Juan Carlos Valle, candidate seeking to unseat Betty Taylor on the Eugene City Council in a November run-off, announced at noon today his support for the West Eugene EmX bus rapid transit system extension.
The announcement follows a request from EW June 29 asking both candidates to outline their reasons for supporting or not supporting the EmX extension. Councilor Taylor, who represents Ward 2, has yet to announce how she intends to vote when the issue comes before this council this fall or winter, but she is rumored to be leaning toward a “yes” vote.
“Our community has had a need for a robust and comprehensive Transportation Plan and vision,” Valle said today. “We need to consider what we need now and what we will need 20 years from now. … I support the inititative of the EmX as it can be a great step in the right direction.”
Valle went on to say EmX is a “necessary component of the vision we need to have for our families and our community and I encourage the leaders from all sectors to support this vision.”
We heard unconfirmed rumors that The Register-Guard's highly paid chief operating officer David Pero got himself fired Friday after more than five years. Maybe leaving was his idea, but that's not what we heard. Nothing in the paper or online, unless we missed it. We checked his LinkedIn profile and sure enough, it lists the R-G as his employer from February 2007 to June 2012. Pero was overseeing editorial, advertising, circulation, marketing, production and technology, including the website.
The Corvallis City Council took a stand against ocean pollution this week, becoming the second city in Oregon to approve a comprehensive ban on plastic bags. A second reading and final vote are still required to secure the ordinance, but all city councilors are on record in support of the bill, which they voted 8-1 to enact at Monday’s meeting.
“City Councilors should be applauded for their leadership,” says Sarah Higginbotham, Environment Oregon’s state director in a press release. “Last night took us one step closer to a big victory for our oceans and for the Corvallis community, who came together to reduce the wasteful disposable plastic that pollutes our environment.”
Environment Oregon, along with the Mary’s Peak Chapter of the Sierra Club, and the Surfrider Foundation testified in support of the ordinance. The coalition of organizations worked to bring together businesses, citizens, and organizations around the issue.
More than 2,400 citizens signed petitions in favor of the ban, along with 60 supportive businesses including the Northwest Grocery Association.
The city also made history by becoming the first in Oregon to include a required pass-through cost on paper bags of five cents, a policy that has been shown to encourage consumers to switch to reusable bags.
The lone dissention represented one councilor’s desire to strengthen the stated intent of the ordinance on the record, though he is in full support of the ban. Because the vote was not unanimous, the councilor will have the opportunity to make additional statements for the record when it comes up for a second reading at the council’s July 2 meeting.
From the San Francisco Bay Guardian editorial page:
Could lowering the speed limit help us reach our biking goal by 2020?
It's going to be hard to reach San Francisco's official bike transportation goal, which calls for 20 percent of all vehicle trips to be taken by bicycle by 2020. Everyone in town knows that; everyone at City Hall and in the biking community agrees that some profound and radical steps would need to be taken to increase bike trips by more than 500 percent in just eight years.
It starts with safety — you're not getting anywhere near that number of people on light, two-wheeled vehicles unless, as international bicycling advocate Gil Peñalosa recently told San Franciscans, people between the ages of eight and 80 feel safe riding on the city streets.
At the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition's 20th Annual Golden Wheel Awards, Peñalosa — executive director of 8-80 Cities, a nonprofit that promotes creation of cycling infrastructure that is safe and inviting — laid out a prescription for designing cities around pedestrians and bicyclists (he sees riding a bike as " just a more efficient way of walking.") Peñalosa laid out an agenda for achieving that goal — one that includes a step San Francisco can start taking immediately: Cut vehicle speeds on all city streets to no more than 20 miles an hour.
Even if that were only done in residential areas, it would have a huge impact, and not just on bicyclists. Peñalosa cited statistics showing that only about 5 percent of pedestrians hit by cars driving 20 mph will die — but the fatality rate shoots up to 80 percent when the vehicles are traveling 40 mph.
If there are some streets where it's impractical to have such a low speed limit, it's imperative to have bike lanes that are separated from cars by physical barriers.
San Francisco's Municipal Transportation Agency director, Ed Reiskin, told us after Penalosa's speech that the notion of reducing speed limits made sense: "The logic is unquestioned that slowing speeds reduces the risk of fatality."
But the city, it turns out, doesn't have the power to unilaterally lower speed limits: State law requires speed limits to be set based on formulas determined by median vehicle speeds. That seems awfully old-fashioned and out of touch with modern urban transportation policy, which increasingly emphasizes bikes, pedestrians, and transit, and city officials ought to be asking the state Legislature to review those rules and give more latitude to cities that want to control traffic speed.
