WETLANDS alternative to the West Eugene Porkway

Eugene, Oregon, USA: A forum for Friends of Eugene and discussion of Eugene-related land use, transportation, livability, environment, economic justice, and environmental quality issues.

WETLANDS alternative to the West Eugene Porkway

Postby markrobinowitz » Mon Nov 28, 2005 7:31 pm

If you are interested in the issues surrounding the proposed West Eugene Porkway, please take an hour to read the introduction to the WETLANDS alternative (West Eugene Transportation, Land and Neighborhood Design Solutions).

The basic information about the alternative is now posted on line, supporting details are being added over the next few weeks as time permits. The road components of the alternative reflect ODOT's promises in 2001 (to cancel the project) and a few new ideas developed from years of close examination of the project, feedback from neighborhood activists and environmentalists, scrutiny of the planning documents and other efforts to ensure that the alternative would be sensible, affordable, ecological and practical.


WETLANDS Alternative to the $200 million WEP

Roosevelt Blvd. is a better connector between Beltline and 99

Transfer WEP money to finish Beltline, fix Roosevelt / 99 intersection

Transfer ODOT / City lands for WEP to BLM's West Eugene Wetlands Project

Modest new roads: First - 99 - Second Connector
Barger Road Extended & Trainsong Connector (to NW Expressway)

Fix West 11th intersections, other road repairs

Bus Rapid Transit for west Eugene (11th Ave, Hwy 99)

upgrade Amtrak to enable high speed trains to Seattle

Land use shifts to coordinate transit and development, mixed use centers, co-housing neighborhoods

moratorium on more traffic cameras and other surveillance systems

economic initiatives for sustainable jobs in 2025, after the era of cheap oil

Hidden History of the West Eugene Parkway

1951 to 1972: Roosevelt Freeway proposal (and other dead highways)
1985 to 1990: WEP approval process, 1996 lawsuit stopped it
June 2001: No Build consensus - City of Eugene, Lane County, ODOT, Federal Highway Administration
November 2001: Election and subsequent TransPlan Amendments
Summer 2002: a few opponents promote larger WEP (how did that happen?)
2002 - 2005: ODOT has 3 new designs, none are practicable

Why WEP won't be built: traffic, cost, environment, laws

would not solve congestion, would make traffic problems worse

highway robbery: too expensive ($200+ million)

the real purpose and need: fuel ugly sprawl overdevelopment (more Wal-Mart type strip malls around Fern Ridge)

would force a new freeway along 6th and 7th Avenues or through Whiteaker to connect parkway traffic to I-105 (Washington / Jefferson bridge), and a wider sprawlway to Veneta

WEP is one of the most illegal highways ever proposed

TREES: Transportation, Energy, Environment, Sustainability

maintain road networks * improved transit and urban design
manufacture buses, electric vehicles, bicycles

ENERGY for the Year 2025, Region 2050 and beyond
solar panel and wind turbine factories * convert grass seed farms to biofuels

ENVIRONMENT Protection and Restoration
ecological forestry * green business * public health

SUSTAINABILITY after the era of cheap oil
local food security * economic stability * democratic decision making * ban big box megastores and ugly franchises, support local business

Eugene's Natural Disaster Plans

A Preventative, Permaculture Perspective
Disaster Mitigation and Land Use
Peak Oil and Climate Collapse are inevitable disasters that require paradigm shift
Katrina disaster shows the Federal government response
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2005 6:30 pm
Location: Eugene

Register-Guard: Let's look at entire picture of WEP

Postby markrobinowitz » Mon Nov 28, 2005 7:35 pm

published in The Register-Guard newspaper on November 17, 2005

http://www.registerguard.com/news/2005/ ... on=opinion

Let's look at entire picture of West Eugene Parkway
By Mark Robinowitz

The Register-Guard’s coverage of the City Council’s recent removal of support for the proposed West Eugene Parkway (WEP) has omitted important pieces of the story.

The WEP would be a federal-aid highway, not a City of Eugene project. Ultimately, the decision to build or cancel it will be made by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The FHWA is in charge of the federal funds and approval process, and the BLM controls the parklands threatened by the WEP.

The West Eugene Parkway proposal came from the 1950s plan for a Roosevelt Freeway, which was canceled in 1972 because of intense neighborhood objections. Afterwards, the road was scaled back and renamed a “Parkway.”

In 1996, FHWA was sued in Federal court by citizens for violating federal laws regarding “segmentation” of highway approvals, and the agency withdrew its 1990 approval of the WEP. FHWA officials declined the opportunity to argue their case in court, tacitly admitting the project was illegal.

