Protected Bike Paths Proposed | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Protected Bike Paths Proposed

City leaders propose two bike paths, one running north to south and the other east to west, to the Transportation Oversight Committee

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. 

click to enlarge Protected Bike Paths Proposed
Courtesy of Ariel Méndez
The 17 mile route would connect Shevlin Park to Big Sky Park and Rockridge Park to Alpenglow Park.
The paths would connect Shevlin Park in the west to Big Sky Park in the east and Rockridge Park in the north to Alpenglow in the south. 

“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 other two factors in deciding routes: catering to historically underserved neighborhoods and areas that will grow residentially in the next several years. Getting the paths approved will require the input of both the Transportation Bond Oversight Committee before approval or denial by the Bend City Council. 

“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.” 

The next phase of planning for the proposal will be evaluating which routes can be done quickly and cheaply, and which will require more planning and investment before proceeding.

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The next phase of planning for the proposal will be evaluating which routes can be done quickly and cheaply, and which will require more planning and investment before proceeding. 

“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.   

About The Author

Jack Harvel

Jack is originally from Kansas City, Missouri and has been making his way west since graduating from the University of Missouri, working a year and a half in Northeast Colorado before moving to Bend in the Spring of 2021. When not reporting he’s either playing folk songs (poorly) or grand strategy video games,...
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