If you’re confused and frustrated as to why it’s taking you 10 minutes longer to get home from work as you stop and go through a seemingly endless construction zone, you are not alone.
With 8th Avenue undergoing big changes — and High Street and part of Amazon Parkway closed due to construction — the streets of Eugene are being torn apart yet again. But it’s all for a common goal: to make bikers and pedestrians safer.
8th Avenue in the downtown area has undergone some serious changes in the past couple of years with the addition of the Farmers Market Pavilion June 2022 and curbless streets to seamlessly connect to the rest of the market. Now 8th Avenue is getting repaved, and the city is adding two-way lanes, concrete-barrier protected bike lanes, new all-way stop signs and traffic signals.
The project is a result of the Central Eugene in Motion survey, which according to the city’s press release received more than 1,600 responses from the community over the course of the planning and design process. Project Manager Rachael Love and city transportation planners have been designing this project for over two years.
Love says they had a few goals in mind when designing the project: safer bike lanes, more walkability for pedestrians and to connect 8th Avenue to the Willamette River.
“The long-term vision is for both Park Blocks on 8th street to be level to let cars know this is a pedestrian zone,” Love says.
Love says that the project has been broken up into two phases. The first phase consists of repaving and constructing new lanes between Pearl and Mill, and the second phase is between Willamette and Lincoln. The project is estimated to be finished by summer 2024.
8th Avenue isn’t the only place around here getting shiny new bike lanes; several blocks over from 8th, High Street will be graced with protected bike lanes, too. Project Manager Bryan Root says the inspiration for this project was drawn from the Vision Zero Initiative, which is an educational tool and data-driven approach to try and curb car accidents and traffic fatalities. The protected bike lane will also connect the Ridgeline Trail to the Willamette River allowing people a safe path to bike across town. Unlike the concrete barriers that you’ll see on 8th, Root says the High Street protective barrier between bikes and cars will be tubular markers that run from 6th Avenue to 19th.
The High Street project is also being done in two phases with the first phase wrapping up construction from 6th to 13th Avenue. Root is anticipating being done with the second phase which would involve construction along 13th to 19th Avenue to wrap up around Thanksgiving.
“It’s meant to be a protective bike lane for all people to use,” Root says. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned biker or just getting off training wheels, we want it to be accessible.”