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City Seeks to Improve Willamette Street

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EUGENE, Ore. — The city of Eugene Public Works department estimates more than 16,000 cars travel down South Willamette Street every day. That’s a lot of traffic, and that doesn’t even calculate all the pedestrians and bicyclists also fighting for room on this road, which is why public works decided it’s time for some improvements.

“It’s crazy, ya, it’s always crazy,” said Rachel McAllister.

Every day McAllister looks right onto South Willamette through the windows of the Quick Fix Coffee Company, and she says her view isn’t always pretty.

“We’ve had more than one accident right here on this driveway where a car is looking to merge to come in here and they don’t see the bike that’s coming on the sidewalk because technically, they aren’t supposed to be there, but they don’t have anywhere else to go,” McAllister said.

That’s because on this portion of Willamette, there are no bike lanes. That’s something Quick Fix customer McKinzie Boyer knows all about.

“It’s kind of scary sometimes in the morning because there’s a lot of people that don’t see me when I’m riding my bike, which is why I wear my bright pink beanie, but it’s kind of dangerous in some aspects, because I’ve almost been hit twice now,” Boyer said.

When cyclists aren’t dodging cars, pedestrians are dodging them when they’re often forced to share the sidewalk. Meanwhile, buses are causing back-ups and making a left turn is nearly impossible. It’s not just congested, it’s hazardous.

“It creates a challenging environment for people to get to a place that they want to be, and we want to find a way to make that easier for everyone, and safer,” said Chris Henry, Eugene Transportation Planning Engineer.

That’s exactly what McAllister, Boyer and every other South Willamette commuter hopes for, too.

Tuesday night is the first of four public forums where the community will have its opportunity to make their suggestions about how South Willamette Street needs to improve.

That happens Nov. 13 from 6-8 p.m. in the Roosevelt Middle School Cafeteria, located at 680 East 24th Ave.

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