I do not drive a car, and have lived near Franklin Boulevard for three years so that I could walk to school and ride the EmX. The Franklin Market of Choice and Hirons are the closest stores I can walk to, yet they are located on the intersection where I fear dying the most in Eugene — Franklin and Villard.
I have read comments by the Hirons owner and some non-local drivers that they are skeptical of the Franklin transformation plan’s impact on local business. Yet the current design of Franklin is already unsafe and unlivable, because it prioritizes drivers speeding into our neighborhood on it, rather than local students who would like to safely walk or bike across it.
It would undoubtedly be a loss to our neighborhood if any businesses closed because of construction, but it is already an unpleasant and unsafe street to walk, shop or work on. I support any project that makes Franklin a safer street.
My hope is that a safer Franklin will attract more affordable rental housing and more affordable shopping than currently exists on it. Perhaps apartments and affordable stores can be located in the same building, as they are in other cities. Franklin Boulevard, with its proximity to University of Oregon, the EmX and beautiful public parks, is the most suitable location for this kind of development in Eugene.
Colin M. Hill