*Updated– I’ve added some corrections and updates after talking with ODOT and the City of Eugene more.
As we reported back in March (twice), April, May and August the City has some great plans for completing one of the ‘missing links’ in the Eugene bicycle transportation system, the connection of the Alder St. ‘bikeway’ to the river path system. The city received official word on November 16th that they were awarded a $707,000 grant from the ODOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Grant Program and can now move forward with those plans. The City decided to piggyback the grant application with their Pavement Preservation Program which is slated to repave Alder from 19th 18th to Franklin in the summer of 2011. At the end of October the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (OBPAC) met in Seaside Astoria to decide which of the 90 communities that applied for over $37 million in projects would receive the $5 million that was available. Five Eleven communities were awarded funds including Eugene plus two alternates if extra funding comes available.
The City of Eugene has announced that the new Delta Ponds Bridge will officially open tomorrow! After an earlier dedication on September 11th, the city had to close the bridge down so the contractor could finish up the railing and lighting before it was ready to be really put into use.
There is an impromptu ride planned for tomorrow (Tuesday, Nov. 16) at 5:30 p.m. Meet at River Play Park (on the Ruth Bascom path below Skinner Butte) and ride together over to this great new bridge. It should be getting dark enough by then to enjoy the new “aesthetic lighting” as well as the regular path lighting that was installed. If you can’t get out there tomorrow, be sure to ride out there and check it out soon, it’s a beautiful and useful addition to Eugene’s great bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
This just in from the City of Eugene (emphasis mine):
Final approval was recently given by FHWA to construct the West Bank Trail Extension Project. This project will provide a shared use path connection between the Santa Clara area and the riverfront trail system south of Randy Pape Beltline. The project extends the existing West Bank Trail shared use path north along the bank of the Willamette River near the Wastewater Treatment Plant, under Randy Pape Beltline, and then west along the north side of Division Avenue, terminating at Beaver Street. This project includes path lighting, an undercrossing bridge which provides grade separation between path users and trucks entering and exiting the major Knife River driveway, and a retaining wall along the Willamette River. This project is scheduled to begin construction this winter and be completed in fall 2011.
Here is a map of the area that will be improved this winter and summer. The first phase of the project will be an undercrossing of the Knife River sand and gravel driveway, with path construction and light installation most likely happening in the summer. There are some really great projects coming down the pipe for cyclists and pedestrians. I hope to include a few reports in the next few days on those other projects as well.
This Wednesday, the Oregon Department of Transportation will confirm which of the 15 projects it will fund in this, the first year, of the Urban Trail Fund (UTF). Eugene is home to one of three recommended projects by the Oregon Transportation Commission. Eugene’s “Amazon and Willamette River Path Connector” project is expected to construct four important connectors to link the Amazon Path and Willamette River Path with the local street network, transit stops and on-street bike facilities. Lee Shoemaker, City of Eugene Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, said that three of the connections will be to the popular West Bank River Path at Fir Lane, Rasor Park, and Merry Lane. The fourth project will lead from 30th Ave. to the Amazon Path. Read on for more about the UTF and more specifics on the Eugene project.
Eurobike is the worlds biggest bicycle industry tradeshow and with 565 entries from 30 countries the competition for the Eurobike awards is pretty stiff. This year Burley Design knew going into the show that the new Travoy trailer was one of the 104 products to receive a “Eurobike Award 2010” but today they just received word that the jury selected them to receive one of only 12 GOLD awards. The GOLD awards were reviewed by categories that ranged from city bikes and mountain bikes to accessories and concepts. The category that Burley was in had the stiffest competition with 199 other entries (compared to 10 for “family bikes”). Here’s the information on the award including the “Jury Statement”.
The City of Eugene has turned in an application to ODOT’s Pedestrian & Bicycle Grant to make some major improvements to Alder Street between 19th and Franklin and 13th from Alder to Kincaid. The plans call for a new two-way cycletrack from 19th to Franklin, a signalized crossing of Franklin, bike specific signal heads at 11th and 13th, on-street bike parking corrals, wayfinding, lighting, wider sidewalks, and streetscape improvements including public art. It’s an exciting project with some major potential for improvements to this corridor. It could also set the stage for future active transportation projects in Eugene.
Here is a more complete description of the project from the grant application:
Pulled this off the Willamette River Bridge site and it’s worth passing on to remind folks to be careful, courteous and safe out on the paths, especially with all of the construction going on.
Speaking of construction, the Fern Ridge path section near the fairgrounds has opened up- it’s nice! Would post a photo if I actually had any time to take and upload one =). They have moved the construction farther west now and are working near Chambers and the Blue Heron Bridge. Last night when I passed by they were done for the night and the fencing was down and people were going around the construction. I think that shows two things that need to be improved: 1) People need to obey signs and barriers, not doing so can not only be dangerous but also cause the project to take longer. 2) They really need to mark GOOD alternative routes for people. I don’t think they’ve done that very well on this project- there are alternatives but they don’t guide cyclists through them (like they would car drivers). They really need to place signs telling cyclists where to go for the alternative route, not just “Path Closed- Use 17th”.
Anyway, here is the information from ODOT regarding the I-5/Willamette River Bridge work:
Last week we received comments about safety on the path in the area just north of Knickerbocker Bridge where paths from all directions merge into one very busy intersection. If you frequently use the paths near the Willamette River Bridge project in the Whilamut Natural Area you are familiar with this area. I encourage you to use caution at all times and follow the signs and flaggers.
Good news is this intersection is temporary during the duration of the project. Currently, now it balances safety and ongoing mobility for path users and construction traffic. Land use regulations and discussions with key stakeholders were also considered when this configuration was created.
I encourage you to slow down and observe path traffic in this area so you minimize risk to yourself and other path users. We have recently moved construction fencing and added signage to increase visibility and awareness of this key intersection. Please be alert through the area and stay safe.
On another note, users of the Canoe Canal Path as it passes under I-5 should watch for concrete water dripping from overhead. The bridge deck was poured on Thursday, Aug. 12, and the dripping will continue for the next two weeks as the new deck dries.
There’s a good amount of posts in the “To Do” file but the most important piece right now is to go over to the City of Eugene’s “Pedestrian & Bicycle Master Plan” website and give your input on the plan. You can complete an online survey, use the interactive map, or simply send in a comment on problem areas, ideas for improvements, favorite spots, or other thoughts on how to make the Eugene infrastructure more bicycle and pedestrian friendly.