News links: Commuting class, Blair Boulevard

I’m still trying to figure out how much I should get into actual news of Eugene bicycle happenings. There’s always a lot of it going on — some of it pretty wonky — and I can’t always keep up. But I will try to pass on links and short items if they seem of interest. If these are not of interest, I’ll get back to the usual nonsense later this week.

Meantime:

  • Sorry for the late notice, but there is an REI winter bike commuting class tonight, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. It’s free (although, you can’t blame them if they suggest some cool products that they also might happen to sell). The last class like this filled up. This one had nine spots open as of this morning.
  • In the bloody competition for the federal transportation money known as “flexible funds,” an interesting proposed project in Eugene has made it past the first cut as ODOT whittled 105 Oregon grant applications to 35. The so-called Blair-Van Buren Active Transportation Corridor doesn’t actually get the money yet — but it is “forwarded to the next stage of the scoring process.” (They don’t give away federal money willy-nilly, you know.) If you are not familiar with this project, here’s some boilerplate from the application:

The … project will transform Blair Boulevard, a busy emerging neighborhood “main street” that is currently unsafe for pedestrians and bicyclists, into a complete street that is safe, efficient, functional, and enjoyable by all users of the roadway. … This transformation will include improved street crossings, curb extensions, ADA ramps, narrowing of driveways to reduce pedestrian exposure, improved and wider sidewalks, wayfinding signs, visual and audible countdown signals, bike parking corrals, shared lane markings (sharrows), improved alleys near the roadway to reduce debris on the sidewalk, and landscaping to enhance the safety and comfort of pedestrians and bicyclists. …

It doesn’t say they are going to take out the potholes, which I think is good, because they do seem to slow down the cars. Anyway, ODOT is supposed to decide by March which of the remaining 35 projects will be funded.

Alan Pittman wrote about the Blair project in the Eugene Weekly a couple of weeks ago, complaining about the choice of sharrows over bike lanes. Thoughts?

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10 thoughts on “News links: Commuting class, Blair Boulevard

  1. Personally, I like the news updates along with the humor =)

    I believe the Blair-Van Buren project will be done with a repaving project already on the schedule…which ‘sadly’ will take out those potholes…I can’t wait.

    I’ll add that the other Eugene project funded was a Hwy 99 improvement (that seems like it should have been done by ODOT as part of their repaving this summer to me but…). Here’s info on that one:

    The City of Eugene (Eugene) and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) have collaborated to design and fund a pedestrian and bicycle improvement project that will address essential safety improvements to a blighted and economically depressed area of west Eugene. This segment of highway is approximately one mile and stretches from Roosevelt Boulevard to Garfeild Street. This section of highway underwent a recent pavement preservation project, however, lacks sidewalks, curbs, gutters, or biycle lanes. This project would construct these elements on the west side of Highway 99, which currently serves a high volume of pedetrian and bicycle traffic. Currently, pedestrians and cyclists must use the shoulder for travel, the grass strip to the west, or a strip where the only escape route is a steep embankment. This project also incorporates a bike lane on the west side, however, there is potential to provide a wider sidewalk/pathway in lieu of a bike lane. This element would be decided at the time of project development.

    Also, LTD made the cut with a Bike Share Feasibility study and a SmartTrips program and Willamalane with their Middle Fork Willamette River Path (Phase 2b).

    Two Eugene projects that didn’t make the cut:
    · Shared lane markings-bike wayfinding signs Eugene, Springfield, and Willamalane
    · West Bank Path Completion (Formac to Owosso)

  2. I also appreciate the new updates. Be prepared for a bunch of news coming up about bike lanes missing from the draft planning docment for South Willamette Street. KVAL, KLCC and The Register Guard are all planning stories. KVAL is running their story tonight at 11pm.

  3. Sharrows vs. Bike Lanes

    I personally hate bike lanes as I think they are an imperfect solution that further entrenches a mind-set of separation between bicycles and motor vehicles. Great for high speed streets – if there’s absolutely no low-speed route available for a parallel bikeway. On neighborhood streets, there’s really no point in not sharing the road. There are just too many complications and set up points for the system to fail. I believe cyclists are often placed at more risk in a bike lane – having to contend with right hooks, doorings and the comfort level driver’s have with white lines. To me it’s a false sense of security. Research shows motorists tend to pass closer to bicycles in a bike lane. Road sharing works – but I’m not a wonk – just a commuter with 2 cents to spend. Give me the bikeway with sharrows on a residential street over a bike lane any day.

    1. I’m also guessing that you’re not someone who bikes with small children. This vehicular cycling argument is a bit old and outdated. Separated safe and well designed bike infrastructure has been shown to encourage more people to ride their bikes. It has also been shown that the more people riding bikes we have the safer we are.
      24th has cars traveling nearly 30 miles an hour average and many families avoid it because its not comfortable to ride. Shared lane markings wouldn’t make it any more comfortable. Bike lanes would. Without a lot of traffic calming
      this is not a street for Sharrows. Might work for you as a confident cyclist, bhat’s not who we should be building infrastructure for.

  4. One last thought: Bike lanes are not for bicycles.

    What I mean is, they aren’t designed to accomodate cyclists so much as they are placed on the road to get us out of the way. Bike lanes are for motorists so they don’t have to feel impeded. We’re still designing our streets around auto centric principles – and indeed perhaps reinforcing them with the installation of “secondary” routes for “slower traffic”. They serve their function but if there’s an alternative available… I say take it Eugene! Your Craties will thank you.

    1. pdx,
      I agree with you in some ways. Ideally, yes, shared roads are great. But it’s such a foreign concept for so many people in our “auto centric” society. The quiet bike route near my house works this way — though it doesn’t have sharrows. I’m not sure it needs them, but they wouldn’t hurt, I guess.

      But for busier streets, it’s such a mindset change for so many people. It’s almost like gay marriage. It may take a generation or two for it to become ordinary. It’s going to take a generation for people to see shared roads as ordinary. But you are right. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. It means we need to start.

      But I think bike lanes have a place, too. I don’t see busy, 35-mph arterials ever going away. So give me my 5 feet of asphalt on Coburg Road. I’ll take it.

      And, yeah, I do think a shared road concept could work on Blair. It if could work anywhere in Eugene — outside of the UO neighborhood — this and maybe Broadway through downtown would be places to try.

  5. Sorry, doing this on my phone and thought the comment was related to 24th not Blair, but the general concept is the same. Bike lanes are for bikes. Maybe not bikers like YOU but as a League Certified Instructor who teaches lane position and other “VC tenants” I’m tired of hearing the “it’s our space too, just claim it” argument. Works for a select few only.

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