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October 5: Better Streets for People and Businesses

Is Main Street in Springfield safe, practical, and attractive for everyone today or should it be better? With the help of student interns from the University of Oregon, local nonprofit Better Eugene-Springfield Transportation wants to hear from all points of view.

The Better Streets for People and Businesses campaign is focusing on streets that have attracted a lot of public interest. It is intended to forge common ground, ultimately aiming to develop broadly supported recommendations for how to address widely recognized problems.

This past summer, BEST heard from over 600 respondents about Franklin Boulevard adjacent to the University of Oregon. Three-quarters rate the street today as fair, poor, or worst, in many cases detailing problems they have experienced. Only one-quarter rate the street as best or good. Even some of the most vocal critics of the City of Eugene’s plans to build roundabouts concede that there are problems with the street today and it could be better.

BEST executive director Rob Zako will share methods for engaging people where they are, for building trust, and for bringing people together. He welcomes ideas from City Club members on how to constructively engage the Springfield community.

Rob Zako has been working for the last twenty-five years on transportation, land use, and climate change issues. He is the executive director of Better Eugene-Springfield Transportation (BEST), which promotes transportation options, safe streets, and walkable neighborhoods.

Previously as a research associate with the University of Oregon’s Sustainable Cities Institute, he explored using the triple bottom line to make transportation and other decisions; examined the efforts of four states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation; and studied how effectively transportation investments are advancing livability and other goals.

As a planner for the Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development, he assisted metropolitan areas reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. As an independent consultant, he led the effort to establish the Lane Area Commission on Transportation (LaneACT). For five years he was the transportation advocate for 1000 Friends of Oregon. While a graduate student working on a Ph.D. in theoretical physics, Rob met his future wife Kayleen while leading an American Youth Hostels bicycle tour down the Big Sur coast of California.

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