Construction underway for Willamette Street ‘road diet’

If you haven’t noticed, construction has begun on south Willamette Street, the first steps toward the test of a “road diet” on the stretch from 24th to 29th streets.

construction

Preliminary work is underway on south Willamette Street, leading up to the re-striping.

The street will be reconfigured from four auto lanes to three auto lanes with bike lanes.

The actual re-striping of the road probably won’t happen until late March or early April, said Chris Henry, Transportation Planning Engineer for the city. Other work needs to happen first, he said, including widening the road at 24th and installing a traffic light at the driveway into Woodfield Station, the shopping area anchored by Market of Choice.

The widening at 24th is now underway. That will allow for the continuation of the southbound bike lane, which now ends at 23rd. The widening will also make room for a left-turn pocket for cars headed south on Willamette and wanting to turn left on 24th.

While the “test” road diet does not include repaving the street (that will happen in a few years), the city is also reparing some of the worst cracks and drainage problems that would have been in the new bike lanes.

share_the_road

Driveway lips have been ground smoother.

Some of that work is already done. Workers have also ground a number of driveway lips, to make it easier to turn a bike off the road into a business driveway.

The stretch of Willamette in question sees about 14000 automobile trips per day. That’s about 2,000 less than the older figure that was used when the street was initially studied and the road diet was proposed.

Because of vocal oppostion to the idea of a road diet from some businesses on Willamette, the City Council voted in 2014 to test the idea for a year. The council will take up the issue again in summer 2017 after reviewing how the street functioned under the test, and also considering results from an economic impact study of area businesses that is being conducted by the Community Service Center at the University of Oregon.

All of that will lead to a decision on how to re-stripe the street when it is fully repaved in 2018.

Eugene’s temporary traffic engineer to travel to Europe to learn more about Vision Zero

Eugene’s soon-to-be acting traffic engineer has won a fellowship to study road safety efforts in Sweden and Denmark next fall, according to the Jan. 28 Eugene City Council Newsletter.

matt_rodriguesMatt Rodrigues won a $2,000 award for travel expenses for the trip from the American Public Works Association’s Jennings Randolph International Fellowship.

Rodrigues will become Eugene’s acting-in-capacity Traffic Engineer beginning Feb. 1, filling the job vacated after Tom Larsen resigned following news that he had operated without a current engineering license for a number of years.

Rodrigues will specifically study how Vision Zero has been implemented in Sweden. Vision Zero is an effort to end fatalities and serious injuries on the streets. It originated in Sweden, and the Eugene City Council adopted Vision Zero as city policy this past November.

This sounds like good news for Eugene, a sign that staff will begin looking seriously at how to implement Vision Zero in Eugene. Done right, it should have a number of implications for people who walk or ride bikes.

Eugene’s traffic engineer has significant authority over the city’s public rights of way, and generally has to approve projects that improve conditions for bikes and pedestrians.

City may extend Lincoln Street bike lane south to 13th

The city is looking to fill a bike-lane gap on Lincoln Street when the road is repaved this summer.

The street now has a bike lane north of 11th, and is a commonly used northbound bike route into downtown and the Whitaker. But the stretch from 13th to 11th avenues has no bicycle facilities at all, though many people on bikes access that stretch of Lincoln from 13th, the 12th Avenue bicycle boulevard, or the neighborhood along Lincoln south of 13th.

To add a bike lane, city staff would need to remove on-street parking on the east side of those two blocks.

cyclist-on-lincoln

Looking north on Lincoln, approaching the light at 11th Avenue.

City Transportation Planning staff has received a couple of letters from organizations on the street, encouraging the installation of a bike lane, one of them noting, “I talked to some of our neighbors in adjoining buildings, and write to say many of us strongly support a bike lane. … I’ve worked in our office … for nearly 16 years. … In my experience, the street parking spaces are very rarely all occupied. … By contrast, I do think that for safety purposes, Lincoln should have a dedicated bike lane on its east side. … Without a dedicated bike lane, the northbound bicyclists lack a truly safe, clear space to reach the dedicated bike lane on the north side of 11th.”

Removal of on-street parking requires an “administrative order” from the city traffic engineer. Staff must collect data about the use of parking spaces in the area before removal, and discuss the removal with neighbors. This work is underway.

Over the past few years, Eugene has removed on-street parking to improve bicycle facilities on several streets, including portions of 24th, 18th and Fifth avenues.

