The one major item on Eugene voter’s ballot this Fall was Measure 20-275, which was the third bond the city put forth to fund street repairs and improvements for people walking and biking. Over the next 5 years the rate of city investment from this pavement bond measure will increase from approximately $550,000 a year in the last bond to $1 million a year in the bond passed yesterday. Also, the roughly $50 million this measure will raise over five years will continue efforts to fix streets as they start to deteriorate before they are too far gone and are far more expensive to fix. During these repairs improvements are often made, separate from the dedicated pedestrian and bicycle funding, to make the street safer and more multi-modal.
The Active Transportation Committee for the City of Eugene will be meeting tomorrow evening at the Atrium Building at 5:30 p.m. and one of the items on the agenda will be “project updates” where the initial discussion of what this bond measure could mean for active transportation projects in Eugene will be discussed, including what kind of matching funds these bond funds could be used towards to leverage even more improvements.
In the last installment of this series on “Looking Towards 2021” we looked at active transportation projects that were completed over the last year. Now we’ll look towards projects that are on the schedule for 2018-2020. This coming year in particular has the potential to be a pretty big year for active transportation projects. We’re at a critical point in building out our bicycle and pedestrian transportation network and these projects are hopefully just the start of the kind of projects that will get more people choosing active transportation for more of their trips.
Coming up in 2018
Eugene Bike Share– It’s the biggest biking project that has come to Eugene in decades. It will bring 300 Social Bicycles to 35 stations throughout downtown, the university, and the Whiteaker. It has the potential to get more people on bikes more often and with that more people calling for better infrastructure. When combined with the 13th Avenue Cycle Track (see 2019 below) there is a great opportunity for an easy, safe, and convenient bike connection between downtown and campus. You can read more about the latest Eugene Bike Share news, including launch date and sponsor news, on our recent post about it.
Amazon Active Transportation Corridor- This project has been in the works since the city applied for STIP-Enhance funding in 2012. The initial plan was to install the cycle track (two way separated bike lanes) on the park side of West Amazon. However that side of Amazon doesn’t have set back sidewalks like the East side does and so it would have placed the cars right at the curb and therefore right next to the pedestrian space. There are also more businesses to access on the East side and a better crossing of Hilyard and East Amazon. So in 2015 the city decided to change the facility to East Amazon.
I was having a conversation with a friend the other day and they said “hey, I was reading this year’s voters pamphlet and thought of you…”. Wait. First of all what cool friends I have that they spend their Thursday night reading the voters pamphlet. Second, why would I come up when thinking of this Novembers election?
So they continued “…there was the bond measure with the piece about the $1 million a year for bicycle and pedestrian projects and I thought ‘cool’ but then I was reading the arguments against and I was like ‘wait a minute, maybe it’s not a good idea’. I should ask Shane.”
Okay so not only does my friend read about the ballot measure she also reads the arguments for and against. And she thought about asking me for my thoughts. #WellInformedFriendsRock
So this is (basically) what I told her.
The arguments against boil down to two points that I’ve heard:
We should be funding these street repairs in some other form (from our General Fund, not from a bond that supports “Wall Street”, gas taxes, etc.).
This isn’t a vote on how our bond funding system works. It’s worked well for us up to now to pay for these repairs and if we want to have a conversation about a different funding mechanism that keeps all our money local then we need to have that conversation in general as a community and writing off an important measure that is going to make our streets better for walking and biking isn’t the time or place. We’re working with the system we have here. That answer sucks for some people but like it or not there are times for dealing with the system you have and this is that time. These bonds have been good for walking/biking in the past and this bond is even better. We need it.
Sometimes it’s tough to keep up with all the transportation projects “in the pipeline” so I wanted to do an update on what projects were (or are being) completed this summer and fall, what is coming up in the next couple of years, and what projects could be priorities for the city to find funding for that will help us reach our transportation goals. I’ll be breaking those three sections out into different posts over the next several days. This first one will be about projects completed this year. The next post will be about projects coming up in 2018-2020. The final post will be about what we need to be working on to get us to our future goals.
Those goals are laid out in the Transportation System Plan (TSP) that was adopted by the Eugene City Council on June 26, 2017 and it calls for a tripling of our active transportation mode share by 2035.
So how are we going to get to that lofty goal? A good timeline some are using is 2021, as that is the year that Eugene will be hosting the 2021 IAFF World Track & Field Championships. It’s a pretty big deal for “Tracktown USA” as it is the first time the event has been held in the United States. The 2017 Championships were held in London and the 2019 Championships will be held in Doha, Qatar. With nearly 2,000 participants representing as many as 213 different countries from around the world it will be a time that Eugene will be on the world stage and it could be a great time to highlight how great our city is for healthy, active transportation.
