Will Bend Finally Get Its First Two-Way Bike Lane?

Field test of two-way bike lane
Bend Bikes volunteer tests out the proposed two-way bike lane on Division.

The City of Bend invited Bend Bikes to participate in a field test of what could become Bend’s first two-way protected bike lane along a section of the Neighborhood Greenways. Representatives from the City of Bend’s Engineering and Streets departments, ODOT, Bend Bikes, Crux Fermentation Project, and Hooker Creek participated in the field test last week, which connected a short section of existing bike path that starts at the intersection of Colorado, Arizona, and the Highway 97 ramp through Division and Aune Streets.

With safety improvements made to that intersection, adding a two-way protected bike lane would create essential connectivity from Downtown to the southern parts of the Neighborhood Greenways. The field test addressed various stakeholders’ concerns including:

  • Clearance of bike lanes for large trucks on Aune where visibility is limited around a tight turn;
  • Potential user conflicts between parked and moving vehicles on Division; and
  • The potential loss of parking spots on Division.

The benefits of a two-way bike lane on Division -providing connectivity and a safer route for families- more than offset these concerns. The two-way bike lane will allow people, who might otherwise drive, to ride their bicycles to businesses in the area. The user conflicts between parked and moving vehicles would be minimal since large truck traffic is infrequent and when large trucks do come through, it is at times when there are few parked cars. Continuing the bike lane around the tight turn on Aune is not our preferred solution and we are excited about the possibility of an off road bike path along that stretch. 

Two way bike lane field test location and map
Neighborhood Greenway map highlighting the proposed two-way bike lane location.

Although City Council approved nearly $1 million for Neighborhood Greenways in its 2017 budget cycle, City Council, City staff, and CTAC members need to hear continued support to keep the process moving forward. The City has begun to implement the easy “low hanging fruit” pieces of infrastructure (e.g. signage, reduced speed limits, speed humps), which is about 30% of what is planned. The more expensive infrastructure (e.g. safe crossings at intersections) will not be implemented without additional funding.

Projects like the two-way bike lane field tested by the City last week are more likely to be prioritized and funded in the City’s Transportation Systems Plan (TSP) by the Citywide Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC) if it is prioritized as improving connectivity along the North-South corridor. Bend Bikes believes it is imperative to continually voice support for protected bike lanes, two-way bike lanes, and projects that are essential to cross-town connectivity. The City has cautioned us that this field test does not mean it is a done deal, and with your support, we could see this improvement within the next few years. 

We are asking folks to show up at the CTAC meeting on December 12th to voice your support. This meeting is critical because it will pull together the entire TSP package for the first time, including goals, policies, timeline of projects, and a funding plan. If you can’t make it, then email your support to [email protected] and we’ll auto-forward your note onto the TSP folks and include your input in Bend Bikes’ official comments.

Citywide Transportation Advisory Committee meeting
December 12th, 2019 1 pm – 4 pm
Trinity Episcopal Church, 469 NW Wall St

The agenda and packet can be found here:  https://www.bendoregon.gov/government/citizen-committees/citywide-transportation-advisory-committee. There will be opportunities for public comment at the meeting. Get there early to sign up if you’d like to be heard at the beginning of the meeting. Depending on how many show up for the public comment period, you’ll be allotted between 2 and 3 minutes to speak.