2022 Council Candidates
Position #4 (Council)
Position #5 (Council)
Position #6 (Council)
Position #7 (Mayor)
It’s election season and it’s time – yet again – to dust off the ol’ ballot box (mail box) and flex your right to vote. While there is a lot to consider on our collective plate as a community, we at Bend Bikes want to take a minute to focus on what is nearest and dearest to us: the safety of people who walk, bike, and roll in Bend. It doesn’t get more local than moving on a bike through your city and our leadership heavily influences what those bike rides look like.
In order for our community to understand the views of each candidate running for City Council and Mayor – and how they will keep our city moving towards a place where people of all ages and abilities feel comfortable and safe riding their bikes – we compiled a list of questions and sent them out to every candidate. We gave them ample time to respond, asked they keep their responses to around 100 words, and below we have included their answers to these questions.
Question 1: Bend’s climate action goals are to reduce fossil fuel use by 40% by 2030 and 70% by 2050. The climate action plan approved by Council in December 2019 requires the City of Bend to increase trips by bicycle. What do you believe are the biggest barriers to getting more people on bikes for everyday riding?
Question 2: The new Department of Land Conservation and Development’s Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities rules on transportation and land use require Bend to have a “connected network of bicycle facilities that provides a safe, low stress, direct, and comfortable experience for people of all ages and abilities.” “All ages and abilities” is defined as including:
- School-age children;
- People over 65 years old;
- People of color;
- Low-income riders;
- People with disabilities;
- People moving goods, cargo, or other people; and
- People using shared mobility services.
What actions would you take as an elected official to ensure that residents of all ages and abilities can ride their bikes safely and comfortably to work, school, the grocery store, and across town?
Question 3: The first transportation bond project broke ground this year on the Wilson Avenue corridor. Do you think the Wilson Avenue corridor projects have been a success so far for people who bike? Why or why not? Is there anything you would do to improve future projects for people who bike?
As a non-profit we cannot advocate for a specific candidate but we can and are engaging our elected officials and candidates on our vision and mission. Here we share their answers with you to assist in filling out your voter card.
[A special note from Bend Bikes: We messed up and Position 6 candidates Mike Riley and Rick Johns did not receive our initial request, so we gave them both an extension and opportunity to respond.]
There is nothing I disagree with in your email regarding “Climate Action”, bike riding as a form of daily transportation or a comprehensive network of bike-friendly routes with Bend. In fact, I like bike riding and the entire concept you described. So, if elected, I would love to learn more how we can work together.
- The biggest barriers to increasing bicycle trips are: weather and safety. Concerning the weather, we aren’t going to get people to bike in the snow and rain. I live in Kings Forest, south of Reed Market Road, and used to bike to the Safety on 3 rd . But I only did it inclement weather. Biking is realistic even in the rain/snow if one has only a short way to go. But our reliance on automobiles has effectively ruined our cities for any other mode of transportation. I’ve given it a lot of thought; it seems we’re so far down the automobile road, I don’t see how our cities can recover. The city’s goal of making more walkable neighborhoods is the best way we can encourage biking; hopefully people will use them if the distance isn’t too far. Safety is a huge problem. I no longer bike down to Safeway because it’s just too dangerous. The traffic on Reed Market is scary enough, but going north on 15th, and having to make that diagonal at Wilson to get on the park trail, ultimately proved to be too much. I was in Barcelona a few months ago. Bike lanes are separated from traffic lanes by physical barriers and were crowded at every hour of the day. Using Reed Market as an example, what physical barriers could we install to give a little more protection? A 6” painted line doesn’t make me feel protected at all.
- What actions could I take as an elected official to ensure that residents can bike safely wherever they need to go? Bend isn’t built for bikes, but for cars. How to make it safe and more convenient? Barriers separating bike lanes from traffic lanes would somewhat improve safety. But what, for example, is one to do at 3 rd Street? I tried biking downtown once. Getting across 3rd was frightening, but then I had to go through the urine-soaked passage under the railroad bridge. Yuck. I’m cynical when I hear a lot of talk and don’t see any action. I attended the public presentation where three plans were presented for getting across the Hwy97/BNSF. The presentations looked like pipe dreams. Obviously we need to have an elevated way across 3rd , and Hawthorne is a good place to put it. But I had expected to see detailed engineering drawing of a specific bridge design, with line-by-line estimates of cost. Instead, we were asked to give an opinion on the various design proposals; how can someone who is not an engineer make intelligent decisions on such questions? I would try to find the money to hire an engineer (not one from the city—they’re swamped with development applications) and come up with a specific proposal to build to a specific design, with a line-item breakout of costs. Anything else is just talk. I’m also cynical about all the talk for promoting mass transportation. Out of the $192M for the GoBond, only $8M was for mass transit. When I came to Bend in 2014, I saw the busses so I knew there was some mass transit: but where were the bus stops? I finally realized the bus stops are bare steel poles with little signs on top, offering no shelter from the elements, not even a place to sit down. I thought to myself: this town does not take mass transit seriously. Want to encourage people to get out of their cars? Start with real bus stops.
