Getting Up to Speed

The Eugene Springfield Safe Routes to School mission is to serve a diverse community of parents, students, and organizations: advocating for and promoting the practice of safe bicycling and walking to and from schools throughout the Eugene Springfield area. More about Eugene Springfield SRTS.

Active Transportation; In Oregon and Eugene

Yesterday the Oregon Active Transportation Summit (OATS) brought together over 400 people to talk about what is happening with active transportation throughout Oregon. From cutting edge designs, new plans, current research, recreational opportunities, classic programs, future legislation, and general updates there was a lot to share and learn.

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There was great representation by several Eugene transportation planning staff and interns, UO students and staff, LTD/point2point Solutions local advocates and of course Eugene and Springfield SRTS staff. Over a dozen folks expanding their knowledge and making connections to improve walking, biking, and livability in Eugene.

One of the more interesting sessions was about studies Portland State University and others are doing regarding bike mode share increases and facility types. Two studies specifically showed no major increase (yet) with the implementation of bike boulevard improvements while another study shows major increases in biking when a separated facility (a cycle track) is installed.

On that note; A meeting was held last week by the City of Eugene looking at how to best improve the active transportation connection between the UO and downtown. One possibility is to install a separated cycle track along 13th avenue. This facility could be Eugene’s first real family-friendly on-street bike infrastructure project (unless the West Amazon Cycle Track gets built first…which is sounding like 2018). It could also be the first step in connecting up our path system with bikeways that link into a complete active transportation system that works for more than the confident and enthusiastic cyclists.

The city still needs to decide if they will move this project forward and how. One family has already stepped forward to donate $150,000 to the project in the name of their son, who lost his life in a crash at 13th & Willamette several years ago. More than 100 people have turned out at each of the last two meetings and community support for moving forward with a separated, safe, comfortable, and convenient connection is still growing.

There is the potential that the city could decide to stay with the status-quo and implement improvements that don’t help kids bike more but keep driving the easiest and most convenient choice. If they hear from enough families it will encourage them to continue to move forward with this great project. There is the potential to create a world-class active transportation project.

Remember, the Dutch got their great bike infrastructure not by magic but by people (including kids & families) rising up to say they wanted safer and more comfortable streets for their children! Write the cities transportation department and encourage them to continue moving forward with this important project!

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Registration Open for Oregon Active Transportation Summit

OATSLogoJoin leaders from across Oregon for two days of discovery, networking, sharing best practices, and shaping the future of transportation at the Oregon Active Transportation Summit (OATS). Your registration includes a full day of keynotes, plenaries, and breakout sessions, light continental breakfast, plated lunch, and no-host bar reception on Monday, April 21st as well as a full day of tours, mobile workshops, and meeting opportunities on Tuesday, April 22nd. Register by March 31st at http://oat-summit.com for $10 off your registration!

Topics on the Agenda for the 2014 Summit include: Multimodal Design and Integrating Transit as the Backbone of Active Transportation Systems, Public Engagement and Equity, Land Use and Parking, Travel Forecasting, Safe Routes to School, Youth and Families, Regional Trails, Public and Private Investments and Economic Vitality, Running Successful Programs, and Future Challenges and Opportunities for Active Transportation Funding.

read more…

Inspired to Just Do It

This morning Gil Peñaloso gave a great presentation titled “Creating Livable Communities for Everyone“. It was a partnership with the UO student group LiveMove, LTD, the City of Eugene and several sponsoring businesses and organizations.  He spoke about what it takes to create a great livable and vibrant city. Guess what, it involves more kids walking and biking!  It means building a city where kids 8 years old and senior citizens 80 years old feel safe and comfortable moving about the city by walking, biking or taking transit. While this isn’t news to us he shared some inspiring words to motivate those in the audience to continue our work to create that city. He talked about the real problem not being money, space or other resources but political will and leadership.

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 1.57.26 PMI highly recommend watching his video (or catching him tonight 5-7pm at the Downtown LCC building as part of the LiveMove student group’s speaker series). My wish is that every city council member, local elected official and city staff leader would watch this video and become inspired to take action now.

One of the ideas Gil spoke about that resonated as we work towards improving our city for families to walk and bike more often is the idea that we need to stop working towards consensus on every decision. We need to take the bold steps to make the change that will create healthier communities. We need to listen but then we need to take action now that is for the greater good rather than delayed action that is mediocre for everyone.

To get more kids walking and biking again we need separated bike facilities, connected sidewalks and better crossings. We need to start at the core of our city and connect what we already have.

It’s not about if we have the money, the plans or the space to do it. It’s about the political will. It’s about the leadership to push to make it happen.

