LTD steps back from EmX along River Road

By Rob Zako
May 22, 2024

Lane Transit District recently withdrew its support for EmX bus rapid transit along River Road. Before moving ahead, BEST sees a need to ensure the public is along for the ride.

On May 15, 2024, the Lane Transit District (LTD) Board of Directors voted unanimously to change their locally preferred alternative (LPA) for the River Road corridor from EmX to Enhanced Corridor.


Formed in 2012 to support EmX bus rapid transit in West Eugene, BEST has grown to prioritize safe transportation for everyone. We explained:

In a nutshell, MovingAhead is studying some of Eugene’s busiest streets and how to provide safe access for everyone, whether walking, biking, using mobility devices, riding the bus, or driving. We need to first make sure everyone can get where they are going safely. Then we can seek to make travel convenient, quick, and reliable. Experts refer to streets that serve everyone as “complete streets.”

MovingAhead: Frequently Asked Questions (BEST, 8/22/22)

In our revised detailed analysis, we explained:

Safety before speed: We want everyone to be able to get where they are going reasonably quickly. But it is even more important that everyone gets there safely. Wide corridors such as River Road are currently dangerous by design, favoring fast motor vehicles over people walking, biking, or using mobility devices in safety. MovingAhead is aimed at transforming corridors into complete streets for everyone.

MovingAhead Analysis and Recommendations (BEST, 3/8/22)

A significant challenge, now as then, is funding. The share of gas taxes the City of Eugene receives, even when augmented by streets bonds, is generally used to fix the streets we have. Additional funding from federal or state grants is needed to make major improvements, for example, to Franklin Boulevard or River Road. Alas, such funding is often targeted to particular purposes.

In 2022, selecting EmX as the locally preferred alternative (LPA) for River Road was perhaps more about seeking to qualify for Small Starts funding from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) than it was about a pressing need for bus rapid transit along that corridor. BEST, joined by the Eugene Area Chamber of Commerce, supported pursuing the EmX alternative—with the understanding that there would be further analysis and public involvement before making a final decision about what investments to make.

In particular, BEST recommended:

LTD completes a 10-year strategic business plan, before pursuing major transit investments in any of the MovingAhead corridors. The plan should articulate the outcomes the community desires, select strategies for achieving those outcomes, provide a timeline of actions to implement those strategies, and provide a funding plan to ensure there are sufficient resources.

MovingAhead Analysis and Recommendations (BEST, 3/8/22)

Since 2023, BEST has “moved on” from MovingAhead. Before making any major investments in streets, we see a need to first ensure that the public is along for the ride. Our Better Streets for People and Businesses effort starts by asking the public:

Which streets in Eugene and Springfield are safe, practical, and attractive for everyone today and which need to be better? We want to hear from you, especially about ones that have attracted significant public interest.

For River Road, we are currently asking the public what problems, if any, they see along the corridor. Only if there is broad recognition that the street today isn’t working well enough would it make sense to explore what changes might be warranted, for example, to make the street safer for everyone.

See also

Related information from BEST:

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