Pop Up Event Saturday, June 15th!
After decades of neglect, a visionary artist and dedicated volunteers partnered to roll up their sleeves and improve the Franklin Underpass on their own, but the Bend City Council put a stop to their improvement efforts.
The Franklin Corridor is a key east-west connection between Downtown Bend and the Bend Central District with more than 5,000 people walking, biking, and using other mobility devices through it on a weekly basis. However, there is a lack of signage, lighting, and connectivity for people using these modes.
This key gateway to Downtown Bend is so neglected that hotels advise their visitors to drive instead of walk the half mile, adding to traffic congestion and parking scarcity:
"Even though our hotel is only a few blocks from downtown Bend, we continually advise our guests not to walk there due to poor sidewalk conditions, high traffic speeds and the unpleasant tunnel at the Franklin Avenue underpass." Guest Column by Ashley Evert in the Bend Bulletin
That is why the BCD Initiative began engaging the community directly impacted by the Franklin Corridor in reimagining it as a safe, welcoming, and vibrant public space.
We partnered with local artist and BCD resident Kaycee Anseth to improve poor conditions for walking, biking, and using mobility devices through the Franklin Avenue Corridor, which is one of the only east-west connections in the center of Bend. After receiving permission from the BNSF railroad, Kaycee designed a mural for the North Pedestrian Railroad Tunnel at the Franklin Avenue Underpass.
Her art reflects her own experience using the space as well as conversations she has had with parents, young students, frequent bicyclists and pedestrians, disabled persons, and the members of the houseless community. Community members have given consistent feedback about the need for light, visibility, and maintenance.
However, the City of Bend has put Kaycee's plans on hold because they consider the BNSF railroad tunnel to be in their right-of-way, and there is currently no program available to create murals in the right-of-way. We are asking for the City to create a path forward to allow this community-minded artist to improve the pedestrian tunnel.