[updated] Action Alert: Lorane Highway Being Repaved Without Room for Bikes

Update: We received a response from the city.  Click the “more” link to see it and keep writing e-mails.

I received important this e-mail from a WBE reader:

I am not sure if you are aware that Lorane Hwy is going to be resurfaced from 29th to Chambers starting in May.

It was believed that when Lorane Hwy was improved it would have an uphill bike lane and a sidewalk for pedestrians as put forth in the Eugene Master Plan.

However, they have decided to do a resurfacing job that will cover the existing surface of 18-20ft with no shoulder at all and no sidewalk.  The average life of the resurfacing job is expected to be 16 years.

To me this is unacceptable given Lorane is the gentle gateway to the south hills and the Crow and Lorane Valleys.  The traffic calming that they have put on the Crest Drive project has pushed commuter traffic elsewhere. When commuters  find out Lorane is no longer full of pot holes we will get more traffic at faster speeds on this narrow winding road.   To date the pot holes have kept cars to a minimum and the local traffic at slow speeds. That will all change once the pot holes are gone.  Those of us who bike and walk along Lorane will be put at higher risk.

I am not sure where you are with WBE but if you are still sending things out maybe a notice about what is happening would get more people to question public works about the plan so they think of measures to protect bicyclists and pedestrians.

Additionally:

We were told by Chris Henry that because it is under the heading of maintenance it is not considered as anything other than that. […] Of course a 16 year fix keeping the status quo is what we are concerned about with a 1930’s roadway serving a 2013 population.

E-mail the project manager Katie Martwitz here, and Eugene Public Works here.

The project fact sheet is here.

Continue reading “[updated] Action Alert: Lorane Highway Being Repaved Without Room for Bikes”

Road Signs and Bike Lanes: A How-To Guide

18th St. 1
There is no need to block the bike lane to tell bikes to merge. We can figure that out on our own. Also, at our slower speeds we don’t need to merge 1/4 mile before the construction, we can do it later.

For at least four years I’ve been communicating with city officials and documenting road signs blocking  bike lanes, and the problem still isn’t fixed. For this reason I’ve created this guide so the city can train their employees and subcontractors. If you see a sign violating this guide please take a picture and report it using the mobile app, or report it online, or call the Eugene maintenance line at (541 )682-4800 and complain. If you can please note the subcontractor who is making the violation and when/where it occurred.

Before I get to the pictures, let me explain why this is such a big deal:

  • This is about safety – the bike lanes exist on these busy streets for a reason. “Just going around the sign” is much easier said then done, especially during rush hour, periods of low visibility for car drivers, on fast downhills, s-l-0-w uphills, and with multitudes of aggressive car drivers.
  • This is about families – if you want to increase ridership, you have to let people feel safe and not kick them out of the bike lane needlessly. Not everyone feels able to take the lane or can ride the speed of traffic. A ten-year-old or parent with two kids on their bike can’t always “just go around the sign.”
  • This is about predicable behavior – car drivers don’t expect bikers to weave in and out of lanes, and can rarely take our perspective and predict our behavior. They certainly can’t predict the behavior of a ten-year-old encountering these signs while biking to school.
  • This is about respect – “Car lanes” are never blocked until the last possible moment, and we want the same consideration. It’s wrong to risk the lives of people on bikes to send a message to people in cars. There are other ways and this guide shows how.
  • This it not about hating road construction in general or wanting special treatment.
  • This is not anti-road sign. I like signs, I just want them to be in the correct place.
  • This is not about blocking the sidewalk – when that is an issue this guide clearly shows that you can use the sign to straddle the bike lane and sidewalk so both users have room. I’m well versed in ADA.

Click “more” to see the rest of the guide.

 

Continue reading “Road Signs and Bike Lanes: A How-To Guide”

Canoe Canal Path Closure

The following is a press release sent in from John Lively with CAWOOD.

The Canoe Canal Path under Interstate 5 will be closed Monday, Aug. 1 through Friday, Aug. 26.

During the closure, path users will be detoured to the reopened North Bank Path through the Willamette River Bridge construction zone. Signs and flaggers will direct path users to the detour.

The closure will allow contractors to lower the walls of the Canoe Canal and make other path changes to prepare for construction of the new northbound I-5 Willamette River Bridge.

The Canoe Canal Path will reopen on Aug. 27, and the North Bank Path under I-5 will once again be closed.

A Busy Summer Ahead? Add Three More Projects to the Potential List.

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.

Fern Ridge Path up for Rehab

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).

Here’s a bit more on the three projects that are on the table for approval (quoted information from ODOT): Continue reading “A Busy Summer Ahead? Add Three More Projects to the Potential List.”

NW Natural Repairs Fox Hollow Bike Lane

The New (very nice) Concrete Patch

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).

Continue reading “NW Natural Repairs Fox Hollow Bike Lane”

Safety Hazard: Fox Hollow @ 46th (Updated)

Update:  It’s now been replaced by an asphalt hump.  Take the jump for more

This isn’t a great week for people on bikes as far as construction is concerned.  First, people on bikes were directed head-on into cars by construction on Pearl and 5th;  now construction has place a huge, slick, unmarked metal plate (with a hole in the middle) in the high-speed downhill bike lane on Fox Hollow Rd just downhill of 46th St.

