Eugene candidates offer views on making streets safer

EUGENE, OR (May 2, 2020) — Ten candidates running for city council and four for mayor offered their views on making streets safer in Eugene.

BEST invited all 20 candidates running in the May 19, 2020, Primary Election to respond to a transportation safety questionnaire. A local 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit, BEST does not support or oppose any candidate for elected office. BEST is sharing all responses received as a public service to inform voters.

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Transportation Safety Questionnaire for City of Eugene Candidates

This transportation safety questionnaire was distributed to all City of Eugene candidates running for office in the May 2020 primary election. It was developed by BEST and community partners to assist candidates in informing voters on an important issue of community concern.

Responses from all candidates were accepted through Thursday, April 30. There are eight questions in four sections: About You, Goals, Actions, and Funding Priorities. All questions were optional.

As a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization, BEST does not support or oppose any candidate for elected office. BEST is sharing the responses we received as a public service.

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Springfield candidates offer views on making streets safer

SPRINGFIELD, OR (April 28, 2020) — Four candidates running for city council and one for mayor offered their views on making streets safer in Springfield.

In early 2015 after a driver hit and killed three children at 54th and Main Streets, Better Eugene-Springfield Transportation (BEST) expanded its mission to include promoting safe streets for everyone, regardless of how each person chooses to get around.

Now BEST invited all eight candidates running in the May 19, 2020, Primary Election to respond to a questionnaire. A local 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit, BEST does not support or oppose any candidate for elected office. BEST is sharing all responses received as a public service to inform voters.

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Transportation Safety Questionnaire for City of Springfield Candidates

This transportation safety questionnaire was distributed to all City of Springfield candidates running for office in the May 2020 primary election. It was developed by BEST and community partners to assist candidates in informing voters on an important issue of community concern.

Responses from all candidates were accepted through Monday, April 27. There are eight questions in four sections: About You, Goals, Actions, and Funding Priorities. All questions were optional.

As a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization, BEST does not support or oppose any candidate for elected office. BEST is sharing the responses we received as a public service.

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Focus Groups: What Transportation Investments Should Our Community Be Making?

Efforts such as Transit Tomorrow, MovingAhead, the Main Street Safety Project / Main-McVay Transit Study, New Franklin Boulevard, the Franklin Boulevard Transformation, the River Road Corridor Study, and Beltline Improvement Plans are each separately asking how to invest public monies to improve transportation in particular ways or along particular corridors.

But it is critical to see the forest for the trees. Especially if funding is limited, what are the community’s top transportation investment priorities — if transportation is even a priority compared to other pressing issues such as public safety, housing, education, parks, etc.

To begin developing an answer, this past summer BEST held a series of informal focus groups with our partners and other community leaders.

Now BEST is reviewing and summarizing what we heard. Check back soon for our report on what is most important to the community, areas of agreement, and possible next steps.

Three local transportation efforts win “BESTie” awards, former Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy honored

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

EUGENE, OR (May 23, 2019)—Tuesday evening, Better Eugene-Springfield Transportation honored excellence improving the quality of transportation in our area.

The local nonprofit organization presented BEST Awards—affectionately known as “BESTies”—in three categories.

The award for transportation options went to PeaceHealth Rides, for safe streets to the Mill Race Path, and for walkable neighborhoods to Amazon Corner.

“Collaboration is the special sauce for getting things done,” advised keynote speaker Mia Birk. For 27 years, Birk was at the forefront of promoting healthier forms of transportation, including launching the nation’s first bike share system.

“We believe we are better when we speak and act together,” added BEST executive director Rob Zako. “BEST is pleased to honor three team efforts as some of the best in our community.”

But a surprise fourth award went to an individual. Former Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy was recognized for her lifetime of bold transportation leadership with the Ruth Bascom Award, named after another former mayor.

“I’m honored, but the real kudos go to the visionary folks who see transportation as key to a good life for us all,” Piercy said. “It’s one way we share community together.”

Launched a year ago, PeaceHealth Rides is a shared bicycle service. It won the award for achievement adding new or improving the availability, practicality or affordability of existing transportation options.

