DLCD Big Wins and Our New Bike Event Calendar!

May ushers in some big wins with our work at the state level and are excited to announce the election of Elisa Cheng as our new board Vice President and David Green as our new board Secretary!

[Photo: Bend Bikes] Board members Jana Hemphill, Elisa Cheng, LeeAnn O’Neill, and Aron Yarmo… and former board member Scott Reich checked out a car-free McKenzie pass last weekend… what a great example of induced demand when there is a safe place to bike!

DLCD Update: Your Voices Made a Difference!

We read each and every single one of the 18 supportive letters our amazing Bend Bikes community submitted to the Land Conservation and Development Commission. Your voices made a difference and the rules – which were temporarily adopted on May 19th and are pending permanent adoption in June – have some huge wins that came out of our collective advocacy for people who bike:   

  1. Bend will be required 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.”
  2. “All ages and abilities” is defined as including:
    1. School-age children;
    2. People over 65 years old;
    3. Women;
    4. People of color;
    5. Low-income riders;
    6. People with disabilities;
    7. People moving goods, cargo, or other people; and
    8. People using shared mobility services.
  3. Cities can use the National Association of City Transportation Officials’ (NACTO) Urban Bikeway Design Guide (2nd Edition) or the NACTO Designing for All Ages and Abilities (2017), or develop custom plans that result in outcomes consistent with those standards, to comply with the rules. This would require that any bike lane on a street signed 25 mph or more on the bike network, among other things, would be required to be a protected bike lane. 

Most importantly, we went toe-to-toe with ODOT, and successfully limited the reference to the ODOT Blueprint for Urban Design as a safe harbor for ODOT projects. While the ODOT Blueprint is still technically in the rule, it is a safe harbor solely for ODOT projects and NOT for city streets. (And frankly, the bike network shouldn’t be on streets where ODOT has jurisdiction anyway, but that’s a different fight!).

If you are wondering why the rules were only temporarily adopted – the short answer is politics suck and it will allow the Commission to make tweaks to the rules before final adoption. While we don’t anticipate there being any changes to the bike network rules, we are staying vigilant!

GO Bond Project: North Corridor Debacle (aka No More Highways!)

We wish we could do justice to underscore the grave concerns we have with ODOT’s plans for the North Corridor project. Basically, the preliminary designs we saw have us concerned we will end up with two highways and we want the City to push ODOT for better infrastructure for people who walk, bike, and roll. We made a last ditch effort to submit public comment in collaboration with Central Oregon LandWatch and The Environmental Center, but this project is moving forward without much other than the word of ODOT that they will try to do right by people who walk, bike, and roll. 

For the nitty gritty, check out @TailorGlad’s City Council summary (and toss her a few dollars for her amazing write-ups), and that’ll be better than anything we could put here. Scroll down to “Authorize a Cooperative Improvement Agreement with the State of Oregon through the Oregon Department of Transportation for the US97 and US20 Bend North Corridor Project.” Thanks to Councilor Broadman for his “no” vote and being such a staunch and vocal ally for people who bike in Bend. 

We did hear that the Transportation Bond Oversight Committee has asked ODOT to keep our community informed about public input processes as this project moves forward, so we will be keeping on eye on this one as well.

Bike Event Calendar: Growing Our Collective Voices for the Safety of People Who Walk, Bike, and Roll

This past fall, the League of American of Bicyclists awarded Bend with a silver “bicycle friendly community” designation. While the silver designation recognizes some of the things Bend has done to make biking easier in our city, we are a far cry from the recommendations the League makes on what it takes to graduate to gold, platinum, or diamond designations. We consistently hear that our community does not feel safe biking in Bend. In order to more effectively advocate for the safety of people who bike, we want to build and grow our collective voices so that we can make Bend truly safe for people who bike.

We launched our Bike Event Calendar on our website this month to help community members take action to make Bend a safer place for people who walk, bike, and roll. This calendar will include 1) transportation project open houses where you can give your input on infrastructure improvement projects, 2) local events that promote and celebrate active transportation, and 3) deadlines for public comment periods to push for projects and policies that support people who walk, bike, and roll. Visit the calendar under the Resources tab on our website to stay up to date on how you can get involved and connect with others who love to bike. We also invite you to submit a request to feature an event that you or your organization are hosting. We hope to see you out there soon!

[Photo: Bend Bikes] Board member Kaitlyn Greene gives feedback at the Wilson Corridor open house on the left and Bend Bikes debuts a print version of our bike map at The Environmental Center’s Earth Day Fair on the right.