WEC issues

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This list of issues was last updated on February 19, 2008.

>==Purpose statement==

At its meeting on February 21, 2007, the "WE Group" (predecessor to the WEC) adopted a Purpose Statement:

"Develop an integrated land use and transportation solution supported by stakeholders that will facilitate movement of people and commerce from/through/to west Eugene and west of Eugene while enhancing community, business and the environment."


Contents

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Working problem statement

At its meeting on June 27–28, 2007, the WEC accepted the working Problem Statement suggested by the WEC Problem Definition and Work Plan Task Force recommendation, with the understanding this would be refined over time:

"The perception is that the current transportation infrastructure does not meet needs for local and through traffic and that if we don't do something now, the transportation problems will get worse."

Recommended core values (Land Use and Transportation Committee)

At a meeting on November 14, 2007, the WEC Land Use and Transportation Committee reviewed the draft Core Values contained in the report from the WEC Problem Definition and Work Plan Task Force, dated June 19, 2007. (These were in turn taken from work done by the "Eugene Roundtable Group" in 2003.)

In general, the committee endorses the Core Values. The committee sees these as an umbrella statement of what is important to the WEC, and hopefully by extension to the community, that should inform more detailed work.

The committee does have a few minor suggestions for changes, which are indicated below in legislative format:

Core Values
Any community design solution to the problem should uphold the following Core Values:
  1. We value openness, inclusiveness and transparency in governance that encourages active community participation from diverse viewpoints, carried on in a civil and respectful manner and consistent with the need for timely and efficient decision making.
  2. We value a community that strives for justice for all and where all have access to food, housing, healthcare, transportation and high quality education.
  3. We value a strong, vibrant and resilient economy that provides a range of jobs for people with diverse skills, education and interests at various stages of their lives; a community where new generations can grow and prosper without being forced to relocate to find jobs or appropriate homes.
  4. We value a community where all people and their property are safe.
  5. We value a rich social fabric, and arts and culture as an expression of our community talents and visions.
  6. We value the natural community, its rivers, ridgelines, wetlands and species.
  7. We value neighborhood character, and created beauty in our homes, buildings and structures.
  8. We value the protection of our clean water, air, open space and created assets.
  9. We value transportation systems that are supported by and meet the needs of the community.
  10. [Either-Or:]
    • We value getting to a solution, one that is effective, efficient, tangible (as in, something happens) and we value solutions that take the longer-view and will serve multiple generations.
    • We value living and planning in ways that take local responsibility for our local impacts and avoid displacing our costs and impacts beyond our community or to future generations.
  11. We value a community in which neighborhoods are recognized, supported, and empowered to influence civic decisions that affect the residents and business persons in those neighborhoods. [One committee member, who was unable to participate in person, proposed this additional core value, in lieu of the proposed changes to Core Value #7.]

Suggested goals (Mary O'Brien)

After the January 2008 meeting, Mary O'Brien suggested several broad evaluation criteria (goals). Her suggested criteria built from the WEC purpose statement included:

Evaluation Criteria
  1. Likelihood of broad community support
  2. Economic feasibility
  3. Facilitates movement of people from/through/to west Eugene and west of Eugene
  4. Facilitates movement of commerce from/through/to west Eugene and west of Eugene
  5. Minimizes greenhouse gas emissions
  6. Avoids wetlands loss
  7. Enhances community (Eugene, west Eugene, west of Eugene)
  8. Enhances the environment
  9. Supports business
  10. Appears viable long-term (e.g., 30–50 years?)

West 11th Corridor Study: Objectives, Questions & Measures of Success (Emily Proudfoot)

In October 2007, Emily Proudfoot and others working on the City of Eugene's West 11th Corridor Study developed a West 11th Corridor Study: Objectives, Questions & Measures of Success document.

They also developed a brief description of the scope of the West 11th Corridor Study.

