Eugene cyclists weigh on local ballot measures

Through Campus
A cyclist rides through the University of Oregon campus. Photo by Branden Andersen.

By: Branden Andersen

For people who use cycling as their primary mode of transportation like Eugene resident Ellen Stember, the City of Eugene ballot form is more important than just the president, vice president and governor. This year, City of Eugene measure 20-197 will either give developers the green light on repairing Eugene’s pothole-riddled streets, or tell them to take their work elsewhere.

“Eugene has a lot of potholes,” Stember said. “When they just re-did 18th [avenue], it was finally like I’m not jumping around the whole entire way.”

The ballot measure would approve $43 million in general obligation bonds, a bond secured by the state or local government, to continue repairing Eugene streets. According to the City of Eugene voters’ pamphlet, these bonds would fix approximately 74 miles of road. Not only would the project generate $8 million annually, but $516,000 of the generated income would be dedicated to more bike and pedestrian improvements and upgrades, potentially increasing Eugene’s 9th place rank on bicycling.com‘s most bike friendly city in America.

“[Eugene] is bike-friendly in the way that they have a lot of bike lanes,” Stember said. “But, they have a lot of upkeep and things to do.”

According to the City of Eugene website, there are 81 miles of on-street bike lanes and 42 miles of shared use paths dotted through out the approximate 43 square miles in the city limits.

University student Andrew Deichler sees Eugene as a bike friendly city, but also believes that changes and improvements are going to be needed in the near future.

“With the increasing number of students, being more bike friendly would be nice,” Deichler said.

He pointed out the intersection where E. 13th Ave. and University St. meet, noting that this was a treacherous area because of cars driving where they don’t belong.

“There are some spaces … where cars shouldn’t be, and then they go [the wrong way on a roundabout],” he said. “But, there are some spots that have always been that way.”

Branden Jensen, a University student who rides his bike back and forth to class, doesn’t see the bike developments as absolutely necessary.

“I don’t necessarily think that it’s priority number one,” Jensen said. “But, it is still something important.”

Jensen adds that he doesn’t go very far from where he lives, and his whole ride home is on a bike path. So, his experience makes it easy to think that developments aren’t absolutely necessary.

Along side these commuters’ vote to pass or suspend City of Eugene ballot measure 20-197, they will be picking out who they want for the next president of the United States. Stember wanted the candidates to talk more about how to deal with medicade and medicare, whereas Deichler wished the candidates talked more about jobs.

Jensen said that he hasn’t been watching the campaign.

“I think they’re all assholes,” he said with a smirk.

About Branden Andersen

Branden is a senior journalism major focusing on magazine journalism at the University of Oregon. He currently is the managing editor at FLUX magazine.
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