October 4, 2022

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

East 30th survey surfaces public concerns

6 min read
The public is concerned about losing one downhill traffic lane, and about mixing bikes and pedestrians on East 30th.

The public is concerned about losing one downhill traffic lane, and about mixing bikes and pedestrians on East 30th.

Preliminary survey results are here for the East 30th project. Speaking at the Active Transportation Committee, Lane County’s Becky Taylor.

[00:00:08] Becky Taylor: I’ve been receiving a lot of public comments. There’s high interest in the 30th Avenue corridor. I’ve received over 100 survey responses and the results are pretty divided. Half were in favor and half hated it. Had some very strong feelings. There’s quite a few people who don’t want to see any change on 30th Avenue. And then there’s a lot of people who think that change is long overdue.

[00:00:35] John Q: For pedestrians and bicyclists, East 30th is Lane County’s deadliest road. One way to make the road safer is to convert one downhill lane into a separated lane, for walking and biking.

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[00:00:48] Becky Taylor: What we’re proposing there is to reallocate the space. There’s currently four lanes, two lanes in each direction, and this proposal would reduce the travel lanes to two lanes in the uphill direction and one lane in the downhill direction.

[00:01:04] I’ll tell you, I’m getting a lot of pushback from people who drive, who are really concerned about taking away a vehicle lane. And so that’s one of our key challenges that our project management team and our design team is working through.

[00:01:18] Another issue is the shared use path for people walking and biking, in recognition that that hill means that people on bikes are going to be moving very fast downhill. And what does that mean for people walking, moving much slower in that shared space? And we heard that loud and clear and we need to take a closer look and we don’t have a solution yet.

[00:01:39] So there’s a lot to consider and balance.

[00:01:41] John Q: The full design would include a roundabout at Spring Boulevard to increase safety.

[00:01:46] Becky Taylor: We propose a roundabout at Spring Boulevard. And this is where I’m getting a lot of pushback for people who think, ‘This is like pie in the sky planning of imagine a roundabout at the top of the hill.’ So I’ve been talking more with our engineers who are really smart and they’ve done this before and they know how to do it, and they know how to achieve the grades and make it safe.

[00:02:06] But the intent of that roundabout at Spring is so that when we have the permanent walking and biking facility, which would still be the shared use path along the south side, that people walking and biking don’t have to mix with traffic. They don’t have to go through the roundabout. They don’t have to worry about conflict with cars going up and down the current off on and off ramps at Spring. So that’s the intent of the roundabouts and there’s a lot of public apprehension about that.

[00:02:36] And so we’re evaluating all of that and we’re going to consider some design refinements to respond to those comments. We’re going to be consolidating the comments into a format that we can share with the public and post on our webpage and provide responses to frequently asked questions and email that to interested parties so that all of the information is available.

[00:02:56] John Q: Becky said the latest updates will be presented at an open house this summer. The Active Transportation Committee also heard public comment.

[00:03:04] Duncan Rhodes: My name is Duncan Rhodes and I’m with the Jefferson West Side Neighbors board. And we have a few asks that have been transmitted and I will put into the chat, but basically we’re looking for some speed studies and traffic studies and crosswalks at a stop sign at Eighth and Van Buren.

[00:03:23] And also we feel that the crossing of 15th and Willamette is pretty bad, because one of the residents has had some issues and almost running people over because there’s so much going on. You can’t keep track of it all.

[00:03:33] Sharon Kaplan: My name is Sharon Kaplan and I live in the East Skinner Butte neighborhood downtown and I work on campus. And so as a full-time biker I’ve got a few problem intersections that I would love someone to consider. The first one is the 13th and Alder intersection, which does not tend to prioritize bicycles in any way. It allows pedestrian, traffic and cars to go straight, but it blocks bike traffic. He doesn’t turn to prioritize bicycle traffic. Treat the bicycles more like other vehicles or treat us like pedestrians, but not a third class citizen in that intersection.

[00:04:06] The second one is the Hilyard crossing with the train tracks. I’m sure this has to come up before, but there’s no safe way to get across the intersection. They blocked the intersection when they did repairs a while back. And so with a new community being developed in that area it would be really nice not to have to bike on the tracks, which is what I think most people (including myself) do.

[00:04:24] And the third one is going up towards Oakway Center where the overpass comes off and you’re heading north, the first overpass on the west side of the street, it it allows the traffic to go straight, but it delays the mixed pedestrian traffic. So I think that one just doesn’t necessarily need to block pedestrians at that time. So those are my three, for now, my three main concerns.

[00:04:47] John Q: Chair of the Active Transportation Committee, Susan Wolling.

[00:04:51] Susan Wolling: I would still like to see ideally even just a dashboard that’s like partly, mostly in terms of mode split.

[00:04:57] I mean, we’re doing all this stuff, but is our mode split of bicycling and pedestrian, is it going up? Is it staying the same? Is it going down? And I realize you can’t really measure that day to day, but, you know, overall, I’m less interested in how many programs did you complete than in, is it getting the job done? And then also we’ve got this many projects in the TSP. We’ve done this many, we’ve got funding, programming for this one and we have this many still out there we’re working on. So I would love to see like a dashboard that we could see updated on a regular basis.

[00:05:27] John Q: Checking out the new bike lanes on Willamette, Papa Awari.

[00:05:30] Papa Awari: I’d like to really thank the City’s transportation staff on the job they did. I tested that corridor, I think, about two months ago and there’s still a little bumpy section. And this morning I actually went through it and I was able to get a green light all the way from 29th to 24th.

[00:05:48] And then the second place was that turn on 19th. I got to 19 and I got confused.

[00:05:55] John Q: From the City, Shane Rhodes.

[00:05:57] Shane Rhodes: We’ve definitely been hearing mixed reviews from folks that some that like it and some that definitely don’t like that jog. And we are definitely encountering some issues at 19th with vehicles that are pulling into the crosswalk to make the crossing of Willamette Street and blocking the bikeway. So there’s definitely some work to do on that project still.

[00:06:21] Willie Hatfield: I just wanted to share. I was using that section by 19th. I was pulling a trailer last week and it was, the wheels of my trailer kept going off the path on the curve, so it was a little difficult. I know that’s an edge case, but that was just my personal experience last week. It was more challenging and next time I’m just gonna take the lane if I have a load like that.

[00:06:44] John Q: Improving the walking and biking experience in Eugene, the Active Transportation Committee.

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