The stretch of Lincoln from Fifth to 13th avenues is scheduled to be repaved in summer 2016 as part of Eugene’s five-year Pavement Bond Measure. Repaving projects often present opportunities to add bike lanes or other improvements at very little additional cost, since the street will be re-striped anyway.

Long-term city transportation plans envision a two-way separated “cycletrack” on Lincoln from Fifth to 13th.

Worst places in Eugene for bike theft

The worst place in Eugene for having a bike stolen over the past two years? South Eugene High School tops the list with 34 reported thefts in 2014-2015.

Eugene Public Library came in at No. 2 with 24 reported thefts, and the new Capstone apartment complex was third with 17. Here’s a map showing the 10 spots in town with the most reported bike thefts from Jan. 1, 2014 through Dec. 31, 2015. (Click on the numbers to see details).

The rest of the top 10 (from a theft report provided the Eugene Police Commission):

  • Stadium Park Apartments, 90 Commons Drive (16 reported thefts)
  • 5th Street Public Market, 296 E. Fifth Ave. (15)
  • Ducks Village, 3224 Kinsrow Ave. (14)
  • YMCA, 2055 Patterson St. (14)
  • Wal-mart, 4550 W. 11th Ave. (10)
  • Parkside Apartments, 4075 Aerial Way (10)
  • Spencer View Apartments, 2250 Patterson St. (10)

Eugene One Pedal Stroke Closer to Bikeshare

Screenshot 2015-01-09 11.48.16

Bike Share may be coming to Eugene. Last year there was a lot of movement and discussion of bringing bike share to Eugene. A bike share feasibility study was completed, the University of Oregon moved forward with a four station, forty bike project, and at the same time the City of Eugene applied for funding from ConnectOregon for it’s portion of a bike share system. However, also in 2014 the University project has been stalled with some red tape and the City didn’t receive the ConnectOregon funds. However, it looks like 2015 might be the year that bike share makes a big move forward in Eugene. The ConnectOregon funds might just happen and with them a renewed push from the newly hired University of Oregon Bike Program Director could bring a complete system to Eugene sooner rather than later. Here’s how it might happen: Continue reading “Eugene One Pedal Stroke Closer to Bikeshare”

New ORCycle App to Help Create Better Biking Around Oregon

Below is a press release and flyer that ODOT released last week about a new app they’ve helped develop that will give planners and researchers data from volunteers who it on their smartphones. Not only will it collect route selection and reason for choosing certain routes but it also allows users to give feedback about crashes, safety or infrastructure issues. Josh Roll from LCOG, who helped develop the local CycleLane app is on the advisory committee for this new app and he’s excited about the potential of this new tool for cyclists throughout the state. ODOT will pass the data onto LCOG and city agencies to help them in their planning efforts.

I’ve used the app for a couple days now, including for my commute and a ride out to Mt. Pisgah. Once you finish a route and go to save it you’re asked a few questions about the route and why you choose it and different questions about the route. I haven’t used it to report any hazards or issues yet. I would still use the iBikeEugene app to report leaves or other road hazards locally as I know those get more immediate response from the city but this new app looks like a great tool. The more people use it the better data we have so download the app and help some planners out.

 

New ‘ORcycle app’ lets bicycle riders share
valuable information
Planners, researchers will use voluntary data to help make decisions
 
SALEM — Gathering valuable data about how bicyclists use the transportation system has always been a challenge. Starting Nov. 10, a new Smartphone app created by the Transportation Technology and People (TTP) lab at Portland State University, in partnership with ODOT, will provide data that can help planners and others make decisions based on users’ feedback and facts never before gathered in one place. The goal of the app, called ORcycle, is to get cycling data from people who ride bicycles voluntarily contributing via their Smartphone, from anywhere in the state.
 
ORcycle lets participants record cycling trips, display maps of the rides, and provide feedback regarding crashes, safety, or infrastructure issues – data which transportation planners currently lack in sufficient quantity. Prior to ORcycle, there was no systematic way to receive feedback regarding bicycle route safety or riders’ comfort level with bike lanes, routes, signals, etc.  By opening the app and recording data whenever convenient, riders will be submitting data to the ORcycle program. Transportation planners across the state will then be able to access the aggregated data to better design, build or upgrade bicycle facilities and other bicycle-related projects.
 
The app follows a strict privacy policy and does not ask for a name or address, and users have control over the data they are sharing. The ORcycle app can be downloaded fromGoogle Play (android) or Apple’s App Store (iOS for iPhones).  More info about the app is available at http://www.pdx.edu/transportation-lab/orcycle.
 
