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Franklin Grant Application

Franklin Grant Application

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Published by Alan Pittman

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Published by: Alan Pittman on Sep 09, 2010
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Franklin Corridor Partnership Page 1 of 15
Franklin Boulevard is a vital and central link between downtownSpringfield and downtown Eugene that also serves as a gateway to bothcommunities. The Franklin Corridor has many natural and built assets,including access to the Willamette River, Interstate 5, the University of Oregon, a world class riverfront park and bicycle path system, andnumerous institutions, employers, and retail businesses. FranklinBoulevard is already served by Lane Transit Districts (LTD) flagship EmXbus rapid transit (BRT) line that has been recognized as one of the mostinnovative BRT systems in the nation. The area is highly visible to localresidents, visitors to the University of Oregon, as well as to all who travelInterstate 5.Yet, the land within the Franklin Corridor is vastly underutilized and farfrom realizing its full potential. In both Eugene and Springfield, FranklinBoulevard is dominated by auto-oriented land uses and has a street designthat favors cars over other modes of travel. The western portion of theFranklin Corridor has many rental housing units but few are affordable tovery-low and low-income families while the housing stock east of Interstate 5 is affordable but in very poor condition.The Cities of Eugene and Springfield have both engaged their communitiesto re-envision the land uses along Franklin Boulevard as mixed-useneighborhoods with vibrant, transit-oriented development. A crucial nextstep is to transform Franklin Boulevard from an auto-oriented arterial intoa multiway boulevard that serves all modes of travel  pedestrians, bikes,buses, and motor vehicles. This change will have a catalytic effect onredevelopment of properties along the street. The multiway boulevarddesign supports the vision for mixed-use development by providing apedestrian-friendly streetscape that is buffered from through traffic. TheTIGER II Planning Grant will enable Eugene and Springfield to moveforward on the NEPA documentation and preliminary design of theFranklin multiway boulevard project.Another critical element of the vision for the Franklin Corridor is thedevelopment of a mix of housing types accessible to persons with a rangeof incomes. Due to the Franklin Corridors desirable location, naturalamenities, access to employers and educational institutions, and plans fordesirable mixed-use neighborhoods, it is likely that housing will be out of reach for low-income persons unless proactive measures are taken topreserve and build affordable housing. Building on the City of Eugenesextensive experience with landbanking for affordable housing, the Cities
Franklin Corridor Partnership:Complete Neighborhoods,Complete Streets
 
Franklin Corridor Partnership Page 2 of 15
will utilize the Community Challenge Planning Grant for the acquisition of at least two sites for futureaffordable housing development.Eugene and Springfield make up the largest metropolitan area along Interstate 5 between Portland andSacramento, and our two cities have a long history of working together on regional land use, transportation,public service, and affordable housing efforts. Eugene and Springfield are a HUD HOME Consortium, jointlyoperate a regional wastewater system, participate in the Central Lane Metropolitan Policy Organization, andare in the process of merging our Fire Departments.The Cities of Eugene and Springfield and our partners, LTD and the Oregon Department of Transportation(ODOT), also have a history of success to build upon and are ready to move from planning to implementationin the Franklin Corridor. Relevant successes include Eugenes recognition as a Gold Community for Bicycling bythe League of American Bicyclists, Springfields Home Ownership Program recognition as a Best Practice byHUD, LTDs Sustainable Transportation Honorable Mention by the Institute for Transportation andDevelopment Policy for the first leg of the BRT system, recognition of Eugenes Landbanking Program forAffordable Housing through Harvard Universitys Innovations in American Government Program, Eugenesrecognition as the greenest city in the country by National Geographics Green Guide, and LTDs partnershipwith Springfield to extend BRT into Springfields Gateway district, which will open in January 2011.The Franklin Corridor Partnership builds upon our existing partnerships and successes to combine land use,transportation, and affordable housing efforts across jurisdictional boundaries. We look forward to workingon this challenge and taking our partnership to a new level.
Rating Factor 1: Purpose & Outcomes
Existing Conditions
Franklin Boulevard:
Franklin Boulevard anchors Walnut Station and Glenwood and extends from just west of the University of Oregon in Eugene to the Springfield Bridges just east of the intersection with McVay Highwayin the Glenwood area of Springfield (see Map 1). Franklin Boulevard is one of only four east-west arterials inthe region interconnecting Eugene and Springfield. This five-lane roadway serves a range of transportationneeds: freight movement; commuters; and those patronizing businesses and institutions along the corridor. Asa BRT corridor, buses now operate in a combination of dedicated lanes and mixed traffic. To achieve theredevelopment vision for Walnut Station and Glenwood, Franklin Boulevard must become more than just aconduit for moving traffic.The public and private sectors perceive the current condition and appearance of the Franklin Corridor as animpediment to the areas economic renewal. The corridors potential to serve as a visible gateway to WalnutStation, the University of Oregon, downtown Eugene, Glenwood, downtown Springfield, and the metropolitanarea cannot be realized in its current configuration. Frequent access points, unappealing signage, minimallandscaping, inefficient land development, and unorganized parking defines Franklin Boulevards visualenvironment. The Willamette River, a significant environmental asset, is largely ignored and disconnectedfrom the adjacent corridor and neighborhoods.
 
