TBOC Recommendations to Council – Call for Support and Other November News!

With cold crisp days settling in, it’s time to break out the studded bike tires (we love the Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pros for those truly snowy, icey, slushy days), balaclavas, extra poofy jackets, and the warmest gloves we can find! We head into the holiday season with an extra dose of gratitude for the amazing work the Transportation Bond Oversight Committee has done in service of our community as it makes its recommendation to City Council, for opportunities to join the Planning Commission and the Core Area Advisory Board, for the Environmental Center in awarding Bend Bikes a sustainability award, and for a generous donation from the TallTreeTrust!

Call for Support: TBOC Recommendations to Council!

The Transportation Bond Oversight Committee (TBOC) unanimously approved recommending a package of capital improvement projects for the first five years of the GO bond at its last meeting on November 9th. Bend Bikes fully supports the TBOC’s recommendation and we are calling on our supporters to voice their support! TBOC chair and Bend Bikes board president LeeAnn O’Neill will be presenting the TBOC recommendation to City Council at the December 1st work session. We also anticipate City Council voting on this recommendation at their December 15th meeting.

The recommendations by the TBOC are the culmination of six months of review, deliberation, and discussion about each of the GO bond projects. The GO bond projects were all identified by the Citizen Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC) as critical for our transportation system. TBOC recommended the following package and project sequencing:

[Photo: City of Bend] The TBOC recommendation was adjusted from this chart during the last meeting to regroup the 4th and 9th Intersection Improvements as Revere and Olney Intersection Improvements and bringing the Olney Intersection Improvements into the package to create a complete corridor.

The Nitty Gritty 

We are rallying people to let City Council know our community is in full support of the TBOC recommendations! City Council appreciates hearing from new voices, so if you have been following us but have never submitted public comment, it is crunch time! Feel free to use our talking points and make them your own, or draft your own. If you need support in understanding the draft project list better, feel free to reach out to [email protected].

  • I fully support the TBOC recommendations for the project package and sequencing for the first five years of the GO bond. In particular, support investing in infrastructure for people who walk, bike, roll, and take transit.
  • The recommendations were thoughtfully guided by an intentional process that reflects my priorities as a voter of infrastructure for people who walk/bike/roll, safety, connectivity, and equity.
  • It is important to approve this package and sequencing so we can get projects started as soon as possible and trust the TBOC to reassess its recommendation as new information about other factors like the sewer plans, feasibility studies, new funding, and future project costs become available.
  • I hope that conjecture about the second five years of the GO bond do not derail the consideration of the TBOC recommendations for the first five years.
  • I support the TBOC recommendation to break apart the Reed Market Corridor projects into phases to allow the acceleration of smaller improvements to this corridor while allowing projects needed to alleviate the disruption the construction of the other larger projects to be completed will cause.

All written comments should be sent to [email protected] or you can provide your comment at the City Council meeting at 7:00 pm on December 1st and/or December 15th during their regular meeting

The “Why” Behind Bend Bikes’ Position

For the transportation nerds, we’ve broken down why we are supporting the TBOC’s recommendation to City Council. Bend Bikes fully supports the TBOC recommendations to City Council for the following reasons.

The recommendations were guided by an intentional evaluation process using criteria and values reflected both by voters, the Council GO bond resolution, Council’s 2021 – 2023 goals, and public comment. These included:

  1. Bicycle & Pedestrian
  2. Crash Reduction/Safety
  3. Equity
  4. Synergy
  5. Travel Time Reliability/Mobility
  6. Construction Fatigue
  7. Project Readiness

This recommendation will be subject to change as the TBOC gets new information about project feasibility (e.g. the midtown crossing feasibility study and the potential future sewer interceptor), unexpected funding (e.g. how the federal infrastructure funds could impact local budgets), and future project costs. Bend Bikes believes it is the most important for Council to approve this package and sequencing and trusts the TBOC to continue its oversight and to amend its recommendations in the future.

Bend Bikes believes it is too early to allow concerns about future costs of construction and conjecture about what the second half of the GO bond will look like to drive decisions about this first recommendation to Council by the TBOC. While City staff put together what a 10 year plan could look like to help TBOC members see a draft big picture, TBOC’s recommendation is solely for the first five years of the GO bond and the committee is not making any recommendation with respect to the sequencing for the second five years. 

