Let’s Dream Big for the Midtown Crossings!

Summer is in full swing and we hope folks have a quick moment between vacations and paddleboarding the Deschutes to help us:

  1. Dream big for midtown pedestrian and bicycle crossings (comments due by July 3rd);
  2. Get the DLCD CFEC rules over the finish line… this time, for real, we hope (comments due by July 1st);
  3. Check out the new protected roundabout at 9th and Wilson (opens June 30th after 5 pm);
  4. Spread the word about our July 23rd Newbie Bike Ride from Pilot Butte to the Saturday Market; and
  5. Welcome new board members Brady Park, Bryan Pinkston, and Emilio Biasucci!

Call to Action: Midtown Pedestrian and Bicycle Crossings Preliminary Design Concepts Feedback!

The future of our network for people who walk, bike and roll hinges on people of all ages and abilities feeling safe and comfortable crossing midtown on Franklin, Greenwood, and Hawthorne! The preliminary design concepts are out for public input at https://tinyurl.com/midtownconcepts and in short, we’d like to see more visionary designs that center people of all ages and abilities, with barrier protected paths and bike lanes. 

Bend Bikes board members (featuring a guest appearance by founder and former board president Lucas Freeman) spent a lot of time asking questions and giving feedback at the Midtown Pedestrian and Bicycle Crossings open house.

Bend Bikes board member Jim Elliott hanging out in the “bike parking” area of the Midtown Pedestrian and Bicycle Crossings open house…. We hope next time the City puts in bike racks as we saw a bike or two on the ground!

For those who couldn’t make it to the in person open house, it is not too late to provide your feedback (and for those who did go, but have new comments, feel free to send more comments)! Comments are due July 3rd and can also always be directed to [email protected]. It’s a little complicated as we did not like any of the designs “as is” and there are 4 different surveys to fill out, but we’ve linked to them here and provided our vision for these crossings:

  1. Franklin Design Survey Feedback: Ahhh, the infamous “pee tunnel”… we would support Concept 2 (Full Rebuild and Widening) if the shared use path is raised at least a foot from the roadway and equipped with a railing to protect people walking, biking, or rolling from traffic. While not presented as a design concept at the open house, we would also support exploring options to make Franklin one-way for vehicles and convert a lane under the bridge into a protected shared use path.

  1. Greenwood Design Survey Feedback: This crossing is one of the most dangerous for people who walk, bike, and roll. We would support Concept 1 (Shared-Use Path Improvements) if the shared use path is protected from vehicles by raising it at least a foot above the roadway, adding a railing, and installing retractable bollards to keep cars off the shared use path while allowing use by emergency vehicles.

  1. Hawthorne Design Survey Feedback: As the capstone project for people who walk, bike, and roll, the designs should prioritize the movement of people and ensure there are no potential conflicts between cars and people using the overcrossing. This means (1) taking the time to proactively engage older adults, families with young children, and disabled folks at this conceptual stage to ensure the overpass is designed beyond ADA compliance; and (2) exploring options to remove parking and/or make this a car-free corridor. As able bodied community members, we think Concept 2 (Bridge with Switchback Ramp) with rounded switchbacks and the addition of elevators and stairs gets the closest to that vision. 

  1. Other Feedback: Each of these projects needs to be designed and constructed in conjunction with the corridor so these crossings connect to other safe infrastructure. We see the most potential for near-term safety improvements at Greenwood where there is plenty of space to work with and options for quick-build protected bike lanes. Having these safety improvements at Greenwood will help alleviate detour stress when Franklin is improved and Hawthorne is constructed. Our dreams for Franklin and Hawthorne both require time consuming and expensive permitting, planning, and construction processes, so our hope is that the behind-the-scenes work progresses while we move forward with Greenwood.

Call to Action: For Real This Time, DCLD CFEC Rules Finish Line!

Last month, the Land Conservation & Development Commission (LCDC) adopted temporary rules designed to create walkable neighborhoods with diverse and affordable housing choices that are “safe, equitable, sociable, and pleasant places where driving is not required, and the amount of driving is reduced.” On July 21st, they will consider making those “Climate-Friendly and Equitable Communities” rules permanent at its upcoming meeting on July 21st. 

LCDC is hearing a lot from private development interests and even some local governments who want to make the rules weaker and take longer to implement them. Let’s show them that this is unacceptable in the face of accelerating climate change and its inequitable impacts. 

While it feels like the finish line keeps getting moved further and further out, we think this is it, so let’s get this thing over the finish line! Please send a message to LCDC by JULY 1st, asking them to permanently adopt OPTION A of the Climate Friendly & Equitable Communities rules (template via the link!) — Thank you for hanging with us this whole time – your individual voices have so much collective impact and we couldn’t have done it without you!

GO Bond Project Update: Wilson and 9th Roundabout to Open June 30th!

For years, Dutch cities have been building protected intersections to reduce the risk of people who bike from getting hit by turning cars. In 2015, Davis, California became the very first U.S. city to complete a protected intersection. We are excited that Bend is at the forefront of the movement to construct more protected intersections in the U.S. with the opening of the roundabout at Ninth Street and Wilson Avenue on Thursday, June 30 after 5 pm!

[Photo: City of Bend]

We’d love for folks to check it out, tell us what you think, and share any positive feedback to the principal engineer for the project Sinclair Burr at [email protected] so we can get more of them!

Save the Date: July 23rd Newbie Bike Ride from Pilot Butte to the Saturday Market (and Back Again!)

Whether you are new to Bend or new to biking, it can be hard to find safe ways to get around town on a bike.

Join Bend Bikes board members David Green and Jim Elliott for a newbie ride on multi-use paths and bike lanes from Pilot Butte State Park to the Saturday Market downtown across from the Deschutes Public Library (which houses a Bend Bikes donated bike repair kit!).

The Saturday Market ride will take place on Saturday, July 23, 2022 and we will gather at Pilot Butte State Park at the shelter house at 8:30 AM. There will be a brief safety and route overview. The ride will be a “party pace” ride and there will be an optional return ride leaving from the market at 10:30 AM.

This ride will be limited to 15 bikes (that means tandems and cargo bikes with passengers count as one bike even if they have multiple riders), so please RSVP through the Facebook event at: https://www.facebook.com/events/312580687753126.

Welcome Brady Park, Bryan Pinkston, and Emilio Biasucci to the Board!

Brady Park‘s (left) long family history here has instilled a love for Bend as a place and as a community. He is passionate about bikes as a way to commute and have fun, and believes that the wonder of Bend can be best appreciated by slowing down, hopping on a bike, and taking it all in. He is a firm believer that a well connected and safe biking-infrastructure throughout our town has the power to bring people together and create a stronger, more resilient community. 

Bryan Pinkston (middle) moved to Bend in 2019 and is a full-time dad of 2. Originally from Virginia, his family vacations as a child were week-long bike tours all over the eastern US. After college he loaded his bike onto a freighter ship headed to Auckland and spent a year bikepacking around New Zealand. Now that his kids are his constant cycling companions, he hopes Bend‘s continued growth as a city can become a positive example of how to incorporate an infrastructure focused on people, not cars.

Emilio Biasucci (right) made the move to Bend in 2017. He is an advocate for safe and connected bicycle pathways for all ages. As child, Emilio felt like biking offered freedom to travel in search of new adventure. Throughout his life, cycling continues to inspire adventure and freedom. Emilio also loves the unique perspective cycling offers regarding our city’s growth, its architecture, and beautiful landscape.