Bend Bikes hopes to continue the strong growth it experienced in 2016 into 2017. Our membership rolls grew and it has been gratifying to see so many new faces showing up at our events and rides. In fact, we saw attendance more than double at most of our rides in 2016: Bike the Bridges, Eastbound and Around, and the Holiday Lights Ride.
We also expanded our board to nine members. This additional capacity will enable us to pursue a number of important goals. One is to expand our outreach to new members. Greater membership numbers enable us to more effectively advocate for bicycle infrastructure by representing a dedicated bicycle riding constituency in Bend. So please, tell your friends and neighbors about Bend Bikes. Better yet, bring them to our next event!
On that note, while we plan to continue hosting fun rides, Bend Bikes will be more active advocating for and implementing changes on Bend’s city streetscapes. Building on our successful short-term safety demonstrations in 2016, we hope to help get a longer term pilot of traffic calming measures (similar to what was demonstrated during Bend Open Streets) on a neighborhood street in Bend.
The bigger picture is to give the City Council a vision of the value created by a complete network of neighborhood greenways (sometimes called bike boulevards) where traffic has been calmed and even re-prioritized for those who choose to walk and bike to get where they want to go.
Will our first traffic calming pilot be on NE 6th Street or NW 15th Street? Those are two top candidates stemming from road safety evaluation data that the City of Bend has collected, as well as neighborhood feedback received during the the June 2016 Future Fair weekend.
We heard from lots of engaged residents on those two streets, some of whom have requested permanent traffic calming. As a general rule though, we aim to support the vision and enthusiasm of local residents with our experience and network of contacts to create and implement a pilot project. Without the sustained energy of those who live in an affected neighborhood, these projects are unlikely to get off the ground, let alone have any significant impact. For these reasons, they largely depend on how willing those who live in the area will be to get involved and engaged.
Would you like to get more involved or show your support for a neighborhood greenway? Do you have ideas for how we can better our outreach to garner more supporters, or want to be added to our volunteer list and lend a hand for an upcoming event? We’d love to hear from you.
Cheers to what 2017 will bring!