By Katy Bryce, for Commute Options
The City of Redmond, with a population of just under 28,000 people, is very committed to providing complete transportation options for all residents through innovative bicycling, pedestrian and transit improvements and programs.
“Sometime in 2008 or 2009, Redmond started talking seriously about the need for more bike, pedestrian and transit programs. We recognized early on that this is an important service for our community,” says City of Redmond’s Community Development Director, Heather Richards. Since then, Redmond has leveraged partnerships and community input to develop a comprehensive plan for improving biking, walking and public transit.
Key to their efforts is a desire to use local streets rather than major arterials to create a network of bicycle and pedestrian friendly routes to connect destination points. “Redmond’s goal is to increase the amount of families who walk and bike to destinations in Redmond for a variety of reasons: quality of life, health, transportation infrastructure savings, and perhaps most importantly, the opportunity to slow down and really enjoy each other and our community,” says Richards.
Redmond is working with Portland State University’s Reinventing the Wheel program with the goal of getting more families to walk and bike. The city just launched their first demonstration project on SW 15th Street—a multi-use path designed to improve the safety of bicyclists, pedestrians and rollers (such as people on scooters, skateboards or in wheelchairs.) Redmond continues to work with University of Oregon’s Sustainable City Year Program students to improve biking and walking options including a marketing campaign targeted to families. This fall, Commute Options will begin working with Redmond schools to develop Safe Routes to Schools programs to educate students.
The city also recently finished a Trails Amenities Plan to improve existing trails and create new trails to provide bicycle and pedestrian routes through town. The plan includes widening the 3.7-mile Dry Canyon Trail and, if funding is provided through a state grant, creating the Homestead Trail, which provides access to St. Charles Hospital and adjacent medical offices. Also in the works is improving the bus system in Redmond. The city is currently seeking state funding to create a new transit hub that will service the Cascades East Transit buses. “We are also very interested in a fixed transit route but the key will be to figure out when to do that,” says Richards.
According to Economic Development and Urban Renewal Coordinator Chuck Arnold, “This community puts very high value on biking and walking because residents still want to have that small town feel, even if our population is growing. This is evident in our downtown renewal efforts that include access for pedestrians and bicyclists. All public projects are scaled to create a walkable and bikeable experience because it not only makes a better experience for the community but it also makes a better environment for business.”
“Redmond is perfect for walking and biking. It is only five miles long by three miles wide with only one substantial hill,” adds Richards.
Celebrating 25 years of Commute Options! Promoting choices that reduce the impacts of driving alone. For more information, contact Executive Director, Jeff Monson at 541-330-2647 or visit www.commuteoptions.org
Katy Bryce is a freelance writer in Bend. www.katybryce.com.