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Bend Midtown Crossings project proposes parkway overpass at Hawthorne Ave.

'We're giving people options, when it comes to transportation around our city'

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) --The Oregon Department of Transportation and the city of Bend have drawn up conceptual plans for a pedestrian overpass over the Bend Parkway at Hawthorne Avenue.

The Midtown Crossings Project would improve upon the two current underpass pedestrian crossings along Franklin and Greenwood avenues. It would create an overpass on Hawthorne Avenue, further connecting the east and west sides of town.

Allison Platt, a senior planner for the city, says the main goal of the project is to connect the Bend Central District to the downtown area, which would create more housing opportunities within the district.

"It's pretty hard to just put a housing project kind of in a desert, when there's no other housing or services, especially without that connection to downtown," Platt said.

Platt says both an underpass and overpass option at Hawthorne Avenue were evaluated, but the overpass had fewer complications.

"It was pretty clear to us that an undercrossing was not a feasible option, so we pretty much determined that Hawthorne needs to be an overcrossing, if it is to go in place, just because of maintenance, the amount you need to dig under the parkway and drainage and water concerns with going under (the highway),” Platt said.

Bend City Councilor Anthony Broadman also voiced his support for the pedestrian overpass bridge.

"We're giving people options, when it comes to transportation around our city," Broadman said.

Broadman added that the footbridge would help Bend become more environmentally friendly. Creating the Hawthorne overpass would allow easier access to the city on a bike, reducing vehicle use.

Platt says funding for the proposed Midtown Crossings Project is already identified.

"We have pretty significant amount of funding in the next 10 years that can be dedicated to improving one of those three crossings, Hawthorne being one of the potential crossings," Platt said.

Central Oregon / Government-politics / News / Top Stories
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Leslie Cano

Leslie Cano is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Leslie here.

Comments

52 Comments

    1. It would probably make housing east of the tracks and freeway more desirable. However, really the only thing missing from the east side of the tracks is expensive restaurants. I wouldn’t call that area a desert like the planner did.

      1. But there is little if no vacant land east of the parkway on Hawthorne. It is all commercial and industrial until you get past 3rd street. I guess since they want to do away with off street parking, they can put a homeless camp in the parking lot of the recycling center. That should give the homeless an easy access to downtown

        1. It’s mostly relatively low value light commercial with some empty lots. And the Les Schwab is going away. With some buyouts and maybe condemnation via urban renewal, there’s be a bunch of land for residential. I don’t know who actually owns the land right now but it wouldn’t surprise me if developers already do.

    2. Homeless camps are common under and around bridges. At the increased rate of homeless in Bend, I am sure this bridge would be no different. There you go, housing for the homeless.

  1. Just another place to be ruined by the homeless! Fix that problem first! No one walks around Bend anyway. It would be different if it was for vehicles. But walking path is just dumb.

        1. Would you rather I drive everywhere like you and help you guys clog up the streets and kick up dust? I really don’t have the patience for sitting still in your traffic jams but I suppose I could try

            1. Well there’s an idea. If we can make it a less sketchy less subservient walk home in the dark for the dishwashers, I’m 100% for it. I was thinking just fix Greenwood but your comment brings up a good point.

  2. Here we go that $190 mil. bond burning a hole in their pocket. Can’t decide which is more ridiculous the design of the thing or Platt’s justification of it bringing more houses to the desert.

  3. Why wouldn’t they want to build a regular over pass that can help with traffic? They do have sidewalks for pedestrians. That seems too make alot more sense with traffic like it is.

      1. A bit of a walk??!!! Greenwood and Franklin are two blocks north and south respectively from Hawthorne. Bend does not need to spend millions of dollars for THREE pedestrian crossings over 97 in a four block span. Soooo many other needs in Bend for infrastructure and traffic improvements.

        1. Except for that the two existing underpasses don’t work for disabled people and a lot of more vulnerable people especially after dark. I’d rather my kids walked over the proposed overpass than through the tunnels at 10pm

          1. How do they not work for disabled people? A side walk is a side walk? They are all going to have inclines and declines, including this bridge. Is this new bridge going to have some new levitation technology? Elevator? Did not see an elevator in the rendering, besides we all see how clean and safe public elevators are (ie downtown parking garage). You are delusional if you think this bridge is not going to attract the same element as the Greenwood and Franklin under passes. Zero land or structures along a highway are hot spots for the rich and famous.

