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Downtown Bend Mirror Pond parking lot to get upgrade


(Update: Council approves plans)

By summer, the South Mirror Pond parking lot in downtown Bend will have a brand-new look.

City councilors on Wednesday night unanimously approved a $487,172 project to completely redo the parking lot.

There are a number of reasons for the reconstruction. Deterioration is one of them. The parking lot needs new curbs and asphalt.

Some basic design aspects also need improving. For example, parking space size will be expanded. Also, the new lot will have diagonal parking spaces, rather than spaces at a 90-degree angle to the drivers.

But a big reason for the change, as discussed in the project summary, is that the new parking lot is being designed to improve safety.

Project engineer Bradford Tower said the design is meant to directly deter crime.

“There’s a few isolated spots that have confirmed criminal activity, so with regard to the trash enclosures, the west property boundary and the center landscape strip, we’re just looking for ways to reduce the sense of risk or safety concerns for the nearby businesses,” Tower said.

Other aspects of the new lot will be a welcome relief for drivers. Instead of having to go back out to Franklin Avenue, cars can remain in the lot if they cannot find a spot.

“We’ll ‘neck’ down the drive aisles a little bit, so it’s very clear which way is in and which way is out. And we’re going to create internal circulation, so if someone passes an ideal parking spot, they don’t have to go out onto Franklin and back in,” Tower said.

Currently, the parking lot has 95 parking spots, but with the new design and space size, it’ll be reduced to 79 spots. At Wednesday night’s council meeting, two councilors said they were not happy to see a loss in spaces, but others called it a good tradeoff for the improvements and larger parking spaces.

NewsChannel 21 spoke with drivers in the parking lot Wednesday. Nearly all said something needs to change.

“Well, there’s just no space here. There’s no room,” said one Bend man.

“There’s potholes everywhere ,and I wish I had a bumper sticker on my car that said ‘I’m not drunk. I’m swerving to avoid potholes,'” a Bend woman said.

Another Bend woman said, “Honestly, I think it’s fine. I think definitely we need more space out here, for sure.”

The new lot will also have better lighting than at present and better markings.

Construction is expected to begin in March and last until June.

During that time, the entire lot will be closed. There will also be two weeks of night work happening during the construction period to work on the Franklin Avenue area.

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