Oh boy, this is a long one! After taking some time to reset after the winter break and all the work that went into our bike map launch, spring is bringing us new energy! We start out with what you can expect from Bend Bikes in the next year, updates on GO bond projects, and then finish off with the feel-good stuff that keeps us going… stories from a local “bike bus” and another one of our amazing volunteers!
2022 Strategic Planning
Our all volunteer board is on fire and we have an ambitious set of goals for the upcoming year. Bend Bikes plans to:
- Participate in and advocate with local (Transportation Bond Oversight Committee, Core Area Advisory Board, Planning Commission), regional (Metropolitan Planning Organization, Deschutes County Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee), and state (Land Conservation and Development Commission, Oregon Transportation Commission) committees charged with shaping transportation decisions.
- Advocate with local (City of Bend) and regional (Oregon Department of Transportation and Department of Land Conversation and Development) staff to stay abreast of important projects like the Complete Streets guide development and Midtown Crossing project.
- Engage people who bike to increase their knowledge of bike-friendly infrastructure projects that are possible in their community by learning tactical urbanism strategies and how to do demonstration projects in their neighborhoods.
- Engage people who bike to increase the number of bike trips they make through ride meetups for community events, learning about and using the bike map, and learning about bike-related events on a to-be-developed calendar.
- Increase the awareness of and usage of the bike map as well as seek and review feedback to update and make improvements to the bike map.
GO Bond Project: Midtown Pedestrian and Bicycle Crossing Feasibility Study Kickoff
On March 7th, a herd of City staff, City councilors, consultants, engineers, and board president LeeAnn O’Neill (in her role as chair of the Transportation Bond Oversight Committee) did a walk through site visit for the Midtown Pedestrian and Bicycle Crossing Feasibility Study kickoff.
While this project is in the very early stages of design and visioning, Bend Bikes has been advocating that safe crossings at Franklin and Greenwood should not be sacrificed to the energy of the Hawthorne bridge and we’ve already put out a few ideas of our own for each of these key crossings.
[Photo: City of Bend] What happens before a project gets built…
We don’t have much to report at this time other than we are watching this project very closely. For more information, keep an eye on the official project website and any inquiries for the project engineer should be directed to [email protected].
GO Bond Project: Wilson Corridor Updates
Whenever we see a construction detour, we get kind of excited because it means our transportation system is getting an upgrade. So while the current detours impacting the Wilson corridor are inconvenient, we are excited about what this project represents.
[Photo: City of Bend]
Not only will the Wilson corridor project showcase Bend’s first barrier protected bike lane and intersection, it also promises to bring a completely separated route for people who walk and bike from the canal trail up to Wilson Avenue.
[Photo: City of Bend]
Bend Bikes Vision: Laws That Help People Who Bike
When it comes to the Oregon legal system, there can be laws that help people on bikes get around more easily. One example is the “Idaho Stop,” 814.414, which allows a person on a bike to proceed through a stop sign controlled intersection without coming to a complete stop after slowing to a safe speed. The law gets its nickname from a similar law passed in Idaho where it has been on the books since the 1980’s without causing mass chaos on the streets. It has, in fact, been in place in Oregon since January 1, 2020.
There were complaints from people on bikes that the previous law of requiring bikes to come to a complete stop in stop sign controlled intersections hampered their ability to maintain their momentum and was unfairly enforced by police officers responding to complaints from people that just didn’t want people who bike in their neighborhood. So the next time you are on a bike and see no traffic coming when approaching a stop sign, remember that after slowing to a safe speed, you may proceed through the intersection without stopping!
Tales From A Walking/Biking School Bus
Last month our newsletter featured our vision on safe routes to school, and while we know there is so much to be improved, there are ways to start making that vision happen now. Bend Bikes board member Jim Elliott volunteers with the Walking School Bus program with Commute Options that helps to safely get kids to and from school by walking or biking!
Jim has led a walking school bus to Bear Creek Elementary from the Ariel Glen Apartments along the Larkspur Trail every Monday and Tuesday since the second week in September. The four boys in his bus have walked in the rain, sun, and snow. They only missed one morning when it was 12 degrees, but they did walk home at the end of the day!
After the winter break, the three oldest boys started riding their bikes and the youngest rode with Jim on his cargo bike. No matter the weather, they rode together and it turns out those 20 degree dags and snow showers were fun! The bike bus brought new opportunities for learning as riding etiquette lessons “on your left” were provided. The boys were amazed when they received “thank yous” from other trail users.
They have also had bike maintenance sessions and rides at the end of the day to Larkspur Park. They were amazed the park was so close to their homes as they had only gone there in a car before.
Jim shared: “Though there have been some dark early mornings (I leave my house at 6:45 on my bike) but I have learned so much about kids and my city that I cannot imagine not continuing to do this. I know that our streets need to be redesigned to address the safety of pedestrians and cyclists. This knowledge has motivated me to work harder to improve the routes for kids so that they can travel to school under their own power and not in a car!”
Bend Bikes Volunteer Spotlight: Ani Kasch
We have a few superstar volunteers, and this month, we are featuring Ani Kasch who helped us ride all the places in Bend to ground truth the bike map and put us all to shame with her organization and documentation! We later hired her to leverage her GIS skills to do the thankless grunt work behind the map and she spearheaded efforts to ensure the bike map was optimized for people who are color blind!
[Photo: Ani Kasch]
“I love being on my bike — around town, touring, mountain biking — I take any chance I get to be on my bike instead of in a car. For me, bikes symbolize (above all) freedom and happiness, and I want everyone to feel that when they ride a bike. So when the opportunity to help ground truth the bike routes for Bend Bikes’ street map arose, I volunteered my time in hopes the outcome might enable more widespread freedom and happiness.
Despite the lack of East-West connectivity in Bend for bikes and cars, there are safer ways to travel around the town that may not be well known. Working together as a team, the bike map committee has produced a visual aid for residents and visitors alike to more easily find those lesser known routes. And I am so glad I got to be a part of it! I am excited for continued involvement to improve the map.
The other best thing about bikes? You always get the best parking spot.”