Questions about the River Road-Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan? Just ask!

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    The proposed plan says that commercial areas are supposed to establish areas where ground floor commercial uses are required (e.g. retail, personal services, and restaurants). What is the purpose of this requirement?

    Judy Boles asked 5 months ago

    Thank you for your clarifying questions. Early outreach and community visioning during the neighborhood planning process led to the “string of pearls” concept along the River Road corridor (see attachment). This concept establishes key neighborhood centers along the corridor. 

    Requiring ground floor commercial in certain key areas/intersections, specifically those with potential development opportunities and planned transportation improvements, would help create active mixed-use neighborhood centers. An active street environment is one that prioritizes people walking, biking, running, or wheeling. Commercial places which are isolated, automobile-dependent and which have little to no relationship to their surrounding environment, discourage active street environments and contribute to traffic congestion by limiting the ability of some people to safely move without a car. Amazon Corner, located just south of Amazon Park in Southeast Eugene, is an example of mixed-use development with ground floor commercial use and residential use above that the proposed zoning aims to support.

    The Commercial Frontage Overlay does not prohibit residential development, but requires that commercial uses are also included to create a mix of uses. Currently, the existing retail space along River Road is primarily strip commercial development in buildings that are at least 10 years old. Market conditions suggest that residential development is more likely to occur than commercial development along the corridor. The requirement of ground floor commercial use on properties with the Commercial Frontage Overlay is to help ensure the creation of commercial space so that residents can safely access essential goods and services within a short distance from home while also creating a variety of employment opportunities for all residents, and local entrepreneurship. Economic activity, especially that of local businesses, contributes to a shared neighborhood identity, while providing places to gather and build community. 

    To see where the Commercial Frontage Overlay is proposed, please check out the Draft Proposed Zoning Webmap.

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    Is there a plan in place to address the lack of a library for residents of Santa Clara with addresses that fall in the unincorporated section of Eugene? I have lived here my whole life and never had access to the library due to my address and now my kids are also dealing with this issue.

    EK asked 10 months ago

    Thank you for contacting us about the River Road-Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan. Currently, County residents living in unincorporated areas are able get a card to Eugene public libraries but must pay a fee. As of July 2021, the fee is $11/month per household. City residents and non-residents pay approximately the same amount, one through taxes and the other through the non-resident fee. Both City and County residents can attend events and classes at the Eugene public libraries, regardless of whether they hold a library card.

    Additionally, all students enrolled in Eugene School District 4J and Bethel School District can get a free library card, whether you live inside or outside of City limits. For more information, visit the City of Eugene Library website. The Eugene Public Library also has the Imagination Library available to all young children in Lane County (ages 0-4). Children can receive a new book each month for free (a library card is not needed). For more information, visit the Imagination Library of Eugene website.

    Both City and County residents are also welcome to check out books at the River Road-Santa Clara Volunteer Library.

    The closest Eugene library for many River Road and Santa Clara residents is the Bethel Branch Library and residents have expressed a strong desire to have library and cultural services expanded in the River Road and Santa Clara neighborhoods. This community vision is captured in one of the Neighborhood Plan policies.

    In order for full public library services to be extended to everyone in the county, the Lane County Board of Commissioners would need to take action as elected officials. The local organization addressing this situation is the Lane Library League.

    Hopefully this information is helpful to you and your family!

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    The neighborhood plan looks like it has addressed LTD, bicycle routes/commuting and improved walkways. Has it addressed congestion for commuters of personal cars? I use my bike for errands at least 3 days/week but I also need to use my car a few days a week. River Road is very congested in the morning, around the lunch hour and from 4-6 pm. I worry that the LTD bus lanes will make the congestion worse.

    katgat asked 11 months ago

    Thank you for contacting us about the River Road-Santa Clara Neighborhood Plan. Throughout the outreach process, we have heard concerns from the community about congestion on River Road. One of the Plan’s policies directly speaks to traffic management, “Policy 5.4 Traffic Management: Implement transportation system infrastructure improvements to support the traffic flow and enhance safety objectives.” While the hope is to support innovative, active transportation options like walking, bicycling, and transit and lessen the need for single-occupancy motor vehicle trips, that will happen over time.  

    Last week, the Eugene City Council and Lane Transit District’s Board approved MovingAhead plans, which include providing EmX on River Road. The next steps in that process involve refining designs for the project (which will include more community engagement), seeking funding, and completing environmental review processes. MovingAhead staff has done extensive traffic modeling along the River Road corridor and are confident that River Road can maintain traffic operations consistent with City guidelines if BAT lanes (business access & transit lanes) are implemented (read more in the Alternatives Analysis Report).  

    To submit comments and voice your concerns and questions about the impacts of EmX to congestion along River Road visit: http://www.movingahead.org/contact/. To stay involved and up-to-date on next steps in the MovingAhead process, visit the ‘Get Involved’ page to view upcoming events and sign up for the mailing list:  http://www.movingahead.org/get-involved/.