So many August bikey things!

While August is a notoriously hard month to get anything done with frantic vacations taken chasing green dots on the AQI map, Bend Bikes welcomes new board member Maryam Mirahmadi. Maryam fell in love with bikes during undergrad at the University of California, Santa Cruz. It was there that she immersed herself in bicycle advocacy efforts with Bike Santa Cruz County and started a 1,300 mile solo bike tour to Orcas Island, WA. Today, she balances a newfound obsession with mountain biking with the pursuit of a masters degree in clinical mental health counseling from OSU, Cascades. Maryam spends her free time foraging for wild mushrooms and making linocut relief prints. As a board member with Bend Bikes, Maryam commits to practice advocacy through the lens of equity and social justice.

Fun fact: For the first time in the history of Bend Bikes, the majority of our board members are women! This is good news for Bend because Streets Blog USA recently reported that “​​cities that do the best job of catering to the needs of women cyclists also have the highest level of cycling overall, a new study finds — and the U.S. has among the lowest share of female-identified riders on the planet.”

Call for Donors for Bike Repair Kits for the DPL Library of Things!

With more people getting on bikes, the questions about bike repairs and tools are increasing. That shiny new bike will need maintenance and repairs as you ride it around town or on trails. Bend Bikes is partnering with the Deschutes Public Library to help answer questions about tools and repairs and we are looking for donors to help us with this plan. 

Bend Bikes is asking for your help to purchase two Park bike repair kits for inclusion in the Library of Things at the Downtown and East Branches of Deschutes Public Library in Bend. This will allow folks who may not be able to afford to take their bikes to a shop or purchase tools to fix their own bikes! We also see this as an opportunity to try bike repair before people jump into tool purchases. Each kit includes 15 different bicycle repair tools including hex wrenches, a chain checker, a cassette tool, screwdrivers, and a chain tool. There is also a copy of Park Tools’ Big Blue Bicycle Repair manual to guide the user. 

The Library of Things is a collection of kits that allow library patrons to try before they buy. Among the current collections is a selection of musical instruments, several different cooking utensils such as an Insta-Pot, and an Introduction to Pickle Ball collection. To check out a kit, the patron must be a library cardholder over the age of 17. Any damages or losses to the items in the kit are charged to the cardholder’s library account.

The kits cost $170 each and if we get an abundance of interest, Bend Bikes will look into donating several kits to each library and/or provide a kit to the La Pine library (the Sisters library already has one). We also have a few other publicly available repair stand ideas in the works and would welcome donations to help fund some of our in-the-works projects!

If you are interested in further information or donating, contact Bend Bikes board member Jim Elliott at [email protected]

Bend Bikes Supports Equitable Access to Bikeways and Trails

We have had community partners reach out to Bend Bikes regarding concerns about the proposed managed camp on 9th Street, its proximity to the Coyner Trail, and potential user conflict. 

[Photo: Bend Parks and Recreation District]

Bend Bikes believes in equitable access to our bikeways and trails for all community members, including our unhoused neighbors and families. Part of our mission is to advocate for removing barriers to access, especially for those who have been historically underserved by our transportation system. Many of our unhoused neighbors and families do not have cars and rely on walking and biking to essential services, social services, and jobs. Many unhoused children, which increased 38% from 2019-2020 alone, rely on walking and biking to school. 

Our unhoused neighbors and families are a part of our biking community and Bend Bikes supports community solutions, such as the proposed managed camp on 9th Street, that provide unhoused folks equitable access to transportation, essential services, social services, jobs, and schools.  

Transportation Bond Oversight Committee Update (warning… so so so long, but worth the read)

The TBOC will recommend to Council support for the Broadman-Mendez bikeway proposal. The Transportation Bond Oversight Committee (TBOC) working group on the bikeway proposal submitted by City Councilor Anthony Broadman and Bend Parks and Recreation District board member Ariel Mendez did a deep dive into the proposal to determine if it would require a revision to the Transportation System Plan. The working group was supportive of the proposal and determined that the vast majority could be accomplished within the current TSP and that the best path forward was to prioritize the projects that could help complete the bikeway network. The full TBOC approved making a recommendation to Council that reflects the working group’s conclusions.

The TBOC approves early authorization of the Purcell extension. The TBOC also approved the early authorization of the Neff and Purcell project, an approximately $2.3 million project to connect two dead end sections of Purcell. This project checks a lot of boxes for us: (1) it completes a new north-south bike connection; (2) it closes sidewalk gaps; (3) it contributes substantially towards the completion of Key Route 3; (4) it improves access for people who walk and bike to the hospital which is an essential service; (5) it improves access to new housing developments; and (6) it helps keep traffic on Neff and Purcell rather than neighborhood streets. 

