52 Replies to “BRT works in Eugene”

    1. All kinds of stuff like that are out there, usually with a YouTube rebuttal from Lane Transit District.

      As an example, the whe mess with tree removal. LTD has a YouTube video where they go to the sawmill that is cutting up the trees in question and show the rotting nature of the core of the trunk, so they had to be taken out.

    2. The opposition, OurMoneyOurTransit, includes an analysis of the project from somebody they identify as “Jerret Walker” (the link’s at the bottom left of the OMOT page).

      Looking at a map of the West Eugene project it’s easy to see that there’s nothing unique about The Seattle Process–it’s everywhere.

      1. Did you read the Jarrett Walker report?

        His primary concern seems to be well organized and very loud opposition that doesn’t necessarily reflect the majority view.

        There would be no transit improvements at all in any west coast cities if every group of screamers resulted in a project folding.

    3. At least they’re being honest about their intentions. The no on King County prop 1 (April 2014) campaign (which was successful in King County outside of Seattle) was called “Families for Sustainable Transit” and had the URL familiesfortransit.com.

    4. That anti-tax conservatives organize against a new transit initiative in the United States isn’t evidence that the initiative is unpopular. They always do that, regardless of whether their opposition to transit is broadly shared.

      1. Right it’s not the group, it’s the size and strike capability of the group.

        It only took oh about a half dozen conservative operatives 11 years ago to sink I-884 around the state. The fact the AP gave us some earned media about a misleading ballot title coupled to letters to the editor pointing out waste in the educational industrial complex helped.

        The thing is this: Sadly we in America have it set up to where transit taxes go to public vote, but road taxes get steamrolled on us. That’s gotta change!

      2. They always do that, especially in Lane County.

        Eugene’s suburbs aren’t quite like Bellevue. Once you get outside Eugene, the primary weekend recreational activity seems to be shooting at stop signs.

        It’s a bit like plopping Fremont down in the middle of the North Dakota of the 1950s.

    5. It might be the people in that town getting bad odours from that terrible university.

    6. It’s also worth noting that for a town the size of Eugene, they are not skimping on frequency. The BRT runs runs every 10-minutes peak and midday, and every 15 minutes evenings and Saturdays. Only after 10 PM and on Sunday do the headways grow to every 30 minutes.

      Compare to most U.S. cities the size of Eugene, where a core route might operate every 15-minutes peak, 30-60 minutes midday and Saturday, and hourly or not at all evenings an Sunday.

      1. I’m going to guess that Eugene’s traffic is low enough that the buses run on time even in the areas without dedicated bus lanes.

        Another point here: it looks (correct me if I’m wrong) like Eugene actually converted car lane space to bus lanes. That’s BRT done right. Usually, we see the bizarre idea that bus lanes must be “built” on greenfield land so as to preserve all space currently occupied by the most holy automobiles.

      2. About 3/4 of the way through the video they talk of how the west Eugene corridor is currently near the top of the list in terms of congestion.

        Same story as everywhere: unlimited sprawl in all directions means eventually you get congested corridors. In Eugene it is a bit of an extreme case because there are square miles of sprawl all converging into maybe six or so downtown blocks.

        Some of the lanes were auto lanes converted to dedicated bus lanes. The median busway thing was a 1950s era parkway that was supposed to solve congestion issues while allowing suburban housing. Naturally, what it did was the opposite, so they built a half-belway (highway 569), which caused yet more congestion, just moved it in a different direction.

    7. Those are just the NIMBYs concerned with losing parking spaces and ease of access for their car-driving customers. The article is referring to the West Eugene project where they’re extending the EmX along a strip-mall commercial corridor by adding BAT lanes, and on some stretches taking out a GP lane (thus angering the Our Money Our Transit crowd).

      I went to UO (Go Ducks!) and the EmX was really a great BRT system (especially when compared to Swift or RapidRide). The bus-only lanes really help with the frequency, and the entire line provides excellent connections between Downtown Eugene, the UO campus, and Springfield (though I would avoid the latter).

    8. So the opposition group links to a Jarrett Walker study that unsurprisingly suggests a few changes that would improve its transit effectiveness. The group’s goals aren’t clear from its homepage, but commenters above say they’re either opposed to transit taxes or opposed to losing parking spaces. What does that have to do with Jarrett’s recommendations? Are they linking to the study hoping that nobody reads it but instead gets the impression that “Jerrett” thinks the whole idea of implementing any new transit corridor is bad?

    9. Actually, very popular in Eugene/Springfield and quite heavily used. The dissent against the west 11th extension was fueled by a few folks involved with very car-centric businesses along the route who managed to use Twitter and FaceBook extremely well with a whole lot of misinformation and disinformation…

    10. “OMOT is filing an injunction requesting that EMX be halted until a full environmental review is completed”. Are they serious? [Well, no, of course not; they’re Fox-Addled brain-sausages]

      What great transgressions of air or water quality do they expect an environmental review to discover that aren’t already being violated to a much greater degree by all the traffic that exists on West 11th?

