A New Route to Ride

Biking from campus to community

Changes are coming to the bike route on 13th avenue to improve safety and accessibilityPhoto by Trask Bedortha

A new route is in the works for bicyclists to travel between downtown Eugene and UO. The possibilities the city is considering include bicycle-specific signals and a two-way cycle track — bicycle lanes going both with and against traffic on one side of the street — on 13th Avenue, as well as a concrete barrier between bicycle and car lanes. The parents of a Eugene cyclist who was killed on his bicycle have pledged a large donation to the project.

LiveMove, a UO student group that advocates for active and public transportation issues, brought the idea of a two-way cycle track to the city’s attention during an open house last May. LiveMove President Nick Meltzer says the route many of the group’s members ride to campus spurred the idea.

“We just didn’t really feel safe. So, it was our personal experience and we saw a lot of people riding the wrong way on the sidewalk,” Meltzer says. “So a combo of personal experience mixed with what we were observing led us to question the design.”

Transportation Planning Manager Rob Inerfeld asked interested community members during an April 17 meeting whether safety, speed or the ability to ride side-by-side with friends is most important to them in a cycling route. Many attendees voiced concerns about improving safety of the route, including support of a physical barrier between bicyclists and cars. The concrete barriers would be at most 2 feet wide by 6 inches tall, and there would be gaps in the barrier for driveways and left-turning cars, Inerfeld says.

Greater Eugene Area Riders (GEARs) Board President Tom Giesen says he rides the current routes frequently, and they are annoying and dangerous. He says he normally rides on 11th and 13th Avenues to get to downtown, and it is difficult to see around parked cars.

“I’d like to see a cycle track,” Giesen says. “I’d like to see a dedicated, separate way to get from downtown to the university.”

Bicycle-specific signals will be placed at the intersections of 13th Avenue and Willamette, Oak, High and Hilyard Streets if a cycle track is established on 13th.

John and Susan Minor, whose son, David Minor, was fatally hit by a car while cycling on 13th Avenue and Willamette Street in 2008, pledged a $150,000 donation toward the construction of a cycle track on the condition it’s named after their son.

“We do believe the cost of constructing a cycle track on 13th Avenue will cost more than $150,000,” city Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Lee Shoemaker says, “largely due to the bicycle signals that will be required for people bicycling on 13th Avenue between campus and downtown.”

A timeline for construction will be set once funding is secured, according to Shoemaker.

The final meeting during which members of the public can give input on possible improvements for 11th, 12th and 13th Avenues will take place in early June. Updates can be found at http://wkly.ws/1r4.