Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bend's Reed Market fix more than two years off

If you're looking for Bend to fix one of the most dangerous roadways in the city anytime soon, well, forget about it.

Bend city staff unveiled basic maps today of the road projects approved by voters last May in a $30 million bond issue. Details will surprise us later.

The biggest, costliest, and most critical, project on the agenda -- the Reed Market corridor from Third to 27th streets -- won't start construction until April 2013. And that's just the first phase.

The third phase of the Reed Market work isn't projected to finish until August 2014.

If we're lucky.

Since Reed Market is last on the agenda, funds for its completion may get gobbled up by the projects ahead of it.

When construction firms see the public trough filled with millions, they scramble like pigs feasting away.

There will be cost "overruns" and "unforeseen" land acquisition costs that will eat into the $30 million budget like sows on slop.

As many residents have figured out, the city believes the most urgent portion of the overall project, the one we can't live without, is the construction of the roundabout at Simpson and Mt. Washington. It begins construction this June.

Yes, that's right, on Bend's west side.

Westsiders are more equal than Eastsiders. They're special. If the entire city votes for money to be spent on citywide projects, then by god, Westsiders are entitled to have their needs addressed first.

Call it the trickle east theory.

Shockingly, the roundabout at 18th and Empire, on Bend's northeast side, won't see construction until this July.

It's shocking because the whole reason we had this $30 million bond measure in the first place was because the city needed to fix traffic issues near Juniper Ridge, its mixed-use development boondoggle on Bend's north end.

Bend needs to show the state that it is making progress there so that the state will allow further development at nearby Juniper Ridge along Highway 97. Nevermind that nothing is being done to correct the gridlock on Hwy. 97, we need to make it much worse before we make it better. It's the Bend way.

The good thing about all the road construction work is that it will allow the city to partially catch up with its road deficiencies before the next housing boom engulfs Bend.

Here's hoping that, in the future, we see only modest, sustained growth, where infrastructure can keep pace with the next gated community here or the next business park there.

And, that developers pay their fair share so that we won't need a $100 million bond measure in five years.

A more measured, moderate growth rate is better for Bend in the long run.

1 comment:

  1. You any relation to H. Bruce Dickhead? Used to work with him by any chance?