“It’s such an honor to be acknowledged for our work and partnership in the community,” said Lindsey Hayward, general manager of PeaceHealth Rides. “We’re grateful to all our wonderful members and encourage everyone to ride with us—to give bike share a try. The true winners of bike share are the riders getting exercise as they travel, the community experiencing less traffic congestion, and the environment having fewer carbon emissions.”

The system is managed by JUMP Bikes in partnership with the City of Eugene, University of Oregon and Lane Transit District, with support from the Oregon Department of Transportation and PeaceHealth.

Completed in January 2017, the Mill Race Path is a multi-use path from downtown Springfield to the Middle Fork Willamette running along the restored historic waterway. It won the award for achievement protecting lives on our streets, especially for more vulnerable users.

“Willamalane Park and Recreation District and its TEAM Springfield partners—City of Springfield, Springfield Utility Board, and Springfield Public Schools—are proud to receive this award,” said Eric Adams, Willamalane director of planning, parks and facilities. “It is a perfect example of what can be accomplished through effective community-focused collaboration, and wouldn’t have been possible without the financial support provided by the 2012 bond measure.”

Opened last November, Amazon Corner is a five-story, mixed-use, bicycle-friendly development on Hilyard Street in Eugene. It won the award for achievement designing or building complete neighborhoods where many basic services are within walking distance.

“We are honored to receive this award from BEST, who has been a supporter of the project from the beginning,” said Dan Straub, Tokatee Capital’s vice-president for property management and development. “We hope Amazon Corner can be a model for future walkable and alternative transportation neighborhood development.”

Rowell Brokaw designed and Essex General Construction built Amazon Corner for Tokatee Capital.

“The First Annual BEST Awards was a festive celebration of the years of work by local partners to make our community better; that is, with safe, healthy, convenient and affordable transportation options accessible from walkable neighborhoods,” said BEST president Mike Eyster. “It was BEST’s pleasure to highlight the excellent work of all the finalists.”

Also recognized for the transportation options award were finalists EmX West, Free Bikes 4 Kidz, New Franklin Boulevard, and #YesRideChoice.

Also recognized for the safe streets award were finalists Active Amazon Transportation Corridor Project, Sun Automotive, Lane County’s Transportation Safety Action Plan and Fatal Crash Investigation Team, and Eugene’s Vision Zero Action Plan.

Also recognized for the walkable neighborhoods award were finalists Blossom Cottages, LUCíA and Arcadia, and The Oaks at 14th.

Roughly 150 people joined in the awards dinner celebration at the Downtown Athletic Club. Attending were Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis and City Councilor Jennifer Yeh; Lane County Commissioner Heather Buch; State Representative Marty Wilde and former state legislators Phil Barnhart and Chris Edwards; Lane Transit District board members Don Nordin, Kate Reid, Joshua Skov, Caitlin Vargas and Carl Yeh, and former board member Gary Wildish; EWEB Commissioner Mindy Schlossberg; and Lane Community College board members Mike Eyster and Matt Keating.

Inspired by Hollywood’s Oscars, the second annual awards are planned for early 2020.

A local nonprofit founded in 2012, BEST brings people together to promote transportation options, safe streets, and walkable neighborhoods. It is led by 50 community leaders on its boards of directors and advisors.

Mia Birk appeared courtesy of LiveMove, the transportation and livability student group, and the Sustainable Cities Institute at the University of Oregon.

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Vote “Yes” on Ballot Measure 20-275 to Continue Fixing Our Streets

UPDATE 10/23/2017: Official information about Ballot Measure 20-275 is now posted on the City of Eugene’s website.

Over the past 10 years, the City of Eugene has reduced a backlog of potholed, crumbling streets with two successful bond measures. This bond will continue that important work.

1) IT CONTINUES A SUCCESSFUL PROGRAM. In 2007, Eugene had over $200 million in needed street repairs. Citizens wanted the potholes fixed—and thanks to bond measures voters approved in 2008 and 2012, the backlog was cut in half. This measure continues the same property tax rate. To avoid paying far more in the future to rebuild streets, we should fund cost-effective ongoing maintenance.

2) IT’S OUR RESPONSIBILITY. Federal and state governments do not provide sufficient funding to keep our streets in good repair. We need to provide funding ourselves.

3) IT’S FAIR. This measure will fund about 90 repaving projects, across all city wards. A tax on properties spreads the burden fairly. Everyone benefits; everyone helps pay.