Redevelopment ideas (Rick Duncan)

On October 1, 2007, at the Land Use and Transportation Committee meeting, Rick Duncan brought a detailed (zoning?) map of the West 11th corridor and discussed the parcel-by-parcel (re)development potential of some of the parcels. Rick had some fairly specific observations, which he with the help of Emily Proudfoot's notes, have yet to fully capture in writing.

In general, his ideas are:

  • There is a lot of low-density development in the industrial areas north of West 11th Avenue—land that is surface parking/storage or else low-value, one-story buildings—that could be redeveloped as higher-value uses in a relatively short period of time.

Suggested questions and values (Larry Reed)

On September 20, 2007, Larry Reed in an email message to Emily Proudfoot suggested the following:

Land use and transportation questions

  1. Where are the concentrations of low income, elderly, minorities and disabled, is the actual number people by census block more important than map percentages?
  2. Where and how is Eugene planning to grow? Veneta growth?
    • What is the expected population growth Eugene and Veneta must handle?
    • How does population growth translate into future traffic projections? (City's traffic study will inform this question)
    • Where is city planning (where should city plan) for the location of housing, jobs-employment and shopping to manage this growth?
  3. Within area of Eugene's UGB and close proximity of the major highway what is the significance of these abutting farm and forest land?
  4. Should human needs/ values, transportation improvement impacts "trump" environmental interests in west Eugene?
    • Is the west Eugene area so important ecologically, environmentally that no additional development including any additional transportation improvements should not be done?
  5. What is the significance of ODFW Habitat Conservation Strategy Map? What is the force and effect? (If any)
    • How does it relate to Oregon' Land Use Goals?
    • How does it interface w/ Eugene's Metro Plan?
    • Does it have any effect on private property?
    • How and who adopted?
    • How is it implemented?

Hierarchy of land use fundamental values

The value statements I thought should be part of the future collaborative work. The following is the start of a list of values:

  1. Providing for human (community) needs is important (as Humans, we need not apologize for being on earth)
    • Must have:
      • Housing set in context of:
        • Market conditions, cost
        • Proximity /relationship to work, schools, daycare, etc
      • Jobs-employment-adequate as to new job creation (amount) and quality to allow people to chose jobs, profession, move about the work force to support families.
      • Retail shopping; food, clothing, bedding, furniture, etc.:
        • Choice of goods & services /competition among venders
        • Convenience, ease of access / location
      • Infrastructure sized to handle growth:
        • Utilities, water & sanitary sewers—adequate to handle the projected growth
        • Open space /Parks, adequate variety of types from open space to high activity parks, both private and public for the population
        • Transportation, adequate to accommodate commerce /commercial trucking and personal vehicles, mass transit, bicycles paths, sidewalk system (Improve air quality, improve safety, avoid congestion, provide transportation choices),
        • Schools
    • Failure to accommodate these human needs has social, economic and environmental consequences. Such as:
      • Inadequate housing supply helps to drive up housing costs, lack of jobs compared to supply of people keeps wages low, (poverty, homelessness, cost to society of Social services--low income support)
      • Forces people to look for housing and jobs in distance communities and to commute back and forth to the Metro area,
  2. Look to 'human need' projects (clustering, high density, "nodal" mixed use, new and improved roadways, EmX Mass transit) that improve or decrease impacts on the environment. Free flowing highways without stops & starts improve air quality: redevelopment of downtown, expansion of Urban Growth Boundary, lessen pressures to develop in distance communities, areas, etc.

Larry E. Reed, Principal
JRH, Land Use Planning Division
(541) 687-1081

"WE Group" brainstorming ideas

At a meeting on January 9, 2007, the West Eugene Forum ("WE Group"), the precursor to the West Eugene Collaborative, brainstormed a set of issues, opportunities, threats, etc. concerning west Eugene.

Visioning

  • Articulate what that means especially with land use concerns
  • Flexibility in long term vision: "Perfection is enemy of the good."

