Bailey Hill Safety Improvements
Today the City of Eugene held an event to dedicate the changes that have taken place on Bailey Hill Road (from 18th to Warren St). This project was started two years ago after the City of Eugene started work with the Churchill Area Neighbors, Bailey Hill road safety committee, 4J School District, ODOT, and area businesses. Work was started after the tragic death of 10 year old Vaclav Hajek, a pedestrian attempting to cross the street while walking back from watering his community garden plot. For years concerns were raised about this section of Bailey Hill but it took this tragic event to put the project to the top of the cities list and as Tom Larsen, the city traffic engineer stated the incident “added a sense of urgency.”
Todays event was the culmination of all that work and the area is a major improvement for cyclists, pedestrians, and all road users in the area. Dropping the lanes from four to two (plus turn lanes), wider bike lanes, installing landscaped medians, the installation of marked crosswalks and special stutter flashes for the main crossing make for a much safer, inviting, and pleasant Bailey Hill. Taking this previously chaotic and busy feeling street and turning it into one with better crossings, less conflict points, and a more inviting environment for active transportation was possible while still allowing space and capacity for motorized vehicles. It’s a great model of what we can do to make a “complete street” system.
There are still many areas in Eugene that need improvements to make them safe for cyclists, pedestrians, the elderly, families, and other vulnerable roadway users (River Road, 30th Avenue, Coburg, Hwy 99, etc.). Hopefully these improvements can be made before another tragic event occurs. At Safe Routes to School we are working with the City of Eugene and other partners to identify and implement as many of these changes as we can with SRTS and other federal, state, and local funding.
SAFE PASSAGES PROJECT
Donations are being accepted to build an educational memorial in Vaclav Hajek’s name near one of the new crosswalks on Bailey Hill Road. Contributions may be made at any Selco Credit Union branch, or sent to: Safe Passages Project, P.O. Box 25409, Eugene, OR 97402. For more information call Tom Schneider- 729-1263 or Marina Hajek- 338-3124.