      Ah, but I forgot. “Holy Auto, Mother of Sprawl, Have Mercy On Us!” It’s not science; it’s not economics; it’s religion they’re peddling. (Ah, if only they were pedaling instead).

      1. Wait, aren’t right-wingers against environmental impact statements? Too many regulations?

  1. One system that deserves to be called “BRT”- especially on the length of it that are fully reserved. But I’m wonder if the medians where it runs originally carried streetcars.

    Also, like everywhere else in just about the whole world, Eugene is wider and flatter than Seattle. We inherited little if any boulevard space- except the stretch on Beacon by the golf course.

    Which of course we didn’t use for transit, to put it mildly. Our real BRT problem is that except for where we can tunnel, we’re going to have to fight for lane space.

    Worth the effort- but won’t be easy.


    1. That may be true in downtown Seattle, but the BRT proposals from last week were all about the east side.

      There’s a lot of open road space around Kent and 99 through Federal Way isn’t exactly narrow.

      So, those places that have sprawled, seem to have BRT space.

      EmX also uses single lanes going in both directions when they need to, in order to reduce the total footprint required.

      Getting people to not view it as stealing highway lanes? That’s another matter.

      1. If you expect ridership to go up enough, eventually you have to replace any BRT with LRT, and it’s cheaper to just build LRT.

        If you’re a small city which is never going to grow, then BRT may be OK forever.

        Basically trains are good for *high volumes*. So it was crazy to try to use BRT in Ottawa. Eugene, with metro area population of 350K, may just possibly be small enough to use BRT indefinitely. (I’m not sure. That’s actually a bit high for dependence on buses.)

      2. The big problem in Lane County is outside Eugene there is denial about the transportation needs, plus the nutcase far out there segment of Lane County that thinks anything involving rail is part of a communist takeover. LTD looked at light rail as part of developing EmX, but under the current conditions it is a bit impractical to implement.

        The other problem is going to be properly zoning everything. The preposterous sprawl in Eugene really needs some mixed use development. Getting Springfield to change its zoning laws is probably a lost cause right now.

    2. Mark,

      You are so right with your comment that “Eugene is wider and flatter than Seattle”. The image of the wheel chair person getting off on a flat area says it all and can you imagine that of the hilly portion of Madison East of 23rd and west of Boren?

      I was at the May 5 BRT meeting and the answer for the hills was to have not stops on them, so there would be a stop at 23rd and the next one at MLK. If that is the case then why make the buses ADA compliant?

      Yes, this makes the point that BRT can work in Seattle on North South routes, but not necessarily on the East West routes. Fast buses are fantastic until they can’t pick up the passenger that want to use them due to the distance between stops or the hills!

      1. One also has to keep in mind that LR rail can draw up to 30% greater ridership than buses for whatever the reason. Students won’t be so picky maybe but I think others who might commute will be.

      2. That’s why you put in traditional bus service. an example in king county would be make the a line true brt with stops every mile (except maybe in airport area where you go maybe half a mile) and you keep the 174 to allow for convenient transfers.

      3. Reg, our vertical BRT needs to take a leaf from the cable car system in San Francisco. No matter how steep the grade, every street crossing is dead level in all directions.

        So the car “grip-men”- nobody can drive those things, just pull and release a huge lever and hope for the best- take advantage of this arrangement by stopping in the middle of the intersection for as much time as it takes for passengers to get on and off.

        Since average BRT coach is much longer than a cable car, would probably work for our system to have the buses stop diagonal across the intersection.

        Tempting and fuel-efficient to shut down the engine before going onto the grade and grip a cable. And let go of it as the bus rolls across the intersection. Of course upbound, the driver would have to battery-motor back into position before raising poles.

        Another driver qualification complexity is that a grip-man has to be large and strong enough to reef that lever back, but quick enough to let go before the grip gets dragged through a pulley.

        I don’t think SF lets the public watch grip-man training- at least not standing downhill from the practice-car. And without knowledge of emergency treatment for physical and metal trauma.

        Anyhow, the intersection stop idea will definitely keep motorists off every street withing a mile of the busway. Win-win for sure!


      4. Mark,

        Thank you for the great reply and laugh. Only question how do we get the wheel chairs equipped so the can get on the buses on hills on Madison?

        Think of how fast the Madison BRT could be if didn’t stop on any hills? Heck with the passengers, speed is better than passengers, right?

      5. Mark;

        Other than drilling a cross-town subway, I don’t know what other solution there is. BRT or regular bus, there’s only so much flat space on those hills.

        Maybe put in crossing gates and lights to officially state “you will be waiting at this intersection for a while”.

    3. That anti-tax conservatives organize against a new transit initiative in the United States isn’t evidence that the initiative is unpopular. They always do that, regardless of whether their opposition to transit is broadly shared.

    1. Really wish the ST graphic had included a label for the site of the Roosevelt LR station as well as Ravenna Park to show how much value would be destroyed by Murray’s proposal.

