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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.

October 17

Todd Hamilton, newly appointed Superintendent of the Springfield School District will give us his view of the upcoming school year. Mr. Hamilton has supported a number of community partnerships aimed at addressing the social, emotional and learning needs of students. This intentional partnership with community organizations is something that Hamilton appreciates about Springfield and will continue to build upon moving forward.

April 18

Main Street is consistently ranked as one of the most unsafe city streets in Oregon based on the severity and frequency of traffic crashes. The City of Springfield and the Oregon Department of Transportation have launched the Main Street Safety Project to address this safety problem to save lives, reduce injuries, and lessen property damage. Community engagement is vital to inform the selection of infrastructure solutions that help to ensure safe, accessible transportation for everyone, whether by foot, bike, mobility device, bus, or car!

Molly Markarian, a Senior Planner for the City of Springfield, will provide an overview of the project, a summary of community input and technical analysis completed during round one of community engagement, including an update from the City Council work session on March 11, and seek your input on the draft goals and objectives as part of round two of community engagement.

Ms. Markarian manages a variety of comprehensive land use and infrastructure planning efforts. Over the past 11 years, she has also worked on affordable housing, community development, historic preservation, and current development efforts with the City. Prior to working for the City, Molly worked as the Latino Business Programs Manager for the Neighborhood Economic Development Corporation. Molly graduated from MIT with a Master’s in City Planning with a concentration in Housing, Community, and Economic Development.


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