Partial closures on Bend Parkway to start next week

The Bend Parkway (Bulletin file photo)

Bend’s Parkway carries twice as much traffic as it did when it was completed in 2001, and that can be a problem. Now the state Department of Transportation is starting to work on changes that would improve both traffic flow and safety on the parkway, which serves as U.S. Highway 97 through the city.

Before it goes too far, however, the agency wants the community to weigh in.

ODOT has come up with a laundry list of proposed changes, everything from metering entry to the highway to closing right-turn exits and entries at Lafayette, Hawthorne and Truman avenues. In another scenario, it would leave at least one of the trio open, but widen it to make safer.

That actually makes sense. ODOT’s not in the business of driving business away from downtown Bend or any other commercial area. The right-off, right-on exits provide access to the city’s core that ODOT should work to protect. Improving at least one of those exits will do that, and it’s far less expensive that building a full-blown exit, including ramps. It would not require the state to spend as much on property purchases as full exits and entrances would, and presumably it could be done relatively quickly. Costs could be cut still further if the right-only exits were just that — exits with no re-entry to the Parkway at the same location.

The online survey is available through Sunday at www.surveymonkey.com/r/us97parkwayplan, and even if you don’t have strong feelings now about what’s being proposed, it’s well worth your time. It’s full of information about options for changes to the parkway and what the advantages and disadvantages of each would be. It also includes links to more detailed reviews of proposed solutions to the parkway’s problems. And who knows. Once you read the survey, you may want to answer its questions.

The online survey is available through Sunday at www.surveymonkey.com/r/us97parkwayplan, and even if you don’t have strong feelings now about what’s being proposed, it’s well worth your time. It’s full of information about options for changes to the Parkway and what the advantages and disadvantages of each would be.

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