- I drive through the Wilson roundabout, but haven’t biked it, so I’m not in a position to give an intelligent opinion.
Did not submit a response.
- One of the biggest barriers is, in fact, our climate. Any given year we may have days weeks or maybe even months when only the bravest, hardest, people with the best outerwear are computing by bicycle. I am on deterred by this fact. On any given day in the summer, there are as many visitors here in town as there were residence when I moved here in 1991. Even if most folks are only riding during the good weather, we still have the opportunity to take thousands and thousands of cars off of the road.
- I’ll start by talking about what I have already achieved in my two terms on Council. I first ran for Ben City Council in 2012. I ran because I was hopeful that I could achieve a specific thing… Neighborhood Greenways in Bend. I am so proud of the fact that we have started a network of these clever, low cost facilities! We are now expanding those into what is being called “Key Routes“ for bicycles and pedestrians. I am currently chair of the metropolitan planning organization. Our group has helped plan and fund our bicycle rental program, currently “blue bikes“. I am thrilled with how popular those bikes are and how many people are using them, specifically to commute! I advocated and lobbied for separated multi use paths. The first finally appeared along side the new section of Empire Avenue! I think those paths are the perfect example of what we need in order for parents to feel comfortable having their children ride bikes to school. We are working with the parks district and the irrigation districts on connecting what is a great start in our city. We are now constructing multi use paths where there is room for them, and connecting those to paths and trails owned and operated by those other agencies. I think there are so many issues that need to be worked out at a higher level than the city of Bend. Specifically electric bikes… What are the regulations for them? Where are they allowed? I hope that the state will sit policy on this so we can be consistent everywhere. I have was, frankly, quite frustrated to learn that Redmond is calling their “green ways“, “quiet streets“. AND their signs are red! I think our best hope at achieving the highest degree of safety is if we have consistency in our regulations and signage. We have been successful attaining Federal Land Access Program grants! We used that money to improve the Haul Trail. Maybe some folks are actually riding their bikes out to Phil’s Trail where they go to ride their bikes. We have applied for a grant which would provide assistance to low income folks who would like to purchase electric bikes! Fingers crossed on that one. We need a snowplow that can fit on our new multi use paths and in our protected bike lanes. Speaking of the MPO, I think I know where to find the money for that. Hawthorne bridge! Franklin and Greenwood underpasses! Transit hubs! The giant ship of government is turning! I like to think I had a hand in that. Infrastructure. Short answer is low stress bike networks.
- I honestly have not made my mind up on that new roundabout and that corridor. I have heard from bike commuters that this new design of roundabout is an improvement. I have also heard that we need to keep working on it. We have tried one type of physical separation that definitely did not work and has been removed. Now we have some thing called a duracurb. It’s a barrier but it would not stop a automobile if it were honestly something like a drunk driver swerving. There are folks who think that jersey barriers are the answer. I have served on our city’s accessibility committees for almost a decade. I am very concerned about the visibility of people using hand cycles or recumbent bicycles. I am afraid that a jersey barrier would block those riders from the view of drivers in the very most dangerous spots, where there are driveways and intersections. I don’t think jersey barriers are the right answer for that location because they would block the view of most of any bicycle including, maybe, their lights and reflectors.
Did not submit a response.
- People don’t feel safe riding a bike in Bend. We need zoning and streets that prioritizes safer walking, biking, and rolling in Bend because with 50% more people expected in the next 20 years, we simply don’t have room for 50% more cars and trucks, too. Experience in other cities shows we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions (and provide a huge number of co-benefits!) by physically separating spaces for people to safely bike in and designing streets for slow (15 – 20 mph) where cars and bikes mix. Business associations typically become big supporters of safer biking once they experience its benefits.
- We should build the Bend Bikeway so that people on it don’t have to share space with through traffic. When Councilor Broadman and I proposed Bend’s first citywide separated network of bike routes last year, the two biggest questions I heard were, “How will you pay for this?” and “Can we build it closer where I live?” Bike infrastructure is typically (though not always) cheaper than car infrastructure and it can move more people. Once you properly account for the actual costs of driving, you see the question isn’t, “Can we afford to have more people biking?” The question is, “Can we afford not to?” Second, I intended the Bend Bikeway to like a bike superhighway that all ages and abilities could feel confident and safe riding on. Once people begin to use it, the city should expand it to meet rising demand. Building and expanding some sections can be done very cheaply by allocating existing right-of-way to value safety rather than speed.
