Worst road for bicycling

I’d been asking myself: What’s the worst stretch of road in Eugene to ride a bike on (especially one that doesn’t have a ready alternative)?

No contest for me: I nominate the mess that is Willamette Street between 18th and 29th avenues — one of the few places where it doesn’t annoy me to see a capable, full-grown person riding a bicycle on the sidewalk.

I avoid that stretch at all costs, even if it means a trip to Capella Market requires going way out of my way to the Amazon bike path by South Eugene High, or lugging the bike trailer, weighed down with a couple bags of groceries and a kid or two, up and over College Hill.

Then on Sunday (Aug. 1), I noticed an article in The Register-Guard that says the city of Eugene is working up a “Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan,” and they want the public to weigh in.

Given my last post, you may think I’m skeptical of plans, planners and planning. Well, I’m skeptical of fever-dream renderings that envision Springfield rebuilt as Copenhagen.

But at least Eugene seems to be asking people to note specific problems. That is, they’re asking people to complain. You can’t go wrong asking Americans to complain. We have a constitutional right to complain — or as the Founding Fathers tactfully put it, “petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Which basically means we can complain our butts off and no one can ever stop us.

So I went to the city’s site to leave my comment about south Willamette Street on the Google map there, and I see that someone named “Jesse” beat me to it.

This is one of the most bike unfriendly corridors that I encounter. … My dream is to have bike lanes from 18th to 29th (perhaps beyond) …

That pretty much nails how I feel about it.

Do you have other nominees for worst stretch of road for bike travel (without a convenient alternative)? Leave it in a comment. (And go to the city website and exercise your right to complain there, too.)

Maybe I’ll go ride them all and report back, assuming I survive.

13 thoughts on “Worst road for bicycling

  1. Willamette South of 18th. Without a doubt.

    It’s a major north south arterial, and pretty much unavoidable if you live on the east side of college hill or South of 28th and want to ride a bike downtown but don’t live within easy reach of one of the access points for the amazon bike path.

    Getting to any of the major destinations on Willamette on a bike is a hazardous endeavor, and there are so many good places there.

  2. Franklin Blvd, from Hilyard on the West to Villard/Orchard on the East. It’s like biking on I-5 with a slightly wider shoulder.

  3. The Hunsacker/Beaver route under the Beltline to get from the River Rd area to the waterfront paths is pretty terrible…

  4. And I’ll throw West 11th in there since I live out West and run errands out there a lot. It’s great to have the Fern Ridge path on the south side of it but access to 11th from the path and especially ON 11th are horrible if I need to go a block or two to a certain store… or DMV, post office, etc…!!

  5. The door zone bike lane on 28th between Tyler St and Friendly St is scary enough I avoid shopping at Southtowne. The only safe way to ride this stretch is to take the lane which is not fun with the high volume and speed of traffic on this street.
    The COE should consider removing the bike lane and putting in sharrows or getting rid of on-street parking on this street.
    Yeah, I know — something about pigs and flight.

  6. No, there are NO sharrows in Eugene at all. We have fallen way far behind in our bike innovation and we need to step it up A LOT if we are going to get more people on bikes more often.
    We need to push our city staff and elected officials to do more- including asking for better infrastructure now. Give input on the Ped/Bike Master Plan. Tell them you want better bike boulevards, sharrows, separated facilities, better bike lanes, bike boxes, and complete streets. We especially need to push the engineering department to integrate these type of facilities, they have been the ones most reluctant to do sharrows, painted bike lanes, bike boxes, improved crossing times, and other improvements that would greatly increase the comfort level of cyclists.

  7. Shane,

    Thanks for identifying the department we need to contact at city hall to get things changed. My interactions with the city are usually positive. If more people were to call to request better facilities, cycling would get more attention from the city.

  8. I just found out at Thursday’s BPAC meeting that we just had some of the first sharrows placed in Eugene on 33rd around Donald… I haven’t seen them yet and don’t know exactly where but hope to make it over there this week sometime to check them out.

    1. Thank you, Shane, for the update.
      For those who don’t know, and frankly I only learned about these in the couple of months since I started this blog, a “sharrow” is a street traffic marking. A bicycle icon, like those painted in bike lanes, is painted in a regular traffic lane, along with some little arrow type things. The term seems to be a mashup of “shared lane” and “arrow” or something. They might be used where there is parallel parking for cars, say, and thus the hazard of opening doors. Basically, it is a reminder to motorists that bicyclists may be taking the lane in this spot.
      Anyway, I wish I could post a photo in a comment, but I don’t think I can do that (WordPress hardly ever fails me!). But you can see one — along with a little more info — at the ever-boundless Wikipedia.

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