Transportation

  • Facilitate movement of people and commerce from/through/to West Eugene and west of Eugene while keeping area business viable
  • Don't solve problems in isolation
  • Improve with remainder of City connectivity in mind
  • Connect to regional transportation system
  • Keep in mind unintended consequences
  • Public is interested in solution!
  • Think about design aesthetics w/ natural resources for whole corridor
  • Ag/wine industry travel to/from (10,000 visitors to King Estate Inc in 2006)
  • Understand and acknowledge all scales: wetland/ecology, freight, neighborhood, etc.
  • Designed street—a string of interesting places/aesthetics but reality based vision→ pockets of relief
  • Transportation needs to support that vision
  • Balance how code and framework—context of solution seeking—lots of regs?
  • Decisions—What level do they stick? Who is deciding? Teeth please.
  • More than just a W. Eugene Vision → tweaking TransPlan + RTP + rural plan

Land use

  • Integrate transportation network with land use
  • All modes considered: bus, bike, ped, freight, car, etc.
  • Remember what it is like to walk!
  • Urban rural divide within a block or two
  • Articulate what that means especially with land use concerns

Regulations

  • Code Flex
  • ID developable lands
  • Redevelopment and changes → how planning impacts private property owners important
  • Language we use is critical
    • pull people to the middle instead of to the edges of conversations
    • open conversation strategies
    • vision first, then the rest

Environment

  • With an eye to environmental elements
  • Connect funding/agencies
  • Reduce VMT (Vehicle Miles Traveled) and minutes→ sustainability, waste-in-kind, LUTRAQ, air quality issues, pollution
  • Improvement of other RTP and growth management policies
  • ID/Protect/Integrate critical eco. Parcels in W. Eugene
  • Think about design aesthetics w/ natural resources for whole corridor
  • Ag/wine industry travel to/from (10,000 visitors to King Estate Inc in 2006)
  • NEPA Acts—include acts that don't meet purview of agency/rules
  • Have a regional vision or collective one for W. Eugene
  • Amazon Study, Eugene Study → Corridor studies deciding component
  • Future is now. What is in the pipeline and what is left? What's the vision that emerges? Account for foreseeable future → What trains have left the station?
  • Money might be available for this
  • Organic

Process, people, communication

  • Enhance City entrance (Make outstanding!)
  • Engage/Integrate community input—discussion i.e. Veneta (2-way conversations)
  • Enhance Eugene's foreign policy!
  • No us/them → create continuity
  • Rekindle, reengage, and challenge burn out and collective exhaustion—keep folks engaged and find ways to keep the fire going
  • Rural land use and population—take into account
  • Neighborhoods/community engage, deliberative democracy
  • Flexibility across the board—City especially (rules may bind too much)
  • Different viewpoints—move out to and into a diversity of neighborhoods and developed areas
  • Opportunity for accomplishing something great
  • What are the inevitable surprises? Interim actions—what are short, middle, long term changes we can make?
  • Process length?
  • Growing pains—dynamic of public grief over change of land use and development. What's there? What can change?
  • Frame expectations of the future
  • What to do with this?
  • Maybe ID values and themes
  • Collaborative process → active decision
    • Major decision makers
    • Major perspectives
    • Committed membership that plays well together
  • Can we use this process as a model for the future—keep the public at large engaged all along so that the results are supported at the end
  • Have enough interim milestones. Have one very soon for mark of progress
  • Decisions—What level do they stick? Who is deciding? Teeth please.
  • Who do we need to have there? Then this group asks itself the same question, # of people? Amount of time is influenced by the # of people.
  • Neutral facilitator—very important
  • Trust around the table and represent all interests—avoid opposition this way
  • Feedback loop
  • Many start out disengaged
  • Use process to engage
  • Deliberative democracy

"Eugene Roundtable Group" brainstorming ideas

At a meeting in April 2005, the "Eugene Rounkdtable Group," the which originally organized a series of meetings leadinf to the formation of the West Eugene Collaborative, brainstormed a set of issues concerning west Eugene.

Through traffic

  • Highway 126 to Interstate-5 gap
  • Where does traffic come from [and go to]?

