I have been in contact with the City of Eugene staff concerning two very heavily used cycling routes, Fox Hollow Road and Dillard Road. The bad news is we’re going to have to wait for the Fox Hollow fix until 2017 or later. The good news is, most of Dillard will be fixed this Summer. Keep in mind that the city staff is doing the best they can under the current funding program. What is needed is either a bond measure or gas tax to cover the 50 miles of unimproved streets in the city. Please contact your city councilor to start the ball rolling. And do it today!
The following is from Eric Johnson, Surface Operations Manager, Public Works Maintenance Division:
“Fox Hollow Road, south of Donald Street is classified as an unimproved street. Unimproved streets are generally defined as those streets not built to City street standards. More specifically they lack an engineered road base and paving structure, curb and gutters, and sidewalks. There are approximately 50 miles of unimproved streets with in the City limits. Unimproved streets received limited maintenance such as potholes repairs that are 3” or greater in depth, periodic street sweeping, and in the case of Fox Hollow snow and ice control as needed.
Unlike improved streets, local gas tax and Bond Measure funding are not used to fund resurfacing unimproved streets. Public Works does have a program that addresses unimproved street surface treatments. The Enhanced Street Repair Program currently receives $200,000 annually from the road operating fund to provide asphalt maintenance overlays on our 50 miles of unimproved streets. Currently there is an estimated three million dollar backlog of projects similar to Fox Hollow Road.
Fox Hollow Road between Donald Street and Cline Road (City limits) has been identified as a potential project through this program. We are hopeful that in the next few years continued program funding will enable Public Works to overlay this section of Fox Hollow Road. Paving is limited to the existing road surface and does not include adding bike lanes. During the paving process we look for opportunities to widen the road shoulder to provide pedestrians and bicyclists safer passage. In the meantime we will continue to provide surface maintenance as described above. I have asked our surface maintenance team to inspect Fox Hollow Road and make appropriate repairs as needed.
More than likely it will be no sooner than the 2017 construction season before Fox Hollow Road from Donald Street south to the City limits will be paved. I have committed our program resources to another south Eugene project this summer, Dillard Road from 43rd Ave. to near the City limits. This will be the largest projects in terms of square footage and funds we’ve taken on through this program. I am currently working with our contractor on an estimate and will have a better sense of whether will be available for this construction season. Fox Hollow is also a large project and more than likely we won’t have sufficient funds to add it to this year’s project list. I also have scheduled our contractor to provide me with an estimate for Fox Hollow so we have a better idea of costs.”
A little over a year ago I noticed a new page on Facebook: Eugene Velo. It had the usual suspects and good dialogue about cycling, so I joined. Several weeks ago the discussions went in the direction of a full blown bicycle club. Curiosity got the best of me, so I contacted the organizer, Steve Lamper and we sat down for a one on one to find who, what, where, when, why and how. Following is Steve’s response:
Thank you for this opportunity to introduce myself and the story of how and why Eugene Velo has formed. First, I want to offer a warm hello to all bicyclists in the southern Willamette Valley. My name is Steve Lamper. I’m 50 years old, and like a lot people I discovered cycling after dabbling with many other sports. In college I was an exercise science major and became a personal trainer for my first 4 years out of college. I was an instructor of taekwondo and 3rd degree black belt for 15 years of my early adulthood. Now I am the owner of Affordable Insurance Solutions in Eugene. Cycling became a more important part of my life 8 years ago. Dividing my life between Portland and Eugene when I bought my insurance agency in Springfield in 2005, I biked for fun and fitness in both towns.
I found inspiration for more involvement in cycling from the relationships that I developed in the nurturing atmosphere within the Portland Velo cycling club. The people in Portland Velo taught me so much about the essentials of cycling, about riding effectively in a group, about cycling club culture, training, advocating and encouraging; I felt compelled to become one of their club sponsors and ride leaders. As my cycling skills and ties with the club developed over the years, I began to realize how much better the biking terrain in Eugene is. You know, we really are in cycling paradise here. What’s missing is the feeling of belonging to a group that really fits the level of biking at which I ride. I think that’s true for a lot of us, don’t you? I have learned that I do not want to race, but I do want to ride with a well-organized group of riders at my skill and strength level who share in my passion. I know I’m not alone, because Portland Velo successfully follows this concept with over 500 active members.
