Longtime No-See Wrapup: The Fern Ridge Path Tries to Escape into the River, GEARs Cycling Classes for Stop-Sign Runners, Eugene`s TE Grant Hopes Dashed – Willamalane Still Running, and the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide

Hey folks! I haven’t posted in awhile, but luckily Shane has kept the site alive.  I have a few weeks before grad school forces me back into hiding, so I’m going to try to cover as much as possible before then.  A lot has been going on!

Photo Stolen Blatantly from EugeneBicyclist.com (click to embiggen)

Firstly, remember how the Fern Ridge Bike Path is falling into the River?  I first posted about it almost exactly a year ago (when I had time to run this site) with an article that explained how incredibly dangerous the area is and why City fixed only the less dangerous part of the Fern Ridge Path the following (last) summer.  Eugene Transportation Planner Dave Roth said that fixing the section between Chambers and Garfield was a much more expensive project because it would require a re-routing of the path: “The path is too close to the stream, so what happens is the stream kind of erodes that side, and every year it’s sinking.  That path is sinking and falling off the edge.”

The good news is that Eugene used a rapid readiness grant last year to do all the background research and planning to fix that area, so it’s now a “shovel ready” project that is just waiting for the money.  This is good, since the path is now literally falling into the river, and the cracks threaten to swallow not only tires but entire joggers.  But wait, there’s more!

Continue reading “Longtime No-See Wrapup: The Fern Ridge Path Tries to Escape into the River, GEARs Cycling Classes for Stop-Sign Runners, Eugene`s TE Grant Hopes Dashed – Willamalane Still Running, and the NACTO Urban Bikeway Design Guide”

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.”

Ask WeBikeEugene: Who Yields at ‘Bike Path’ Crosswalks?

Who stops?
Who yields?

Today’s Ask WeBikeEugene segment answers a question that I asked myself:

I had an interesting interaction with a car driver a few weeks ago at the intersection of the Fern Ridge Bike Path and City View St, where the path has a grade level street crossing and also switches sides of the river. This interaction went far better than an interaction I wrote about last summer, but also raised an interesting question: Exactly who has the right-of-way when the bike paths crosses the road with a crosswalk, the biker or the driver?

In practice, whoever has the right-of-way at these crossings really doesn’t matter. The WBE-recommended method for handling these crossings on a bike is to slow down, make eye contact with any approaching drivers, and then do whatever the driver expects you to do – either cross or stop. Obviously if they stop, you go, and if they go, then you stop. This method keeps everyone alive and happy, and has served me well for years – but what does the law say?

Continue reading “Ask WeBikeEugene: Who Yields at ‘Bike Path’ Crosswalks?”

Eugene Bicycle History Online at City of Eugene Website

Note: I began writing this article back in May but kept postponing it due to a constant flow of more time-sensitive stories.  The recent passing of Ruth Bascom has made the publishing of this article important.   It seems that the majority of the bike infrastructure we all enjoy today came about during the 70’s, and Bascom was instrumental in this process.

I’ve been poking around looking at Eugene and Springfield cycling history recently, my interested piqued by a reader sending in this old story from 1978 about a woman being arrested in Springfield for riding her bike in the street.

“Eugene engineers, planners, law enforcement officers, and citizens explain the successful bicycle program of Oregon’s second largest city.  Twelve monographs examine the planning, design, construction, and use of Eugene’s bikeway system.”  -from 1981’s “Bicycles in Cities,” put out by the City of Eugene

Quite accidentally, I discovered that the City of Eugene bicycling website has an online archive of old “Bicycles in Cities – A Eugene Perspective” monographs. From what I can tell, the 12 volume set was originally published in 1981 in individual newsletter form.  They cover a wide range of topics – from the existence of a late 70’s bicycle committee, the previous bicycle master plan, why we have left side and contra-flow bike lanes, the building of the Willamette bridges, the Fern Ridge and River Paths, and many other things.  In fact, is appears that the majority of the infrastructure that we have today came about in the 1970’s.

The monographs are full of great pictures and amazing stories, and at only 4 pages each are a must-read for anyone interested in local history, advocacy, or biking in general.  We can learn from our past – or at the very least enjoy the 70’s era cartoons and vintage bicycles.  Give it a read, and then lets try to make 2010-2020 another 1970-1980.

Continue for an episode guide:

Continue reading “Eugene Bicycle History Online at City of Eugene Website”

Poll: Do you want lights on the North Bank Path through East Alton Baker Park?

The area in question is highlighted in pinkish

The June 10th Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (BPAC) meeting was – and I know I probably over-use this word – silly.  I’ve only been attending public planning meetings for a few months now, but it never ceases to amaze me how emotional people get when discussing how to get from point “a” to point “b”.   City planners are tasked with the job of making everyone happy, which is hard when even the people in the bicycling community don’t always agree, and at the last BPAC meeting they disagreed quite a bit.

Due to my masterful use of “article-title foreshadowing” you have no-doubt figured out that the issue which caused quarrel was the discussion over the possibility of adding lights to the River Path through East Alton Baker park and the Whilamut Natural Area.

Read on for details and to take WeBikeEugene’s first poll!

Continue reading “Poll: Do you want lights on the North Bank Path through East Alton Baker Park?”

Police Seeking Witnesses to Tuesday Bike Path Assault

Tuesday’s Fern Ridge bike path assault saga continues with this press release by the Eugene Police Department: (emphasis mine)

Police Seeking Witnesses to Tuesday’s Bike Path Assault

Case No. 10-9171

Eugene Police investigators are seeking any witnesses to a bike path assault that happened on Tuesday, June 8, around 9 a.m. at the Fern Ridge bike path, east of Acorn Park. A 52-year-old bicyclist reported an encounter with two pedestrians in which one of them made deliberate contact with him as he was trying to pass, causing him to crash. He left to get medical attention for his facial injuries, but he said there was a possible witness to the incident. At least two other bicyclists also reported similar encounters in the same general area that morning.

Eugene Police Crime Prevention and Patrol staff have been working with Eugene Parks and Open Space to mitigate tall grass and obstacles. Unusually wet environmental conditions have made it unsafe to use large mowing equipment. A Lane County Sheriff’s Office work crew will be in the area clearing vegetation by hand on Monday, June 14. Bicyclists and pedestrians should be aware of potential congestion during that time.

If anyone witnessed the incident they are asked to help by calling 541.953.9323.

KEZI and the Register-Guard have also picked up the story.

As previously reported by WBE, several people, including myself, had run-ins with these people on Tuesday.  The police have the names of the assailants and have ticketed them for menacing (thanks to the work of other cyclists), but do not have direct witnesses of this assault, so it appears that they can go no further.   Since the case is still open, the police are reluctant to release the names of the assailants.

Fern Ridge Bike Path Scheduled for Partial Repair Summer 2010

The 2010 Fern Ridge Path Plans (click for a bigger image)

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.

Continue reading “Fern Ridge Bike Path Scheduled for Partial Repair Summer 2010”