In the meantime, Reskin argues that a lot can be done by redesigning streets, using bulb-outs and barriers to discourage speeding. That's fine, and part of the city's future bike-lane policy should start with traffic-calming measures (Berkeley, to the chagrin of many nonlocal drivers, has done a great job making residential streets into bike-friendly places where cars can't travel very fast).
Peñalosa had some other great ideas; he noted that cities such as Guadalajara, Mexico require developers to give free bikes away with each home, a program that has put 102,000 more bikes on the streets. That's a cheap and easy concept — except that so much of the new housing in the city is so expensive, and comes with so much parking, that it's hard to believe the millionaires who are moving into these units will be motivated by a free bicycle.
But the notion of working with Sacramento to slow down car traffic makes tremendous sense — and that ought to be one of the transportation priorities of Mayor Ed Lee's administration.
No coal demonstration is being planned in Portland Aug. 18. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for updates and to get on the mailing list.
Dr. Richard Jackson will be speaking at the Eugene Public Library June 19. A reception will be at 5 pm and his lecture will be at 5:45.
The Emerald City Roller Girls are hosting their final bout of the 2012 season at 6 pm Saturday, June 9, at the Lane Events Center. This year’s season championship is a rematch from last year pitting the three-time defending champion Andromedolls (3-1) against the Church of Sk8in (2-2). This bout to determine the winner of the Big Emerald trophy is preceded by a match between the Snake Pit Derby Dames of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and Emerald City’s third-place finisher Flat Track Furies. Proceeds from the bout will go to help maintain the Cascade Raptor Center.
The June 9 event will be the third time the Andromedolls and Church of Sk8in have met this year in an always exciting rivalry. In the first bout in March, the Andromedolls won in the final seconds 103-99 before a sell-out crowd at the Lane Events Center. The ‘Dolls were also victorious 85-66 in a bout closed to the public earlier this month.
In the opening bout, the Snake Pit Derby Dames, who have never played an Emerald City team, are skating against the home-town Flat Track Furies. The Furies ended the ‘Dolls’ three-year winning streak earlier this season. Snake Pit is blossoming in its third year of skating.
The first 200 fans through the door Saturday night get free Emerald City Roller Girls seat cushions. Doors open at 5 pm. Action starts at 6. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door, and free for children 5 and under. VIP seating is available for $17.
Tickets are at Emerald City Skates, The Redoux Parlour and Ninkasi Tasting Room or on-line at Brown Paper Tickets. Ninkasi beer will be on tap. Fans can stick around after the bout to meet their favorite derby girl.
For more info visit emeraldcityrollergirls.com
(Thanks to James Brains for providing this information.)
Lane County Commissioner Rob Handy's re-election campaign got the attention of the Oregon League of Conservation Voters this week as one of Oregon's "critical" races.
Oregon Wild is putting on “an evening celebrating everything you love about Waldo Lake” from 6 to 8 pm Wednesday, April 4, at Agate Alley Laboratory restaurant, 2645 Willamette St. in Eugene.
The event is leading up to a public meeting by the Oregon State Marine Board at 6 pm Tuesday, April 10, at the Willamalane Center, 250 S. 32nd St. in Springfield. Written comments can be emailed to email@example.com or by snail mail to June LeTarte, Rules Coordinator, 435 Commercial St. NE, Suite 400, Salem 97309.
Comments on the Waldo float plane ban can be emailed to the Oregon Aviation Board at firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to the Department of Aviation at 3040 25th St. SE Salem ?97302-1125. See http://wkly.ws/185 for individual Aviation Board members’ email addresses and phone numbers.
See www.oregonwild.org for more information.
City Club of Eugene’s program this week will be “Unfinished Business: The EmX in West Eugene,” and will begin at 11:50 am Friday, March 30, at the Hilton, 12th floor.
A final decision is nearing this summer on whether or not the EmX bus rapid transit line should be extended through west Eugene. A moderated discussion will include those in support and those opposed.
Members may attend the meeting at no charge; guests and non-members pay $5. Lunch is $16 for non-members.
Selected past City Club meetings can be found on Community Access Television (Channel 23 on cable), Channel 29, or on YouTube by visiting http://tinyurl.com/32gqp9d or by going to www.youtube.com and searching for City Club of Eugene.