Fall is perhaps the most dangerous time of year for cyclists in Eugene. The days get shorter and the rain returns – requiring car drivers to pay more attention to the road and our safety. It’s not unusual for a bike commuter to ride both to and from work in the dark, and the window for daylight recreational cycling shrinks to less then 12 hours.
And then there’s the leaves… and acorns, and sticks, and rocks, and whatever else happens to drop or get blown in to the bike lane this time of year. The leaves stack up, hiding potholes and other debris, or stay thin and wet, making an ice-like surface. Sometimes they pack deceptively tight and kick your wheels out to the side like you’ve hit a curb – making even minimally blocked lanes dangerous. Bike lanes often become unridable, especially at night, forcing riders to “take the lane” or risk a crash.
Luckily for us, the City of Eugene is on our side. 2010 is the second year of the City’s new leaf program. The new program (originally reported on by the Register-Guard in 2009) is a marked change from the program previous to 2009, which actually encouraged people to pile leaves in the bike lanes. The fliers distributed by the City even had a graphic of leaves neatly stacked in the middle of a bike lane, somehow still leaving room for a cyclist and water drainage.
Take the jump to find out what changed, and how you can report blocked bike lanes and paths.
Before we get this article underway, I’d like to acknowledge that I am, indeed, blatantly ripping off the idea for this feature from BikePortland. If you can’t beat ’em (and who could?) join ’em copy ’em.
Today’s question stems from a hodgepodge of posts that showed up on the GEARs mailing list over the last few days. Posts like:
“The River Trails were great yesterday! However, the leaves are falling at a good rate and are starting to cover the pavement in spots, really well, hiding those areas that may cause someone to fall or worse.”
“I’d love to know the answer to how often they clear off the river paths. I roller blade (yesterday) as well as bike (today on my rain bike – ’93 Specialized Rockhopper) and last winter I was EXTREMELY PLEASED to find the paths occasionally cleared. Or maybe it was my imagination? Or maybe it was the wind? I really don’t know. Does anyone?”
So how often does the City clear the leaves on the off-street (multi-use) bike paths? Did the budget cuts which we were warned about back in April affect this schedule? What can we do when we encounter a path blocked by leaves?
These are the questions that I asked the City of Eugene’s intrepid Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Lee Shoemaker. I summarize and expand on his answers after the jump!
Good day, wonderful people. As you may have noticed by our plethora of recent articles (sort of), our summer slowdown has mostly ended. Yay!
I wanted to give a quick shoutout to the other area bike blogs that helped pickup WBE’s slack over the summer, and which continue to be a joy to read. These blogs are different from the GEARs, SRTS, and EugeneWeekly blogs (viewable in RSS form on the right of this page) in that they focus more on culture and less on news.
I’ve mentioned EugeneBicyclist.com before (I think) but I feel like mentioning it again. The man behind it is a mystery (oooh, spooky!), but I’m pretty sure he isn’t a zombie. If he is a zombie, and he eats you, I’m sorry. Not that it would be my fault if he DID eat you, but more because I’m sure being eaten is not an enjoyable thing and I would most likely feel empathy for you.
Another newish Eugene cycle blog is Eugene Cycle Chic, a blog featuring pictures of Eugenians in their utter hotness riding their bikes, or something like that. It’s like a Eugene version of Copenhagen Cycle Chic – the main difference being that Eugene riders sometimes wear helmets and probably don’t speak dutch danish. I’ve yet to find a picture of me on Eugene Cycle Chic, but I think it’s because I’m too pretty and they don’t want to make other people feel embarrassed.
The City of Eugene’s InMotion continues to make our job easier by condensing tons of information into a wonderful little newsletter. There is a lot of information in this one (posted in full after the jump), but the following bit of information has me very excited. It’s something I’ve been asking for for awhile, they promised us in March, and now they’ve finally delivered!
Online hazard reporting directly to the city – available when the city hotline (541-682-4800) is closed! This can be used to report glass, debris, etc 24/7! Quoted:
New Online App Offers Easy Way to Report Bike Lane Problems
A new web-based application makes it easy for cyclists to report problems and request maintenance services in Eugene’s bike lanes. The bike lane service application is located at www.eugeneâ€or.gov/pwm (look for the bike lane service icon). It is one of six online services (the others are report nuisance vegetation, report a pothole, get notified when street is scheduled to be swept, report graffiti, and request leaf delivery) now offered by the Eugene Public Works Department
All of the service request applications use a map-based system. Customers enter a street address to generate a marker “pin” that can be dragged to an exact location. Customers fill in an easy online form that includes a notes field. The final step is to click the “submit” button, which automatically sends the request to the correct work group. For more information about the bike lane service request application, contact the Public Works Maintenance Division at email@example.com or call 541-682-4800.
Take the jump to view the entire InMotion newsletter.