Mary Byrnes

Full, unedited text of Mary Byrnes question re EmX on River Road. (Submitted 10/29/2022)

I would like to have answers to the following questions about EmX on River Road.
My questions are based on my reading of the MovingAhead Alternative Analysis Report at: LTD MovingAhead AA_Draft-08242018_HighRes.pdf  These questions mostly center around the environmental damage EmX will cause to the River Road area and the extra cost of EmX but I would also like you to consider the effect on the thousands of drivers and residents of the River Road area and whoever else drives on River Road and how you would respond to their concerns.

The diesel buses that would be used for EmX on River Road would cause pollution to increase (Nitrous oxide up by .02%) (page 5-20) while doing nothing or implementing the Enhanced Corridor option both decrease current pollution levels. Also relevant to our impending climate catastrophic emergency, the Alternative Analysis for EmX on River Road further states (page 5-28) that up to 132 medium and large trees would be removed and presumably replaced with baby trees like they did on West 11th.

Additionally, 748,900 SF (that’s more than 17 acres to give you a visual) of impermeable surfaces will be implemented for EmX (page 5-47).  This sounds to me like there will be no greenspace left on River Road.  Looking at the situation on West 11th, it will become solid concrete with a few foundling trees struggling to survive.  The construction project will make getting around this area extremely difficult and, in itself, produce significant pollution.  How can this environmental damage be justified given that laws are already being put into place to mandate new electric vehicles by 2035 and the EmX diesel buses will probably become obsolete before the system is even put into operation?

Based on information I found at LTDs website, 70% of LTD’s budget comes from some form of tax dollars (State and Federal grants and payroll taxes).  Where will the addition $2 million more in operating costs (2016 dollars, now about $2.4 million in 2022 dollars) come from to pay the additional maintenance cost of EmX over either of the other two alternatives (page 5-17)?  It certainly wouldn’t come from the very modest expectation of an increase in ridership of 1.8% (Page 5-42) trips per weekday which is well within the capacity of the current bus system that currently runs mostly empty buses.   Also note that when EmX was implemented on West 11th Ave, the proponents expected ridership to increase to 7400/day but it is still at around 6000/day after 5 years in operation.

Since EmX will not be going into the neighborhoods where people actually live, current rider’s service for routes 51, 52 and 55 will be downgraded since the bus that used to go through their neighborhoods will no longer take many of them to their destination and they will have to ride a non-EmX bus to an EmX bus stop and transfer to EmX.  This will complicate their trip and increase their travel time and may well DECREASE ridership.  I am one of those so effected and won’t be using EmX for the trips I currently take on bus 51 to the northern area of Santa Clara.   I saw an analysis that amortized the cost of EmX over 20 years and said that it came out to a cost of $27.50 per ride.  Page 5-17 gives the cost of a trip at $3.87 but that’s just the operating costs, not including the initial cost of $78 million in 2016 which is close to $100 in 2022.  How do we justify all this expense of which 70% comes from taxes.  How do we justify the downgrade in bus service?

Page 5-2 shows bike and sidewalk sharing a path.  One to two blocks to the East of River Road the existing shared use path for bikes and pedestrians is already available and continues to have excess capacity.  Why do we need a duplicate path on River Road?

This is just the environmental and cost and doesn’t consider the thousands of disgruntled drivers that will be squeezed into one lane of traffic.  If you are an EmX proponent, how would you justify EmX over the wishes of those thousands of people, your constituents, that use EmX as one of the main traffic corridors in Eugene?  What I don’t understand and maybe you could help me understand what problem EmX will be solving since it actually increases environmental damage, increases cost and downgrades service?