With this seed of this idea sprouting in my mind, it became clear to me that the biking community is fractured between bike shop teams, the Greater Eugene Area Riders (GEARs) and a few other small groups. I tried some GEARs rides and found that they were great for the slower riders, but they didn’t have a ride that suited my skill and fitness level. Stronger riders and intermediate riders were left to fend for themselves. I stumbled upon other groups that seemed to exclude outsiders like me. I have a different vision. I want to create that warm and welcoming sense of belonging to a broad spectrum of riders and abilities. Continue reading “Eugene Velo Bicycle Club”
The Territorial Highway Corridor Plan will address safety for all users of a particularly dangerous section of Territorial Highway. The Plan will focus on a 5.7-mile long section of the Highway that extends south from Gillespie Corners to Cottage Grove-Lorane Road. This section is narrow and in poor condition. It is used by trucks, cars, bicyclists, and pedestrians. This is a key transportation link to rural communities and forest, farming, and winery businesses. The Plan will document the process of developing and selecting a preferred design alternative supported by the public. The Plan will also include preliminary designs for the preferred design alternative.
Lane County and ODOT continue to partner in the planning and design process for improving Territorial Highway. They have been collecting information about cultural resources, wetlands, and geology — investigating what it would take to implement the preferred design alternative that was supported through the public process. There are design solutions for avoiding the cultural resource sites and for mitigating wetland impacts; however, the geological findings at Stony Point prompted further analysis of the preferred design alternative.
The results of the geotechnical readings indicate movement at the active slide at Stony Point. The stabilization needed to construct the preferred design alternative could be cost-prohibitive and would have a significant footprint. They have identified a range of possible alternative solutions, such as structural anchors and terracing. It may be necessary to consider alignment adjustments for cuts into the hillside. Any alignment changes would need to be discussed with affected property owners and would require additional geotechnical investigation.
Current funding will allow completion of the corridor plan and preliminary design work, but there is no funding identified to complete the design or to construct the improvements. They will seek funding to complete the design work through the upcoming State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). Obtaining funding to complete the design will make the project “shovel ready” which better positions the project for construction funding.
The Territorial Highway project from Gillespie Corners to the Town of Lorane is awaiting approximately $1million in funding from ODOT to complete the design phase. This is for further design work due to hillside slippage. The county expects to know by this Summer whether or not the funds will be available.
ODOT will now recommend traffic engineers use signs that say “Bikes on Roadway” instead of the old “Share the Road” signs.
The decision came at a recent meeting of the Traffic Control Devices Committee, following a presentation by Alexandra Phillips, Bicycle Recreation Specialist with Oregon Parks & Recreation Department, and Gary Obery of ODOT.
The decision doesn’t mean “Share the Road” signs already installed will be replaced, but that new signs or any in need of replacement for other reasons should be updated to “Bike on Roadway.”
Phillips and Obery reported on the history of two signs and also discussed complaints from bicyclists that “Share the Road” is confusing, and that some interpreted the signs as telling bikes to share the road.
So the questions put before the committee were:
- Should the “On Roaway” plaque be put back into the Sign Policy & Guidelines?
- Should “On Roaway” be preferred over “Share the Road” for new and replacement signs?
Members agreed the current plaque is confusing and the consensus was to revert to “On Roadway” in connection with not just the bicycle icon signs, but all vehicular traffic signs, including trucks and tractors, etc. (as listed in Figure 2C-9 of the online 2009 Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, or MUTCD).
Committee member Scott McCanna noted that “On Roadway” doesn’t include the road shoulders under ORS 801.450 and this might be a litigation concern if a bicyclist gets hit on the shoulder. It was clarified this sign is actually meant for situations where bikes are expected in actual travel lanes. It was also clarified this would not affect Sharrow pavement markings since these are supposed to be used only on slower speed streets.
After some discussion, a motion to recommend ODOT state in the Sign Policy & Guidelines the “On Roadway” plaque is preferred over the “Share the Road” plaque was approved.