ORCycle App Flyer

Controlled Ecological Burn Closes Portion of Fern Ridge Bike Path Today

The Bureau of Land Management is planning a controlled ecological burn on a section of Willamette Daisy Meadow today immediately adjacent to the Fern Ridge Bike Path. As a result, the path will need to close temporarily during operations.  The path will be closed at the south end at the intersection of the bike path with Terry St. and at the north end where the path crosses the railroad tracks. See the attached map for more details.  The path will be closed for approximately two to three hours starting around noon.

Throughout the Willamette Valley ecological burns are used as a restoration tool to protect valuable biological diversity in prairie and savanna ecosystems. This site has one of the largest populations of Willamette Valley daisy, an endangered species, left in the world. Removal of standing dead vegetation also benefits the community by decreasing the chances of uncontrolled wildfire at the wildland-urban interface.

Ecological burns are managed by experienced and highly trained fire crews.

CONTACTS:
Burn related information contact Bureau of Land Management Public Affairs Officer Jennifer Velez at 541-232-9241

Path closure information contact Natural Resources Supervisor Trevor Taylor at 541-912-5755

UO Bike Program Unveils Repair Trike

To celebrate Earth Week, and to continue in their great program growth, the University of Oregon’s Bike Program is unveiling their new “Mobile Repair Trike” today.  The trike is a collaboration of the Center for Appropriate Transportation (CAT), the Student Sustainability Coalition, and the UO Bike Program.

UO Mobile Repair Trike (photo by Alexander Hongo)

UO Mobile Repair Trike (photo by Alexander Hongo)

The three-wheeled bike features a metal box integrated into the handlebars. The lid of the box slides to one side to serve as a worktable. When extended, a pegboard full of tools slides up within the mechanic’s reach. A lower compartment can store three collapsible bike stands. The tricycle itself is made to haul heavy loads while still being comfortable for any rider. Other nice features include an Alfine 8-speed internal hub and Avid Disc Brakes with a lock setting for parking.

Matt Keller, UO Bike Program Lead Mechanic said, “It will allow us to work on a lot of bikes where they are, so we don’t have to move them.”  This will be particularly important, he says, when the UO Bike share system is online. That bike share system has been delayed with contract negotiations but is speculated to open sometime over the next year (hopefully soon…).

The Mobile Repair Trike will also be used for free repair events on campus and in the community, according to Keeler, like the one happening today from 10 AM – 4 PM across from Lillis Business School on 13th Avenue. Students and community members can stop by with their bikes to have a free safety check from Bike Program staff and volunteers. Anyone stopping will also be able to take a look at the new Mobile repair bike up close and learn more about the UO Bike Program. Continue reading “UO Bike Program Unveils Repair Trike”

Velo Posse Recovers Stolen Bike. Thieves Beware

Let me tell you a little story about my stolen bicycle. It’s rare to have good news about a bicycle theft but I’ll tell you from the outset this story ends happily. It all started on a typical night (Thursday January 16th). I had ridden my Surly Long Haul Trucker Xtracycle this day, even though for the past few weeks I’d been riding the new Bike Friday Haul-a-Day.  The brakes were rubbing a bit on the Haul-a-Day and I didn’t need to use the Hooptie to pick up the kids so I rode my classic steed. First a little background on the bike.  I’ve had this bike since I worked at Pedal Express in Berkeley, California. Originally the Xtracycle was on an aluminum cyclocross frame in 2002 but I broke that from all the hard work I put it through (like racing it in the Cycle Messenger World Championships in Seattle in 2003). In 2004 I upgraded to the Surly Long Haul Trucker and the first major trip with it was the day Missy proposed to me at Hawk Camp in the Marin Headlands. Since then I’ve ridden that bike on a trip in the Czech Republic, on our Honeymoon in the Yucatan Peninsula, on our “All Around US” circumnavigation of the country, on countless errands/commute trips, many camping trips and eventually carrying all three of our kids on it. Needless to say it’s a pretty damn important bike.   CMWCSEA2003Xtracycle Cargo Continue reading “Velo Posse Recovers Stolen Bike. Thieves Beware”

New to UofO and down a bike?

Just a reminder to all the returning college students: This is not a safe environment to leave your bike! Ideally, bikes should be indoors at night and locked up with a u-lock during the day. Cable locks alone are useless.

If you live around the Courtside Apartments and your bike came up missing this morning, you might want to check the homeless camp on the tracks upstream and behind the Holiday Inn. This morning (5:40am) I saw a guy walking past Dutch Bros. on Franklin toward the river with two bikes. They didn’t look like his.