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Parkway Safety Starts With Landscaping 

We've all been hearing about tragedies on the south end of Bend's parkway. We don't want to have people needlessly killed and injured here, or have Bend be known for its highway death trap. Certainly, an over-the-road pedestrian bridge would save lives. Considering where our tax dollars get wasted, this would be a smart alternative. But, something needs to be done now. I'm not a politician or business executive, but I've been a landscaper here since the 1970s.

So here's my two bits worth. A landscape problem on the parkway is a major factor in these recent deaths and accidents. The growth of native-style plants makes the parkway look all one style and doesn't isolate the areas along it where crosswalks are located. Similar to a fireplace, the bricks of the hearth (context) cue people that a hot fireplace is sitting there, the landscaping (context) needs to reveal and identify these dangerous crosswalks to motorists. A native-looking landscape may be fine in many settings, but not where safety and discrimination are required. The shrub and grass areas surrounding the two crosswalks on the south parkway should be immediately cut to the ground! Later, possibly replaced by some kind of hardscape stones, railings, signs, etc.

What is happening now is that the native shrubs are actually hiding the very spots that should be standing out. To be fair to the road crews, they have cut these areas some, but now they should completely remove, to ground level, all shrubs and grasses so that the crosswalks are clearly visible from inside a distant speeding vehicle!

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