The City of Bend recently launched a new planning effort, this time focused on transportation. Its purpose is to develop a plan to meet Bend’s transportation needs through 2040, when Bend’s population will reach 153,000. Yikes—that’s a lot of people trying to get around town.
The City also established the Citywide Transportation Advisory Committee (CTAC), to guide the planning effort. Our job is to provide regular public input that reflects diverse perspectives from all corners of the community. I say our job because I serve as one of the committee’s four co-chairs.
Transportation is the last big planning and infrastructure nut Bend needs to crack. We have a plan for where and how we want to grow, and we have a plan for providing sewer service. But it’s not clear how we’re going to move Bend’s residents and goods and services—oh, and those tourists—around every day. Nor is it clear how we’re going to pay for the new roads, bike lanes, sidewalks and transit stops we need to get that job done.
What’s this new plan going to cost and how are we going to pay for it? Bend’s need for new transportation infrastructure, not to mention repairing and maintaining what we have today, exceeds the available resources. And while state funding will grow some, federal government funds are projected to remain flat or decline. So we’ll have to rely on ourselves.
My work on CTAC has just started. I will advocate for investments not only in roads but also in alternatives, like bike lanes, sidewalks, trails and transit. I want to see investments that protect the safety of all users, so people feel comfortable getting out of their cars. I want a funding plan where all users pay their fair share—including visitors. And I want a plan that is guided by measurable progress on indicators like safety, congestion and reliable travel times for commuters and commerce.
Key to achieving that plan will be for CTAC to hear from people like you who support my priorities. Our first public meeting is coming up on June 11th. I hope to see you there.
*Photo Credit (above): City of Bend