Neighborhood Issue Story Final Draft
Eugene cyclists risk colliding with cars every day, but for the people of the River Road neighborhood this risk becomes an everyday reality.
Weekly bike accidents occur at the intersections where the River Road neighborhood meets Santa Clara, and reckless drivers pass through red lights and don’t pay attention to their surroundings, says T.J. Kelley, 28, who has a firsthand view of the intersections as he works at Scott’s Bikes and Boards on Silver Lane.
“I see a lot of wrecks happen in this area, especially around this [Beltline-River Road] intersection,” said William Gurney, 19, who also works at Scott’s.
Gurney lives in the area and rides his bike daily, so the risk of being hit by a car is a constant setback for him. Gurney said other cyclists have the same issue.
This is a problem, not only for those hurt in accidents, but for the drivers who cause most of the accidents.
Eugene is known for its cyclists and bike paths, but as the city becomes more residential and thins out, concessions for cyclists also thin out.
Gurney must travel through the busy intersections to visit businesses in Santa Clara during the day. “It’s super congested and I’ve almost been taken out by cars a couple of times…which is pretty scary,” Gurney said.
Various factors affect the amount of congestion along the Beltline. The Santa Clara neighborhood boasts a majority of the shops and services in the area. Most people drive or cycle across the intersection to go about their daily routine.
Some of the residents of the River Road neighborhood are aware of the problem and say commuting hours can be a nightmare because drivers hurry through the intersection to their various destinations while not paying attention to cyclists.
One of the most significant factors contributing to congestion is North Eugene High School, which is just down Silver Lane. Students can be seen passing through the intersection to go to and from school during the week and clog traffic in the morning and afternoon.
Kelley suggests that the bike lane be moved next to the sidewalk, rather than remain between driving lanes. Kelley and Gurney say the lanes should be color-coded and marked with signs and pictures for the benefit of cyclists and drivers alike.
Kelley specifically mentioned that raising awareness of the issue could positively and significantly affect the issue, though he doubts that anything can be done with a tentative budget.
Recently, ODOT has posted updates about construction in Lane County, and the River Road overhaul has been allotted an $.8 million budget this past week.
According to Oregon’s governmental website, improvements will be made where River Road meets the Randy Papé Beltline. River Road residents may find the change they are seeking in the product of this new construction.
For more information contact Rick Little, Public Information Officer at 541-726-2442
or visit Oregon’s governmental website.