[WEC-All] Pedestrian priorities for West Eugene
tom.schneider at guaranty.com
Tue Nov 6 15:10:27 PST 2007
This summary is appropriate for EMX, Infill compatibilty and other more
generalized comments on Pedestrian issues in Eugene and West Eugene in
particular. Thank you for taking your time to read and forward to
Pedestrian Priorities for West Eugene
by Tom Schneider 23 year resident of 3245 W 16th Ave Ph: 343-3699
As we discuss ways to maintain or improve the livability of
existing neighborhoods along the proposed EMX West Eugene corridor, these
are examples of problems and suggestions to encourage pedestrian travel
rather than cars or bikes use as current policies and funding now do. Making
it easy to walk to or between businesses, EMX or LTD stations will encourage
foot traffic and public transportation use while reducing car traffic.
Statutes need to be developed to have the true costs of Infill housing
impacts be born by the projects themselves, not by the residents who are
left with the increased vehicular traffic. I believe the EMX routing and
Infill housing are intertwinded.
#1 Example: Over 20 years, within a west Eugene neighborhood,
the City approved 13 separate new or expanded apartment complexes or dense
single family dwellings and Acorn Park Road became their primary or
secondary access. None of those developments were compelled to assist paying
for sidewalks between their developments and Acorn Park itself or provide
non-vehicular access to nearby businesses or LTD's Seneca Station. Safe
sidewalks could have reduced the impacts of additional the 300 vehicles
gradually added to this neighborhood. Acorn Park Rd is the only vehicle
access point north across the Amazon canal between Oakpatch and Bailey Hill
road a distance of nearly 10 blocks. Each of these "Infill" projects on its
own wasn't a big problem but their total now is. The City's unacceptable
solution is for the 24 single family homes along the route to pay $125-150/
linear foot ($15,000 each) for those sidewalks as the current statute
required 50% of sidewalks be done at the time the developments are approved.
This is simply not fair and does not charge developers the true cost of
#2 Example: Warren Street off Bailey Hill Road gives access to
development of higher end homes up on top of the hill a mile away.
Well-planned curved streets and cul-de-sacs etc are in the new development
but the kids who used to walk down a quiet street to Kennedy Middle School
or Churchill High School, now have to walk on the street and have to dodge
construction vehicles on their way to school as there are no sidewalks. The
developers have sidewalks or low traffic counts within the development, but
why should the taxpayers along the route be forced to pay for sidewalks when
the increase in vehicular traffic wasn't their choice? It should be budgeted
into the true cost for the developer who got approval to make the "infill".
How far does an infill's impact go?
#3 Example: Home Depot built a store right next to Fred Meyer on
W 11th. If a person wanted to pick up some lightweight plumbing fittings at
Home Depot or walk to Izzy's Pizza or Blockbuster Video after parking and
shopping at Fred Meyers, there is no planned pedestrian access between these
stores. Each has some sidewalks or painted pedestrian access in their
parking lots, but nothing that makes it safe or encouraging. Each has great
vehicular access on its own that contributes to traffic on W 11th and Seneca
as there is no overall plan for customers that may not arrive in an
automobile even though the Seneca Station of LTD is right there. From the
bottle return area of Fred Meyers to Home Depot is a disaster and an
accident waiting to happen. This type of access problem is common.
#4 Example. There are LTD stops on either side of W. 11th very
close to the Adult and Family Services office near Garfield. Problem is if
you get off or need to get back on the bus on the south side of W. 11th
there is no crosswalk or pedestrian refuge on W 11th at Arthur Street.
Handicapped or economically disadvantaged people without a car are expected
to walk a block up to City View or back to Garfield to cross busy W. 11th at
a crosswalk. Guess what? They don't! They J-walk! With their walkers or
canes, carrying packages or children they dodge the cars on W. 11th. Not
pretty. The focus, the money, is on planning for cars and bikes not the
safety of people or public transportation. A similar situation occurs
between W. 5th Ave and Garfield along Hwy 99 over the railroad tracks.
Considerable pedestrian traffic and no sidewalks. These are not folks you
would see at a planning meeting.
#5 Example. Businesses along W 11th are at their capacity. Only
way to increase business is to encourage pedestrian access. Shari's
Restaurant can't get any more parking in their existing lot which is often
full or near full. Neighbors would eat there if they could safely walk
there. Other restaurants or eateries report similar issues.
#6 Example. Most utility poles along the south side of W 11th
between Garfield and Bailey Hill are in the middle of sidewalk. Access for a
person in a wheel chair or motorized chair or even a bike compels that
person to go within 6 inches of W 11 traffic on one side of poles or up
against planters or fences on the other. This probably doesn't comply with
the Americans with Disabilities Act and is downright dangerous even if you
are in a car not to mention if you are not in a car.
Being a bike-friendly town is great, but who are the majority of
bicyclists? They are generally a vocal 5% of our residents who are not the
economically disadvantaged or physically challenged. Those with nice bikes
and bike trailers are often of a similar income level as those in their nice
cars talking on their cell phones. Bicyclists may make different choices but
the point is they have choices. Bikes are vehicles too.
Eugene drivers or bicyclists don't think about pedestrians as they hurry
here or there. It's time to take the initiative to make Eugene a leader in
pedestrian safety and have a safe, truly fun, easy city to walk and take the
LTD around in. What more accessible, green, sustainable, than the simple
action of safely walking somewhere?
Measures other cities use? Police can ticket cars who enter a crosswalk
while a pedestrian is in it. Erect more road signs warning drivers of
pedestrians. Use radio or TV advertising campaigns to remind drivers to
yield to pedestrians. Fund flashing-light crosswalks, brighter
street-painting of existing crosswalks, putting crosswalks where pedestrians
use them not where they are convenient for automobiles.
Suggestions for LTD's EMX corridor planning and Infill Housing
1) Develop statues to require housing or business developers to make
non-vehicular access a higher priority and pay for the true costs of their
2) Provide alternative funding for sidewalks in existing neighborhoods.
3) Develop guidelines for pedestrian access within private businesses
parking lots and to other neighboring businesses to encourage walking
4) Map existing routes pedestrians actually use now. There are paths
among bushes, between buildings and along streets with no sidewalks that are
easy to recognize if you look for them. That's where people walk and need to
have future pedestrian access to be located. Identify where people do walk
5) Research what other cities have done and initiate public awareness
using radio and TV advertising campaigns to alert non-pedestrians of the
rights of people not in or on vehicles. We need more than these "Share the
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