Remember how nice it was when there were fewer cars on the road? As restrictions are lifted and new residents and visitors arrive in Bend, we are poised to experience the opposite: a tsunami of traffic, fumes and frustration as we flood our streets with cars.
The best way to address this is to get back to fewer cars. Bend's summer crush of congestion is driven by about 15% more people on our streets. If a similar number of people—not everybody, just 10 to 15%—felt comfortable not driving, that summer crush would be greatly diminished.
As a board member of the Bend Park and Recreation District, I will continue to support providing outstanding parks, trails, and recreation opportunities close to your home. Just as important, I support working with other local governments to address community-wide issues such as affordability and transportation.
A good illustration of this commitment is Alpenglow, the 37-acre community park in southeast Bend currently under construction. Packed with amenities including a sprayground and event stage, my favorite aspect of Alpenglow is the planning that went into how people will get there. District staff have described Alpenglow as a "hub for trails" and have worked with other districts to share parking, provide transit, build foot bridges across the railroad tracks and canal and provide a network of trails so that kids, families and all community members can access not just the park itself, but the new Caldera High School and surrounding neighborhoods without a car.
— Ariel Méndez, PhD is vice chair of the Bend Park and Recreation District board and teaches political science at OSU-Cascades.