Intersections Ahead

Bend Needs a Transportation System That’s Good for People and the Planet

Our mission is to embed sustainability into daily life in Central Oregon. It’s a large, complex job that intersects with many other economic and social challenges.

I believe sustainability is about relationships—our relationship with the environment that supports us and our relationship with the people with whom we share our planet. These relationships are inseparable. Together, they shape how and where we live, work, play and learn.

The future of Bend’s transportation system is a great example of how focusing on the intersection of environmental and social needs can shape a local community for the better. I currently serve as co-chair of Bend’s city-wide transportation advisory committee (affectionately known as CTAC). We are developing a draft plan to guide investments in Bend’s transportation system through 2040.

I’m advocating for increased investments in sidewalks, bike lanes, transit and safety. Those investments will get more people out of their cars and thereby reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions over the long-term. Equally important, those investments will also ensure that youth, seniors, families who cannot afford to own a car, and people of all abilities can get around town to meet their daily needs for food, shelter, education, employment, health care and recreation.

In other words, I’m advocating for investments that will build a just transportation system for Bend, one that meets the needs of people and the planet.

Do you support a just transportation plan for Bend? If so, I urge you to share your support, first with my fellow CTAC members and then with the Bend City Council, the final decision-makers about Bend’s transportation future. Over the next few weeks, CTAC and the Council will choose criteria to prioritize specific projects and programs as we develop a funding and phasing plan for transportation investments in bend. Your voice can make a difference.

Share your comments in-person at our next CTAC meeting on June 18th and at a special City Council meeting on June 20th. You can also send written comments to tsp@bendoregon.gov.

Join me in urging Bend’s leaders to do what’s right for our people and our planet. We can’t care for one without caring for the other.

Bend’s Transportation Plan: Moving People, Not Cars

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