Local, commuter traffic

  • Incomplete local street grid
  • Lots of local/regional traffic—Highway 126/West 11th [headed to metropolitan area?]
  • Connecting western residents to metro area—including “bedroom communities” Veneta/Elmira

Problems, issues on West 11th

  • Congestion on West 11th
  • Expandability of [ability to widen?] West 11th
  • No clear/easy right-of-way
  • Too many curb cuts on West 11th
  • Short depth on parcels away from West 11th
  • West 11th area is ugly
  • Need to accommodate residential growth on West 11th
  • West 11th is predominant commercial area in West Eugene—destination
  • Drawing more traffic to West 11th (Walmart &Target)
  • WEP different from West 11th transportation problem—process doesn’t address local problems on West 11th (Can we set WEP aside and try to solve West 11th problem ?)
  • Chambers/Garfield to Bertelsen/Beltline [Bailey Hill?]

Transportation funding

  • Finite [limited?] transportation funding
  • Local transportation problem but state funding
  • ODOT reluctant to pay for local improvements
  • Difficulty prioritizing transportation $

Other transportation issues

  • High VMT cost of peripheral development
  • West route for BRT
  • Nodal Development
  • Non-integration of land use/transportation planning

UGB, land supply, affordable housing

  • Different expectations of UGB in West Eugene—unrealistic?
  • Flip cause and effect: 1) Must serve growth; 2) Growth will happen regardless
  • Cost of housing in Eugene
  • We should be aggressively encouraging growth inside UGB and looking at expansion of UGB for job creation (expansion of commercial/industrial area)
  • Inadequate land supply inside UGB—land too dear [scarce? expensive?]
  • Inadequate residential/commercial/industrial land supply

Natural resources

  • Vulnerable wetlands
  • WEW Plan/BLM/LWCF monies—surprising success of WEW Plan
  • Wetlands are an asset, but not well understood
  • Non-integrated natural resource land use planning

Community, symbolism

  • Lack of identification with community in West Eugene (Bethel)
  • WEP is symbolic of growth vs. no-growth
  • Balance competing community values

Sustainable Urban Design Patterns for West Eugene (Kevin Matthews)

Some Potential Patterns for West Eugene

2008.0130-KMM


selected from "A Pattern Language", Christopher Alexander at al., Oxford University Press, 1977 http://www.amazon.com/dp/0195019199?tag=artificeinc&link_code=as3&creativeASIN=0195019199&creative=373489&camp=211189

While most of the patterns are applicable in most situations - and some patterns have not stood the test of time and should be reconsidered before application anywhere - these are some that seem especially on-point for the West Eugene of 2008 and beyond.

These are not offered as recipe or requirements, but as relatively well-documented food for thought.

Pattern 3 - CITY COUNTRY FINGERS "People feel comfortable when they have access to the countryside, experience of open fields, and agriculture; access to wild birds and animals. For this access, cities must have boundaries with the countryside near every point... Therefore: "Keep interlocking fingers of [open space] and urban land... The urban fingers should never be more than 1 mile wide, while the [open space] fingers should never be less than 1 mile wide."

Pattern 8 - MOSAIC OF SUBCULTURES

Pattern 10 - MAGIC OF THE CITY

Pattern 11 - LOCAL TRANSPORT AREAS

Pattern 12 - COMMUNITY OF 7000

Pattern 13 - SUBCULTURE BOUNDARY

Pattern 16 - WEB OF PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION "The system of public transportation - the entire web of airplanes, ...trains, buses, taxis, mini-trains, carts... - can only work if all the parts are well-connected. But they usually aren't... "

Pattern 17 - RING ROADS

Pattern 18 - NETWORK OF LEARNING "...Work in piecemeal way to decentralize the process of learning and enrich it through contact with many places and people all over the city... Build new educational facilities in a way which extends and enriches this network."

