Thursday, August 18, 2011

LTD Board President Provides EmX Update.

Board President Provides EmX Update

EmX Improves the Transportation System
EmX is a highly effective transportation system. The first EmX line on Franklin Boulevard exceeded 20-year ridership projections in its first year of operation. Today EmX carries more than twice the number of customer boardings compared to the route 11 service that it replaced. The opening of the Gateway EmX Extension in early 2011 has attracted new riders and has even increased ridership along the original Franklin line.  The region’s current transportation plan calls for a 61-mile network of EmX routes.  As EmX routes are added, the entire transportation system becomes more effective in attracting additional transit riders, improving travel time for automobiles, improving air quality, reducing green house gas emissions, and reducing dependence on fossil fuel. Transit districts from all over the world have come to LTD to study the highly innovative EmX system in place here in our community.

LTD understands that some business and property owners have concerns about moving forward with the West Eugene EmX Extension at this time.  Some businesses are struggling, others don’t see value in this investment, and many are concerned about construction impacts.  Lane Transit District understands these concerns and continues to work on ways to minimize or eliminate negative impacts while moving forward with a project that provides tremendous benefits to the entire community.

Many public outreach efforts, including more than 300 business and property owner meetings, have been completed during the past few years. These meetings have helped craft the current configuration of the route and the plans for a successful partnership for working with the West Eugene community. The process of meeting one-on-one with residents, property owners, and business owners along the selected route is on-going.  These meetings will provide additional opportunities to view the early designs and modify designs to minimize impacts further. LTD is committed to working with each property owner to make sure that this is the best route for West Eugene while serving the needs of the entire region.

LTD and construction contractor Wildish Construction have worked together on the first two EmX lines and have learned a great deal from the construction of each route. With the West Eugene route, we would use these lessons learned to make this an even smoother process for local residents and businesses. Construction techniques, such as night work and maintenance of access for customers and deliveries during construction, would be employed to maintain full business operations during construction.  These options have been very successful in the past, but we want to continue to work with businesses to get their input on what to include in a construction plan that addresses any and all concerns.  LTD knows the importance of maintaining and improving the health of businesses in order for our community to be successful. Construction of an EmX line in West Eugene must be done in a way that ensures the short-term health of businesses while creating an environment for long-term business expansion.

In a recent Register Guard Guest Editorial, Brian Weaver asserts that the West Eugene EmX Extension project will reduce vehicle capacity by 25 percent along sections of 6th and 7th Avenues. Mr. Weaver’s assertion is based on 27-year old data.  Preliminary data, gathered from current information and projections of future conditions, shows that capacity for auto traffic will increase, and the amount of time it takes an auto to travel the corridor will improve as a result of EmX.  This analysis is being refined as part of the required federal process and will be available for public review later this fall.  The bottom line is that one of the purposes of EmX is to improve vehicle movement—starting on the day that it is built.   EmX development has always been about improving the entire transportation system, which is why professional traffic engineers and analysts work on detailed assessments of system effects.  These effects are then reviewed and approved by city and state traffic engineers and the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) who are ultimately responsible for the safe and efficient operation of our transportation network.

Mr. Weaver states that LTD should consider impacts to adjacent neighborhoods.  EmX development considers these impacts carefully, and a review of population and jobs adjacent to the proposed EmX line are a prime reason that the Eugene City Council, the LTD Board, and the Metropolitan Policy Committee selected the 6th/7th/11th route.  Nearby residents will be connected to fast, frequent, and reliable transit service through the envisioned EmX.  Employees will have better connections to and from work, and businesses will be able to attract new customers from throughout the region.  In addition, the EmX route selected by the community was refined specifically to avoid causing traffic to be diverted into adjacent residential neighborhoods.

In the coming months, LTD will complete three key steps in the development of EmX in West Eugene.  First, the West Eugene EmX project must compete with transportation projects from around the United States for federal funding. LTD is preparing a grant application that will be submitted in September 2011.  Second, an environmental analysis will be completed and submitted to the Federal Transit Administration for review.  Following the FTA review, a public review will occur in late 2011.  Third, the LTD Board and Eugene City Council, after analyzing the data currently being collected including an analysis of operating costs, will again hold a vote on the project.

Exciting things are happening in our community.  New retail opportunities, like the opening of Cabela’s, have popped up around existing EmX corridors.  Three significant projects are underway in downtown Eugene, plus the addition of the new hotel at 5th Street Public Market, all around the hub of LTD’s downtown transit station.  Having just completed the Matthew Knight Arena, the University is working on a new residence hall and a new science building.  PeaceHealth is moving forward with the reconstruction of Sacred Heart Hospital-University District, creating even more opportunities for employees and visitors to fully utilize both EmX and other LTD bus service.

To prepare for present and future growth, an enhanced transportation system is critical.  The goal of a West Eugene EmX Extension line would be to make these destinations more easily accessible to people throughout Eugene-Springfield, while simultaneously making businesses and residences in West Eugene more easily accessible by more people.  Taking one step at a time, we will meet the needs of today while ensuring that our children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy our community for generations to come. 

Mike Eyster
Mike Eyster is the President of the Lane Transit District Board of Directors



  1. Dear Mr. Eyster,

    You wouldn't coincidentally have a bridge for sale as well would you, or some ocean front property in Arizona?

    Thanks for the laughs.

