BEND, Ore. - The future of the Bend Parkway is being discussed. Representatives from the Oregon Department of Transportation presented their findings on traffic, peak usage times, safety issues and more to the Bend Metropolitan Planning Organization on Thursday.
Results showed what many in the area might expect: Congestion and aggressive driving stood out. Now, the agency will work with the MPO to come up with a plan to manage traffic as the city continues to grow.
Project Manager Rick Williams said adding more lanes to the parkway is not an option, but there are other ideas being considered.
“We’re looking at the bike and pedestrian facilities that are along it,” he said. “Right now, people don’t use them very much because they don’t feel comfortable. So maybe we could use that for something else and still provide a good bike, or better bike and pedestrian facility off-system, but parallel to it.”
People around town who bike to work daily agreed they don’t feel comfortable using the parkway.
“Speeds are very high, and it’s also full of debris,” Paul Kerr said. “I’ve ridden on the parkway once or twice, and it is a horrifying experience. They’d be better giving that space back to drivers and creating paths through the community.”
“I would not go on the (parkway),” Anne Burns said. “I’ve gotten near the (parkway) and then turned around to take a different route, because I didn’t want to be near people going supposedly 45, but actually 65 (mph).”
Williams said they’re also looking to modify some of the right-in, right-out accesses, including Truman, Hawthorne, and Lafayette avenues and Reed Lane.
Williams said analyzing the existing conditions and presenting the findings was Phase 1 in the parkway plan. They’ll likely do their first public outreach in the early spring.