Recall campaign circulates technical review, alternatives
by John Quetzalcoatl Murray
A 2019 high-level review of the MovingAhead project found that constructing more Emerald Express bus rapid transit lines—EmX—will not help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Increases in GHG emissions from the project are not offset by GHG emission savings from efficient transit. Regionally, every EmX investment package fails to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” the review found.
The review also estimated that taxpayers will pay $27.46 for each additional transit trip by River Road EmX over a 20-year period.
The Recall Claire Syrett campaign is circulating the March 7, 2019 technical memorandum and summary from Jay Harland of CSA Planning, Ltd. which was shared with then-Eugene City Manager Jon Ruiz and then-Lane Transit District General Manager Aurora Jackson.
The MovingAhead transportation project is back in the spotlight due to its prominent role in the first city council recall election in Eugene history.
MovingAhead opponents said business owners along the proposed EmX corridors were surprised to see preliminary engineering drawings showing where their property would be used for EmX stops. The project would also remove up to 132 trees and reserve one traffic lane in each direction for the diesel EmX buses.
Organizers say their success in collecting almost 500 signed petitions demonstrates that public outreach was deeply flawed and the city and LTD failed to adequately inform the public about the project.
They say after sharing nearly 500 signed petitions with Councilor Syrett, she denied hearing from opponents and voted to advance the plan. They then launched the effort to recall her from office.
As organizers seek to stop EmX, they are sharing their own preferred alternatives, such as building out safe bicycle and pedestrian paths, encouraging the use of carpools, offering electric vehicle charging stations, and decoupling EmX from the project. They recommend redirecting EmX monies to establish public funding for safe sidewalks.
They are also circulating the 2019 review from CSA Planning Ltd. Engaged to conduct a professional high-level review of the September 2018 Alternatives Analysis document, the review includes the following comments:
- From a greenhouse gas and energy consumption standpoint, the no-build alternative is better than the full build alternative (all EmX + MLK Enhanced Corridor).
- MovingAhead would commit LTD to the existing hub-and-spoke system configuration, without looking at a cross-town configuration.
- The cost of the River Road EmX Alternative per net additional weekday transit trip is approximately $27.46 on average over 20 years.
- The forecast ridership increases for the Build alternatives could easily turn out to be zero or less than the No-Build ridership forecasts.
- The alternatives analysis assumes that more transit capacity is always a benefit. “This is obviously untrue. Capacity that exceeds demand in a corridor, especially that far exceeds demand, is not positive because it is inefficient, and the wasted expenses could have been deployed for transportation that is efficient elsewhere.”
Jay Harland graciously shared the original documents this week. The summary and technical review are available below and in a Google Drive folder. The folder also contains EmX opponents’ recommended alternatives.