Jonathan Maus from BikePortland.org has been doing his “People on Bikes” series for years up in Portland and I’ve always liked flipping through them. The other day I was sitting down in Amazon Park while my kids played at the skate bowl and I decided to snap some photos of the 5 o’clock traffic. There’s an interesting mix in just these 30 photos that were taken in about a 15 minute window. Like BikePortland I’ll number the photos in case you want to give any ‘shout-outs’ or (friendly) comments. What things do you notice in this small sample?
Unlike BP my photos are not very professional, but they get the idea across I think. I hope to do some more focused photos at another time. Have any good spots you’d recommend?
When Eugene received the grant for a bike share program back in 2015 the plan was to open by this Fall. Last week the City of Eugene, Social Bicycles, and other partner agencies, Lane Transit District (LTD) and the University of Oregon, announced that the launch date has been extended to the Spring of 2018. The move was approved by ODOT, the grant agency for the $909,000 ConnectOregon funding that is being used to purchase equipment for the project.
Last Spring the partner agencies announced Social Bicycles as the contractor who will run the Eugene project. Since then they have launched a EugeneBikeShare site, hired station siting coordinators, collected input on station locations, organized a community “sounding board” and earlier this summer hired Lindsey Hayward as the General Manager.
The last “Breakfast at the Bike Bridges”, put on by the City of Eugene on the last Friday of every month from May-September, has a special twist for the last month, “Bruschetta at the Bike Bridges” and it’s an after work event rather than a morning one.
Come out to the Autzen Bridge (supposedly now the Frohnmayer Bridge, whatevs) for the final BBB of the season and enjoy some Bruschetta as well as free bike safety checks from Blue Heron Bike Shop, bike registration with the Eugene Police Department, and talk bikes, Vision Zero, and how to grow great tomatoes. Remember don’t go by in the morning for bagels and coffee! It’s from 4:30pm to 6:00pm this Friday (September 29th).
School has started and local kids (and bike safety education instructors) need your help to make the community rides a success.
The 4J, Springfield, and Bethel School District Safe Routes to School programs are hosting the City of Eugene River House to teach Bike Safety classes in select 5th and 6th grade classrooms throughout each district. The program includes in-class teaching, on campus riding drills, and off campus community rides. Volunteers are needed to ride with students on the final two days of the program to help maintain a safe environment.
There are rides Thursday and Friday, morning and afternoon, starting this week and continuing through mid-November. Visit the SignUp.com site for schools and dates or call 541-682-6321 for more info.
The Jane Higdon Memorial Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation is a major sponsor of the Eugene-Springfield Bicycle Safety Education Program.
The City of Springfield is currently seeking applications from Springfield residents to serve on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC). Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. on September 26 in the City Manager’s Office at Springfield City Hall.
The Committee advises City of Springfield staff and partner agencies on bicycle and pedestrian policies, programs, and facilities. The Committee meets approximately six times each year on Tuesday evenings. Candidates will be appointed to serve either a one-year or two-year term beginning in January 2018.
Applicants should have an interest in promoting pedestrian, bicycle, or both interests in Springfield. The City would like to have a diverse representation on the committee, including, but not limited to, youth, seniors, community members with mobility, hearing, sight, or cognitive disabilities, and mountain and BMX bicycle riders.
When: Applications will be accepted until 5 p.m. on September 26, 2017.
Where: Applications are available electronically on the BPAC webpage and in hardcopy form at the City Manager’s Office at 225 Fifth Street in Downtown Springfield.
For more information contact Emma Newman, Senior Transportation Planner, at 541.726.4585 or email@example.com.
On Monday, May 1st, there was a kickoff event for May is Bike Month which included an opportunity to discuss station locations for Eugene Bike Share. The meeting was held at the Broadway Commerce Center and there was free pizza for all attendees. Mayor Vinis also took the opportunity to announce that the city proclaimed “May is Bike Month”!
If you could not make the meeting or would like to provide additional input on where bike share stations should be located in the community, please log on to www.eugenebikeshare.com and follow the map instructions. You can also use the Social Cyclist app (socialcyclist.com) on your smartphone to select locations. Data will be collected on station locations until May 31st. Eugene Bike Share will launch in fall of this year.
Please contact Reed Dunbar, firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.