BEND, OR-- Bend’s newest roundabout is set to open Thursday evening. It’s at 9th and Wilson, and features a unique design with a dedicated bike lane. "It’s a kind of a one-of-a-kind roundabout here," says Bend Engineering Director Ryan Oster, "Definitely the first one we’ve ever done in Bend. Sources are telling me it’s the first one in the state and only one of a few in the US right now." Oster tells KBND News, "This roundabout has a dedicated bike lane in the roundabout. So, you have your normal vehicle traveling, you have a dedicated bike lane, and then you have a separate pedestrian path up on the sidewalk."
He says pavement markings show bikes where to go, but drivers and cyclists need to acknowledge each other to make sure an exiting car doesn’t hit a bike, "As a vehicle, you’ll see these big green boxes, and there’s actually a separate crossing for the bikes than there is for the pedestrians. So, definitely some more interaction that the public’s going to need to get used to."
He says it’s part of a bigger effort to create a more bike-friendly Wilson corridor, although the next roundabout at 15th and Wilson won’t have a dedicated bike lane. "We simply don’t have the right of way to put this big of a footprint of a roundabout in, so we’ll still have protected bike lanes up to the roundabout," says Oster. "But then, like a more traditional roundabout, the biker will need to choose to either get up on the shared-use path - you know, the 8-10’ wide sidewalk - or they can, as always, enter into the travel lane and act as a vehicle." Construction on the roundabout at 15th and Wilson is scheduled to begin in August and should open by late fall.