[Photo: City of Bend]

The TBOC will consider different options for funding the first few years of the GO bond. The TBOC spent a lot of time learning about how project are funded under the GO bond. It’s complicated, but basically, if we want to see more bike infrastructure now, we need to ask TBOC and Council to consider taxing property owners more than they had intended to in May of last year. The promise of a smaller tax burden on property owners in the early years of the GO bond ($30/year for the average property owner) was made during the height of economic uncertainty due to the pandemic. While we know we have not fully recovered yet, we believe our community is in a much better position now to absorb that burden. One of the limitations the TBOC has is how much folks are willing to pay in these first years of the GO bond. The first bond issuance is targeted for Spring 2022. If we stay within a range of $30-$39/year tax burden for the average property owner, the first chunk of money will only be $20-$25 million per year. We would love to see a number closer to $30-$35 million per year.

With a Council that supports multi-modal transportation and a TBOC that has clearly supported prioritizing projects that benefit people who walk, bike, roll, and take transit, we believe now is the time to finance more of the GO bond projects! 

The TBOC will discuss a draft five-year project plan based on the evaluation criteria scoring at the September meeting. The TBOC spent the bulk of the meeting going over the evaluation criteria scoring. It is important to note that scoring is just a guide and a reference for the TBOC, and that at the end of the day, the TBOC is not bound to the scoring and can bump certain projects higher on the priority list based on criteria that may feel more important. For example, a project that scores highly in equity, or that completes a multimodal transportation corridor, could be prioritized by the TBOC. For those who want to go deep into that rabbit hole, check out:

City staff will provide the TBOC a draft project prioritization for the first five years of the GO bond for discussion at the September 28th meeting.

What can Bend Bikes supporters do? First, check out the TBOC packet which is released about a week prior to the TBOC meeting (so check around September 21st) and review the draft project prioritization list. While we don’t know what City staff will present to the TBOC yet, our hope is that projects that are a part of the Broadman-Mendez bikeway proposal will make the cut for the first five years of the GO bond. You can also submit your support of already highly prioritized projects that benefit people who walk, bike, and roll and advocate for the ones that didn’t quite make it as high on the list as you’d like.  

Second, Bend Bikes would love to see a larger amount of money for GO bond projects in the first few years than what was presented to voters in May of last year. If you feel like we are in an improved enough economic place to absorb a little extra tax burden in 2022, please write in your support to both the TBOC and to City Council. 

All comments should be sent to [email protected] or you can provide your comment at the next TBOC meeting on September 28th during one of the public comment periods (4 pm or at 5:50 pm-ish)! Comments supporting a larger bond issuance should also be sent to the City Council at [email protected]

Outreach Update: Mountain View Neighborhood Association

Our outreach team has been valiantly trying to find safe ways to engage with our neighborhood associations, but has been getting stymied by the Delta variant. Bend Bikes board president LeeAnn O’Neill met virtually with the Mountain View Neighborhood Association as the Transportation Bond Oversight Committee chair along with City project engineer Sinclair Burr to talk about which projects in the Transportation System Plan are funded by the GO bond, which are funded by other sources, and which are not funded yet. 

We are always open to opportunities to meet with the various neighborhood associations, so if you would like Bend Bikes to come to your next meeting, shoot us an email at [email protected]!

Bend Bikes Vision: Bike Sheds

As promised, this month we are jumping into more detail on 15 Minute Cities. Urban planners refer to travel times depending on what type of travel or transportation you are doing, so any place accessible by 15 minutes of walking is called the 15-minute Walk Shed. Because you can get places faster by bike than by foot, the 15-minute Walk Shed corresponds to a 5 minute travel time by bike, or 5-minute Bike Shed. There can be multiple 5-minute Walk Sheds in each 15-minute Bike Shed as shown in the picture. And for Bend, there should be multiple 5-minute Bike Sheds in the city to make up a 15 Minute City.

This is an important concept because people choose the easiest mode of transportation to meet their needs. If your house was a 5 minute walk away from a local market along a low-stress and pleasant path, you’d most likely choose to walk. This is especially true if driving would actually take longer because you’d have to go around a longer way, fight traffic, find parking, potentially pay for parking, etc.

This same concept can be applied to biking. If you needed to go to the gym and it was an easy 15 minute bike ride away along a protected bike path with no debris in the road and no traffic but that same trip would take you 20 minutes by driving (because of parking, traffic, and it being a less direct route, etc.), biking might be your preferred option most of the time. Because we don’t have these protected bike lanes and pleasant walking paths, this choice currently is not really ours to make. But in a 15 Minute City, these types of paths would be designed and built as part of having 15-minute Walk Sheds and 5-minute Bike Sheds in Bend. These bike and walk sheds would be possible with the connected bike network that we envision for Bend!

[Source: Bend Bikes, adapted from Congress for the New Urbanism]