June 12, 2024

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

BEST continues to recommend ‘complete street’ for River Road

2 min read
Rob Zako: "For River Road, we have consistently argued for making the street safer for all modes of travel: what engineers call a 'complete street.' The $64 million question is how to fund such improvements."

To the editor:

If you ever have questions about BEST’s views on local transportation issues, for example, how and why these have changed, please ask us before publishing an incomplete story.

In the case of EmX along River Road, in 2019 our review of the MovingAhead Alternatives Analysis indicated that it would not provide a return on investment to justify the cost. Thus we joined the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce in supporting a lesser level of investment, which we termed “Enhanced Corridor PLUS.”

But by 2022 in the middle of the pandemic and opportunities for funding changed, we were persuaded to support further study of EmX along River Road — emphasizing that this was not a final decision and that the public needed to have a chance to weigh in on any new information developed.

In particular, in our memo dated March 8, 2022, to the City of Eugene and LTD, we outlined a series of steps that needed to occur before possibly approving EmX along River Road. A key step was this:

LTD completes a 10-year strategic business plan, before pursuing major transit investments in any of the MovingAhead corridors. The plan should articulate the outcomes the community desires, select strategies for achieving those outcomes, provide a timeline of actions to implement those strategies, and provide a funding plan to ensure there are sufficient resources.

Note that as LTD has yet to complete this step, BEST is still not seeing sufficient justification for any future EmX segments.

For River Road, we have consistently argued for making the street safer for all modes of travel: what engineers call a “complete street.” The $64 million question is how to fund such improvements.

In the wake of the pausing and now canceling of EmX along River Road, BEST is pursuing our Better Streets for People and Businesses campaign, initially to gauge what problems people see today.

Rob Zako, Executive Director, Better Eugene-Springfield Transportation

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