EUGENE, Ore. — Lane Transit District is set to begin work on the west Eugene EmX route next week but not everyone in the area is looking forward to the new bus route.
EWEB crews are starting work on West 6th and 7th on Monday to move water utilities. Some businesses are excited to see this project move forward while others aren’t.
Along with LTD, Emerald City Locksmith on West 7th is looking forward to the nearly $97 million addition.
“I think it’s probably going to be a good thing in the long run for Eugene. I look forward to us moving towards a more sustainable transportation model,” said Ralph Forrest-Ball, manager of Emerald City Locksmith.
The new route, which starts in downtown and goes all the way down West 11th nearing the Beltline, doesn’t sit well with all businesses on that stretch of road.
“I would say I’m more against it than I am for it,” said Brad Scott, owner of Brad’s Car Tunes on West 7th and Blair.
He says he’s losing some of his property because of the route.
“I’m against it because I’m a business owner and a property owner along the route, first and foremost. They want to come in and take 14 percent of the property,” said Scott.
LTD officials say they’ll assess and compensate a fair market value for any land they take as part of the project.
In the long haul, Scott doesn’t believe the compensation is worth losing parking space and, potentially, customers. But, LTD officials and Forrest-Ball think differently.
“I bought the property to be here in the long haul. I can’t retire for another 25 years so, what’s three grand a month in business in 25 years? $750 thousand in your lifetime that you’re going to lose because they want to come in and take out some parking? That’s a huge impact,” said Scott.
“Property owners overtime see the value in having property that’s near a convenient, fast transit service,” said Lisa VanWinkle, west Eugene EmX communications coordinator.
“I think we may find that businesses along the EmX route end up getting more customers,” said Forrest-Ball.
LTD expects the new west Eugene EmX route to start running around 2017.