The big winds caused some trail damage this past week and though most hikers and bikers think the Forest Service clears and maintains all the trails we all love to hike and ride it’s actually volunteer groups, such as the Disciples of Dirt Mountain Bike Club (DOD), who contribute many thousands of hours to trail work each year. The various government agencies don’t have the manpower or budgets to do it all on their own anymore. After this weeks big winds DOD is gearing up to get some of those local trails cleared. The following information comes from Paul Timm, the Trailwork Coordinator for the DOD:
Each spring the DOD, and our sister club in Oakridge the Greater Oakridge Area Trail Stewards, or GOATS, organize multiple trailwork parties to tackle cutting out all the trees that blow down, repair the trail where erosion may have taken a toll, and cut back brush that encroaches. Many of our members are certified by the National Forest Service to operate chainsaws, and many of us have had field training on the right way to build and maintain trail from both the NFS and IMBA, the International Mountain Bika Association. IMBA is the recognized leader in trail design for safety and sustainability. See www.imba.com for more info.
Last Sunday’s wind storm caused some serious damage that everyone is aware of. Here it is 4 days after the storm as I am writing this, and some folks are still out of power. What do you think happened in the woods? Lots of trees fell and are blocking trails. To that end, we are organizing an immediate effort to reopen the trails in our winter playground near Lorane. If you think you might like to come out to lend a hand we could use you.
we are organizing an immediate effort to reopen the trails in our winter playground near Lorane. If you think you might like to come out to lend a hand we could use you.
**Update: Path is open. EWEB apologized for the inconvenience and is working to improve outreach**
EWEB has had a change in their construction crew scheduling and has bumped up the timing for a project impacting the riverfront bike path. The path will be closed TODAY from EWEB Plaza to the access at Hilyard (the whole EWEB property). There is signage posted at both ends of the detours to alert people. They say they expect the path to be open by 4:30 p.m.
It’s too bad better notice wasn’t give about a major path closure. Apparently this was sent to one city staff person on Friday but they were out until today. It doesn’t seem that hard to reach out to the bike community between the GEARs list, the various bike blogs, and BPAC. I doubt they would close a major road down without a bit of advance notice so why a multi-use path that sees hundreds of users a day? Also, on their detour they are directing people to ride the wrong way on the sidewalk from 5th to 6th. Communication between utilities, the city, and the community obviously needs to continue to improve.
Via Eugene City Council Newsletter this bit of news (emphasis mine):
A series of recent projects, strengthened by community partnerships, have created new trails in southeast Eugene, resulting in improved commuting options and connections between neighborhoods.
The Northwest Youth Corps Outdoor School, supported by members of Friends of Hendricks Park and the Fairmont and Laurel Hill neighborhood associations, and volunteers from Oregon Woods Inc., received a City of Eugene neighborhood matching grant to realign a heavily eroded segment of the Floral Hill Trail in Hendricks Park. The improved trail joins Hendricks Park and the newly constructed .75-mile Ribbon Trail to Floral Hill Drive and creates a pedestrian connection between the Fairmount and Laurel Hill Valley neighborhoods.
In addition, Eugene Water & Electric Board’s (EWEB) need to place a water main line down a narrow City-owned parcel between 30th Avenue and Spring Boulevard resulted in an opportunity to improve a crucial commuter link. The City Parks and Open Space Division partnered with EWEB staff and members of the Disciples of Dirt and the Obsidians to build a trail over the location of the filled-in water main’s trench. EWEB staff built the bulk of the trail as a component of its project. The two volunteer groups worked with City Volunteer-In-Parks staff to build a connecting trail segment near 30th Avenue, while a second grant-funded youth crew worked to build a trail segment down a steep hillside near 29th Avenue. A trail segment connecting the dead ends of Central Boulevard near Laurelwood Golf Course and 29th Avenue completed the connection work.
