30th Avenue Crossing Improvement Project


UPDATE - Pedestrian-Activated Red Light has been activated!

New video highlights how the City, parents and neighbors worked together to get the new signal in place. The installation of the Pedestrian-Activated Red Light is substantially complete and the signal has been activated.  The pedestrian-activated signal is the first of its kind in Eugene, although Springfield has several in operation on Gateway Street and Harlow Rd.
Oct 1, 2014 News Release

Pedestrian Activated Red Light
           




Introduction

Concerns about crossing 30th Avenue east of Hilyard Street have been submitted to the City of Eugene in recent months.  Some of the pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit users who must cross 30th Avenue during their trip or to access transit stops or school sites have expressed a desire for additional street crossings that are safe and convenient for everyone to use.  Currently, in addition to the pedestrian bridge over 30th Ave., there is one marked crosswalk east of Hilyard Street located at Alder Street.  This crossing also includes a rectangular rapid flashing beacon (RRFB, or "stutter flash") to alert motorists of the presence of pedestrians.
Many of the concerns submitted to the City have been on behalf of students attending Camas Ridge Elementary School (1150 E 29th Ave).  Some of the issues raised on behalf of the students relate to the convenience and usability of the pedestrian bridge.  For example, it is difficult for families with strollers or large bicycles (especially those with tag-along trailer bikes or other loads) to use the existing structure that was designed for pedestrian access and retrofitted to accommodate two-wheeled bicycles.

Bridge_bikes.jpg
Another group of concerned users are transit riders especially users of the 81, 82, and 92 LTD routes that board at 30th and University.  Some transit users have mobility limitations (such as powered mobility devices) that would prevent them from using the pedestrian bridge. 

City's Recommendation
The City of Eugene will be installing a Pedestrian-Activated Red Light, also known as a pedestrian hybrid beacon (PHB), on 30th Avenue at University Street in fall 2014.  New sidewalk access ramps and a crosswalk will also be installed on the west side of University Street at 30th Avenue.  The pedestrian signal will also feature audible pedestrian signals and countdown timers.  Funding for the pedestrian signal is paid for through bicycle and pedestrian funds approved by voters in the 2012 Pavement Bond Measure.  For more information on the Pedestrian-Activated Red Light please click here.


Picture of a Pedestrian-Activated Red Light
Source: pedbikeimages.org - Mike Cynecki (2009)


What data was gathered?
Starting fall 2012 the City of Eugene coordinated with local interest groups to gather data on the existing conditions along 30th Avenue.  The following studies have been completed.


Automobile Speed and Volume Counts
Speed: The existing speed limit on this segment of 30th Avenue is posted at 35 miles per hour.  Automatic tube counters were placed on East 30th Avenue, east of University Street from January 30 to February 4, 2013.  Counters recorded different speeds for eastbound (uphill) and westbound (downhill) traffic as shown below. 
Eastbound:
 - 85th Percentile Speed: 44 miles per hour
 - Number of vehicles traveling over 55 miles per hour: 97
Westbound:
 - 85th Percentile Speed: 42 miles per hour
 - Number of vehicles traveling over 55 miles per hour: 47
The 85th percentile speed is the speed at which 85% of the public is travel at or below.  It is used by engineers to establish speed limits. 
Volume: The average daily traffic (ADT) was determined to be 16,543 vehicles per day.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Counts
The City of Eugene coordinated with resident volunteers, Camas Ridge Elementary parents, and 4j School District representatives to record bicycle and pedestrian crossings of Harris Street, Potter Street, and University Street.  A separate count was also taken for the pedestrian bridge east of Potter Street.  Counts were taken over 2 hours during peak travel time, generally coinciding with arrival and dismissal times at the school (7-9am and 12:30 – 2:30pm).  Counts taken earlier in 2012 for Alder Street are also provided.  Results are shown below.
Totals                     AM          PM          Total
Pedestrian              172         213         385
Bicycle                   165         136         301
Total                      337         349         686
For AM and PM summary counts click here.

Transit Counts
Average daily weekday counts for the following LTD bus stops on 30th Avenue between Hilyard Street and University Street are shown below (as of April 2013):
                                                                                                             Number of Times
Bus Stop              Location                                       Ons        Offs       Bus Stopped per Day
01089                N/S 30th, w/o Alder                         15           48                    28
01090                S/S 30th, e/o Alder                          67           14                    34
01091                S/S 30th, e/o Harris                         1              3                     3
01092                N/S 30th, e/o University                   42           28                   35
01093                S/S 30th, e/o University                   21           35                    33
Frequency of Bus service between Hilyard & University: 4 – 6 times per hour
Frequency of Bus service between Harris & University: 6 – 8 times per hour (#81 route only runs between Harris & University)

Public Meeting Schedule
Two public meetings were held during the issue identification and alternatives evaluation phase.  The meetings were used to record attitudes about the existing conditions and to comment on the city's improvement recommendation.  Meeting summaries are available below.

May 23rd Meeting Notes
October 3rd Meeting Notes

FAQs
School Speed Zone
Why can’t you put up school zone speed limit signs to slow traffic?

Signs alone are unlikely to slow traffic.  Signs must be reasonable and based on the design speed of the street.  Signs alone will not fix a speeding problem if the speeding is due to elevation changes, abrupt changes in posted speed limit signs, or if there is a lack of enforcement.  The Oregon DOT Guide to School Area Safety recommends school speed zones where they satisfy the following:
 - The roadway is adjacent to the school grounds (not limited to front of school buildings)
 - There is at least one marked school crosswalk within the proposed school zone which is           not protected by a signal or STOP sign.
 - The property houses a full time public or private school
 - The school is elementary or middle level (schools that include grades K-8) instruction
 - The posted speed is 40 MPH or below A school speed zone would only be in effect for                 specific limited times and would not address transit access outside of school hours.

Crosswalks
Why can’t you put in more crosswalks to make crossing the street safer?

Statutory crosswalks exist at every intersection on 30th Avenue.  Merely marking those statutory crosswalks does not make crossing the street safer.  The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) recommends a minimum utilization of 20 pedestrian crossings during peak hour (or 15 or more elderly and/or child pedestrians) before installing a crosswalk alone.  As demonstrated during the pedestrian counts the intersections within the study area surpass this threshold however marked crosswalks alone (i.e., without traffic-calming treatments, traffic signals with pedestrian signals when warranted or other substantial improvement) are not recommended at uncontrolled crossing locations on multilane roads (i.e., four or more lanes) where traffic volume exceeds approximately 12,000 vehicles per day (with no raised medians) or approximately 15,000 ADT (with raised medians that serve as refuge areas)[1].  Average Daily Traffic volume on 30th Avenue exceeds 16,000 vehicles.

Existing Pedestrian Bridge
Why do we need to look at alternatives to the existing pedestrian bridge?
While there is one marked crosswalk on 30th Ave. east of Hilyard Street, the location of the existing pedestrian bridge is more convenient for many people crossing 30th Ave. but the existing bridge doesn't work for everyone.  The bridge is accessed via a stairwell which limits its use to people who are able to climb stairs.  That excludes people who require a mobility device.  The bridge was constructed in 1968 well before the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) and is not universally accessible.  While the bridge has been retrofitted with a bike channel so users can push their bicycles along the stairs, this is a difficult exercise for some users and doesn't accommodate bicycle trailers with more than one wheel or “bicycles” with more than two wheels.

Submit Comments

You may submit written comments to Reed Dunbar, Transportation Planner.

                                                        

[1] FHWA Publication Number: HRT-04-100, “Safety Effects of Marked Versus Unmarked Crosswalks at Uncontrolled Locations”.  September 2005.