      1. Pretty sure additional bridges that provide more access east-west do not CAUSE more traffic, but does more to alleviate traffic. The number of cars are on the road are there regardless of the number of bridges. A bridge does not add more cars to the road, it just gives more routes for all the cars on the road and spreads out the traffic. Yes, an over pass costs more than a pedestrian bridge, but that is what is needed, not wasting money for the few people that play frogger across 97. Needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

        1. So you’re saying we need a few more highway 97’s now running east and west so people can’t walk north and south either. You’re saying screw the people under sixteen, don’t let them get around independently, they’re just frogger targets for you.

          1. Depends on the idiots that build them. I am saying we do need more or better east-west conduits in this city, but does not mean they cannot be built with appropriate pedestrian access as well. There you go…problem solved. Don’t waste millions building a 3rd pedestrian crossing in a four block span across 97, but instead build a good east-west that handles cars and walkers. Got any more stupid questions?

  4. I wish your reporter would have asked the simple question of “what’s wrong with the current underpass walkways”? That would have led to the question “wouldn’t it be much less costly (to the taxpayer) to clean those underpasses up, improve the lighting, etc., rather than spend many millions on your fancy new bridge”? The funding that’s been identified could then be used for more useful projects that would make a bigger difference to the majority of Bend citizens.

    1. Fixing the Greenwood underpass would be somewhat easy, but opening that road to other user types would likely set off the user group that is hogging and clogging it currently.

  5. Economics? Really? How about addressing the safety issues of the Parkway? Isn’t that what ODOT is supposed to do? The Parkway is unsafe? What highway allows pedestrian crossings? Building an overpass for safety purposes, fine. Put a cage over the top so no debris (rocks) can be dropped. Get rid of ALL pedestrian crossings on the highway. ODOT involved in economics? Brother. Bend is a greedy place.

  6. As long as it is an open design, I don’t think homeless would camp there. Too visible and too open to the weather. Hopefully they can somehow tie this in with cleaning up or eliminating the nasty Franklin pedestrian underpass. Urine soaked, filled with trash and so loud that it is probably damaging to the hearing.

  7. I fail to see how a bike/ped overpass affects in any significant way the development of housing. Price, access to schools, condition of other homes or apartments in the neighborhood, traffic, level of crime, distance to grocers, etc. Those are far larger considerations. And how will the bike/ped traffic land on Hawthorne? The bridge must be tied to closing or modifying the Hawthorne/Parkway intersection.
    .
    Oh what the heck, it’s only public money. Waste away!

  8. All fine and dandy, but there are numerous locations throughout Bend that could use that money for marked crosswalks, sidewalks, and improved trails that would benefit more of its present citizens and neighborhoods. The City needs to prioritize in a way that optimizes existing infrastructure before going off building new stuff.

      1. I’m aware of that. In my estimation (and I’ve had professional experience in it), though, pedestrian safety and convenience in existing neighborhoods is woefully inadequate and the transportation department doesn’t seem to feel it’s a priority.

    1. True on the other needs but Franklin and Greenwood are pathetic for most pedestrians. And, it’s a very long way between surface crossings in that part of town. The next hurdle is crossing Greenwood without getting hit by a NWX to Whole Foods Tesla doing Mach speeds. The drive over neighborhoods need some priority help.

  9. Perfect! a direct route for the tweekers at the bottle drop (another stellar idea) to access the west side! I bet the folks on the downtown side of this bridge are pretty excited.

  10. The people I’ve spoken to who are familiar with the proposal have told me that the bridge would indeed go also over the tracks. Most folk who have walked or cycled the underpasses at Greenwood and Franklin agree that they are pretty disagreeable and creepy down there. But improving those routes isn’t possible without cooperation of the BNSF railroad who owns the rail overpasses and they have zero interest in doing anything about the current setup, nor has the city any means to obtain their cooperation. In addition to Platt’s quoted reason why digging under the parkway (and presumably the railroad’s right of way) isn’t feasible, it’s worth mentioning that the BNSF would be unlikely to cooperate by building a bridge over the underpass for their trains to cross on.

    1. It’s a grade issue. The parkway is far lower than the tracks at Hawthorne. Tunneling under the parkway would likely need permission from China as they might need to go that deep! Not to mention the steep non-ADA compliant grade to climb out of there. Then there are the trolls that would inhabit the tunnel.

  11. So the bottom line to my question is that after the pedestrian/bicycle overpass is built, we will condemn all the property on the east side of the tracks and build heavily subsidized 5 story affordable housing with no off street parking (bicycle racks will be included). And everyone can take their stimulus checks and patronize the expensive restaurants in downtown. And we all live happily everafter.

    1. What you describe is best case scenario for where this highly combative self centered non-cooperative society is headed. I’m afraid it’s going to look more like India than Scandinavia though. We’ve already got some call centers here subsidized by stimulus checks.

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