BEST tracks legislation during ‘epidemic of roadway deaths’3 min read
from Better Eugene Springfield Transportation
Although roadway deaths in the U.S. are starting to fall, those for people walking or biking are rising. Here in Lane County, we are seeing people running red lights, speeding, or being inattentive or distracted. Some people bring their problems with them, driving while intoxicated, angry, or depressed. Eugene Police Department recently arrested a woman driving 110 mph on Beltline! There are incidents of people accidentally killing themselves or even committing suicide while driving, or intentionally killing another person.
As BEST works to make our roads safe for everyone, here are some opportunities for you to get involved:
Support Oregon House Bill 2095. Join BEST in testifying remotely to the Joint Committee on Transportation, Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 5 p.m. HB 2095 authorizes all cities to elect to operate photo radar if the city pays the costs, and eliminates the restriction on number of hours per day photo radar may be used in any one location. It also expands the authority of a city to set designated speed for certain residential streets to speed that is up to 10 mph lower than the statutory speed, but not less than 20 mph. Learn more.
Comment on ODOT’s plans to widen Highway 126 West. The Oregon Department of Transportation is planning to widen Highway 126 West between Veneta and Eugene in order to improve safety and mobility. Their preferred design would add a second travel lane in each direction, a center turn lane, wide shoulders, and a separated multi-use path for people walking or biking.
BEST finds that ODOT’s preferred alternative will encourage more and faster driving and have other negative impacts. And at an estimated cost of $250–350 million with no identified source of funding, the project is “too big to build.” BEST recommends making less costly targeted improvements before too many more tragedies occur. Submit comments by Tuesday, Jan. 31 at 11:59 p.m., on potential impacts to Perkins Peninsula Park and the Fern Ridge Wildlife Area. Learn more.
Comment on Franklin Boulevard Transformation. On Thursday, Feb. 2, 4:30–6:30 p.m., at the Ford Alumni Center, learn about and provide feedback on Eugene’s updated plan to redesign Franklin Boulevard past the University of Oregon from an old state highway to a “complete street” serving people walking, biking, riding the bus, or driving. Food and drink will be available, along with kid-friendly activities. If you can’t attend, all materials will be posted online. Learn more.
Participate in the Highway 126 East McKenzie Safety Study. Share your safety concerns and experiences relating to Highway 126 with ODOT on Saturday, Feb. 4 from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the McKenzie Fire & Rescue Station in Leaburg, If you can’t attend, participate online through Monday, Feb. 13. Learn more.
Great Streets Program: Are you passionate about improving safety and connectivity on main streets in communities and towns across Oregon? The new Great Streets program is recruiting four community representatives to serve as part of the project review team for this new statewide program. Ideal candidates will bring lived experience as a person with a disability, from a culture or ethnicity that has historically been excluded or under-represented, as a small business owner or healthcare provider, or representative of other groups that may not have traditional transportation planning experience. Apply by February 17. Learn more.
Prevent further tragedies at 54th & Main Street in Springfield: Almost eight years ago, an inattentive driver ran a red light, hitting a mother and killing her three children, who were legally walking in a marked crosswalk with the light. That tragedy shook the community and prompted BEST to push for Vision Zero: the goal of no deaths or life-changing injuries on our streets. Now the Oregon Department of Transportation is proposing to make minor changes to this intersection along a Main Street that remains dangerous. Through Tuesday, Feb. 28, visit the online open house.
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