New Viaduct To Open Friday

The Oregon Department of Transportation will open a new multi-use viaduct path along the Willamette River this Friday. This new viaduct is part of the large I-5 Whilamut bridge project and is one of several multi-use path improvements completed as part of that project.

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The path starts east of the Knickerbocker Bridge and runs along the south side of the Willamette River until it joins a new path that the city of Springfield is building along Franklin Boulevard. The City of Springfield is expected to install a stutter flash crossing of Franklin Boulevard near that connection as well. Though some advocates recommended keeping the existing South Bank Path that crosses under Franklin Boulevard to allow for easier connection for east bound cyclists it will be closed on June 30 so that restoration work can be completed in that area.

ODOT says that the new path “eliminates dangerous curves, improves commuter safety for cyclists, and offers beautiful views of the river and the Whilamut Passage Bridge.”  A new path along the south side of the Willamette River is in the Glenwood master plan and this viaduct will be an important connection once that path is complete and as Springfield continues it’s Glenwood revitalization work.

 

Transportation Enhancement Projects-Part 2: Willamalane

Last week I wrote about the City of Eugene’s Transportation Enhancement projects “Westmoreland Park Path & Lighting” and “Jessen Path & Lighting.”  Another local project that deserves attention and input is Willamalane Park & Recreation District’s $1.6 million “Middle Fork Willamette River Path Phase 2” project.

Currently Willamalane is finishing up phase 1 of this project, which is a 2.4 mile paved path from Clearwater Park to Quarry Creek.  The path is complete and finishing touches of landscaping, fencing, kiosk construction and other amenity additions should be done soon for an estimated opening in April.   The bridge over Quarry Creek is also complete, though the path ends there. The turn-around area at the creek will have a kiosk, picnic tables, and restrooms.

Here is a great overview map of the area with the different phases of the projects marked in red (click to zoom):

More information on Phase 2 and a link to the ODOT survey after the jump.

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Cyclists Take to Other Human Powered Vehicles for River Cleanup

Originally posted on EugeneGEARs.org

Last weekend was the 2nd annual “Great Willamette Clean-Up” and a couple of local cyclists took to some water based human powered crafts to help out in the effort. The River Path is the most important recreation and transportation system in our community, and keeping the river healthy and clean is an important part of it. Here’s a bit of a report back from their work on the “Urban Willamette”:

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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:

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Why Do Cyclists Wear Rubber Boots?

Winter 2009.

When I’m riding eastbound on the south bank of the Willamette River Path, heading towards the Knickerbocker Bridge,  there’s a funny sign that sticks out of the river just past the railroad underpass. I use that sign as an informal way to track the height of the river. In the summer, you can see a lot of the pole below the yellow sign itself. Even when the river is running pretty high in the winter, you can usually make out at least the top of the sign. Well, we’ve been having rather a lot of rain this June. This Friday morning on the way to work, I rode under the railroad trestle and noticed something new:  my little sign was totally underwater.

And then I noticed that the path was underwater, as well. Here’s how it looked around 9:30 on Friday morning:

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Water lapping at the South Bank river trail

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Introducing the Willamette River Open Space Vision: The possible future of cycling in Eugene and Springfield

GEARs inspects the Willamette River Open Space Vision

The Lane Council of Government’s (LCOG)  Willamette River Open Space Vision has been making the rounds lately and will be presented to local elected officials in June.  It is a vision of what citizens would like the area to look like in 20 years, and LCOG is trying to gain as many community endorsements of possible in order to give the plan some momentum and “heft.”

This vision is broad;  it encompasses river flow and health, agriculture, food security, transportation, and many other things. It also provides a great wish list for future bike paths and routes in the area, including some already scheduled for construction.  Take the jump for exciting details.

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