Editorial: City website offers useful information

Published May 28, 2013 at 05:00AM

Despite snow flurries in Bend Wednesday morning, summer really is almost here, and with it, the rush to get streets into shape while the weather holds. With the rush come traffic delays, unfortunately, although the city of Bend has a new tool to make avoiding them easier.

A new interactive feature on the city’s website gives viewers access to information about all sorts of public works projects that will tie up traffic from time to time. Thus the site, bendoregon.gov/bendprojects, includes a map with pins that show exactly what is going on within the city.

Transportation makes up the largest category. Street repairs, everything from filling potholes to sealing, which extends the life of the pavement, is included if it will delay traffic. The map also shows information on water, wastewater and stormwater projects.

And, says Justin Finestone, the city’s communications manager, more information may be on its way. The city hopes to expand the map to include everything from street closures for such things as bicycle races and public festivals to delays as a result of work by utilities like Pacific Power and CenturyLink. Too, it plans to add area-wide accessibility projects to the map.

Bend officials have taken their fair share of heat about real and perceived communications problems in recent years, and they have said they want to make the work of city government more transparent. The new map may not be a huge piece of that effort, but it is a valuable smaller one.

With a simple click, residents now can find out where city crews are working, what they’re doing and why. They can learn, on street projects, when a project is expected to begin, how long it is expected to take and what it will cost. If you’re interested in how the city spends your tax dollars, that’s not bad information to have.