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).
Note:The following editorial was written for the Sept 29th issue of BANG! This version is slightly longer and annotated. Elly Blue of Grist and BikePortland published a similar article recently, and I’ve added some of her perspective to mine. You can read her incredible article here.
A Silly Question
One of the biggest debates that we see in the transportation world is whether we should spend money on car infrastructure or bike and pedestrian infrastructure. It’s a common debate, but it’s also silly. It’s silly because those two ideas aren’t mutually exclusive – good bike infrastructure benefits cars and vice-versa. It’s also silly because the debate compares apples to oranges, or more aptly: huge friggin’ GMO hydroponic tomatoes to tiny cherry tomatoes. Car infrastructure is expensive, and bike infrastructure is cheap. Ridiculously cheap. Funding bike infrastructure is the best value per dollar for improving all types of transportation in Eugene. It provides for safe and attractive bike and pedestrian facilities which remove cars from the road and relieve congestion.
If you don’t drive a car, even for some trips, you are subsidizing those who do — by a lot. … To balance the road budget, we need 12 people commuting by bicycle for each person who commutes by car.
Consider this: Portland’s entire 300 miles of bike infrastructure – including bike lanes, paths, and bike boulevards, costs the same as one mile of urban highway. That’s 60 million dollars, if you want real dollar amounts. 60 million dollars for one mile! For the cost of just two miles of urban freeway, Eugene could catch and pass Portland and become the most bike friendly city in the country. This is why any debate around whether or not to fund bike infrastructure is so ridiculous. Cyclists want only pennies compared to what car infrastructure gets.
This Wednesday, the Oregon Department of Transportation will confirm which of the 15 projects it will fund in this, the first year, of the Urban Trail Fund (UTF). Eugene is home to one of three recommended projects by the Oregon Transportation Commission. Eugene’s “Amazon and Willamette River Path Connector” project is expected to construct four important connectors to link the Amazon Path and Willamette River Path with the local street network, transit stops and on-street bike facilities. Lee Shoemaker, City of Eugene Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, said that three of the connections will be to the popular West Bank River Path at Fir Lane, Rasor Park, and Merry Lane. The fourth project will lead from 30th Ave. to the Amazon Path. Read on for more about the UTF and more specifics on the Eugene project.
On Wednesday, March 3rd, Shane Rhodes and Lisa VanWinkle updated the 4J School Board about Safe Routes to School (SRTS) projects within the district, future plans, and projected grant spending. WeBikeEugene was able to obtain the audio from the school board meeting, and Rhodes (a WeBikeEugene contributor) was kind enough re-create his presentation as narrated video for your viewing pleasure.