The new trails allow pedestrian and bicycle access between 29th and 30th avenues and Central Boulevard. Bicycle commuters and pedestrians are able to get off busy 30th Avenue to travel between neighborhoods south of 30th, Lane Community College and other destinations. One regular hiker interviewed recently summed up the experience, “I’m becoming addicted to the trails; it’s so nice to be able to experience a little bit of nature a few minutes from home!” Continue reading “New Trails in SE Eugene Open”
Last week I wrote about the City of Eugene’s Transportation Enhancement projects “Westmoreland Park Path & Lighting” and “Jessen Path & Lighting.” Another local project that deserves attention and input is Willamalane Park & Recreation District’s $1.6 million “Middle Fork Willamette River Path Phase 2” project.
Currently Willamalane is finishing up phase 1 of this project, which is a 2.4 mile paved path from Clearwater Park to Quarry Creek. The path is complete and finishing touches of landscaping, fencing, kiosk construction and other amenity additions should be done soon for an estimated opening in April. The bridge over Quarry Creek is also complete, though the path ends there. The turn-around area at the creek will have a kiosk, picnic tables, and restrooms.
Here is a great overview map of the area with the different phases of the projects marked in red (click to zoom):
More information on Phase 2 and a link to the ODOT survey after the jump.
Public Comment sought for Proposed Eugene Off-Street Path Projects
The federally-funded Transportation Enhancement program has historically funded many off-street path projects in Eugene. In the current round of funding, the Oregon Department of Transportation is considering two projects in Eugene out of about 85 applications in total. The public comment period for the Transportation Enhancement (TE) project selection process is now open and will continue through Jan. 28, 2011. The TE program is very competitive, so it is important to weigh in on these projects if you have any comments. Comments will be accepted through an internet survey that is accessible via the ODOT Local Government Section website or directly at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/TE_Public_Comments_Survey_2010. The ODOT Local Government Section web site also has links to the list of projects under consideration, and to copies of the TE applications.
The above mentioned projects are different from the ones recently covered on WBE. Needless to say, positive public input will really help Eugene receive the funding. Read the embedded InMotion for more information.
After the jump I have also embedded the BikeLane Coalition Update, partially headlined: “Bike parking in Eugene Brings Debate; Media Ties “Bike Bridge” to Theft; Bike Tip: Lubricants.”
Both preview last week’s presentation by Mia Burke, which will betray to the reader the slightly dated aspect of this re-post. Sorry, last week was a busy week for us! (WBE is run by clowns, remember?)
ODOT has announced their list of recommended “Flexible Funds Projects” to the Oregon Transportation Committee (OTC). Three different Eugene/Springfield projects made the list while four others did not. The OTC will meet on January 19th to discuss the recommended list (a public hearing) and are expected to announce the final approved list of projects at their February meeting. ODOT received 115 applications requesting over $83 million in funding for this, the first round of funding for the newly created Flexible Funds Program. Proposals were for Transit, Traffic Demand Management (TDM), and Bicycle and Pedestrian projects. They narrowed the list down to 28 recommended projects at just under $21 million in funding. This pot of “flexible funds” is separate from other “Surface Transportation Program” funds or the other recent flex fund project, the Urban Trail Fund, which will bring us some important path connections along the Amazon and River Path systems later this summer. For more information on these new Flex Funds see this FAQ pdf from ODOT.
The three projects on the table for approval include two from LTD, including renovation of the UO transit station ($2.1 million) and a “SmartTrips” marketing program ($90,000) to promote the Gateway EmX Corridor in the Springfield area. The third project is the Fern Ridge Path Rehabilitation and Lighting project from the City of Eugene ($678,800). There are two other area projects that didn’t make the proposed list but are on an “additional priority projects” list. Those include a path for the Middle Fork of the Willamette applied for by Willamalane ($1.86 million) and a “Franklin Corridor” project applied for by LTD ($1.9 million). Finally, there are three other projects from the area that didn’t make any cut: an LTD/point2point Solutions project titled “Hot Wheels- Bike Parking Study”, an LTD project titled “Franklin Corridor,” and Eugene’s “North Bank Path Rehabilitation/Lighting” which would have (finally) improved the path from the DeFazio Bridge over to Leisure Lane (just past the picnic structures in Alton Baker).