Pattern 19 - WEB OF SHOPPING

Pattern 20 - MINI-BUSES

Pattern 21 - FOUR-STORY LIMIT "In any urban area, no matter how dense, keep the majority of buildings four stories high or less. It is possible that certain buildings should exceed this limit, but they should never be buildings for human habitation."

Pattern 25 - ACCESS TO WATER "When natural bodies of water occur near human settlements, treat them with great respect. Always preserve a belt of common land, immediately beside the water. And allow dense settlements to come right down to the water at only infrequent intervals along the water's edge."

Pattern 26 - LIFE CYCLE

Pattern 28 - ECCENTRIC NUCLEUS "...Catch basins of shopping centers are not circles, as one might naively suppose, but half-circles, with the half-circle on that side of the center away from the central city, because people always go to that shopping center which lies toward the center of their city, never to the once which lies toward the city's periphery." ...Therefore: "Encourage growth and the accumulation of density to form a clear configuration of peaks and valleys according to [a set of compatible rules related to the eccentric nucleus]."

Pattern 30 - ACTIVITY NODES "Create nodes of activity throughout the community, spread about 300 yards apart. First identify those existing spots in the community where action seems to concentrate itself. Then modify the layout of the paths in the community to bring as many of them through these spots as possible... Then, at the center of each nodes, make a small public square, and surround it with a combination of community facilities and shops which are mutually supportive."

Pattern 31 - PROMENADE "Each subculture needs a center for its public life: a place where you can go to see people, and to be seen." ...Therefore: "Encourage the gradual formation of a promenade at the heart of every community, linking the main activity nodes, and placed centrally, so that each point in the community is within 10 minutes walk of it. Put main points of attraction at the two ends, to keep a constant movement up and down."

Pattern 32 - SHOPPING STREET "Shopping centers depend on access: they need locations near major traffic arteries...."

Pattern 33 - INTERCHANGES

Pattern 41 - WORK COMMUNITY

Pattern 42 - INDUSTRIAL RIBBON

Pattern 44 - LOCAL TOWN HALL

Pattern 51 - GREEN STREETS

Pattern 54 - ROAD CROSSING "At any point where a pedestrian path crosses a road that has enough traffic to create more than a two second delay to people crossing, make [special provisions for pedestrian crossing]."

Patten 55 - RAISED WALK

Pattern 56 - BIKE PATHS AND RACKS "Build a system of paths designated as bike paths... Bring the system of bike paths within 100 feet of every building, and give every buildings a bike rack near its main entrance."

Pattern 59 - QUIET BACKS "Give the buildings in the busy parts of town a quiet "back" behind them and away from the noise..."

Pattern 60 - ACCESSIBLE GREEN "People need green open places to go to; when they are close they use them. But if the greens are more than three minutes away, the distance overwhelms the need."

Pattern 61 - SMALL PUBLIC SQUARES

Pattern 64 - POOLS AND STREAMS "Preserve natural ponds and streams and allow them to run through the city; make paths for people to walk along them and footbridges to cross them. Let the streams form natural barriers in the city, with traffic crossing them only infrequently on bridges."

Pattern 71 - STILL WATER

Pattern 72 - LOCAL SPORTS

Pattern 92 - BUS STOP "Bus stops must be easy to recognize, and pleasant, with enough activity around them to make people comfortable and safe." Therefore: "Build bus stops so they form tiny centers of public life..."

Pattern 104 - SITE REPAIR

Pattern 106 - POSITIVE OUTDOOR SPACE

=

Also potentially applicable, not referenced directly in A Pattern Language

Bicycle park-and-rides, safe, secure, and convenient

Multi-way Boulevard

Alternative Modes Street

Local light rail

Regional passenger rail

West Eugene Transportation Charrette - Obsolete

The West Eugene Transportation Charrette met for two days in June 2001 under the organization of ODOT.

The group attempted to develop a unified definition of the transportation problem that they were attempting to resolve. Four sub-groups developed a definition, which was merged into one. The merged statement did not obtain unanimous agreement. The group agreed, however, that the statement, which appears below, is a good place to start further discussion.

