Surprised by the amount of people coming through the door, Anand Keathley realized he needed to set up more chairs. Vice chair for the Whiteaker council, Keathley had speculated that tonight’s meeting was going to attract more residents.
The recent proposal for the Lane Transit District (LTD) to expand its EMX line into West Eugene was the main topic for the council meeting. As Keathley discussed the expansion, it was obvious he was against it moving into the Whiteaker neighborhood.
Keathley pointed out that the LTD voiced that it had wanted to do things that would improve the neighborhood. “If you make a neighborhood nicer, it will be too expensive to live in,” Keathley said. He felt that people in the neighborhood just didn’t have the money if the property values went up.
As the small room began to fill up, other Whiteaker residents voiced other problems they felt the new line would bring. A few people who said they enjoyed the amount of biking in the neighborhood thought the new EMX line would disrupt that. Other members of the Whiteaker community simply felt the expansion was unnecessary.
Sitting through the overwhelming disapproval of the new expansion, LTD representatives were given the floor to try and educate the neighborhood on the advantages of the EMX. Citing charts and graphs, the representatives pointed out the ridership increase over the last couple years, while also showing the energy saving aspects that the EMX would have.
After the LTD representatives were done presenting, local residents from Jefferson Westside who opposed the expansion addressed the Whiteaker residents. Listing the alternatives, they believed the expansion was dividing neighborhood in half. Proposing an alternative route down 6th and 7th, they felt it was between Jefferson Westside and Whiteaker.