BEND, OR -- Bend 2030 is hoping for more community ideas on how the city can expand transit options. The group is moving into the next phase of talks on how to further develop transportation as the city grows.
Erin Foote Marlowe tells KBND that the group collected input from nearly 200 people during last month's forum. "What they told us is that they want more and safer bike routes, they want a more complete sidewalk grid, and they want a more robust transit system," Marlowe says. "They're willing to pay for it."
Marlowe says the city needs to plan ahead for an anticipated population boom. "By 2030, we're going to have about 35,000 more people here. That's a 40 percent increase in our population. But we don't have hardly any new roads planned. That means congestion, which we already feel, will be much worse."
She adds, "This transportation issue is actually an economic development issue. We can't have people stuck in traffic or trying to get around our community. Transportation is a really key element of getting people to work on time, to move things across the city, to get jobs done."
will soon distribute a survey to residents to get feedback on several ideas. Foote-Marlowe recognizes some of the potential solutions are controversial, but she says they're necessary. One option would be to implement a tourist tax or fee to expand local public transit.
If the majority of survey respondents indicate they would be willing to pay for transportation development, Bend 2030 plans to support a local gas tax ballot measure in November. Another option would create a "tourist tax" to raise money for community development.