Neighborhood Issue Article
What do you get when you combine bikers, heavy traffic, young drivers, and a major intersection? The answer: frustrated drivers, worried pedestrians, and inevitable accidents. For the many commuters who drive daily on River Road in Eugene, this is a reality and a major concern.
The River Road area is made up of many residential streets, shops, and restaurants that people from all over Eugene drive to as a destination. Eugenian Liz Psonmas often drives to the River Road Community to shop at Dollar Tree, one of just two dollar stores in Eugene. She says traffic is definitely a problem. Psonmas said she has several friends who have all gotten in car accidents due to the many blind spots in the parking lots that let out onto River Road.
“It’s really difficult,” she said. “I was over here last week and almost got nailed by a car just because I couldn’t see it.”
The intersection of River Road and Beltline Highway, in the northernmost region of the River Road Community, is the epitome of concern. The intersection acts as the gateway to the River Road Community on one side, and the Santa Clara area on the other. North Eugene High School, with its many young drivers, is only blocks away. The multiple lanes of traffic, bus stop, bike lanes and pedestrian crosswalks make for unsafe conditions for drivers, bikers, and pedestrians alike.
“It’s really intimidating,” said Taylor Atkin, a newly licensed driver and junior at North Eugene High School. “People just take any opportunity they get to go, and they don’t really pay any attention to anybody else.”
Atkin says that when driving to and from school she goes out of her way to take the back roads in order to avoid the busy Beltline-River Road intersection.
“It’s just one of those things that’s just irritating I guess,” she said.
Drew Charpentier, also a North Eugene High School student, rides his bike to school every day and has witnessed several accidents on River Road. He saw one just a month ago when a large Chrysler collided with a small car, completely totaling the latter.
“On the turns, especially, people [drivers] are pretty anxious to go,” Charpentier said. “They’re always trying to sneak turns.” Making turns onto River Road is just one example of the many traffic safety concerns in the area that call for improvement.