Pavement Bond Measure Passes

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.

Looking Towards 2021; Part Two of Three

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.

Best use of 36 feet of space.

This project will also include Continue reading “Looking Towards 2021; Part Two of Three”

Vote Yes on 20-275; Bond to Fix Our Streets

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?

It’s pretty thin. Note that three opposition sections were purchased by one anti-tax individual. The other by someone who wants to see more for active transportation.

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.

Continue reading “Vote Yes on 20-275; Bond to Fix Our Streets”

Springfield BPAC Seeking New Members

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 enewman@springfield-or.gov.

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Mayor Vinis Declares May is Bike Month!

Eugene Mayor, Lucy Vinis, has made an official proclamation that “May is Bike Month”. She points to the economic, environmental and health benefits that bikes bring to Eugene and its residents.  She also notes the amazing bike community that Eugene has developed over the decades.

We’re excited to be part of bringing all the events together into this month-long event and are excited to have it growing each year.

Join us as Mayor Vinis shares the official proclamation and starts off the May is Bike Month celebration at the Kick-off Party and Bike Share Open House on Monday, May 1st at the Broadway Commerce Center (44 W Broadway) from 4-6pm.

Mayor Proclamation

 

 

Transportation System Plan Gets Second Public Hearing

Via the City of Eugene’s InMotion newsletter:

For the last several years, the City of Eugene along with our partner agencies and many members of the public have been working to develop the Eugene 2035 Transportation System Plan (TSP). The draft Eugene 2035 TSP provides a 20-year blueprint for the City of Eugene’s transportation system and serves as the transportation element of the Envision Eugene comprehensive plan. The TSP was developed based on extensive stakeholder input, analyses of our existing transportation system and relevant adopted plans and coordination with planning processes that are underway.

A final draft of the plan is now available and can be found at www.EugeneTSP.org. We greatly appreciate the time that many people have contributed to this plan as well as people’s patience with the length of this planning process.

We are now in the final phase of the Eugene 2035 TSP adoption process which includes two public hearings before both the City Council and Lane County Board of Commissioners, and potential adoption by both the City Council and Board of County Commissioners. A City Council work session on the TSP was held on February 27, 2017. The first joint public hearing was held on March 6, 2017. The webcasts from both the work session and public hearing can be found at this website: http://eugene.ompnetwork.org.

The 2nd joint public hearing will take place on Monday, April 17 at 5:30 PM in Harris Hall located at 125 East 8th Avenue. 

To submit testimony for consideration by the City Council and Board of Commissioners, you may testify at the public hearing or email your testimony by noon on April 17 to City of Eugene Transportation Planning Manager Rob Inerfeld at rob.inerfeld@ci.eugene.or.us.

Lane ACT Looks For Active Transportation Member

The Lane Area Commission on Transportation (LaneACT) is seeking a new bicycle and pedestrian representative.

The 30-member LaneACT includes representatives from Lane County and every city, transit agency, port or tribe in Lane County, as well representatives of various transportation interests. The Lane ACT ranks and provides advice to the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Oregon Transportation Commission (OTC) on funding for various transportation projects, including recently many bicycle and pedestrian projects using the ConnectOregon funding, including funding approved in 2014 for Eugene’s Bike Share that will be launching this September.

The two previous representatives for active transportation on the Lane ACT were Emily Swenson and Holly McRae, both moms with young children who have participated in Kidical Mass and other local rides and events. Holly also served on the Eugene Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (now the Active Transportation Committee or ATC).  They both brought a great perspective of a ‘normal rider’ who wasn’t a hardcore cyclist. However, as one voice in a generally male-dominated and auto-oriented committee it seemed a struggle at times to be heard and appreciated. I am certainly thankful that they were the voice at the table and I hope the next representative is also able to speak for the under-represented people who need better transportation for themselves, their children and/or their community.

If you are interested in applying for the position please contact Denise Walters of Lane Council of Governments at dwalters@lcog.org.

Public Hearing Monday for Eugene’s Transportation System Plan

A nearly 7-year planning process on Eugene’s transportation system is nearing an end, and one of the last opportunities for community input is coming up next week.

On Monday March 6, the Eugene City Council and the Lane County Board of Commissioners will conduct a joint hearing on the draft “2035 Transportation System Plan” (TSP) which lays out the policies, priorities, and projects for Eugene’s transportation system over the next 20 years.

Eugene TSP 2017The TSP lays the groundwork and acts as a guide for future transportation decision making by creating the vision and laying out the specific projects that will make up the transportation system moving forward. The TSP states that transportation “decisions will be made within the overall context of the City’s land use plans, commitments to address climate recovery, and support for economic vitality.”

The plan includes the idea of “Triple Bottom Line” decision-making, that is, making transportation decisions as a way for the city to improve social equity, economic development, and environmental problems, such as climate change.

The plan specifically highlights that the “Eugene City Council adopted a Climate Screen Shot 2017-02-28 at 10.01.13 PMRecovery Ordinance that codified a Council goal of achieving a 50 percent citywide reduction of fossil fuel use by 2030” and rolls that goal into the TSP as well.

