Options for South Willamette Street

EUGENE, Ore. — Neighbors, business owners and other members of the community have expressed their support or objection to changing the traffic flow on Willamette Street. Now, city council members are joining in on the discussion.

Planning engineers and consultants presented plans to improve safety for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians on an eight-block stretch of South Willamette. Their plans feature a number of possibilities.

“Maybe widening sidewalks, continuing with the four travel lanes to move traffic that’s there today and in the future also trying to reduce the number of travel lanes and add bike lanes, adding turn lanes, consolidating driveways,” said Scott Mansur, transportation engineer.

With these possibilities comes a balancing act.

“Trying to accommodate all the dreams in the short run is where the community’s in a discussion about tradeoffs for what we need to prioritize in the short run,” said Ellen Teninty, public involvement strategist.

But what’s in everyone’s best interest might not work here, as the road is already much narrower than most.

“It’s really about the community. What worked in one might not work here. That’s the importance of public process and getting feedback to make sure what we’re recommending is in their best interest,” Mansur said.

Talks of improving traffic flow on Willamette Street aren’t new. They actually started more than a decade ago.

“We looked at ways to improve road safety as early as 2001,” said Chris Henry, City of Eugene Engineer.

These discussions are far from over. Engineers will present a number of different options for these street improvements on Feb. 27 at a second community forum.

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