Posted by: conorsjohnson | March 12, 2010

The Outside Final Review

The Outsider Final Review

Parks create eco-friendly environments, bring local people out from their houses, let them have playful time outside, and give people positive energy. Although people are well aware of numerous benefits that the new skate park will bring to the community, people will not be very happy about this people will not be very happy about this $500,000 project if it doesn’t promise the public safety issue. There were negative perceptions toward public spaces because there have been many small and big criminal accidents happening in public spaces. Study of “Crime Mapping Washington’s Deception Pass State Park” says that Wayside State Park, one of the Oregon State parks, was once closed because of increasing criminal activity.  Last year a homeless man was killed by two other homeless people in Skinner Butte Park.  Emily Proudfoot, city landscape architect of Eugene has a full understanding of this concern and she mentioned about a “Public Safety Strategy” that will make changes to Washington- Jefferson Park area, which currently is “not safe” and “not pleasant.” Cooperating with Eugene police, using webcams and relocating the playground and the restroom is a part of the Public Safety Strategy.

What the public wants to have in its community is not just a covered space to skateboard. They want the skate park to be profitable to the community and, of course, safe to use. Emily stressed that they are putting great efforts to deal with public safety issue and to make it economically beneficial; however, in the end, “it’s really more about the community taking ownership of their own park.”

At this point, it looks like the skate park that’s planned to go in at the Washington-Jefferson Street Park is set and ready to go.  Although the final design has been voted on by the community at various meetings, there’s still a little more work that has to be done to make sure that it fits in the community as an effective space near the downtown area. For more information, feel free to check out the SkateEugene.org web log posting here.

On another note, it looks like Google Maps now has a tool to find bike paths and lanes to use, which should come as a great service to Eugene residents, especially since Eugene is number nine in the country for bicycle friendliness. It apparently strives to avoid hills and to take paths instead of roads unless they have designated bike lane, which should provide useful to businesses like Pedalers Express who use bikes to deliver items all around the downtown area.

Recently, the Register-Guard also announced that a driver who struck a bicyclist and the sped off on the hill of 30th avenue was sentenced to 7½ years in prison. This instance shows just why it is crucial to have bike paths designated for cyclists in Eugene and in proper working order. Paths in the Amazon & Fern Ridge area have been prone to flooding recently and although the City of Eugene plans on fixing them, right now people either have to suffer with it or take an alternate route. For more information, check out Webikeeugene.org here.

In addition to all of this we found that Public parks offer a quite relaxing place for people of all ages to gather and have a great time. The use of public parks is underutilized in many cities. A group called Project for Public Spaces is trying to change this. Although they have been relatively successful in turning around public spaces, most public parks are seeing a decline in funding. One reason for this decline in Park use is due to the lack of funding they receive. Without proper funding parks are going to start losing their maintenance and services. This leads to dirtier parks and even less visitors. Terre Haute in Indiana is holding an input meeting to set up a 5-year plan for their city parks. Overall, the information all led me to believing that Public Parks are unfortunately the victims of a lack of funding and advertising. Many people are discouraged by bad weather and lack of knowledge of parks. If more people knew about the opportunities they have in their community it would benefit them greatly.

Moving to skateboarding, the negative impact of the economy on nearly every industry over the past year is clearly evident. The national spotlight naturally shines on those industries that are most popular. Skateboarding is a seldom looked at industry that has taken a significant financial blow during the past year. Not only has skate park use declined but many things associated with skateboarding have taken a considerable hit as well. “The need for safe, legal and public facilities for skateboarders” has been a need in nearly every community.

After doing research and looking at different surveys that have been taken, I can now see that bicycle riding in the United States is declining.  One of the main reasons for this decrease is the safety issues that go along with riding your bike on the road.  When someone starts riding on the road, they not only have to worry about taking care of themselves but they have to realize that the car traffic around them is also putting their lives in danger.  This is because in typical high traffic areas there is not an abundance of bike paths, which means that more bikers are put on the road and more accidents are prone to happen.

Even though bicycling has been decreasing over the past couple of years, it doesn’t mean that the biking accidents have also.  Each and every year around seven hundred bicycling deaths occur and many more injuries take place.  Seven hundred deaths are way too many lives that are being lost each and every year.  After doing research and seeing where bike paths are primarily located, I can honestly say that by adding more bike paths to high traffic areas, we will be able to see a decrease in these deaths.  This will also allow for more people to feel safe on the road and in the end will allow for an increase in bicycle riding to occur.  Throughout this term, and out of all the aspects that we covered in our group, bike paths are the main thing that I think people should focus their attention on.  By turning our attention to the addition of more paths, we will allow for better bike safety and less injuries happening day in and day out.

Sources

1. http://www.skateeugene.org/archives/553

2. http://www.kval.com/news/tech/87255262.html

3. http://www.americasbestonline.com/index.php/pages/bestbicylecities.html

4. http://www.catoregon.org/?page_id=19

5. http://www.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/news/cityregion/24523735-41/clifton-driving-hit-billings-judge.csp

6. http://www.webikeeugene.org/index.php/2010/03/city-of-eugene-plans-to-fix-amazon-path-flooding-fern-ridge-bike-path/

7. http://www.tpl.org/tier3_cd.cfm?content_item_id=20878&folder_id=3208

8. http://special.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/news/cityregion/7023111-41/story.csp

9. http://www.waurisa.org/conferences/2008/presentations/DTA_wed_Walker.pdf

10. http://special.registerguard.com/csp/cms/sites/web/news/cityregion/15630369-41/story.csp

11. http://blip.tv/file/3208588

12. http://www.skaterscafe.com/printthread.php?t=96492

13. http://www.pps.org/parks_plazas_squares/

14. http://tribstar.com/news/x1834681879/Public-to-help-plan-for-parks-future

15. http://espn.go.com/action/skateboarding/news/story?page=Skateboarding-And-The-Economy

16. http://oregonstate.edu/dept/security/bike_safety

17. http://bicycleuniverse.info/transpo/almanac-safety.html

18. http://www.kval.com/news/8035652.html

19. http://bikeportland.org/2010/02/08/reality-check-bike-plan-includes-no-financial-commitment/

20. http://www.bikely.com/listpaths/country/254/region/159/city/10522

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