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Letters 3/3-3/10 

IN REPLY TO "MORE THAN A MINIMUM DEBATE NEEDED" (3/4)

You say "there are also studies that indicate that higher minimum wages actually reduce job opportunities for working class men and women, as fewer employees are hired and sometimes the raises result in reduced hours." Please cite the source of these studies. Could they possibly be funded by the restaurant owners and grocery lobbies, the Chamber of Commerce, the Farm Bureau, and other groups who traditionally oppose paying higher wages to their employees? My independent research over the years since Oregon raised its [minimum wage] and tied it to [cost of living] indicates that jobs in low wage industries (even fast food) have increased (the recent Great Recession being an exception on many levels). Those who propose a higher MW actually cite sources for their arguments. The Source should tell us who funds the studies you cite in your editorial. The low-wage workers who serve us our meals and lattes, work in retail in downtown Bend and at the Old Mill and beyond, all deserve a raise.

—Michael Funke via bendsource.com

Editor's note: For the record, our editorial neither supported nor opposed an increase in the minimum wage. Rather, it encourages a debate that moves beyond rhetoric and relies upon facts. We don't have the answers to the minimum wage question, but we welcome the conversation.

IN REPLY TO "BIKE TOWN USA" (3/4)

My family and I moved to Bend in July of 2014. Part of our decision was the improved bike infrastructure compared with Charleston, SC, the town we moved from. We live on the west side and, when the weather is amenable, I ride my young daughters to school in the Old Mill area on my cargo bike. I find the cycling lanes to meet the barest level of safety for that ride, but the fact is I am hyper vigilant when I ride on the streets. I have to bear in mind at all times while riding that the smallest mistake by a person driving a car could be fatal to me and my girls. The fact is, to feel safe, the cycling lanes need to be physically separated from the roads.

The stroke of genius would be for those who lay out bike lanes to abandon the concept of cars and bikes traveling the same lines of travel. Bike "lanes," and for that matter pedestrian pathways, should follow lines of travel that your average 12-year-old on a bike would find—cut-throughs, shortcuts, and pathways that have nothing to do with roads. Eagle, Colorado, recently created "singletrack sidewalks" that are the perfect example of what we need—meandering trails that carry runners and bikes completely separate from roads. Bend is geographically compact enough that, with the right trails, a cycling or running commuter can get where they want to go without feeling at risk.

—Charlie Thiel via bendsource.com

The east-west corridor disconnect across Bend has been troublesome for decades, and it is NOT enjoyable to ride from someplace like downtown to, say, the hospital for a number of reasons besides the discontinuity of bike lanes. You also have to contend with: 1) badly chip-sealed/patched roads; 2) debris and rocks from winter sanding in the bike lanes that only gets swept once or maybe twice, seasonally; 3) storm drains/manhole covers that are at much lower elevations from the layers of asphalt overlays and, lastly 4) striped lanes that are not even a basic three feet wide (such as along Penn/Neff Road up and over the north flank of Pilot Butte).

So, it's not always the best consistency in Bend, but it's better than some other U.S. towns, I guess.

—Rachel Stemach via bendsource.com

The missing piece is the drivers, and the combination of drivers that don't know how to drive around cyclists, combined with the poor infrastructure that places cyclists closer to cars. I ride nearly every day, unless there's ice, for over four years in Bend. Prior to that I commuted a total of 14 years in Eugene, Corvallis, and Portland. Too many drivers in Bend are ignorant of the laws and drive inattentively and a few outright aggressively. Of course the vast majority are very respectful, but for a novice commuter, it really only takes one or two negative interactions with a driver for them to throw in the towel. The first and easiest thing that would help cycling in Bend would be actual enforcement of the laws with drivers.

—wheelie via bendsource.com

Thanks to the Source for your March 5 cover article encouraging more bike commuting in Bend. Commute Options is very interested in this perspective. Better bike commuting takes a balance of Engineering, Education, Enforcement and Encouragement. Bike commuting benefits our parking and roadway system and encourages a healthy lifestyle.

Commute Options is working with the City of Bend, the Downtown Bend Business Association, Parks and Recreation District, Bend Bikes, Bicycle Resource of Bend, the Deschutes County Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, Bend La Pine Schools, OSU-Cascades and others who are very supportive of improving our bicycle infrastructure. We also work in many areas beyond bike lanes that would make Bend more bike friendly, like:

• Bike parking

• Bike share

• Safe Routes to School commuteoptions.org/program/safe-routes-to-school

• School siting

• Bicycle Diversion classes for adults

• DMV and other driver awareness

• Incentives for bike commuting http://www.drivelessconnect.com

• Active Transportation awareness campaigns and videos

• Bikes on buses

• Limited and expensive (car) parking—to encourage more commuting options

We also represent Central Oregon on the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. Often times the experience is better than the expectation. So give bike commuting a try. More people riding = more funding for infrastructure and safety.

Thanks, The Commute Options Team.

—Jeff Monson, Kim Curley, Brian Potwin

I was intrigued by The Source Weekly's article, Bike Town USA. Does Bend deserve the accolades? As an avid recreational bicyclist, and as a resident living in close proximity to Riverside Boulevard, my answer is no.

I was offended when a bike lane was "installed" on Riverside Boulevard last year. We are being held hostage by a tiny group of grunting bicyclists who have decided we can't decide for ourselves how we choose our transportation. Riverside was designed for cars, not bikes. This travel way now requires drivers to negotiate sharp curves, with less room, in order to accommodate three bicycle commuters for two months out of the year. The bike lane has decreased car safety and has done nothing to improve the functional activity of bicycle transportation.

All bicycle lane markings two blocks west of Bond, on Franklin, should be removed. The city has created a severe risk to car drivers who exit their vehicles when they must park away from the curb next to the old Post Office. A right turn lane should be available for those who turn on to Wall Street, off Franklin, in this same area. The statistical number of bike commuters is zero. Neither dogs nor bicyclists belong in the downtown area.

We would be much better served if our limited resources were earmarked to improve recreational biking opportunities. Thank you, but I don't need anyone's advice on how often I ride my bike or how I commute to work.

—Charles Thomas

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