  2. The reason for increased ridership is the fact that they require those who used to ride the 12 to ride the EMX now. The fact he limits the ridership to "11" is a play on the numbers. The 11 and the 12 were one of the busiest routes in use. So imagine if you add the ridership of 11 and 12, what do you get? Hmmmmm double ridership on the EMX ... Typical red glasses wearing LTD spokesperson ...

  3. "Preliminary data, gathered from current information and projections of future conditions, shows that capacity for auto traffic will increase, and the amount of time it takes an auto to travel the corridor will improve as a result of EmX."

    How is this possible? You take away a lane of traffic and this will then increase auto traffic capacity and make traveling the corridor for auto's FASTER!!!! WTF kind of logic is this?

    If you're going to smoke a bowl.... you can at least share it.

  4. Are you kidding me? How can adding traffic (EmX buses) to traffic make less traffic? It is a simple matter of physics. The problem is you included a big "if" into your equation. Basing your plans on a huge "if" is not going to work. 43000 more people are estimated to be in this area in the next 20 years, only about 5% will ride the bus. Better hope that other 95% doesn't use either 6th or 7th as it is going to be a mess when you are done LTD. The empty buses on Gateway do not lie. This system does NOT attract masses of -NEW- riders. Notice he word -NEW- is in all caps and surrounded by hyphens? That is so you understand LTD that we understand your trips per a 24 hour period have not gone up enough to back your misleading information up about route rider numbers being higher. You are mainly hauling the same people around, you just play with the numbers as 3:04pm pointed out.

    Someone is smoking the good stuff again, or you think we are.

    The public is paying attention.

  5. LTD is pulling our chains again with horseradish talk that don't even make sense from the straw their fed from the boondocks in the barn. So, tell me LTD why do you still have bus drivers running red lights at every street, intersection around the metro area?

    YOU (LTD) say your drivers are the safest in the nation? Look again, their not, they we've (yes - I'm talking about the citizens, who have all eyes on your doorstepin' schemes of cocoa claims that you say exist, but really doesn't) - now tell, me? Yes, I mean the entire general public, why to you keep lying about your statistics and all? When we all know it ain't going work with your rock spoiled EmX plan out westward ho...

    You folks at LTD, need to get your facts right, we ain't dump or stupid, but, we know the facts better than what your feeding the media frenzy with... Scheez.

    Perhaps, you might want to get rid of your busses and EmX fleet and return back to the days were horse drawn wagons and stages coaches where the norm in this town.

  6. you ain't DUMP? sure couldn't tell from your spelling or grammar!

  7. "bus drivers running red lights at every street..." wow. Who is it exactly that is exaggerating here? This type of talk against LTD is not only inaccurate, it is irresponsible. It spreads hatred and people on the fringe take up the cause and scream and verbally assault good people who just drive the bus for a living. If you don't agree with building EmX, argue the issue, don't do character assassination on a good company.

  8. Talk about double standards LTD!!!

    "In 2009, LTD ranked 30th out of 555 transit districts of all sizes in ridership productivity and even exceeded TriMet!" That quote was posted TODAY to your website LTD. But yet you want to tell us Mr. Weaver is using outdated material?

    How about telling the class where you rank TODAY?

    Also it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that somehow you people are cooking these numbers to make things sound better then they really are. Empty buses everywhere. Go look. Sure you have peak hours, but the rest of the time you are a just hauling a few people in a giant bus. Something is wrong there when even the local school districts will change the bus size for a route from morning to afternoon to fit the size of the ridership.
    Stop trying to pull the wool over our eyes LTD. You are wasting our money and we know it.
    You keep saying this is for the future, for 20 years from now. I predict in 20 years from now LTD will not have a EmX system. I predict LTD will have some "new" fancier bus system idea that we don't need. I also predict that NONE of the buses LTD has on the road today will be used by LTD in 20 years. So explain to me what all these new underutilized over run buses are for? Oh yes, I know. That's right, it is to get the free money, OUR MONEY LTD.
    When you stopped using common sense, you lost the respect of the common people.

  9. ummmm... 2009 was 2 years ago. Weaver's study was 27 years old! quite a difference.

  10. What I fail to see is film clips of the everyday traffic on 6th and 7th ave,depicting the ever increasing amount of traffic on those streets. To place an EMX bus on those two streets would be disaster. Its hard enough to drive either street as is. Taking away one lane will crowd the other three lanes and one lane drops off completely at Garfield and 6th. This is a bottleneck waiting to happen. The lights are never sync'd up as is. I, for one, will travel W8th to try and avoid the traffic problems if this LTD thing ever becomes a reality

  11. Eyster sounds like he's applying for a job, but without submitting a legitimate resume, only a long-winded cover letter; filled with deceptive and unsubstantiated boasting. By and large, I still agree with Brian.

  12. Who thinks we have less traffic on 6th and 7th than we did 27 years ago? (besides LTD)
    If that 27 year old report shows that what LTD is panning to do today is not going to work imagine what an up to date report would show. That is unless you believe we have less traffic on 6th and 7th today as compared to 27 years ago.
    One more time.
    Who thinks we have less traffic on 6th and 7th than we did 27 years ago? (besides LTD)

    By the way LTD, where do you rank today? Are the 2009 ranking figures the most up to date?
    It is beginning to look like you are ok with any information even if it is old or inaccurate as long as it will shine a favorable light on LTD.

  13. Hey Shyeyster, Can we hold a city wide vote now?