On December 8th, I reported that a NW Natural work crew had left an unmarked steel plate in the high-speed downhill bike lane at Fox Hollow and 46th. The following day they finished work and replaced the dangerous steel plate with an asphalt patch. The crew did not bother to grade the asphalt patch level with the rest of the concrete bike lane, creating a dangerous hump in the otherwise pristine bike lane. I cried foul, pointing out that this was an extreme hazard because people on bikes, usually traveling in excess of 25mph in this area, would not expect this hump to come out of nowhere. I tested the hump myself at 25mph on my Xtracycle loaded with groceries and caught air under both my wheels. Needless to say if a 190lb rider can catch air on an 80+ lb bike, this creates quite a hazard for lighter rider on a road bike who may not expect to find themselves suddenly airborne. (if you want to catch air you can always ride on Lorane.)
I reported the hazard using the City’s online hazard reporting form and e-mailed City of Eugene Bike/Ped Coordinator Lee Shoemaker. I also e-mailed NW Natural directly, though they never responded. Thankfully, the city officials listened. The next morning a City of Eugene inspector was at the scene and left a large sign warning of the bump.
Then nothing happened for a little over a month, with the exception that the sign blew over several times until I secured it myself. Finally, around January 12th, NW Natural re-patched the area using concrete and graded it perfectly. I know it was them because their name was on their barricades – which were left in the bike lane overnight and not lit. It took them a month, but NW Natural finally did the right thing (albeit in a dangerous way).
Today (tonight, really), we are going to be talking about the downtown meter rings currently being installed to replace bike parking lost back in October when the the parking meter heads were removed from the new downtown free car parking zone. This has previously been covered by WeBikeEugene here and here.
I’ve re-written this story a few times already, mostly due to new information making the original versions inaccurate. Another thing that you should know is that it currently is 11pm, I’m drinking beer (not enough), listening to circus music on Pandora, and am very tired. These things should combine for an interesting story – I hope. If not – meh – you’re reading a blog run by a clown.
Before you go on, you might also be interested in knowing that my delay in this story has caused me to get scooped by EugeneBicyclist, KEZI, The Eugene Weekly, and the Register-Guard, but thankfully I have a lot of new information to add to the discussion.
Prior to this week I (like almost everyone else involved), was operating on a few assumptions about the meter rings: 1) There wouldn’t be enough meter rings to cover all the blank poles and 2) As a result only meter poles without heads would receive meter rings. Then about a week ago I was eating some late-night Voodoo Doughnuts with the wife and I noticed a meter ring installed on the parking meter out front– a parking meter that still had its head. This made no sense to me. I did a quick survey of the area and found that many poles were still empty, some had no head and a ring, and several pole had rings AND heads. Operating under the assumption that we didn’t have enough rings for the empty poles as it was, I became very confused. What was going on? Had the city gone crazy? Why were they wasting rings on poles that still had their heads?
In a nutshell, there is no intentional delay to get the first three bike corrals installed, it’s just the nature of trying to do something new and different that involves staff people from several different departments.
Some of you wonderfully astute readers may have noticed that there is a discrepancy in WBE reporting about when the downtown bike corrals will be installed. You may remember that in September I reported that the installation of the bike corrals at KIVA (125 W 11th), Cornucopia (5th and Pearl), and Morning Glory Cafe (450 Willamette St) was “currently in queue behind a mass parking meter installation project at the University of Oregon, and should begin sometime in October.” You also may have noticed Shane’s recent article which says that the very same corrals “will be built during a spring fabrication class at LCC and installed during the spring of 2011.”
If you are like me, you probably are wondering, “Hey!… What?” (My inner monologue is not very eloquent.)
Confused, I contacted City of Eugene Associate Transportation Planner David Roth for an explanation. Turns out, neither WBE story is fully correct.