One vision of a bold step I’m inspired to continue pushing that relates to this talk? Let’s build the High Street Active Transportation Corridor. By creating a separated two way bike facility and running path down High Street we could link the Amazon Path to the River Path with a separate, safe and comfortable facility for people to walk, run, bike and connect on. This corridor would serve to connect:

  • The Amazon Path to the Ruth Bascom River Path
  • Our Ridgeline to our River
  • Our youth with our senior citizens (Roosevelt & South with Campbell Center)
  • People to their new City Hall (on High)
  • Our different parks and recreational opportunities (Amazon Park and Pool, Hilyard Center, River Play, Alton Baker, Spencer Butte, Skinner Butte, etc.)
  • An active transportation corridor through our downtown
  • With a facility being discussed on 13th to connect UO to Downtown
  • With each other

Making this connection is already part of our Pedestrian Bicycle Master Plan, which will be adopted as part of our Transportation System Plan. It also aligns with almost all of the City of Eugene’s seven pillars of Envision Eugene, especially planning for climate change and energy resiliency, promoting compact urban development and efficient transportation options,  and enhancing natural resources and neighborhood livability.  We know it’s something that can and should be done. We just need leaders to make it happen. Elected official guiding staff to implement it, staff open and willing to make it work and citizens pushing to make it happen.

We have the vision on many great projects. We know that complete streets, like a more walkable and bikeable South Willamette street, are needed. That shouldn’t even be a bold decision. Being bold on South Willamette would mean doing something completely different like separated bike facilities on the street, wide sidewalks, reduced speeds and more. Not doing anything shouldn’t even be part of the discussion. The street does NOT meet the needs of anyone not in a car with the current design. We shouldn’t rebuild it the way it is just because a select few think it’s better for them. Period.  The “option three” of bike lanes on the street and a center turn lane will improve it for everyone (walkers, bikers & drivers) but it isn’t going to get us to the 8-80 level of service.  So let’s choose projects that WILL inspire us to build a better city.   All of our energy should be going into bold projects to make our city better for everyone. Let’s start building Eugene and Springfield so an 8 year old can easily walk to school easily. Let’s start building a bike network where biking is the safe, convenient and easy choice. It’s going to take bold leadership and brave community members to make it happen but we can do it!

Thanks Gil for the inspiring talk.


Vote for Bike Friday in Grant Contest & Support SRTS

This just in from Bike Friday. Vote for them to win a FedEx small business grant ($25,000) and help them set up a Bike Safety Education grant program to help communities buy OSOTA bikes for their program.

Via Bike Friday:
If Bike Friday wins we will use it to set up a way to grant money to school bicycle training programs that are having trouble financing their fleets.
The Safe Routes to School program has become very effective giving young riders real skills that both keep them safe and emancipated them for transportation under their own power. But finding money to buy their fleet bikes has become very difficult. We at Green Gear Cycling have been looking for ways to help them.
One of our first steps was to design a ‘made in the US bike’ that is specially designed to fit people from under 4 ft tall to over 6 ft tall. OSATA – One Size Adjusts To All. They are perfect for these programs.
Green Gear would like to help the more. This money could help set up a crowd sourcing program for SRTS and even start a special pool that Bike Friday owners could donate to for the bicycle education of children everywhere. This is a clear win-win-win….

Alan Scholz
Co-founder Green Gear Cycling/BikeFriday

Vote Now and Vote Often.

BSE OSATAs

Meet the New Springfield School District SRTS Coordinator!

Emma Newman was recently hired as the first Springfield SRTS Coordinator for the Springfield School District. She brings her academic background in environmental studies and active transportation research at the University of Oregon to the position, as well as a passion for improving people’s personal health. Emma was the former City of Eugene Sunday Streets Coordinator and is excited to continue working in the field of active transportation.

Emma Newman

Emma will be working with elementary and middle schools to create safer walking and biking routes to and from schools, and to encourage more students to choose active transportation options. The Safe Routes to School program also involves incorporating pedestrian and bicycle safety education into elementary and middle schools. During her first year, she will be working with Agnes Stewart Middle School, Hamlin Middle School, and Thurston Elementary School. Next year, she will create SRTS action plans for Briggs Middle School, Page Elementary, and Yolanda Elementary. If you are interested in volunteering with Safe Routes to School, please contact Emma at emma.newman@springfield.k12.or.us

Also, you may have noticed that our website address now reflects our broader regional focus. Well our Facebook page also has been expanded and Emma has started a new Twitter account for SpringfieldSRTS to join EugeneSRTS! Join us on the inter webs and stay connected to what is happening with our newly expanded regional SRTS program! Then give Emma a tweet and welcome her to the regional SRTS Team!

 

Walkabouts During October

This is the time of year for many schools to do their Surveys and Tallies and it’s also a good time to update Action Plans. As part of any schools initial action plan or rework of an existing action plan is the important step of the “walkabout”. It’s hard to know what exactly needs to be done without getting out onto the street and walking it, especially during arrival and departure times.
This month’s inforgraphic is from Metrolinx from Canada; the numbers may be slightly different for our community but are not too far off.