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Thousands of University of Oregon students use the 13th Avenue corridor in Eugene reach campus largely by bus, bike and foot, yet the return journey from campus to downtown cannot be made along the same route. The land uses adjacent to 13th Avenue are transforming to support an improving downtown and a growing campus, but the roadway is not adapting to these changes, but the roadway has not yet adapted to these changes, causing concerns about safety and undermining economic potential that should be of major interest to the City of Eugene and the University of Oregon given its policies to support sustainable transportation, urban revitalization.

University of Oregon students, as part of an interdisciplinary organization called LiveMove ByDesign, have spent the 2012-2013 academic year conducting a study for the 13th Avenue corridor. Through extensive observation of transportation behavior, parking utilization, and of case studies across the globe, the group developed a preferred roadway re-design that improves safety and access for all modes of transportation. LiveMove, the OTREC-funded student transportation group, is hosting an open house today to unveil its findings and innovative designs.

Attendees will have an opportunity to give feedback and input, and initiate community discussion on improving the corridor’s safety, accessibility and livability, while also stimulating economic activity and achieving city and university sustainability goals.  “This is not...

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A new transportation class at the University of Oregon, launched in January 2013 and funded by grants from OTREC and NITC, by all accounts had a wonderful first term.

Conceived as part of the curriculum for the Oregon Leadership in Sustainability (OLIS) program at U of O, the course, titled Sustainable Transportation, will be a permanent part of the OLIS class roster and will be open to all graduate students at the university.

The class this winter, led by instructors Ann Scheerer and Larisa Varela, taught applied research in a real-world setting. Students worked on planning projects for the university and for its home community, the City of Eugene, Ore.

On March 20, 2013, U of O's Transportation and Livability Student Group, LiveMove, hosted a public event where students were invited to present their research and interested community members were invited to attend.

The day of the presentations in Eugene was exciting; the “icing on the cake” for Scheerer. Marc Schlossberg, OTREC/NITC executive committee member at U of O and faculty advisor for LiveMove, was there, and so were some professors from the planning department, staff from the sustainability office, and quite a few local transportation advocates.

Scheerer, a PhD candidate...

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Dan Marriott, a historic road preservation planner, believes that Oregon should be proud of its heritage of excellent historic and scenic routes crisscrossing the state.

Marriott presented this message, plus a broad overview of historic road preservation, during his lecture “Historic Roads: Inspiration and Conservation in the 21st Century” at the Downtown Athletic Club in Eugene on November 10th. His lecture highlighted his years of expertise as a planner and preservationist. Marriott is the founder of Paul Daniel Marriott + Associates, a planning office that specializes in analysis and preservation strategies for historic and scenic roads.

Marriott pointed specifically to the beauty of the Columbia River Highway, built from 1913 to 1922. The highway was called “America’s greatest scenic road” when it was built and attracted pleasure drivers from far away as New York. He praised the State of Oregon’s commitment to preserve the roadway and facilities along the route, acknowledging its past while understanding its present value.
 

Marriott also presented examples of other historic roads from around the United States. The lecture audience was led down such famous roads as Route 66, stretching from Chicago to Los Angeles, and the Colonial Parkway, connecting the colonial-era communities of Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown, Va. In each of these roads, as well as the others he presented, Marriott showed that preservation does not have to come...

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When Gabe Klein starts his new job as commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation, the lessons of Oregon’s transportation system will be fresh in his mind. Klein, the former director of the District (of Columbia) Department of Transportation, visited OTREC programs and student groups over several packed days in Oregon.

Klein started his tour April 6 in Eugene as an expert in residence with the Sustainable Cities Initiative and LiveMove student group at the University of Oregon. He worked his way up the Willamette Valley with meetings and presentations in Salem and Portland.

On bicycle, Klein toured Eugene’s off-street paths, including pedestrian and bicycle bridges, and the street that will carry the area’s first cycle track. He met with city and Lane Transit District officials before touring the EmX bus rapid transit system.

In lectures in Eugene...

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Bad streets don’t just create frustrating commutes, Dan Burden told a Eugene crowd Feb. 28. They also hurt our health, environment and economy.

Burden, executive director of the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, spoke as part of the University of Oregon’s LiveMove Transportation Speaker Series. A national authority on bicycle and pedestrian programs, street corridor and intersection design, and traffic calming, Burden started advocating for active transportation 38 years ago.