    2. How is anyone being a NIMBY? The mayor promised a community that has tons of parks more parkland — and a pretty stupid one at that. The council realized he had gone too far, there wasn’t universal support (for the reason I just mentioned) and folks wanted to do something else with the land. Personally, I think the city (if it ends up with it) should just bank it. Put the money where it can do the most good. There is nothing special about this little piece of land and that community is hardly hurting for parks (or anything else for that matter).

      Now the reservoir to the north of there is a different story. It makes a lot of sense as a park, which would connect the pedestrian street as well, just as it did on Maple Leaf.

    3. “How is anyone being a NIMBY?”

      It wouldn’t be a troll if it were logical.

      NIMBYism has always been about excluding non-residential or large things from a residential neighborhood: industry, airports, sewage-treatment plants, public housing projects, apartments, townhouses, apodments, highways. When the concept of exclusive residential neighborhood was formed in the late 1800s, it included schools and parks. So NIMBYs aren’t opposed to parks because they’re a “compatible” use. Also, some of the parcels in question are empty grassland where slum houses were bulldozed. That means they’re close to parks already, so converting them to parks is almost the status quo. NIMBYism is about excluding an undesired use and preserving the status quo. So opposing a park can’t be NIMBY because it’s both a “compatible use” and the almost status quo.

      There’s an interesting irony in the other Sisleyville parcels, which are boarded-up slum houses. Urbanites want to replace these with denser housing. Everyone believes those apartments would be upscale and expensive; the kind of people who go to Whole Foods and Starbucks. Are those apartments really less desirable than boarded-up slum houses? Does not this case prove that not all apartment buildings cause ghettos, and that “compatible” single-family houses can decay into slums?

    1. Question, Sam. Did you leave out the paragraph discussing whether Israeli-Palestinian conflict ads are worse on BRT because they spread hate faster on more visible buses? Or better because the buses go by too fast for anybody to read?

      I think there’s way to deal with every ad that the Founding Fathers would have stood up and cheered: Let people post absolutely anything they want. As long as they’re willing to prominently sign the message along with their name, address, phone number and photograph.

      My guess is we’d be back with vacations in boring places, for-profit colleges, and the State Lottery after one propagandist on each side gets their house burned down. Both of which, after the firemen are done, will still look better than “wraps” all over the windows.

      Which citizens should be encouraged, in multiple non-wrap ad campaigns, signed big enough that CEO’s could read without their spectacles, to take paint scrapers to every one of those abominations. At least on the glass. Certainly people of the Classical and Romantic periods would demand that citizens be able to see our own magnificent country!

      Especially on BRT’s like Eugene, where the message would be widely spread among college students in Oregon.


      1. Yes. A wonderful mothers day edition of the Sam and Mark show. Thanks for all the laughs guys!

      2. I hate to interrupt the Sam and Mark Show with historical corrections, but… let’s not forget that the Founding Fathers were the same ones who wrote the Federalist Papers under the name of “Publius,” Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania under the name “A Farmer,” and Common Sense under the name “An Englishman”.

  2. We could do full BRT on 3rd ave in Seattle. (dedicated lanes, busway alignment, offboard payment, and intersection treatment) The only thing missing is platform level boarding.

    Currently, 3rd ave is four lanes wide throughout.
    Make the two lanes to the west (currently southbound) Bus only 24×7. One northbound, one southbound.

    Put sidewalks and off board payment in the current northbound passing lane.
    Force off board payment for all buses on 3rd.
    The skip stop leapfrog would no longer be useful, so the number of off board payment kiosks would be low.

    Change the easternmost lane (currently northbound) one way, alternating northbound/southbound by block, so that cars using it must turn right to get on third, and must turn right at the next block to leave 3rd.

  3. Does anyone know why trolleybuses aren’t run on the weekends? I haven’t been able to find a reason from quick googling, but it’s been puzzling me for months. Is it maintenance related? Running costs? Training? I honestly have no idea.

    1. Depends on the route but it’s usually related to construction, events (reroutes) or maintenance of the overhead wire.

      1. I live on Queen Anne, and it’s all of the routes (1, 2, 3, 4, and 13), every single weekend. I almost never see maintenance vehicles, so I have no idea what it could be.

      2. Trolleys have an expensive line crew on duty: Buses dont; Its just easier that way:
        (this keyboard in Nice,France is weird – not QWERTY.)

      3. I enjoyed a four-alphabet keyboard that the Qatar Airways lounge in Doha had at their public terminals a few years ago that brought my typing down to about 10 wpm…not only did the various characters throw me for a loop (my Arabic is minimal at best), the Roman alphabet letters weren’t in QWERTY either!

    2. Metro appears to just hate using them on the weekends, though I did see wire work being done next to Capitol Hill station’s new sidewalk today.

      I’m hoping the constant deiselification will stop with the new buses.

    3. At least this weekend, “The Color Run” was starting and ending at Seattle Center which triggered reroutes on all the trolley routes nearby.

      When I lived in Belltown, reroutes seemed to be almost as common as regular service on the weekends. Always some sort of run, parade, or construction.

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