Updates on GO Bond, East-West Connectivity, the Bend Bike Map, and Neighborhood Association Outreach

We hope everyone survived our wintery May weather! With sunny warm days actually here now (thank goodness), we are seeing more and more folks around town on their bicycles. It’s only been two months since we brought on an amazing cohort of new board members and the energy is palpable as everyone has hit the ground rolling. 

Goal Updates

Not only are we excited to share what we’ve been up to for the last month, but we want to be transparent about what your donation dollars support!

Transportation Bond Projects – The first meeting of the Transportation Bond Oversight Committee convened on May 18th where City Staff provided the framework for the committee work to come. The TBOC approved a request to pre-authorize work on the Wilson Avenue Corridor project to leverage improvements funded by other sources. This approval provides $1M in GO bond funds to implement pedestrian and bike infrastructure from SE Douglass to SE 15th Street along Wilson Avenue and other improvements to SE 15th Street and SE Wilson Avenue. Not only will this project improve the experience of people who walk and bike, but the equity mapping conducted by City staff shows it will benefit an area of town with higher concentrations of people with disabilities, people with limited english proficiency, and people of color. 

East/West Connectivity – There are some things in the active transportation world that can lead to despair. But, only if you focus on what’s dispiriting – chiefly, why haven’t we made more progress towards a better system for walking and bicycling around Bend? What sometimes gets overlooked are the signs of potential. Here’s a summary of what’s being fleshed out by local advocates and policy makers to improve our East/West Connectivity.

Some good news to look forward to is that the City intends to plan and create a new greenway this year, which will connect Drake Park to the Coyner Trail (which starts just west of Bear Creek Elementary School). The most likely route will include east-west travel through the Franklin Street undercrossing and through the Franklin / NE 3rd Street intersection. We understand that there is between $800,000 and $1.1 million in funding dedicated for this greenway. While this is clearly not enough money to solve the most significant underpass (“pee tunnel”) issues, we feel that this project could provide significant improvements to the Franklin corridor between the Parkway and NE 4th Street. We have been working with city staffers and hope to have a hand in this planning process to ensure that this plan results in real-world improvements for people who bike.

Bend Bike Map – Our bike map team is on fire and already has a prototype map put together. We’re working to ensure the data is mostly accurate before publishing, and making sure it will meet the needs of the community. We hope to have a test version to share with our community this summer! 

Community Outreach – After a few great meetings, we have formed a Neighborhood Association Outreach Workgroup. Our team is brimming with ideas and wants to include voices from neighborhoods throughout Bend about what bike infrastructure is working and what needs improvement. Are you a member of your neighborhood association, a part of an active transportation organization, or simply a bike enthusiast that wants to make biking in Bend better? We would love to hear from you and coordinate our outreach efforts! Connect with us via email at [email protected].

Meals on Two Wheels

Bend Bike board member Jim Elliott volunteers with the Council on Aging of Central Oregon delivering Meals on Wheels one day per week. He drove the route over the winter but started using his e-cargo bike in late March. His route covers nearly 19 miles in the southeast section of Bend. It includes some of the newer painted bike lanes on Brosterhous and Murphy Roads and the new roundabouts on Knott Road and 15th Street. The people he delivers meals to have shared cycling stories with him. The bike provides Jim with a green transportation alternative, a conversation starter with those on his delivery route, and a bike seat view of some good and some not-so-good biking and walking infrastructure in Bend.

New and Improved Oregon Bicycling Manual

Just in time for spring and summer bike commuting season… the new, updated Oregon Bicycling Manual is now available online and in print. Highlights of the new manual include tips and resources on planning for bicycling with kids, cargo (like our intrepid board member Jim Elliott), groups and transit as well as an explanation of new laws, including the “Stop As Yield” law for stop signs and flashing red signals.

Bend Bikes Vision: Bicycle Signal Heads and Signal Detection for Bikes

In our vision of a complete bike network in Bend, we have now discussed how it has to be low stress, what that means, and what protected bike lanes are. Moving into other elements of bike infrastructure we will now discuss bicycle signal heads and signal detection for bikes!

For people biking around Bend, frustration can occur when you reach an intersection and all of the infrastructure at the intersection is designed for cars. The traffic signal does not detect the person waiting on a bike, the crosswalk signal is out of reach, when the light changes cars and bikes are allowed to cross at the same time. All of these things can lead to unsafe conditions for people on bikes. Intersections are the most dangerous area for conflict between people on bikes and drivers. 

An example of improvements that can be made are bicycle detection with a bike specific signal. If a bike signal allows the bicyclist to go first or separately from the cars, this allows them to get out in front of the car driver and be seen thus reducing the conflict between all modes of travel. In addition the bicyclist can see their own signal which lets them know when they can enter the intersection safely and where to wait before it changes. The bike signal should be placed in the sight line of where the bicyclist should be waiting and should be used in conjunction with already existing car sized traffic signals. These signals could be especially useful on larger intersections like crossing 3rd Street.