A healthy and sustainable community is a walkable one, Burden said, and transportation and land-use planning both should serve that goal. “If you want to be a transportation planner, you’d better take a couple courses in land use,” he said. “And if you want to be a land-use planner, you’d better take a couple courses in transportation.”

Well-designed streets are key to healthy communities, Burden said. Wide sidewalks, good landscaping, buffer zones between cars and pedestrians and short crosswalks all create an environment that gets more people walking. In turn, he said, businesses will build to take advantage of foot traffic and existing owners will see their property values rise.

Although established communities offer few opportunities to plan streets from scratch, there are still opportunities to incorporate good design, Burden said. Bad streets can be put on a diet, he said....

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As a bicycle advocate in the early 1990s, Mia Birk was young, idealistic and unaware of the struggles she would face, she told a Eugene audience, with many of those attending in much the same position Birk once found herself in. Birk spoke at the “Movers and Shakers: Connecting People and Places” series presented by LiveMove, the University of Oregon transportation and livability student group.

Birk’s story started in her native Dallas, where her family drove everywhere, even across the street. “It never occurred to us to walk, and it never occurred to us that this was anything but normal.”

When the lifestyle left her overweight and unhappy, Birk found a way out through bicycling. She came to Portland to spread that happiness as the city’s bicycle coordinator in 1993.

It wasn’t so easy, Birk said, and took battles that went far beyond bikes. Opponents emerged quickly from all sectors; it took a while for allies to coalesce.

“Bicycling doesn’t exist on its own,” she said. “You need really sensible land use policy so you can choose bicycling. Good transit is really critical; really good neighborhoods with local schools and bicycle transportation—they all go hand in hand.”

Even the best bike lanes and separated paths won’t get everyone on a bike, Birk said. European cities with high ridership use the carrot-and-stick approach combining incentives for bicycling and disincentives for driving...

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Heidi Beierle, a community and regional planning master’s student at the University of Oregon, shared stories Dec. 11 from her solo cross-country bicycle ride. Beierle presented “Take Me to Cooky’s: Riding Solo from Eugene to D.C.” at Eugene’s downtown Public Library.

During the summer of 2010, Beierle rode her bicycle from Eugene to the Preserving the Historic Road conference in Washington, D.C. At the conference, Beierle presented preliminary findings of her research on the connections among historic roadways, bicycle tourism and rural economic development. 

Beierle rode solo approximately 3,500 miles in 80 days with all her gear in two front panniers.  She delivered window decals to businesses along the TransAmerica Bicycle Trail and interviewed 100 people about bicycle touring and rural living.  Beierle focused on adventure and the unexpected, including sleeping among sprinklers in Prineville, Ore., raptor and mosquito attack in Wisdom, Mont., quirky bike-friendliness in Guffey, Colo., and intense heat with dog attack made better by doing a tractor wheelie in western Missouri.

She began her presentation with a picture of some peculiar looking cows. “I rode past these...

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Bridging the gap between engineers and planners starts with asking the right questions, Portland State University associate professor Kelly Clifton told University of Oregon planning students. But it can’t stop there.

In Eugene Nov. 18 for the LiveMove student group’s Movers and Shakers Speaker Series, Clifton stressed the importance of student planners and engineers educating themselves in both disciplines. Doing so gives planners technical skills and engineers understanding of the broader implications of transportation systems.

Engineers are problem solvers, Clifton said. Asked to move as many vehicles as possible through an area, they’ll figure out a solution. But the question should be reframed: What’s the best way for people, not just vehicles, to get around? That includes walking, cycling and transit.

Planners don’t need to become engineers themselves, Clifton said, but they’ll get farther by understanding how engineers bring transportation planning concepts to life. “Don’t be afraid of math,” she said.

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Bill Wilkinson, former director and founder of the National Center for Bicycling and Walking (NBCW), delivered the keynote address at the University of Oregonís HOPES Conference. Wilkinsonís career in bicycle and pedestrian programs spans forty years, including the National Park Service, four years in the USDOTís Office of the Secretary and 25 years with the NBCW. UOís transportation student group, LiveMove, used OTREC funds to bring Mr. Wilkinson to the conference. OTREC also sponsored an event honoring Wilkinsonís donation to the University of his 35-year archive of bicycle and pedestrian materials , including about 1,000 bike maps from around the world.

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