Guest Article: Change is Hard

Moses Bridge - the Netherlands
Care to advocate for a best in class overpass to get from downtown into midtown?  This is the Moses Bridge in The Netherlands.

Editor’s Note: This guest article was authored by Tom Gugg. Have an article you’d like to publish about active transportation?  Email us via our Contact Us page.

Change is sometimes hard. Like it or not, change is going to keep happening in Bend. Why? Because, in addition to current residents, more people are moving and recreating here. Trying to stop this growth and the challenges it creates is not realistic, and ignoring it is not prudent (more on this later). Residents, current and future, as well as visitors, need places to live, work, shop, eat and drink, and ideally, easy ways to move between these places.

How can this growth best be accommodated? Many agree we should try to increase the density of businesses and residents in the central part of Bend – both east and west of the parkway. The alternative would seem to be sprawling into the beautiful open spaces surrounding the city. Enter current planning efforts by City of Bend around the Bend Central District (BCD) and the Core Area Project. The Core Area Project study area includes the BCD and several adjacent areas of central Bend.

Now is the time to weigh in with your ideas and suggestions about how this area should be developed. An online Open House is accepting public input until this Friday, July 13th. It’s imperative that we advocate, at every opportunity, for infrastructure that encourages healthy and sustainable housing and transportation options. As part of your response, you can even encourage specific projects you’d like to see completed.

How about suggesting:

  • A network of multi-use paths for non-motorized vehicles and pedestrians that radiates out from central Bend.
  • One or more bike\pedestrian bridges over the parkway and railroad tracks.
  • A railroad ‘Quiet Zone’ in this area to silence the train horns and encourage high quality development.

When we make our voices heard, we can advocate for an infrastructure that supports thoughtful development that’s able to accommodate growth well into the future.

So what happens when we’re not prudent about planning for inevitable growth/development? As an example, consider downtown Bend. At some point, this district turned its back on the river. Today, as a result, we are left with two large surface parking lots along NW Brooks Street overlooking Drake Park and the Deschutes River. Imagine if these lots were instead open green space, or commercial or residential buildings that capitalized on the views. Let’s learn from that example and maximize the potential of future development in central Bend.

Please ‘attend’ the online Open House by Friday to share your vision.