City Recommends Bike Lanes for West 24th Avenue

The City of Eugene is repaving 24th Avenue this summer as part of it’s pavement preservation program. So far there have been two neighborhood open houses, one in December and one last night (Jan. 5th).  At the first meeting several options of what to do when 24th is repaved were discussed. Some of those options were: remove parking on both sides and add wide bike lanes, remove parking on one side and have more narrow bike lanes or a bike lane on one side and sharrows on the other, or do nothing and keep the street as it is.

At last nights meeting the City brought their recommendation forward after taking community input, doing parking counts, and a completing a one day speed study*.  The City is recommending: removal of the existing “bulb-outs”, adding bike lanes on both sides of 24th (4-5 ft on 1 side and 5-6 on the other), consolidating parking to one side, removing the painted center line, adding one new marked crosswalk (at Fillmore), and adding a school zone near ATA/Family School. These should all be major improvements for safe multi-modal travel through this part of town and I’m excited to see the City taking these steps.


Slide from last nights meeting of the City Recommendation

The existing East/West bike facilities that exist in this area are on 18th and 28th, which have a higher traffic volume and don’t service the two schools in the area like 24th does. These bike lanes were called for in TransPlan as well as the Pedestrian & Bicycle Master Plan so it’s great to see the City follow through with those plans, even with concerns from some neighbors about the removal of parking (which in the cities parking study was shown to be very under utilized).

One of the more exciting changes, along with the addition of the bike lanes, is the removal of the center line and the move towards a more “shared space” for motorists. This treatment has been shown to decrease speeds in some areas. With the narrowing of the visual space it will be interesting to see how speeds are reduced (see note below). The City has promised to do another speed and parking study after the project is built. I’m excited to see what kind of difference this will make for people walking, biking, busing, and driving on this street. I know personally I’m looking forward to riding these bike lanes with my family as we commute through the area as we currently zig-zag through other streets to avoid this more direct and convenient route.

The City will be doing one final presentation to the Friendly Area Neighbors at their Jan. 19th meeting (at the Washington Park Cottage, 2025 Washington Street) and will be taking feedback up to that point. You can contact Reed Dunbar, City Transportation Planner, for more information:


*It’s interesting to note that with the speed study it was found that “the 85th percentile” speed was 29mph, only 4 mph over the posted speed limit and not enough for the City to implement ‘traffic calming’ measures (which they would do at 5mph and above).  One question I have on this is that if the 85th percentile is 29mph that means that 15% are traveling 30mph or faster?  With 3,500 vehicles a day that means 525 cars are driving 5 mph over the speed limit? That’s approximately 30 cars an hour during main driving times or one every couple minutes. How much over 30mph are they going? Is this really acceptable? Five miles per hour matters with injuries and deaths (see graph below). Thinking it’s okay that hundreds of cars are traveling on a neighborhood ‘residential major’ collector, with two schools very close, at 5mph or over the speed limit doesn’t seem right. We should be building a street where it feels like you should drive 25mph and not 30mph or over. Maybe this improvement will help with that. Or maybe more and better traffic calming will need to be considered for this corridor. For now it’s a good start but let’s not settle with “good enough”.
Update: (This update has been corrected with errors because of my misinterpretation of the numbers) The City forwarded the speed study data and here are some quick numbers I pulled out from it: 438 cars were driving 31-35 mph, 36 36-40 mph, 3 41-45 mph, 1 46-50 mph, and 1 51-55 mph. Clearly those few out layers in the 41+ just need better enforcement and probably wouldn’t change their speed/behavior much with traffic calming.  But the 438 driving 11 mph over the speed limit? The fact that this data doesn’t meet the cities threshold for “traffic calming” needs is interesting. I think it shows how we’ve grown to just accept speeding traffic in the engineering of our city streets. I find myself asking, how do other communities do it? How do the other countries that have high-use multi-modal transportation systems measure speeds and determine traffic calming? Is the 85th percentile universal? Maybe so. Maybe it’s just part and parcel with living in a world with the convenience of car travel and you’re not going to out-engineer peoples ‘need for speed’. I don’t really believe that but I think some folks do.

