'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.