4) IT’S ACCOUNTABLE. As before, this measure clearly spells out which streets will be fixed. A separate volunteer citizen oversight committee will review all work, and an outside auditor will certify spending. Money will be used as voters intend.

5) IT BENEFITS KIDS, SENIORS & ALTER ABLED. Like past measures, this one allocates a portion of the funding to make our transportation system better and safer for children, the elderly, alter-abled, and others who prefer to walk or ride a bike. Past measures have improved our popular off-street path network, addressed dangerous areas with better pedestrian crossings, and created safer routes to schools, parks and commercial areas. These projects also have been well distributed in neighborhoods all over the city. More of this work is needed, and this measure increases the portion devoted to such projects from 6.5% to 10%. This measure will help make our neighborhoods safer.

PLEASE VOTE “YES”: We should continue to maintain and strengthen our transportation system with responsible, necessary investments. We urge you to vote “Yes” on Ballot Measure 20-275!

Background

Voter-approved general obligation bond measures — “GO bonds” — are key to Eugene’s pavement preservation program.

In November 2008, Eugene voters approved Ballot Measure 20-145, a five-year, $35.9-million bond measure promising to fix 32 streets in Eugene. The measure cost an average of $0.61 per $1,000 of assessed value each year, or $102 per year for an average homeowner. By the time the funds were fully expended, the City of Eugene had repaired 54 streets and a number of off-street paths.

In November 2012, Eugene voters resoundingly approved Ballot Measure 20-197, a new $43-million bond measure to continue the street repair program for another five years to fix 76 more streets and provide an average of $516,000 per year for bicycle and pedestrian projects. Set to expire in 2018, the measure is costing an average of $0.65 per $1,000 of assessed value each year, or $127 per year for an average homeowner.

Now in November 2017, Eugene voters are being asked to approve Ballot Measure 20-275, a new $51.2-million bond measure to continue the street repair program for another five years to fix approximately 88 lane-miles of roads and fund bicycle and pedestrian projects. The measure is estimated to cost an average of $0.65 per $1,000 of assessed value each year (the same rate as the 2012 bond measure), or $148 per year for an average homeowner.

Because of these bond measures, plus about $3 million a year from Eugene’s 5-cent-per-gallon local gas tax, the Public Works Department has made significant progress on reducing the backlog of needed street repairs. The 2017 Pavement Management Report showed progress had been made on the condition of Eugene’s streets in large part due to the additional funds available from the GO bonds, but more work was needed to further reduce the backlog of repairs on the 1,356 lane-miles of streets in the City. Specifically, the 2017 report calculated the backlog of repairs on improved asphalt streets was $92 million—a reduction in the estimated backlog of needed repairs of $79 million since the 2008 bond was approved. Despite this downward trend, the backlog is projected to continue to grow unless there is an increase in funding that is both sufficient and sustainable.

To ensure accountability for the expenditure of voter-approved bonds to fix streets, an outside auditor reviews the City of Eugene’s use of bond proceeds, determines whether proceeds were used as approved by voters, and prepares a public report.

In addition, the citizen Street Repair Review Panel meets several times a year to look at recently completed street repair projects, learn more about plans for future repair projects, review in depth the expenditure of bond funds to fix streets, and produce an annual report.

Project Maps

2017 Bond Measure Project Map

2017

2012 Bond Measure Project Map

2012

2008 Bond Measure Project Map

2008

Other Resources

News Stories

General Information

2017 Ballot Measure 20-275

2012 Ballot Measure 20-197

2008 Ballot Measure 20-145

Jarrett Walker presentation on November 30 in Eugene

Kaarin Knudson photos

Shane MacRhodes photos

Jenny Fribley photos

Josh Skov photos

Ali Doerr photos

Shelley Kurtz photos

What’s Your Goal? (Videos)

What’s the goal for your family?

What’s the goal for your family?

Whatever you call it—Vision Zero, Target Zero, Drive to ZeroZero Fatalities, Toward Zero Deaths, Moving Toward Zero Deaths, or Towards Zero—is all about eliminating deaths and life-changing injuries on our roadways. Some people may think zero is an impossible goal, but when it comes to your family and friends, what other number would be acceptable? An increasing number of cities, counties and states are aiming for zero because every one matters.

