Implementing City Living
Ecological Benefits from New Plan
The City of Eugene recently completed a “20-minute neighborhoods” assessment, as a way of understanding the connections between livability, walkability, and geography in our city. 20-minute neighborhoods are areas of the city that offer easy, convenient access—within a 20 minute’s walk—to many, if not all, of the places and services that residents of the neighborhood use on a daily basis. These include schools, parks, restaurants, grocery stores, and other commercial locations.
20-minute neighborhoods offer the opportunity for residents to use sidewalks, bike lanes, bus routes, and other means to travel between all the locations necessary for everyday life without heavy reliance on automobiles. These neighborhoods are an important and sustainable way to reduce our reliance on automobiles, and thereby reduce transportation costs and community-wide greenhouse gas emissions. Public health is also improved, and residents can save money without sacrificing access to daily needs.
Eugene’s Community Climate and Energy Plan hopes to have 90% of the city’s residents living in 20-minute neighborhoods by the year 2030. These areas are a vital part of our community’s growth strategy, and have the added benefit of improving livability while reducing the need for expansion.
Numerous factors are considered when assessing a 20-minute neighborhood. Through extensive research, the City of Eugene studied population density; the number of workers employed by area businesses; the neighborhood’s proximity to bus stops, convenience stores, elementary schools, parks, and grocery stores (measured in 1/4, 1/2, and 1 mile increments); street intersection density; and the presence of sidewalks, bike paths, and the like.
20-minute neighborhoods offer numerous benefits for residents and for our city as a whole. These include improved health thanks to increased physical activity and lower air pollution from reduced automobile traffic; financial advantages such as higher property values and reduced fuel and transportation maintenance costs; lower crime rates; and a greater sense of community.
Several areas of Eugene have been designated as 20-minute neighborhoods, including much of the Downtown area, the 24th Avenue-Hilyard Street area, and the 5th Street-Blair Avenue “Whitaker” neighborhood.