(Photo by Streetcar Press by way of Flickr Creative Commons)
As a past-president of AIA-SWO, I am a de facto member of our chapter’s Local Affairs Committee. When the occasion merits it, the committee will deliver its perspective on important and controversial issues related to the design of our community’s built environment. The West Eugene extension of Lane Transit District’s EmX BRT (bus rapid transit) system is a case in point.
We know there are those among the AIA-SWO membership who do not support the west Eugene extension of EmX as we do; nevertheless, we are confident our opinion represents that of the majority of AIA-SWO members and thus warrants the chapter’s imprimatur.
I personally believe the proposed extension’s antagonists are waging a war of misinformation and intimidation. Furthermore, I suspect the core motives of the most influential members of the opposition are political in origin rather than founded in genuine concerns for those who would be directly impacted by EmX. The West Eugene Extension is merely a convenient avatar for a movement bent upon tearing down any initiative associated with progressive ideology. Publicly funded support of mass transportation fits the bill in their minds.
The committee recently distributed the following letter to local elected officials and media outlets. The Register-Guard published the letter in its August 5 Commentary section. I tip my hat to past-presidents Paul Dustrud (2011) and Eric Gunderson (2007) for providing leadership on this important topic.
EmX Meets Design Excellence Goal
The Local Affairs Committee of the American Institute of Architects-Southwestern Oregon Chapter fully supports the west Eugene extension of Lane Transit District’s EmX express bus service in particular and efficient public transportation for our region in general.
We believe EmX represents an advanced mass transit system able to support compact livable communities, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, operate at a lower cost to the public, encourage development along transit corridors, and create construction jobs in our community.
EmX will be an interconnected system of more than 60 miles of bus rapid transit service linking destinations throughout the metropolitan area. It operates at a lower cost per mile compared to conventional bus transit routes and is an ideal system for midsize communities by offering high-frequency, high-capacity service at one-tenth the cost per mile of light rail or street car systems.
We encourage community support for EmX in west Eugene and in additional corridors throughout the area as outlined in the TransPlan and the Metro Plan for the Eugene-Springfield metropolitan area. Additionally, we believe public transportation system projects shouldn’t require a public vote. We ask the City Council to support EmX as fundamental to Envision Eugene and to adopted public policies and goals.
The AIA-SWO chapter is a professional organization of architects with 200 members in southwestern Oregon that advocates for design excellence to better our community. EmX embodies that vision of design excellence for our built environment, earning our clear support.
- Paul Dustrud, 2011 president American Institute of Architects-Southwestern Oregon Chapter and 19 other past presidents (including me).