The transportation problem in the West Eugene area is:

"Today, and increasingly in the future, we cannot meet our needs to move people and goods within West Eugene, the city and the region. This problem decreases the livability and economic vitality of these areas.
"Contributing to the problem are:
  1. Local residents of West Eugene do not live in an integrated community with adequate transportation, shopping, housing, and job choices.
  2. The present system does not provide adequate capacity and connectivity for all modes (pedestrian, transit, bike, car, rail, truck).
  3. West 11th does not meet our vision of a main street that builds community rather than dividing it.
  4. Natural resources in the area (e.g., wetlands) must be preserved and therefore this limits our range of solutions.
  5. There is a lack of a process to achieve a consensus acceptable to the larger community of users."

West Eugene Parkway Alternative - WETLANDS: West Eugene Transportation, Land and Neighborhood Design Solutions

Mark Rabinowitz and others have developed this proposal... 'WETLANDS: West Eugene Transportation, Land and Neighborhood Design Solutions

  • Roosevelt Blvd. is a better connector between Beltline and 99, it serves northwest Eugene neighborhoods better than WEP could. Some local traffic would use Roosevelt, regional through traffic would bypass on Belt Line.
  • transfer WEP money to finish Beltline, fix Roosevelt / 99 intersection
  • two options for completing Beltline: (1) if Peak Oil is here, (2) if Peak Oil is not yet here. The larger option could convert Beltline to an interstate highway - perhaps I-605?
  • transfer ODOT / City lands for WEP to BLM's West Eugene Wetlands Project
  • new roads: First - 99 - Second Connector, Barger Road Extended & Trainsong Connector (to NW Expressway)
  • fix West 11th intersections (would cost about $2 million, the cost to complete WEP study), other road repairs

See the "'WETLANDS" web site for maps of the concept and more description.

West Eugene Parkway - Obsolete

In August 1997, ODOT issued a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed West Eugene Parkway.

It included the followingf purpose and need statement:

The overall purpose and need for the West Eugene Parkway (WEP) has not changed since issuance of the 1985 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) and 1990 Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the project. The primary purposes of the WEP are to:
  • Provide a major access-controlled east-west connecting arterial for intra- and inter-regional and citywide travel through the western half of the City of Eugene, between Highway 126 to the west and the I-5/I-105 corridor to the east;
  • Improve access to the west Eugene industrial area via direct connections with only strategic crossroads, thereby supporting orderly and planned growth;
  • Better link west Eugene residential areas with downtown, thereby supporting orderly and planned growth;
  • Implement an important part of the area-wide roadway system as envisioned in the Eugene-Springfield Metro Area Transportation Plan (TransPlan) [adopted in 1986?];
  • Relieve congestion and improve safety on West 11th Avenue, by removing most intra- and inter-regional and some local traffic from the busiest and most hazardous section of West 11th Avenue.
These improvements are needed because of deficiencies in the east-west roadway system, which is failing to support efficient and safe local, citywide, and regional movement of people, goods, and services through west Eugene. West 11th Avenue from the Oak Hill area and as far east as Garfield Street includes numerous features that impede safe and efficient travel, including:
  • Numerous signals and intersections;
  • Extensive commercial development with direct access to the facility;
  • A complicated connector between West 11th Avenue and the 6th and 7th Avenue Couplet by way of Garfield Street, including two signals and two 90-degree turns;
  • Highly congested conditions, especially during peak traffic hours.
Presently, existing access linkage to the west Eugene industrial area is circuitous. Access problems also apply to links between existing and developing residential areas in west Eugene and downtown Eugene.
The need for an east-west connector in west Eugene has long been recognized. TransPlan [adopted in 1986?], which guides transportation planning in the metropolitan area, and even the Eugene-Springfield T-2000 Plan [adopted in 1978?], which preceded TransPlan, includes a connector as an important part of the area-wide roadway system envisioned for west Eugene.
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