As currently configured, Franklin Boulevard is not apedestrian-friendly street to cross, nor does it safely or comfortably accommodate modes of travel other thanmotor vehicles. While the street itself provides access to many businesses, the existing street edges do notenhance active retail or other pedestrian-friendly uses because there are few sidewalks in some areas, andwhere they do exist, the sidewalks are often narrow, located on private property or easements, and have noseparation between the sidewalk and the street. Franklin Boulevard also lacks adequate bicycle facilities.
 
Franklin Corridor Partnership Page 3 of 15
Franklin Boulevard is and will continue to be a key regional arterial and must accommodate 30,000 to 35,000cars and trucks each day while offering sufficient mobility and accessibility to support growth in daily traffic, aswell as a substantial increase in bicycle and pedestrian trips. Therefore, the challenges related to accessmanagement, parking, connectivity, safety, and operational issues posed by the existing street design must beaddressed to promote multimodal use and support the intensity of high density, mixed-use, transit-orienteddevelopment envisioned by Eugene and Springfield. Limited transportation dollars, combined with the highcost of facility improvements, make these needed changes a challenge to deliver.
ousing and Demographics:
Average wages in Eugene-Springfield have fallen to approximately 88% of thestatewide average and just 79% of the national average. The region also has higher unemployment rates thanthe State as a whole. The recent economic downturn has increased the need of residents in the Eugene-Springfield area for basic necessities, including affordable housing and transportation. The Franklin Corridorcontains neighborhoods where these socioeconomic indicators illustrate an even greater need for economicimprovement. For instance, in Glenwood, a portion of which includes the Franklin Riverfront, medianhousehold incomes are just over $23,000 compared to $35,850 in Eugene and $33,031 in Springfield, andapproximately 44% of Glenwood residents rely solely on public assistance and social security. About 60% of the households in the Census Tract containing Walnut Station fall within low- and moderate-incomecategories.The housing stock along the Franklin Corridor is older and in greater need for rehabilitation, weatherization,and major system upgrades than the Eugene-Springfield region as a whole. In the cities of Eugene andSpringfield, two-thirds of the housing stock was built before 1980 while over three-quarters of the housingstock in the Franklin Corridor was built prior to 1980. Additionally, nearly 60% of Glenwoods dwelling unitsare mobile homes or recreational vehicles that are in serious disrepair and pre-date HUD standards. Further,there is no subsidized permanent affordable housing in the Franklin Corridor.In planning for the future of the Franklin Corridor, Eugene and Springfield need to provide opportunities for afull range of choices in housing type, density, size, and cost. Walnut Station and Glenwood are well positionedto provide such variety, given the existence of well-established low-density residential neighborhoods withinthese districts and their potential for higher-density multi-family and mixed-used development. The affordablehousing property acquisition funded through this grant will enable Eugene and Springfield to affirmativelyfurther fair housing for households of all ages, incomes, races, and ethnicities in the Franklin Corridor andcould provide options for residents at risk for displacement to relocate within the area, as well.
Project Alignment with Six Livability Principles
rovide More Transportation Choices:
A principal desired outcome of a multiway boulevard street design is toprovide more transportation choices. Franklin Boulevard is the backbone of the transportation system inWalnut Station and Glenwood, and greatly influences the areas character and development. The key impetusfor realizing the vision for these neighborhoods is transforming the nature of the roadway.Implementing the multiway boulevard design will result in a Franklin Boulevard that functions not simply as atransportation corridor, but rather as a complete street supporting pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users. Themultiway boulevard design creates a different development context by separating the through traffic from theadjacent land uses by means of planted medians, access lanes, and on-street parking. Locating BRT and motorvehicle through-traffic in separate, dedicated lanes in the center of the street enhances the flow of BRT andvehicular traffic and maintains Franklin Boulevards function as a major arterial. Local traffic will be inseparate, low-speed access lanes, between the through-traffic and sidewalk. This new lane configurationimproves the efficiency and safety of through traffic by removing multiple access points. Furthermore, theaccess lanes accommodate on-street parking to support future mixed-use development on both sides of 

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