In June 2001, after it became clear the WEP was an unworkable project, an intergovernmental meeting called “West Eugene Charette” brought together the City of Eugene, Lane County, State and Federal agencies to examine the issues. They reached a consensus to select “No Build” and finish Beltline Highway instead. On July 25, 2001, City Councilor Pat Farr stated the parkway would probably not be built, and that routing some traffic up Highway 99, across Roosevelt and then down Beltline would be part of the solution, and would require work at key intersections.

The November 2001 advisory vote about the Parkway did not require federal agencies to approve it, and it did not allocate any money toward construction. Parkway enthusiasts who spent $120,000 on a media blitz to promote passage of this referendum claimed “The Money is There” and the State would maintain the highway.

After the vote, local governments quietly admitted that the $88 million price tag in 2001 omitted key parts of the project (an expensive interchange with Beltline). Their most recent official estimate is $169 million, double the cost used to sell the road. The City of Eugene also agreed to assume responsibility for maintaining half of the highway, an enormous “unfunded mandate” that was not part of the electoral promises.

Since 2001, the Oregon Department of Transpoirtation has spent more millions to study the WEP, but has not been able to find an option that is affordable or legal. In early October, ODOT unveiled its latest parkway version, a revival of the “Couplet Alternative” rejected by ODOT in 1985 as unworkable and unpopular. This design would route Beltline traffic onto Fifth and Seventh Avenues between Seneca and Highway 99, and would add sharp curves and extra traffic lights. (The map in the Register-Guard did not show ODOT's newest proposal.)

The $1.7 million awarded by ODOT over the past year to finish the Environmental Impact Statement is about the same amount of money that would be needed to fix intersections along West 11th Avenue. If the charette’s “No Build” consensus had been implemented in 2001, West 11th could have already been fixed, and ODOT could have used the $17 million appropriated for WEP to finish Beltline Road (a project approved in 1995). Now that ODOT has essentially admitted defeat with its revival of the failed “Couplet” design and the City has withdrawn its endorsement, sensible solutions to west Eugene traffic flow can be implemented.

The WEP is not designed for current congestion snarls, but for traffic problems in the year 2025. The Lane Council of Governments, which crafted the traffic models, predicted last fall that gasoline prices would rise to $2.50 per gallon by 2025. This mistake was rooted in their refusal to look at “Peak Oil” -- the rise and fall of global petroleum production.

Whether Peak Oil is here now, or is still a couple years in the future, the end of cheap oil will force major changes to transportation planning long before 2025. We will need to ensure existing roads and bridges can be maintained and work at their optimum efficiency, land use must be better coordinated with transportation, and public transit needs substantial improvement.

The most important issues are what economy our region, our country and our planet will have in 2025 when the petroleum supplies will be in decline. Eugene could thrive by focusing on renewable energy, local food production, and other industries that will still be able to generate jobs after we pass Peak Oil.

Mark Robinowitz is the "road scholar" for WETLANDS: West Eugene Transportation, Land and Neighborhood Design Solutions (www.permatopia.com/wetlands.html).

1951 - Roosevelt Freeway first proposed on long term highway plans
197? - Oregon Bill 100 passed by Legislature, Urban Growth Boundary system created
1972 - Roosevelt Freeway canceled, I-105 completed to 6th and 7th Avenues
1978 - T-2000 transportation plan includes early version of WEP
1985 - first Draft EIS published
1986 - Supplemental Draft EIS, City Council endorses WEP, citizen’s advisory vote praises WEP
1990 - Final EIS and Record of Decision for WEP
1996 - ROD withdrawn after citizens lawsuit
1997 - second SDEIS
2000 - gas tax for roads rejected by 8 to 1, Supplemental Final EIS stalled due to segmentation concerns
2001 - intergovernmental West Eugene Charette picks No Build, Citizen vote praises WEP 51-49
2002 - local governments change regional transportation plans to accommodate more of WEP
2003 - EIS bogged down in bureaucracy and goes nowhere
2004 - Kitty Piercy elected Mayor on anti-WEP platform
2005 - new design for WEP unveiled that was rejected in 1985, City Council removes support for WEP
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2005 6:30 pm
Location: Eugene

Postby mrLenin » Wed Jan 17, 2007 9:43 am

So many text. It is hard even to finish with reading it to the bottom of topic :( Shortly please )
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2006 10:22 am

Return to Friends of Eugene Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

User Control Panel


Who is online

In this forum zone there are 2 users online :: 0 registered, 0 hidden and 2 guests (based on users active over the past 5 minutes)
Most users ever online was 593 on Sat May 26, 2018 5:18 pm

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests
DesignCommunity   ·   ArchitectureWeek   ·   Great Buildings   ·   Archiplanet   ·   Books   ·   Blogs   ·   Search
Special thanks to our sustaining subscribers Building Design UK, Building Design News UK, and Building Design Tenders UK.