Here are some videos making the case for zero as the right goal:

Safer Streets for Everyone!

UPDATE 7/31/2016: Amend language of petition to call for pursuing the “9 Components of a Strong Vision Zero Commitment.”

UPDATE 4/24/2016: Now that the Eugene City Council has adopted Vision Zero with Resolution No. 5143, amend language of petition to address other local elected officials.

Sign Pledge + Petition

Pledge

  • I will behave safely and responsibly at all times on public streets, respecting and empathizing with other people’s need to get where they’re going safely.
  • I acknowledge that traveling on public streets can be risky, and I resolve to be alert to the surroundings.
  • I also recognize the role of the roadways, paths, and sidewalks as public space in the community, not only a means for travel, and resolve to share the road with all users, whether they are traveling to a destination or enjoying the street appropriately as public space.
  • I will be a good example, and I want my neighbors to slow down, say “hi,” and join me in spreading the word.

Source: City of Portland, OR

Petition

On November 18, 2015, in response to an earlier petition organized by Better Eugene-Springfield Transit (BEST), the Eugene City Council adopted Resolution No. 5143, “setting as official policy the Vision Zero goal that no loss of life or serious injury on our transportation system is acceptable.”

Now I call on Eugene (and other local governments) to pursue the “9 Components of a Strong Vision Zero Commitment”:

  1. Political Commitment
  2. Multi-Disciplinary Leadership
  3. Action Plan
  4. Equity
  5. Cooperation & Collaboration
  6. Systems-Based Approach
  7. Data-Driven
  8. Community Engagement
  9. Transparency

Source: Vision Zero Network

Vision Zero

Vision Zero is a strategy to eliminate all traffic fatalities and severe injuries, while increasing safe, healthy, equitable mobility for all. First implemented in Sweden in the 1990s, Vision Zero has proved successful across Europe—and now has been embraced by New York, Boston, Chicago, Austin, San DiegoLos Angeles, Santa Barbara, San José, San Mateo, San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland.

Sources: Vision Zero Network, Wikipedia

Vision Zero uses a multidisciplinary approach of the “Six E’s”—engineering, enforcement, education, encouragement, equity, and evaluation (and planning)—involving highway and traffic engineers, law enforcement, vehicle designers, medical specialists, educators, social scientists, media, government officials, and others. Sweden’s program is based on four principles:

  • Ethics: Human life and health are paramount and take priority over mobility and other objectives of the road traffic system;
  • Responsibility: Providers and regulators of the road traffic system share responsibility with drivers and other users;
  • Safety: Road traffic systems should take account of human fallibility and minimize both the opportunities for errors and the harm done when they occur; and
  • Mechanisms for change: Providers and regulators must do their utmost to guarantee the safety of all citizens and cooperate with road users, and all three must be ready to change to achieve safety.

Sources: Connecticut Office of Legislative Research, Puget Sound Regional Council

U.S. DOT Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets

Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy and Springfield Mayor Christine Lundberg each accepted the U.S. Department of Transportation Mayors’ Challenge for Safer People, Safer Streets:

  1. Take a complete streets approach.
  2. Identify and address barriers to make streets safe and convenient for all road users, including people of all ages and abilities and those using assistive mobility devices.
  3. Gather and track walking and bicycling data.
  4. Use designs appropriate to the context of the street and its uses.
  5. Take advantage of opportunities to create and complete walking and bicycling networks through maintenance.
  6. Improve walking and bicycling safety laws and regulations.
  7. Educate and enforce proper road use behaviors by all.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Transportation

Road Traffic Fatality Facts

Leading causes of death in Oregon in 2013:

  • Ages 15–24: 1) suicide, 2) road traffic crashes, 3) poisoning
  • Ages 25–34: 1) suicide, 2) poisoning, 3) road traffic crashes
  • Ages 35–44: 1) suicide, 2) poisoning, 3) road traffic crashes

Source: WorldLifeExpectancy.com

In 2015, traffic deaths in Oregon were 20% higher than in 2014, the second highest percentage increase in the nation.
Source: National Highway Transportation Safety Administration

Fatal traffic crashes in Lane County 2007–2013:

Lane County Road Fatalities 2007-2013

Each red dot represents one or more lives lost.

Source: Lane Council of Governments