Four years ago this month, the Bend City Council agreed to hire an engineering company to redesign Galveston Avenue on the city’s west side. The council agreed last week to move forward with design, which was waylaid by serious pushback along the way. The project could have used a bit more pushback.
It will cost the city just shy of $500,000 to have the design finished, and at least two councilors are worried about spending design money without a dime available for construction.
Councilor Nathan Boddie was right to suggest skipping the finished design and moving forward a bit at a time with what the city can do. Even so, Boddie ultimately voted to pay for the design. Councilor Bill Moseley was the sole “no” vote.
Galveston needs work. Its drainage system is failing, and runoff goes into the Deschutes River as a result. Its pavement is failing, and the road must be rebuilt.
Critically, the street has safety problems. Clear crosswalks are few and far between. The street is not as well lit as it might be. And so on.
Those things do need to be addressed. Perhaps the worst part of the initial design is dead. The city will no longer work to eliminate the left-turn lane on the street, and adding on-street parking is not a priority.
It’s frankly difficult to see why the city doesn’t address the street’s safety problems immediately. If Bend residents are taking their lives into their hands every time they attempt to cross Galveston, the city needs to make changes now, not over time. It can inexpensively add more clearly painted and illuminated crosswalks. It can add lights that make bikers visible at night.
That’s where the money to finish the Galveston design should be spent — not on more paper that will wind up on a planner’s top shelf. The council should rethink the Galveston contract, and tell the city to get its priorities straight.