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.
The Eugene Parking Service Office has determined that the current parking fine structure is not effectively motivating drivers to “make better and safer parking decisions” such as not parking in bike lanes, sidewalks, or in front of driveways. As a result, fines will be increased for parking in bike lanes from $25 to $40, and the fine for parking on sidewalks and in front of driveways will be increased from $15-$25. The new fine structure will come into effect May 3rd, 2010.
Is it refreshing that the City of Eugene is beginning to take dangerous parking practices seriously, and we can hope enforcement will also be increased. When I reported a car parked in the Pearl St Bike Lane last November during rush hour, I was told that it would take several hours for an officer to come and ticket the car. Luckily, no-one was injured during the wait (as far as I know).
Read the full text of the announcement, how to report cars blocking bike lanes, and see more photos after the “jump.”
WeBikeEugene previously reported that the City of Eugene plans to fix the dangerous and deep cracking on the Fern Ridge Bike Path between Van Buren and Chambers this summer. While this is wonderful news, it raises the question: “Why is the area of the path between Chambers and Garfield not being repaired, even though it’s just as damaged and dangerous?” There are only a few feet of safely rideable path in some sections within that area. This is alarming because it is a path often ridden by children and novice riders.
Confused, I sat down with City of Eugene Associate Transportation Planner David Roth over coffee and cupcakes, and he explained the decision. It turns out it all boils down to the Amazon Channel, Community Gardens, and not having enough money.
Last week was a week of meetings, and I sat through them all just for you! Although I must confess, it really wasn’t so bad. The Alder St. Workshop was a pleasant discussion on bike priorities, and the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) meeting fed me cake.
Topics covered in this post include Alder St. progress and updates, City Councilor Jennifer Solomon’s apparently contradictory bike policies, Transportation Enhancement grants, and downtown EMX routing.
In what is being characterized as a severe blow to local mountain biking and the general advancement of cycling in Eugene, the newly constructed multi-use Ribbon Trail connecting Hendricks Park to 30th Ave was closed to cyclists as of 5pm Thursday. In a letter to stakeholders (see PDF at the bottom of this post) Neil BjÃ¶rklund, The Eugene Parks and Open Space Planning Manager explains:
“Based on our conversations with a variety of stakeholder groups, there are enough concerns about safety of allowing both hikers and bicycles on this trail that we cannot with confidence recommend both uses on this trail.”
The letter also states that maintenance concerns and the trail’s proximity to Hendricks Park also factored in to the decision, but local advocates retort that the trail was designed with bike use in mind, and that these concerns do not warrant the closing of one of Eugene’s only mountain biking trails.
The Weekend Wrapup is a randomly published WeBikeEugene feature used to summarize several key news items into one easy-to-digest post. This Weekend Wrapup will cover The City of Eugene’s Leaf Program presentation to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC), Active Community Transportation Act and future STP-U funded infrastructure project updates (both via GEARs News), BikeWise.org online hazard reporting, and the University of Oregon’s FLUX magazine story and video featuring yours truly.
On Wednesday, March 3rd, Shane Rhodes and Lisa VanWinkle updated the 4J School Board about Safe Routes to School (SRTS) projects within the district, future plans, and projected grant spending. WeBikeEugene was able to obtain the audio from the school board meeting, and Rhodes (a WeBikeEugene contributor) was kind enough re-create his presentation as narrated video for your viewing pleasure.
The new Google Maps “Bike There” feature has further bridged the information gap between novice and expert riders. Now visitors to Eugene and novice riders, who don’t have an experienced knowledge of Eugene’s bike routes, have safe and scenic routing information available at the tips of their fingers. However, while Google Maps has made it easy to find a safe cycling route between point A and point B, a rider still may not feel entirely confident or safe riding alone or with their children in traffic or on multi-use paths.
Luckily, the Greater Eugene Area Riders (GEARs) already has a series of cycling classes in place to help educate new, experienced, and youth riders about how to bicycle safely, confidently, and legally in traffic and on the multi-use paths. For experienced riders the classes do more than just teach safety – they also educate about how traffic laws apply to cyclists, lane positioning, cyclist rights, flat fixing, and safety checks. The classes are worthwhile no matter what your experience level, and the instructors are friendly and inviting.
The long talked about option of “Bike There” on the Google maps site has been launched!
In conjunction with the 2010 National Bike Summit being held this week in Washington D.C., Google announced the beta version of bike directions on their popular mapping website. They will be making the official public announcement tomorrow morning.
I just tried it the feature out and it seems to work great! There is a specific layer that shows paths, “bike routes”, roads with bike lanes and even neighborhood cut-throughs.