Feds OK LTD's EmX environmental assessment
EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) -- Express bus service is one stop closer expansion to West Eugene.
Lane Transit District (LTD) announced that the required environmental assessment for the EmX line to the west has been approved. The Federal Transit Administration determined that the project shows only minimal adverse effects to the public.
LTD says the extension will improve traffic flow on West 6th, 7th and 11th Avenues, including increased capacity at eight major intersections, 5.9 miles of new street pavement and 4.7 miles of upgraded sidewalks.The project includes the addition of two new bicycle and pedestrian bridges over Amazon Creek with connections to West 11th Avenue. The project will also be of benefit to the community with
• 8.8 new round-trip miles for a total of 24 round-trip miles of fast, frequent and easy EmX service
• 25 new high-quality EMX stations and seven new vehicles
• Improved travel time for both transit and regular traffic along the entire West Eugene corridor
• Lower long-term transit operating costs, thereby maintaining funds for quality service for Eugene residents into the future
Andy Vobora, LTD’s spokesman, stated this expansion could also boost the local economy by encouraging development in West Eugene. “Today almost 52,000 residents are within a 6-block walking distance from the EmX line and 81,000 jobs. So people who live and work along the line will have great access to public transportation.”
In February, LTD commissioned an opinion community survey on the West Eugene EmX project through an independent firm. Some of the findings were:
• A slight majority support the project
• Strong support for a robust public transportation system
• Reduced traffic congestion is a benefit
• Increased access to public transportation is important
• A belief that business would be hurt by the project
• Concerns about the expense of the projectClick here to learn more about the surveyThe next phase of the expansion is public review. LTD will host two public drop-in sessions and will take written comments until the end of August. Click here to review the environmental assessment document onlineOpponents of the project, meanwhile, are keeping up the pressure with their anti-EmX billboard campaign; the signs even appear on LTD buses. Advertising space was bought by the group Our Money, Our Transit, working to build public opposition to the new leg of the express bus line.
The $95 million project will be funded entirely by state and federal money. Lane Transit plans to do a lot of the work at night to keep access to businesses open during the day. Construction of the West Eugene EmX Extension is still about three years away.