Finally the Reed Market Corridor is a grouping of projects which all benefit safety, travel time reliability and mobility, and infrastructure for people who walk, bike, and roll along Reed Market. Bend Bikes supports the TBOC recommendation to break apart these projects into phases to allow the acceleration of smaller improvements to this corridor. If completed as a single project, none of the projects would be completed in the first five years of the GO bond. This also allows other important projects necessary to absorb diverted road users to be completed given the disruption the construction will cause to our transportation system. 

Call for Public Service: Apply for the Core Area Advisory Board and/or the Planning Commission!

City committees and commissions drive a lot of the land use and transportation decisions in our community. Our dream at Bend Bikes is to get more folks involved with the new Core Area Advisory Board and the City Planning Commission. It’s going to take bold leadership on the committees to see the change we want to see… with a progressive City Council and community momentum, now is a great time to get involved!

The Core Area Advisory Board is an opportunity to help guide making the Core Area into an urban, mixed-use area where people can live, work, and play. This includes all of the essential 3rd street crossings from Wilson to Revere. Specifically, they are looking for members that are residents, business owners, renters, and property owners within the Core Area and members with expertise in the following:

  • Real estate or affordable housing development, finance, or lending, or urban planning or design;
  • Mobility, transit and/or multi-modal transportation;
  • Social services and or social justice;
  • Sustainability and environmental justice.

The City Planning Commission reviews and makes recommendations regarding land use, including ensuring more urban-style development in opportunity areas, infill development, a variety of housing types to meet the community’s housing needs, and the urban growth boundary. We also understand it will oversee any new rules coming out of the Department of Land Conservation and Development’s Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities Rule Advisory Committee.

You can apply ONLINE for either opportunity. Applications for the Core Area Advisory Board are due December 1st and for the City Planning Commission are due December 5th. 

Bend Bikes Awarded Sustainability Award

We are honored to be a recipient of The Environmental Center’s sustainability awards this year! These awards celebrate those who are helping to shape sustainable communities that meet human needs equitably, live within our planet’s ecological limits, and build a prosperous economy for all. Bend Bikes has been recognized as taking action, changing systems, collaborating on solutions, and supporting our peers to do the same. Check out the inspiring youth advocate panel and awards ceremony from last night here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxJYtQxTOLk

[Photo: Environmental Center] Bend Bikes board president LeeAnn O’Neill and board secretary Elisa Cheng accepted the award on behalf of Bend Bikes.

Bend Bikes Vision: Active Transportation Defined

In our vision of Bend, all modes of transportation are supported. Bend Bikes advocates for people who bike but also supports people using other modes of active transportation – active transportation is all human-powered ways of getting around, such as walking, biking, scooters, wheelchairs, or getting around on a bus.

[Photo: Atlantic Active Alliance]

You might have heard active transportation being called “alternative transportation” – we prefer the term active transportation because “alternative transportation” centers driving single-occupancy motor vehicles as the “normal” mode of transportation and everything else is “alternative.”

However, there is nothing that intrinsically makes driving “the norm”, as many people cannot or choose not to drive. Also, all modes of transportation are in fact still transportation. This is important because tax funded organizations like the Oregon Department of Transportation or the City of Bend roads and transportation departments must represent all modes of transportation when building roads, fixing infrastructure, and connecting locations. We feel that this concept is important to discuss because it is crucial to decenter driving as the only mode of transportation that is budgeted and built for. Unfortunately because driving has been historically centered in the budgeting and building of infrastructure needs in this country and you can see the results in the system of transportation that we have available now.

Now is the time for transportation departments to focus on all modes of transportation and roads for people, not just roads for cars: when you build more safe and convenient bike paths, you will get more people that bike. And the more people that bike, the better it is for the environment, better for the community, and better for the health of people.

When you next talk to your neighbor, City Council member, or elected official, make sure to mention that transportation infrastructure needs to serve all people getting around!

Bend Bikes Donor Spotlight: TallTreeTrust

We have been taking this time during the pandemic to rebuild and refocusing our efforts as an advocacy organization, and have let go of dedicating so much time to fundraising to keep our little non-profit afloat. It is with the generosity of Bend Bikes supporters that we keep the rubber on the road. Tim and Andrea of TallTreeTrust reached out to us to learn more about what we do and how they could support us. All we can say is that their love of community, climate, and all things bikes shone throughout our conversation and we have nothing but profound gratitude for their generous donation to Bend Bikes. Their $10,000 donation will give us another year of breathing space as well as the funds to support the development of our bike map! TallTreeTrust supports the growing of a healthy green community, friendly to walking and biking, with local services available to all.