The same North Bend City Council that has been hasty to remove the landscaped medians downtown is also anxious to express its preference to install a signal at Cedar Falls Way instead of a roundabout. Yes, council, we can clog North Bend with signals and produce our very own Gilman Boulevard up here if that is the limit of your vision.
Rather than looking to Issaquah for guidance, look to Bend, Ore., instead. Bend once had Issaquah’s problem but has since replaced many key intersections with roundabouts. I recently visited Bend and was skeptical when I approached the first roundabout because there are so many badly designed roundabouts here in King County. To my surprise, these roundabouts in Bend were extremely efficient and handsomely landscaped. Yes, I had to slow down some, but I never had to stop. I made great progress through the city. It was the same great feeling as getting all green lights.
Consider for yourself how many times you have waited for a red light to change when there is no cross traffic. What a waste. Every second of your life is important. So, North Bend, here is your chance to waste less time. To sweeten the deal, roundabouts cost less than signals. But, of course, that only matters if you are also interested in saving money.
I encourage the City Council to reconsider the preference to install signals. Presently we have about six roundabout designs on the table for this intersection. If you have the chance, take a weekend trip to Central Oregon and see if you feel comfortable with Bend’s new-found efficiency. We do not have to relive Issaquah’s traffic planning failures.