We are unhappy to report that the city’s implementation of the Phase 1 greenway plans will be delayed until Spring 2019. Phase 1 calls for initial implementation of the proposed greenway system with modest traffic calming measures, including speed humps, signage, and on-street paint for portions of NW 15th and NE 6th Streets. The city’s intent was to complete Phase 1 by this fall, and complete Phase 2 (extending these improvements to adjacent greenway sections) by summer 2019. The Phase 2 implementation goal is now in jeopardy, too.
Everything looked good for an autumn ribbon cutting. Until it didn’t. As of July 31st, the city determined that because of setbacks and delays in the many street projects scheduled for this past summer, they had missed their procurement window to roll out the two greenways. City staff now hopes to complete Phase 1 by spring 2019
While this is a disappointment to us and our community, we need to recognize that in local politics, the goalposts can always be moved. We can ensure that the projects that our community needs most remain top priorities with our collective voices.
As many of you may recall, there was no assurance that the City Council would earmark transportation money for greenways when the two-year transportation budget was being developed in 2017. Bend Bikes and our members showed up at City Council meetings, raised our voices, and were ultimately instrumental in securing funding (a modest $900,000 of the $42 million, two-year transportation budget) for these projects. In doing so, we made sure that alternative transportation was not sidelined again and that city staffers had both a green light to design greenways, and the actual budget to implement them. We helped ensure that alternative transportation made the city’s to-do list.
When city staff hosted project open houses in the spring, our continued involvement and comments helped shape the greenway planning and reaffirmed the community’s strong interest in them. After those open houses, city staff released revised designs which included more and better traffic calming measures than initially proposed and set dates for Phase 1. But, the goalposts were moved.
While the city approved $900,000 for greenways, this line item represents only 2% of the city’s two-year transportation budget. Reading between the lines, there is always the potential that these “small” greenway projects will be elbowed aside. For this reason, we all need to “speak” loudly and clearly to the city and remind them that these inexpensive greenway projects are needed in our community and must remain atop the city’s transportation priorities list.
The Council has mandated that $900,000 be allocated to greenways and it is time to urge the city to act. We strongly encourage you to write to Eric King, Bend’s City Manager and remind him of a few points. To reach King via his Executive Assistant Susy Munson, send an email note to firstname.lastname@example.org and your note will be forwarded to Susy as well as Bend Bikes.
A few things to consider mentioning:
- Your neighborhood and our community have voiced strong support for greenways.
- The City of Bend has already allocated monies for these projects.
- City staffers have prioritized these safety projects.
We encourage you to ask Mr. King, Why was Phase 1 delayed? Why was this modest, but exceedingly valuable project pushed back? Urge him not to shift priorities, especially in light of the Council’s decision to fund greenways.
Thank you for continuing to advocate for safer streets in your neighborhood and our community!