West Eugene EmX Analysis Positive

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), September 17, 2012 | Go to article overview

West Eugene EmX Analysis Positive


Byline: Greg Bolt The Register-Guard

The controversial extension of bus rapid transit to west Eugene got a thumbs up from a city committee that looked at social and environmental effects as well as the economics of the project.

The report from the Coordinated Land Use and Transportation Action Committee found that the extension would have a net gain in all three areas in what is known as a "triple bottom line" analysis. That type of analysis looks at the effects a particular action would have on social equity, the environment and economics.

The analysis also considered effects during start-up and construction, the first five years of operation and the longer term. It found negative effects during the construction period in the areas of social equity and the environment, but positive effects in all other areas.

"Based on our analysis, the CLUTAC has determined that the benefits to our community from the West Eugene EmX Corridor far outweigh any potential negative impacts," the report concludes in a proposed letter to the Eugene city manager, mayor and City Council. "CLUTAC, therefore, strongly recommends your approval of the West Eugene EmX Corridor."

The report must be approved by both the city's Planning Commission and Sustainability Commission before it goes to the mayor and council. The planning commission will discuss the report at its meeting toda y, and it will come before the sustainability commission on Wednesday.

This is the first report issued by the land use and transportation committee, which is made up of members from both the planning commission and sustainability commission.

It was formed two years ago specifically to look at projects that occur at the intersection of transportation and land use planning, said Babe O'Sullivan, the city's sustainability liaison in the city manager's office.

The west Eugene EmX extension has generated strong opposition, with much of it concentrated among business owners along the proposed route. The line would follow West Sixth and Seventh avenues and West 11th Avenue between downtown Eugene and Commerce Street.

Opponents contend that the line would disrupt businesses during construction and, once operating, would worsen traffic in west Eugene rather than improve it.

They also contend that the Lane Transit District hasn't shown that the line is needed, and critics say any traffic problems in the area could be addressed through less expensive measures. …

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