A (rapid) bus full of controversy
Calls for a public vote on transit. Signs, billboards and heaps of newspaper coverage. A locally preferred alternative. Swirling debate over the future of transit.
Clark County, meet Lane County, Ore. Or more specifically — Vancouver, meet Eugene.
I’ll cop to it. I hail from the similarly-sized, but markedly weirder town.
Went down this weekend to visit the family and celebrate my grandpa’s 82nd… and on the drive to west Eugene, I finally pulled over to snap a photo.
Eugene already has a bus rapid transit line, EmX, that has two lines (as a reporter for The Register-Guard, I was on the inaugural ride).
Now Lane Transit District is proposing a third line to west Eugene, at a cost of $95 million. The state of Oregon and the feds are expected to cover the cost of construction.
All along the three main arterials where the line would go (West Sixth, Seventh and 11th, for those who know the area), banners and yard signs pepper storefronts. The EmX will take a lane of traffic from drivers, and other businesses may lose turn lane access or even part of their parking lots.
The reaction really is an eerie déjà vu of how some people up here feel about light rail. (And could also be a chronicle of a controversy foretold for C-Tran if/when it gets serious about a bus rapid transit line on Fourth Plain Boulevard).
Even in hippie central, this is a problem. Of course, just as the CRC and other C-Tran plans have backers here, so does the EmX.
Same story, different city, eh?