The City will be doing another speed study after the improvements are made to this street and I’ll be interested (as I know the City will be too) to see what kind of changes we might see in driver behavior. I know that it will make it a more comfortable environment for me, my family, and many others to ride our bikes on. Hopefully it will help with the dangerous speeding a bit too.


8 Responses leave one →
  1. 2012 January 8

    Thanks for reporting on this, Shane, and good work! I’m glad that you brought this to our attention on last month’s KM ride. These improvements will be a nice upgrade.

    I also completely agree with you about the speed limit issue. What is going on with the possibility of changing the speed limit on neighborhood greenways to 20 mph?

  2. 2012 January 8

    I believe that bill passed and now communities are able to set 20mph limits on ‘neighborhood greenways’, which also apply to streets similar to what Eugene calls “bike boulevards”… which 24th is not, it’s a neighborhood collector. So it would have to be downgraded and/or have a lot of traffic calming added to it to make it fit the 20mph possibility.
    But I hope we can find some other streets to do that work on.

  3. 2012 February 1
    Allen Hancock permalink

    Shane–Great job rallying bicyclists to advocate for bike lanes! I’m so pleased to see these proposed changes on W. 24th. This street might be an opportunity to experiment with 3-D pavement decals that simulate spikes or other objects causing people in cars to slow down. Check out the images at:

  4. 2012 February 1


    I wonder about the effectiveness of the 3-D pavement markings, seems like that article even questions how they work once people get used to them.
    However, some sort of “vertical deflection” might be good to look at for 24th once the City does another speed study after these improvements are made.

    Also, Holly McRae and Hans Kuhn did a great job of rallying folks for the project so thanks to them too!

  5. 2012 May 2
    Geoff Knight permalink

    First, let me say that I am a bike rider. With that said, I would like to also say I live on West 24th and I am appalled that so many of you are just fine with taking the parking away from in front of my house! When it happens on your street I hope you are just as frustrated as I am now. We are appealing this decision as most of the people living on the south side of W. 24th weren’t even aware that they were losing their parking. To finalize, TAKING OUT THE CURB BUMP-OUTS AND REMOVING THE CENTER LINE ARE COUNTER-PRODUCTIVE TO MAKING W. 24TH AVE. A SAFER ROUTE! Use your brains, folks!

    • 2012 May 2

      Appreciate the comment but not the tone. If you would like to engage in a discussion about this topic rather than using insults that would be much more welcome.

      The design that the City of Eugene has proposed is one that we feel WILL create more of a safe route as the bike lanes provide a much safer and more comfortable cycling experience for families riding with children, consolidating parking to one side will reduce visibility issues by at least 50%, and another marked crosswalk and school zone will add to the safety level. Also, removing the center line will create more of a neighborhood street feel and provide the driver with the feeling that they can move away from the bike lane easier to give the cyclist more space when passing. The installation of another marked crosswalk and a school zone as part of the plan helps to create more safe routes for ATA/Family School specifically but the overall change to include bike lanes (as called for in transportation plans for 20 years) will improve cycling for many families in the area who would like to bike more with their children. Finally, the parking is not being removed. It is being consolidated to one side of the street. Two issues related to this item are the way in which we use the public right-of-way and the usage. Is the public right-of-way best used for private parking or for creating more complete multi-modal safe streets and does the current capacity exceed the need? We believe our public right-of-way on a street like this is better used to provide a multi-modal safe street for everyone and also that the current parking conditions can be met with parking on one side of the street.

      Many of us are bike riders, many of us are drivers, and we are all pedestrians. The streets belong to us all and how we use them to meet everyones needs is an important decision and we appreciate the passion and interest in this subject.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Important Meetings for Safe Active Transportation Projects | Eugene Safe Routes to School
  2. GEARs | Greater Eugene Area Riders — 24th Avenue Appeal Dismissed

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS