Some bicyclists treat Bend streets like it’s the Tour de France. Some pedestrians are also downright reckless.
But for those who are more careful, the city of Bend is working toward making the streets more bike and pedestrian friendly and reducing risk.
The Bend City Council is scheduled to discuss on Aug. 5 adding to its street safety program along NE 12th Street and NE Jones Road. The city has aimed to create an interconnected system of routes that are safer for bicyclists and pedestrians to get around. Those so-called “greenways,” such as NE Sixth Street, have more signage and on busy intersections they can have clearly marked crosswalks. This new project is more of a neighborhood safety improvement to that network.
Walk or bike around town and you know there are problem areas — lack of sidewalks, busy streets that can be hard to cross, bike lanes full of debris. And if you are a pedestrian, you cannot assume drivers will stop for you in a marked crosswalk — let alone an unmarked one. The Oregon Driver Manual tells drivers plainly: “You must stop for pedestrians crossing the road at any marked or unmarked crosswalk.” How often does a driver stop for you as a pedestrian in an unmarked crosswalk? For us, it’s a pleasant surprise.
Greenways and the city’s safety projects don’t pretend to fix that driving behavior. They can help. The intersection of NE 12th Street and NE Jones Road is next to Hollinshead Park. That’s another one of Bend’s great parks. Right next to that intersection is a hill that some drivers zoom down toward Hollinshead or hit the gas to get up.
The idea is that the city would add “signs, pavement markings, and traffic calming, such as speed humps, a traffic circle, and concrete islands to slow and discourage cut-through traffic.” The roads aren’t being closed to cars and access to homes is not being restricted. The cost is to be not more than $293,000.
Why that project and not another one? It was narrowed down from 360 submittals based on input from neighborhood associations and city staff. Not an easy choice. But it’s another step toward making Bend more bike and pedestrian safe.