the community got to have a sneak preview of the Delta Ponds Bike & Ped Bridge during the dedication ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010. And it wasn’t just the bike community that turned out–the neighborhood was there, complete with kids and dogs and contagious enthusiasm.
While the official speeches thanked the partnerships that made the bridge possible, pointed out how many jobs were created from the project, and stressed the importance of this safe passage over the Delta Highway to pedestrians, especially to kids going to and from school; while all these good, practical points were being made, we were basking in the fun of going back and forth over this new structure. Like cats rubbing their cheeks against the furniture, we were instantly working on making it our own.
Take the jump for more from Katura, Seager’s comments on the funding controversy, and multiple slideshows!
On August 22, 2010, Eugene cyclists rose to the challenge of an epic bike move. Now, anytime someone elects to haul their worldly possessions to a new location by bicycle, it makes for a great adventure. But in many cases, the brave souls who embark on bike moves are single folks who are living lightly and have only a modest amount of furniture. This time, a 4-person family stepped up to the challenge–with plenty of furniture, appliances, gardening equipment, and even grandma’s historic cast-iron treadle sewing machine. There are too many stories to tell from that fun day, so we’ll just keep it to a checklist and a slideshow for now.
Family Bike Move: By the Numbers
Hundreds of pounds of cargo
Scores of delighted onlookers
6.5 miles between houses
6 kids riding along
4 zip codes
4 flat tires (all on the giant trailer)
2 rounds of hauling
1 cinderblock (for changing tires)
3/4 keg of beer
0 carbon emissions
Next time, bring:
scissors-jack for flat tires
more of those little juice boxes
a full charge on the bike-mounted sound system
That is what grabbed me about the email. The Center for Appropriate Transport’s “Trips for Kids” program already sounded like a good idea, since it gave youth who might not otherwise get the opportunity to get out in nature and learn mountain biking skills. The specific call for volunteers that I saw back in June was for the all-girls ride, which also got a thumbs-up from my feminist brain. But when the call for adult volunteers clearly stated “no experience required,” I went from passively approving of the project to actively writing back. “Do you still need volunteers? I have no experience…”
See, for all my current bravado as a daily bicycle commuter, I came into cycling slowly and awkwardly. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-20s that I really started using a bike, gently coaxed along by my sweetie. This same sweetie, once I got somewhat steady on my wheels, tried taking me on his favorite mountain-biking trail. And, of course, I instantly wiped out on the trail and ended up sliding down a hill on my face. Scab city!
This year I finally volunteered for the City of Eugene’s annual Bicycle and Pedestrian Count (I had seen the notice in the GEARs emails for years now, but hadn’t been able to get my act together before). The data gathered during these counts helps the city understand the non-motorized traffic patterns at various strategic intersections on streets and bike paths throughout Eugene. With this information, city engineers can prioritize repairs on roads & paths and otherwise make life that much easier for cyclists and pedestrians.
The lunchtime training session showed the process to be a little more complex than I had expected. Volunteers don’t just sit in a lawn chair and count the number of people who go by. First we categorize by bike/not bike (the latter category includes folks on foot as well as anyone using a wheelchair, stroller, or skateboard). Then we note the direction they are coming from when they approach the intersection, and whether they turn right, turn left, or proceed forward through the juncture. We start a new form every half-hour to keep the data from getting too cluttered. The intersection I signed up for (which is along my commute so I could count on a weekday morning and still make it to work on time) happened to be a complicated one that involves two forms side-by-side per half-hour. The extra challenge had me that much more excited! Now all I needed was a sunny day to get started.
Eugene is lucky to have some great wild areas within easy access of the city, including the West Eugene Wetlands. While many folks might see this section of the Fern Ridge Bike Path as a nice flat stretch to ride through really fast, the annual “Walkin’ and Rollin’ in the West Eugene Wetlands” event, hosted by the Willamette Resources Educational Network (WREN), does a great job of slowing folks down and showing them the exciting natural wonders of this squishy ecosystem.
When I’m riding eastbound on the south bank of the Willamette River Path, heading towards the Knickerbocker Bridge, there’s a funny sign that sticks out of the river just past the railroad underpass. I use that sign as an informal way to track the height of the river. In the summer, you can see a lot of the pole below the yellow sign itself. Even when the river is running pretty high in the winter, you can usually make out at least the top of the sign. Well, we’ve been having rather a lot of rain this June. This Friday morning on the way to work, I rode under the railroad trestle and noticed something new: my little sign was totally underwater.
And then I noticed that the path was underwater, as well. Here’s how it looked around 9:30 on Friday morning:
This Friday, April 30th, the section of the South Bank Willamette River Path that runs under Interstate 5 between the Knickerbocker Bridge and Franklin Boulevard and the Glenwood area will be closed to all bicycle and pedestrian traffic from 7 am to 7 pm. The closure is part of the ongoing construction of the new I-5 Willamette River Bridge.
This is a rare case where there will probably not be a clear detour to get cyclists to a convenient alternate route. This particular stretch of the South Bank Path, pinned between the river and the railroad tracks, just doesn’t have many other options. If your ultimate goal is connecting from downtown Springfield to Eugene, the network of North Bank Paths will connect up just fine (see below for the current state of the detours there). The direct connection from Glenwood to Eugene is another issue, though. Cyclists could skirt the south edge of eastbound lane of Franklin Boulevard, since a combination of gravel path and narrow walkway along that side of the road is passable with a mixture of riding and walking (Keep a sharp eye out for bikes or peds coming the opposite direction, since the westbound half of Franklin has no safe margin for non-motorized traffic!). Or, splurge on a little bus fare and treat your bike to a ride inside the EmX to get over the construction zone in style on Friday.
It was about a month ago, at the beginning of April, that a friend and I noticed something unusual as we cycled south on Charnelton Street.
The timing was impeccable, since it was installed just in time to be admired by the wave of pedestrians who hit the streets of downtown Eugene for the First Friday Art Walk. Not only was the bike rack on the corner of Charnelton and Olive wearing an impeccably-tailored sweater, but many of the animal sculptures along the street sported jaunty scarves as well.