South Willamette Street Improvement Plan
Eugene Public Works is on track to hire a contractor in early spring for the South Willamette Street Enhancement Project. Construction is expected to start in late-April or early-May.
A priority of this project is to keep the Willamette Street corridor open and accessible for everyone during the entire construction period. Through careful design, project managers have planned to maintain access for all businesses and streets throughout the corridor for the duration of the project, whether you’re driving, walking, riding a bus, or using a mobility device.
Construction is expected to last through the end of the year, weather permitting. However, there may be some alterations to the schedule to avoid construction during the 2020 holiday shopping season.
2016 Construction Project Completed
Construction on the South Willamette Street Improvement Plan is complete, pushing the project into the pilot study phase. Brown Construction wrapped up the months-long construction project in early June.
Changes include a widened Willamette Street north of 24th Avenue and north of 29th Avenue, and a new traffic signal at the Woodfield Station intersection. The road has also been restriped, from 24th to 32nd avenues. In the vicinity of 29th Avenue, there are now two southbound travel lanes, a center turn-lane, one northbound travel lane, and bicycle lanes on both sides of the street. North of the 29th Avenue area, the road is restriped and includes one travel lane in each direction, a center turn-lane, and bicycle lanes on both sides of the street.
More improvements are expected in 2018 with construction of a pavement preservation project. Thanks to an award of federal funding, $2 million will be available for sidewalk replacement, street lighting, and other pedestrian-scale improvements.
Post-Construction Planning Process
The pilot study restriping will last a full calendar year following an adjustment period after construction. The restriping will provide an opportunity to confirm traffic modeling data and learn from actual experience before permanent changes are made to that section of Willamette Street. Lessons learned from the pilot study can also be applied to other transportation corridor projects. A report to the Eugene City Council detailing the study results from transportation, economic, and user experience perspectives is expected in early 2017. Following a final decision on the South Willamette Street configuration, a pavement preservation project is planned for construction in 2018 when the final street configuration decision will be implemented.
On May 27, 2014, the Eugene City Council accepted the South Willamette Street Improvement Plan and directed staff to implement a pilot study of South Willamette Street Improvement Plan street design Alternative #3 (three lanes with bike lanes) and report back with findings after a 12-month study period.
The pilot project occurred on South Willamette Street within the study area between 24th and 32nd avenues, and included pilot restriping and permanent components. Permanent components included constructing a permanent traffic signal at the Woodfield Station driveway north of 29th Avenue as well as widening Willamette Street north of 24th Avenue to tie in to the existing bikeway system and leave enough space for a left-turn lane for southbound traffic on Willamette at 24th. In the vicinity of 29th Avenue, the pilot study restriping included two southbound travel lanes, a center turn-lane, one northbound travel lane, and bicycle lanes on both sides of the street. North of the 29th Avenue area, the pilot study restriping consisted of one travel lane in each direction, a center turn-lane, and bicycle lanes on both sides of the street. Several sidewalk access ramps in the project area were brought into compliance with current federal ADA standards.
Following the year-long pilot study, staff shared the study’s success with the Eugene City Council on February 26, 2018 and informed them that the bike lanes and a three-lane street will be made permanent with a pavement preservation project in 2020. The project will replace sidewalks, driveways, and access ramps; and add pedestrian-scale street lighting and rain gardens on side streets to treat stormwater.
The council presentation and relevant documents can be found here:
City Council Attachment documents (Triple Bottom Line, Outcomes Report, & Economic Impact Report)
Please join the project email list to receive updates by sending an email to Chris Henryor call 541-682-8472.
South Willamette Street Improvement Test: Seeks Business Participation In Economic Study
The Community Service Center at the University of Oregon is currently recruiting businesses along South Willamette Street to participate in the South Willamette Street Improvement Pilot Study. The purpose of this study is to determine if the restriping of the street from four lanes to three lanes led to an increase, decrease, or no change in total sales for businesses on Willamette.
Participation in the study involves confidentially submitting monthly sales revenue for a period of 18 months, beginning in January of 2015. Click here to find out more about the study and enroll.
The South Willamette Street Improvement Plan will explore options for people to easily and safely walk, bike, take the bus, or drive in an eight-block study area from 24th Avenue to 32nd Avenue. The goal of this study is to help South Willamette Street become a vibrant urban corridor accessible by bicycle, foot, car, and bus. Today Willamette Street is heavily used to reach many popular destinations, yet it is uninviting to pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders and motorists alike. For years, many residents and business owners have shared complaints about the poor conditions on Willamette Street for walking and biking and the need to do something about it.
The street has two travel lanes in each direction, with no left-turn lanes on the majority of the corridor. The narrow sidewalks are filled with many obstacles, such as mailboxes, utility poles, and trees or landscaping. Nearly 70 driveways cross the sidewalk in this area and create potential hazards for pedestrians and bicyclists. Vehicles stop in the outside travel lanes, blocking traffic.
The South Willamette Street Improvement Plan will develop a complete street design plan for an active transportation corridor (providing for walking, biking, transit access, motoring and business access) that can be adopted and advanced as a capital improvement project for construction.
The Plan aims to:
1) Support existing businesses and the commercial district’s vitality,
2) Create a balanced multi-modal transportation system,
3) Further City planning efforts to identify compact growth and redevelopment opportunities,
4) Foster a well-informed and involved community supportive of the plan.
Previous transportation studies of South Willamette Street suggested adding bicycle facilities, pedestrian crossings, improved transit stops, and reducing the number of motor vehicle travel lanes. This project will study how these changes to street elements could be implemented, and investigate the level of public support for these ideas. Critical to the success of the project is involvement by a variety of people informed by the sharing of information, interests and ideas to establish priorities and consider the tradeoffs between different street design options.
How does the Willamette Street Improvement Plan relate to the South Willamette Concept Plan?
The results of this project will refine the street design portion of the South Willamette Concept Plan. The Concept Plan creates a long-term vision and identifies tools realizing that vision in the South Willamette area. One important goal of the Concept Plan is to create a neighborhood where services for residents are available in a "20-Minute" walk, and the street functions for a variety of users (Complete Streets policy).
The timing of the South Willamette Street Improvement Plan is good because it melds with the South Willamette Concept Plan, and could be completed in conjunction with needed pavement preservation work.
The City of Eugene Project Management Team reviews final reports and guides the planning process:
- Chris Henry, Project Lead, Transportation Planning Engineer
- Rob Inerfeld, Transportation Planning Manager
- The Consultant Team conducts the technical studies and manages the public outreach:
Project Lead: Scott Mansur and Peter Coffey
Public Involvement Team: Ellen Teninty, Christian Watchie, Julie Fischer
Land Use and Urban Design: Tom Litster