Why a Cycle Track is a Good Option

This past Wednesday night the City of Eugene hosted an open house to discuss the resurfacing and redesign of Alder Street (from 18th to Franklin). The City is interested in improving this important “bike corridor” by redesigning the street to improve access for cyclists and carrying them all the way down and across Franklin (currently you are diverted off at 13th). At the same time they see it as a great opportunity to not only improve the road surfacing but also keep or increase parking and improve the general street-scape.

There are five design options on the table right now and those include:
-No Build, improve current conditions
-Contraflow bike lanes (similar to 18th to 13th now)
-Two way cycle track
-Two way car traffic with shared space
-A Combination of above options

Could Alder have a Cycle track like this in it's future?

Could Alder have a Cycle track like this in it's future?

“No build” doesn’t connect cyclists to the river and Alder continues to be a ‘missing link’. “Two way car traffic with shared space” is not very ‘bike friendly’, it could work if designed right but isn’t the most comfortable (think riding Willamette and Broadway downtown). “Contraflow bike lanes” the whole way down would work but the design that seems to be the most “family friendly” and comfortable for cyclists is the cycle track option. The cycle track is the closest feeling to a path on the street and would show Eugene’s true commitment to getting more people cycling more often. Located next to the nations first ‘cycle track style’ infrastructure on the north side of 13th (between Alder and Kincaid) this major new facility could be Eugene’s first major bike infrastructure innovation in the last several decades. It would show a renewed commitment to active transportation modes and that Eugene can still be on the cutting edge. This could be the longest (and one of the first) two-way cycle tracks in the nation and could be the start of a whole new way of creating space for all types of cyclists on Eugene’s streets. Like the vision of the path system in the seventies this type of facility could be the next type of improvement to put Eugene back at the top of the list of bike friendly cities. This could be a Platinum style facility.

A definition of a cycle track can be found in Alta Planning & Design’s “Cycle Tracks: Lessons Learned” workbook (pdf):

A cycle track is an exclusive bicycle facility that combines the user experience of a separated path with the on-street infrastructure of a conventional bike lane. Cycle tracks have different forms, but all share common elements. Cycle tracks provide space that is intended to be exclusively or primarily for bicycles, and are separated from vehicle travel lanes, parking lanes and sidewalks. Cycle tracks can be either one-way or two-way, on one or both sides of a street, and are separated from vehicles and pedestrians by pavement markings or coloring, bollards, curbs/medians or a combination of these elements.

And a video from Portland shows some basic cycle track information as well:

On the Right Track from Mayor Sam Adams on Vimeo.

If you have thoughts on the cycle track option, or any of the design elements, leave them in the comments and let us know what you think.

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