The unmarked steel plate in the downhill bike lane

I can only assume this is temporary and only during off-hours since there were flaggers in that spot this morning.   I hope flaggers will be there by the time the morning commute starts tomorrow so people on bike don’t hit the plate. In the meantime, people riding down Fox Hollow need to be very careful.

The slick plate is surrounded by 1-2 inch deep loose black asphalt/gravel.  A cyclist going typical speed down that hill (25-30mph) will first cut through that gravel, then their wheel will hit the metal plate lip, and if they survive that they’ll find themselves on a gravely slick metal plate with a hole in the middle.  I know because I tested it as slow speed, and hitting the plate was like hitting small curb.

As of 5pm this plate is now invisible due to darkness and unmarked (except by a construction sign that I moved near it myself, but it’s unlit and mostly invisible, and doesn’t indicate the presence of a plate.)

People are usually warned of steel plates in the road.

I’m more that a little frustrated, because everywhere else in Eugene when I’ve seen metal plates in the road signs have been used to warn people in cars of their presence.  People on bikes are far more at risk from these plates then people in cars, so I don’t understand why a plate in the bike lane wasn’t accompanied with a warning sign and flashing light.  I know it was most likely just a mistake/oversight, but this could really hurt someone.

I already reported it to the City Maintenance Line as well as to City Planner David Roth, who has already saved us from one construction snafu this week when he directed city workers to remove the bike lane marking that led bikes directly into oncoming cars at Pearl.

Updated (take the jump)

Continue reading “Safety Hazard: Fox Hollow @ 46th (Updated)”

Pearl Bike Lane Temporarily Gone @ 5th St.

Editors Note: The following story was submitted to WeBikeEugene by EugeneBicyclist.com in an effort to spread awareness about this potential hazard.  The post also appears on his site.

The disappearing bike lane

Posted on December 7, 2010 by Eugene Bicyclist
Here’s a hazard you don’t run across every day: You are coming home from work, a bit weary, in the dark, and set about making a habitual left turn into a bike lane that … that … whoa, what’s that pair of headlights? Coming straight at me!

This happened Monday evening. I rode west on Fifth Avenue, past Fifth Street Market, as I often do. I approached the four-way stop at Pearl, right in front of Lucky Noodle, slowed and got ready to turn left onto Pearl.

Pearl, just south of Fifth, has that bike lane in the middle of the street, between the north and southbound vehicle lanes. I turned south, toward the bike lane. I do this all the time.

This is when I noticed the headlights. I quickly veered right, into the auto traffic lane. And then I pulled over and stopped to figure out what had just happened.

After some rough cocktail napkin calculations, I concluded that the bike lane that used to be here is gone. I returned to the scene the morning after…

Continue reading “Pearl Bike Lane Temporarily Gone @ 5th St.”

Canal/1-5 Bridge/River Path Construction Alert

If you commute or ride between Eugene and Springfield on the River Path and/or Canal Path you’ll need to allow extra time Monday and Tuesday.

From ODOT:

Canoe Canal Path User Alert

The Canoe Canal Path under I-5 will be closed on Monday, September 13 and Tuesday, September 14, as the contractor demolishes the remaining old Canoe Canal Bridge.  During the closure, path users will be detoured to the North Bank Path through the major Willamette River Bridge construction zone.  The route will include traveling on a very rough construction road.  For that section, riders must dismount and walk their bikes through the zone. Flaggers will be posted to assist.

Traffic will return to the Canoe Canal Path at night when construction activity is not taking place. The path re-opens September 15, subject to delays as the clean up of the demolition is completed.  Flaggers will control path traffic during the clean up.

Stay safe, and remember: Flaggers are our Friends.

More updates: http://willametteriverbridge.blogspot.com

UO Campus Street Repairs and Closures

WBE’s slowdown will continue throughout much of August, but we will try and repost important information as much as possible during this time.  This letter was posted on the GEARs google group by a UO staffer.

Aug. 2, 2010

To: UO faculty and staff

From: UO Office of Communications

Subject: Construction work to impact Agate Street and 15th Avenue

Continue reading “UO Campus Street Repairs and Closures”

Whoa Nellie, possible 20 minute delays on the Canal Path Wednesday and Thursday

This following message has been making the rounds, warning Canal Path users of even more congestion on the River Path under 1-5.  If that’s part of your commute plan extra time on Wednesday and Thursday.

Expect longer delays than usual June 23 and 24 on the Canoe Canal Path as it passes under Interstate 5. Contractors for the Oregon Department of Transportation will be using cranes to place bridge beams for the new I-5 Canoe Canal Bridge. Flaggers will direct all path traffic to ensure safety. Delays of up to 20 minutes will occur. Please obey all signage and flaggers for your safety. Path users in the Whilamut Natural Area will experience future path delays as needed to maintain safety within the construction zone.