Updated: How Free Car Parking Could Lead to the Loss of 165* Bike Parking Spots

The affected downtown area

On August 11th, the Eugene City Council voted to make car parking downtown free, affective October 1st. The area runs from Willamette St to the east, Lincoln St to the west, Seventh Ave to the north and 11th Ave to the south.  Whether or not this was a good idea is a debate for somewhere else.  Will the possible revitalization of downtown offset the loss of $220,000 a year in parking revenue?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that when things like this went down in other cities (Chicago, Oakland, Sacremento, New York,  Toronto, etc) it sometimes led to a huge decrease in available bike parking.

Why? The removal of parking meters.  According to Jeff Petry, Eugene Parking Services Manager, the City Council has directed that left it up to city staff to decide whether the heads be removed off 288 parking meters downtown. This would make the meters inadequate for bike parking since bike locks could simply be lifted off the pole.  It would be a grave mistake to remove 288* 165 bike parking spots from an already inadequate downtown bike parking scene.

* Update: It was just brought to my attention by Petry that many of the meters are double heads on a single pole, so the actual loss in bike parking would be less than the 288. It’s actually 165 meter poles with 288 meter heads attached to them.

Eugene wouldn’t be the first city to make this mistake.  Take the jump to read about some cities that have made this mistake in the past, and how other cities have avoided it.  This issue is real and it is now, and we have only a few weeks to change the momentum of this project.

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Disciples of Dirt to speak at Monday’s City Council meeting about cycling on the Ribbon Trail, ask for your support

Yellow marks the newly built Ribbon Trail (click for larger picture)

Leaders of  local mountain bike club Disciples of Dirt (DoD) MTB Eugene plan to speak at Monday’s April 26th, Eugene City Council meeting in support of re-opening the Ribbon Trail to cyclists. They will urge the city to reconsider the recent decision, and would like as many cyclists in the audience as possible to help show support.  This is a chance for Eugene’s splintered cycling factions to begin to unite and support each other on key advocacy issues.  The group is meeting in front of the City Council Chambers (on Pearl Street between 7th and 8th) at 7pm to go over details, and then will enter together shortly before the meeting begins at 7:30.

If you can’t make it, you can still view the City Council WebCast

An announcement posted on the DoD webpage explains their position:

Attention Mountain Bikers and Trail Supporters!! In light of the City of Eugene’s recent decision to ban Mountain bikes from the Ribbon trail (the newest addition to the Ridgeline trail system) we are going to go to the Eugene City Council Meeting next Monday to let them know that we are disappointed in this decision. We will present numerous reasons why Mountain bikers should be allowed to share the use of this trail, as well as many of our other local trails. We hope to inform the City Council that this issue is important to many people, and educate them about how more mountain bike trails are consistent with the City’s stated goals and values.

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