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Other Cities Tap Stimulus for Innovative Green Transportation, Not Eugene

While Portland and other cities are putting forward innovative bike and transit friendly transportation projects for a $1.5-billion pot of flexible, green-oriented federal stimulus funds, Eugene only wants yet more roads.

Portland's Metro planning agency selected $76 million in active, bike, walking and transit projects to apply for federal TIGER funding, according to the bikeportland.org blog.

One $38-million project would saturate the city with bike lanes and separated trails to serve as a national model of green transportation to fight global warming and increase livability. Here's a draft map:

Another $17 million grant application would build a bike trail from Portland to the foothills of Mt. Hood, allowing city-dwellers non-motorized access to the scenic area. The rest of the money would fund improved pedestrian and bike access to light rail stations.

Other cities have also put together innovative green transportation proposals for the rare pot of non-freeway centered federal transportation money. For example, Kansas City wants a trolley and Washington, D.C. a bike sharing program.

But in Eugene/Springfield the focus is on more road construction, according to a memo from the local LCOG planning agency. The city of Eugene wants to reconstruct Highway 99 with another turn lane at Roosevelt and added driveways and resurface 5th Avenue and add a roundabout to accommodate industrial truck traffic in west Eugene. Springfield wants to widen Franklin into a boulevard concept that will include EmX transit lanes but not lined bike lanes.

Portland Metro spent the summer soliciting ideas in a public process to come up with its green list. But LCOG's dirtier, non-innovative transportation stimulus ideas apparently came solely from secret meetings within the undemocratic agency's unelected bureaucracy.

Long dreamed local green transportation projects that didn't make LCOG's dirty list include:

  • A river bike path and bridge all the way to Mt. Pisgah.
  • A trolley down Willamette Street.
  • Bike lanes, wide sidewalks, trees and pedestrian crossings on south Willamette Street.
  • Extending the riverfront bike path through Glenwood.
  • A bike bridge over Beltline to Chad Drive.
  • A separated cycletrack (bike path) down High Street connecting the Amazon trail to the riverfront trail.
  • A dramatic expansion of Eugene's bike lane system.
  • Funding to accelerate the buildout of the EmX system into west and north Eugene.