- On the Wilson Ave corridor, I’m happy to see the new protected roundabout. It’s not perfect, but I think it does provide more safety and comfort. Two big questions remain: 1) What will the rest of the corridor look like? The city must choose between moving cars fast with full separation or moving cars slower with less separation. The default is to design for speed while failing to provide sufficient safety for people riding bikes. The second question is 2) What else will the Wilson Ave corridor connect to? E.g. will the city continue to ask Bend High School students to risk their safety to ride on unprotected high-speed streets like 9th St. or 15th St? I will work to prioritize safety so that parents have peace of mind and those who might be “curious but cautious” about biking will give it a try, too.
- I see three main barriers:
- The lack of safe biking infrastructure, especially protected bike lanes on busy collectors and arterials. If people do not feel safe, they are much less likely to start riding regularly and supporting their kids to do the same.
- Bike routes that are incomplete and not clearly signed/marked for easy wayfinding.
- Inadequate street cleaning during the winter and spring, which too often leaves what bike lanes we do have dirty and full of snow and ice for long periods of time. And that discourages riding.
- I will advocate for new/revised policies and, especially, more funding to address the barriers above. We also need to ensure that future planning continues to emphasize complete communities where as many of our daily needs can be met within a mile or two of our homes, to reduce the need to drive and make it more likely people will choose to bike and walk.
- While not perfect, the Wilson Corridor project is an important and significant step forward for biking in Bend. Intersection designs have been substantially improved to increase safety for walking and biking, bikes lanes will be added to the corridor from 2nd Street to 15th St, and the corridor will include the first protected bike lanes in our city’s history. My hope is that, after the project is complete, people around Bend will start to say “Why aren’t the roads in my neighborhood more like Wilson? They should be!” That would be a huge success. It remains to be seen if the protected bike lanes actually provide real protection for cyclists; it will depend on the final infrastructure chosen. I will advocate for real, rather than symbolic, protections on future projects and encourage the City to experiment with infrastructure that is new to our community so we can learn what works here. Where possible, I will support separated bike lanes as well.
- As an avid biker, my initial biggest barrier to entry was Fear. As a biker I found the transition from the physical safety of a car to being fully exposed on a bicycle, to be very daunting. For weeks I nervously cycled the quiet suburban roads, determined to overcome my fears. However, the fear factor causes many to simply sell their new bike. Also I have found that bikes are not comfortable nor safe to ride in the rain, or snow, or in freezing temperatures. And thus we revert to using cars for many months of the year. A huge barrier to entry for year round biking in Bend is simply – the weather.
- As an elected official, in order to promote biking, I would want to find a way to overcome the initial Fear factor, both for adults learning to cycle and also parents who drive their children to and from school, etc. We could perhaps encourage biking by showing videos in a classroom setting of cycling in traffic. Then cycle in small groups on quiet roads with trained mentors. Children can be advised to ride the sidewalks, whenever possible.
- The goal of a traffic circle is to keep traffic moving WITHIN the circle. As we all know, traffic stops outside the circle, waits for an opening and enters the circle, and exits promptly at the desired turn – with no stopping. Having viewed the project as a cyclist, I think the project was a traffic failure. If all bike traffic is meant to use the green corridors then traffic within the circle will have to stop and wait while the cyclists cross at the intersections. This absolutely negates the goal of a circle. Also there is a lot of green paint on the crossings and paint when wet is slippery to bikes. I would like a link to the exhaustive tests that the builders completed to ensure the paint is not slippery when wet.
Did not submit a response.
Did not submit a response.
- When I talk to people who would love to ride their bike more in Bend, the number one thing I hear is that there are not enough connected routes that are safe. From young families to elders, people want to feel safe when they ride and they want to know there is a good safe way to connect from one side of town to the other. If we want to meet our climate action goals, we have to invest in safer infrastructure for people who bike.
- Riding a bike offers freedom, fun, and better health, and everyone should have access to our bicycle facilities no matter their age or ability. I will continue to prioritize safety and accessibility when considering new transportation projects and designs. As a City Councilor these past two years, I have supported investment in new and better protection for bike lanes, like on Wilson Ave, and pushed for more lower stress alternatives to just a painted line as the only thing between the bike lane and cars on the street. I will continue to dream big and work hard toward a future where every resident feels taking their bike is a meaningful option to get around town.
- I am excited that Bend is one of the first places on the West Coast to have a roundabout with a protected bike lane, and that Wilson Ave is planned to be our first corridor with a physically protected bike lane. It’s important to push forward, ask staff to bring us new ideas and implement them, and then learn from what we’ve done so we can continue to improve on future projects. I look forward to the information we will be able to glean once the corridor is complete and people are riding the whole length and giving us feedback. I also think it is important to break through past practices and start to set new examples and standards of how we can invest in infrastructure that makes riding a bike safer for more people.