After a temporary protected bike lane was tested successfully downtown last month, the city of Bend will paint a permanent one on a stretch of Wall Street.
Parallel parking spots along Wall between Bond Street and Norton Avenue will be moved out a few feet to accommodate the new 5-foot-wide bike lane. The northeast-bound bike lane will be just to the left of the sidewalk curb and be protected from traffic by parked cars.
Cyclists will have 3 feet of biking space, and vehicle passengers will have a 2-foot buffer to open their car doors.
Bend 2030, a nonprofit focused on managing the city’s growth, put on a four-day conference last month about transportation, urban development and more.
During the event, Bend 2030 held a Future Fair downtown, demonstrating ideas for safer walking, biking and driving.
That included setting up a temporary bike lane over sections of Bond Street, Wall Street and Olney Avenue that Bendites could test for themselves.
Erin Foote Morgan, executive director of Bend 2030, said responses from participants were overwhelmingly positive. Their main suggestion: The car door buffer size, at 1 foot, was a little too narrow. That’s why the city decided to widen it for the permanent protected bike lane. The city’s new bike lane will be the main stretch of the temporary bike lane demonstrated last month.
Robin Lewis, a transportation engineer with the city, is one of the project managers for the new city program, Making Bend Safer by Design. The program will oversee the painting of the new bike lane, which will stretch about 600 feet.
Lewis said the protected bike lane comes at a minimal cost: about $50.
“Basically it’s just the paint,” she said Friday.
City staffers expect to complete an overlay of Wall Street from Revere Avenue to Vermont Place this week. The road will be ground down about an inch and then paved over. The bike lane will be painted white in the next few weeks. In the future, green paint will likely be added to the lane, as with the city’s other protected bike lane on Franklin Avenue, between Broadway and Wall streets.
Foote Morgan said she wasn’t expecting the modeled bike lane would have such a real and immediate impact.
“We didn’t really see this as THE opportunity for the protected bike lane,” she said. “It was just a great part of town to show off what the protected bike lane could be.”
In encouraging better biking around town, Bend 2030’s goal has never been to discourage people who drive, Foote Morgan said. Instead, transportation changes like these will allow people who already wanted to bike around town feel safer in doing so. “It’s these smart, inexpensive opportunities,” she said. “It’s about getting people who want to bike to do it.”
Bend 2030 also gifted a “toolkit” to the city that other organizations or businesses can use at events in the future if they, too, want to create a temporary protected bike lane in another area of town. The toolkit has stencils, paint, rollers and more.
Lewis, with the city, said having people come test the bike lane last month was an effective way of getting a lot of feedback in a short amount of time. People often can’t make it to public meetings, she said, but an evening event downtown drew many people who wanted try out the lane.
Through Making Bend Safer by Design, the city has plans to do more test runs of bike-safety strategies in other parts of town. Another idea tested at the Future Fair, extended curbs, will become a reality in a couple of spots downtown.
One curb extension will be installed at the southeast corner of Wall and Franklin, and two more curb extensions will be put in near the library on Wall. Just as the protected bike lane on Wall is being put in when construction is already going on, the city had plans to replace the sidewalk at the southeast corner of Wall and Franklin.
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