On my last trip to the River Road community I was able to interview Kurt, who has been a resident of the River Road community for twenty years and who also brought to my attention the ongoing issue of traffic. I have found that many people are concerned about the traffic-specifically the congestion around the Beltline highway exit and related safety issues along the main road. On my most recent visit to the River Road community, I was able to receive input from some others about the situation.
The first interview I conducted was with a man named William (last name omitted upon request), who has two kids attending school in the River Road area. He agrees that the traffic can be a problem during active school hours but doesn’t think it is of large concern to the community. William says that in terms of finding a solution, options are pretty limited unless they are able to build another route on to the Beltline.
Cathy Casalegno, 56, does not live in River Road but she commutes almost every day to fulfill her duties as the Recreation Director at Emerald Park. Cathy agrees that the traffic is a problem but was also stumped when asked if she had any ideas for a solution. She reiterated what previous interviewee, Kurt, had said about the series of traffic lights up near the Beltline creating the majority of the congestion. She also believes that it seems to be the worst in the mornings or late afternoon when people are commuting to work or North Eugene High School. One suggestion Cathy does have is syncing the traffic lights so that traffic can pass through at a more constant rate, but she believes that other features on the main road (such as bike lanes) are adequate.
Lastly, I was able to speak with Ashley Laing, a 21 year resident of Eugene and student at the University of Oregon. Ashley agrees that the amount of stop lights and stop signs on the main road are excessive and probably contribute to much of the traffic. In terms of North Eugene High School, Ashley suggested that hiring a police officer to direct traffic and pedestrians around the area would make things move more smoothly and efficiently.
On my way out of River Road, I was able to experience first hand the traffic my three interviewees had been referring to. It was the end of the school day and North Eugene had just let out of school causing quite a disruption in the traffic. The community may want to consider some of the above options in their next neighborhood meeting.