New Bend Parkway overpasses for cars, bicycles and pedestrians, a citywide bike network and extending Wilson Avenue east past 15th Street are among the major transportation projects being recommended by a city transportation advisory committee.
Also on the committee’s list: Commissioning a study to examine adding another bridge across the Deschutes River, south of the Colorado Avenue bridge.
Bend’s 25-member citywide transportation advisory committee on Tuesday finalized its initial list of major projects that could form the foundation of the city’s transportation plan for the next 20 years. Those recommendations now go to a steering committee composed of the City Council, a city planning commissioner, a Deschutes County commissioner and an Oregon Department of Transportation area manager, which will make final decisions on the plan.
While widening Reed Market Road is off the table, committee members said they wanted to look seriously at constructing a car and pedestrian overpass across the railroad at Reed Market or working with BNSF to move the railroad’s switchyard out of city limits. They voted to recommend completing a study project within three years.
Adding left-turn lanes to Reed Market Road where it intersects with Third Street was also recommended.
Improvements to the interchanges of Powers and Reed Market roads with the parkway were also supported, as was a proposal to build an overpass connecting China Hat and Ponderosa roads.
Committee members narrowly approved a recommendation to extend Wilson Avenue — which ends at 15th Street — east to 27th Street.
Several members cited concerns about what that would mean for existing homes in the area and the Larkspur Trail.
“Any option that takes people’s homes from them is at the bottom of the list,” committee member Gavin Leslie said.
A major project in northeast Bend includes the extension and realignment of the parkway, a project the Oregon Department of Transportation is working on.
Another project would result in improvements for bicycles and pedestrians along Robal Lane.
Widening Hamby Road between Stevens and Butler Market roads and adding a roundabout at Hamby Road and U.S. Highway 20 also was an option.
Third Street, which has five lanes, narrows to two under the railroad overpass between Franklin and Wilson avenues. Committee members said they’d support widening the road under the overpass.
Two projects would address capacity on Colorado Avenue by adding lanes to the Colorado and Simpson roundabout and improving the intersection of Colorado Avenue and Industrial Way.
One suggested project would result in a grade-separated crossing of the Bend Parkway at Hawthorne Avenue. Such a crossing would provide safer access between downtown and the developing Bend Central District on the east side of the parkway. A pedestrian and bicycle overpass at Badger Road also could be included.
Bike network and sidewalks
Committee members agreed they want to include the concepts of connected networks for bicyclists and pedestrians in the list of top priorities, but they didn’t discuss any actual construction projects involved in creating those networks.
“We want a city where you can ride a bike and have pedestrian access in a comprehensive fashion,” said Katy Brooks, a committee member and CEO of the Bend Chamber of Commerce.
Emily Eros, a city transportation planner, said building a bike network that can be used by children as young as 10 would include improving some existing bike lanes, building new trails and retrofitting some roads. The total cost to develop a citywide bike network is expected to cost between $50 million and $100 million.
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