Letter: West 11th Avenue needs EmX extension; current buses don’t solve congestion
As a member of LiveMove, the student-run transportation group on campus, I must disagree with many of the statements put forth in Monday’s editorial on the West Eugene EmX Extension. If the current buses that run down West 11th Avenue were the solution to the problem, then we would not have a problem in the first place.
West Eugene faces some of the worst congestion in town while having inconvenient public transportation service in an environment that is not conducive to bicycling and walking. With its 10-minute schedule and convenient stops, the great success of the first EmX line shows that more people are willing to use public transportation that is convenient and easy to understand.
The editorial acknowledges that there would also likely be some negative effects on businesses during construction. However, that is certainly the case with most major construction projects, but that does not stop the projects from continuing if they are for the public good. As is the case in this project, a temporary effect on businesses is balanced out by future long-term benefits.
Finally, the sentiment that the money is being used unwisely is incorrect. The money that would go toward a new EmX line is only available through the Federal Transit Administration for projects of this nature. It could not be used for anything else, including new bicycle lanes, sidewalks or vehicle lanes.
While there might be some vocal opposition to the West Eugene EmX Extension, I have heard from business owners and residents who reside along the new potential route who all support this project because they see the long-term benefits of providing easy, efficient and convenient public transportation. It is time that we reduce the dependency of personal automobiles and reconfigure West 11th Avenue with bus rapid transit, which is essential to providing another alternative.
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