Finally, and maybe most importantly, the TSP incorporates the Eugene Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan, which was “accepted” by City Council in 2012. Part of that incorporation includes a specific goal that by 2035 the city will triple the percentage of trips made on foot, by bicycle, and by transit from 2014 levels.

In other words the plan has some lofty goals and a great vision but a few questions remain, including: does it go far enough, how will projects be prioritized, and where will the funding for bold visions come from?

Let’s consider the piece incorporated from the Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan regarding tripling of active transportation trips. In 2015, 7.6% of Eugene residents got to work by bike; 7.6% walked; and 4% travelled by bus (LCOG). If we are to hit the target contained in the TSP to triple the percentage of non-auto trips, we will need some 23% of residents biking, 23% walking, and 12% riding the bus to work just 18 years from now.

Cities that have this level of biking include Copenhagen, Denmark (30%) and Davis, California (23%) (Wiki).  We would have to achieve mass transit ridership rates closer to LA (11%) or Portland (12%) (Wiki). We would need a walking environment closer to Cambridge, Massachusetts (23%), or Berkeley, California (16%) (Wiki). 

Does this plan have what it takes to get us to these kind of numbers? A good spot to look is the plan’s project list and the funding that is projected for those projects. Under the “Roadway, Multimodal, Transit, and Rail Projects to be Completed Within 20 Years” we see a total projection of $406.6 million worth of projects. Under the “Pedestrian and Bicycle Projects to be Completed Within 20 Years” we see $71.7 million worth of projects. That is 18% of the total budget for mode shares that we are hoping to get to 46% by 2035.

Screen Shot 2017-02-28 at 10.00.42 PMCompare the 130 miles of bicycle and pedestrian projects at $71.7 million to the .95 mile “Randy Papé Beltline Highway Facility” at $85 million (the largest project on the roadway list) and we can see where some of the problems might come as we try to reach these lofty but important goals.

Where will the prioritization of these projects come from and more importantly where will the funding come from? Sometimes it’s easier for a city to work, lobby, and find funding for one major bridge project than it is for it to find funding for 239 separate small projects that may add up to a complete network but also takes a lot more political work to make happen (and provides a much less interesting photo shoot).

What work will city leaders and staff do to make sure that these active transportation projects will get funded and built in time to reach these goals? Right now we don’t have the kind of funding needed to get these type of projects done. Will we in the future?

Screen Shot 2017-02-27 at 1.46.07 PMIf we were to build out the TSP bicycle and pedestrian project list in 20 years, we would need to be awarded some $3.6 million dollars for these projects every single year between 2018 and 2038. With some transportation funding already programmed out to 2023, and no major shifts to increase active transportation funding sources, it’s unclear how we’ll make any real strides until we see major changes in the funding structure of our transportation system. 

So what can be done to improve this plan and make it so we actually reach the goals laid out? Do we have the enough bold active transportation projects in the plan? Do we have a good enough prioritization plan so that we know the right projects will get built first? Do we have a plan for finding the right kind of funding to match our goals of increasing walking and biking rates?

Monday’s public hearing will be a good time to state support for the goals and projects laid out in the TSP, but it’s also a good time to ask some of those questions and any others that you might have around how the plan will be implemented. With the work that has gone into the many pieces of this plan and its 20-year horizon this is a crucial point to make any comments before its final adoption.

What: Joint hearing on the “2035 Transportation System Plan

When: Monday, March 6th, 5:30 pm

Where: Harris Hall in the Lane County Public Services Building (125 E. 8th Ave.)

City of Eugene Seeks New Members for Active Transportation Committee

The City of Eugene seeks residents who are interested in serving on the Active Transportation Committee (ATC), formerly Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.  Recruitment is underway to fill vacancies for two year terms beginning January 2017.  Applicants must reside within Eugene’s Urban Growth Boundary and willing to attend monthly meetings and read background materials provided by city staff.  Additional meetings may be scheduled as needed.

The purpose of the ATC is: (1) to advise the City of Eugene staff and community organizations and partners on implementation of Eugene’s Pedestrian and Bicycle Strategic Plan; (2) to represent community and constituent interests in transportation planning decisions; and, (3) to provide feedback to staff on projects relating to walking and bicycling.

ATC members play a vital role in implementing walking and biking projects in the Transportation System Plan which will shape the future of the pedestrian and bicycling system for the next 20 years and make Eugene an even greater place for people who walk and bicycle.

Applications are available online via the City of Eugene website at http://www.eugene-or.gov/490/Committees, by e-mail at lee.shoemaker@ci.eugene.or.us, or by picking up an application at City of Eugene Engineering, 99 E. Broadway, Suite 400, Eugene.

The deadline for submitting applications is November 25, 2016.   

For more information, contact Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Lee Shoemaker at 682-5471 or lee.shoemaker@ci.eugene.or.us.

Current BPAC Members

Eugene Velo Bicycle Club

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:

EugeneVelo2Thank 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”