Steven Ames reports in from Bend, Oregon:
One interesting thing about Bend – which if not the most bikeable town in Oregon is pretty good – is its system of roundabouts (RABs, as they call them). As far as I know, the entire west side of Bend, has virtually no traffic lights, but dozens of RABs.
They simultaneously calm traffic and make it flow more smoothly and organically — if that’s the right word. And they are planned to accommodate bikes.
I don’t know how RABs measure up energetically (i.e., fuel saved or carbon not emitted) but I can say how pleasant it is driving a car on the westside in that one never has those long, hot idles (as opposed to idylls) at traffic lights. In one way, it’s too bad there’s no time to stop at a RAB, because every Bend RAB also has public art, some of it spectacular — another good reason to ride a bike. Turning an intersection into a place for public art is brilliant.
From farther afield, Jean Chong – she of the Third Wave Cycling Blog – is just back from Europe, and sends along some perspective by Jack Becker on “Cycling to the Airports: Rating the Cycle from Downtown to the Airport” Also, Jack’s previously published article on the ease of multi-modal travel in Europe vs. Canada/U.S. by combining rail and bike.
Cycling in Prague. Very different experience from other northern European countries. Less cyclists, cycling infrastructure— like our own North American cities, minus kms. of cobblestone. Except aging, rusty Czech trains regularily offer a bike train car per scheduled train.