Momentum for more protected active transportation is building in Bend, with City Councilor Anthony Broadman and Bend Park and Recreation Board Member Ariel Méndez submitting a proposal for the prioritization and augmentation of 17 miles of new bike paths in Bend.
The routes would run 7 miles in a north-south corridor and 11 miles east-west, both sharing a 1-mile segment around Pilot Butte. The paths will prioritize a separation from cars through “modal filters” and diverters.
“A modal filter is something that blocks cars, but allows people walking, biking or in wheelchairs, or using scooters to get through, and a diverter is something that allows people to drive through, but requires that they change directions. So it could be a forced right turn. It's just it's a mechanism of preventing cut-through traffic,” Méndez said.
- Courtesy of Ariel Méndez
- The 17 mile route would connect Shevlin Park to Big Sky Park and Rockridge Park to Alpenglow Park.
“The approach up to this point has been more or less piecemeal,” Méndez said. “The two parts that have been missing are this higher standard of not sharing space with cars, and a contiguous network so that people feel like they can get somewhere safely and conveniently.”
Méndez said he’s already heard complaints that the new proposed routes wouldn’t connect some areas, like southwest Bend.
“I think that's a totally legitimate criticism, and I had said, ‘this is a start.’ I think the concept is the most important part to provide this kind of protected connectivity across town,” Méndez said.
“The Transportation Bond Oversight Committee—one of the question before them is prioritizing which projects should be funded first,” Méndez said. “And in this case, what I'm suggesting is that they approve of a minor amendment and some realignments in some cases to fulfill some of Council's goals for east-west and north-south connectivity.”
“There's that that trifecta of fast, good and cheap, pick any two, and I think that applies here, as well,” Méndez said. “But I think there's a lot of mileage that we'll be able to get right off the bat because it was specifically designed to take advantage of existing conditions.”
The oversight committee held their first meeting on May 18 and will be meeting continuously to evaluate and prioritize projects that voters approved in the General Obligation Bond in November 2020. They will meet on at least a quarterly basis until they have satisfied the goals outlined in the Transportation Systems Plan.