Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 26th, 2010 at 1:57 pm
the project is delayed until neighbors
(Photo: Jim Parsons/BikePortland)
When fence posts went up where the Fanno Creek Trail crosses SW Hall Boulevard (map) over the weekend, trail users were outraged.
Beaverton Bicycle Advisory Committee member Barbara Chapnick fired off an email to several fellow advocates and city planners that read, "This is absolutely terrible! Horrible, abominable! What can we do about this?"
Her sentiment was shared by several other people (judging from emails in my inbox and from posts on Facebook). Chapnick's reaction is understandable, but Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District officials say it's all just a communication breakdown and they've since explained what exactly is going on.
A family waits to cross Hall Blvd.
(Photo: Aaron Tarfman)
The current situation at the trail and SW Hall is not just inadequate, it's an urgent safety issue. The very popular trail literally ends into a dirt embankment which people walk up only to face a high-speed, high-traffic, mid-block crossing of Hall (see photos). On any day you can see people trying to cross, waiting for a break in traffic before darting to the other side.
Signage at this location urges people to walk a quarter-mile west to a signalized intersection (making for a half-mile detour). Most people (understandably so) ignore the sign and attempt the dangerous mid-block crossing.
The THPRD are well aware of this issue and they've received a federal grant to study the crossing and come up with a plan to make it better (they're just waiting on final sign off from ODOT and Metro regarding the scope of work).
users at Hall Blvd.
(Photo © J. Maus)
The problem with this fence, says Director of Park and Recreation Services with the THPRD Jim McElhinny, is that his agency "did not adequately communicate" with the neighborhood before starting the project. Turns out it's part of an interim solution being put in place while the planning study comes up with a more permanent fix.
The interim plan is to construct a new, 100-foot long paved path from where the pavement ends up to the sidewalk. The fence is being constructed to discourage trail users from crossing Hall mid-block. In an email about the fence, McElhinny wrote, "This would lead trail users to the conclusion that the access from the Albertson's parking lot would be the only connection to the trail on the south side of Hall Blvd."
City of Beaverton work crews were supposed to build the new path first and then put the fence in.
McElhinny says all work has been stopped pending completion of more public outreach which will include a neighborhood meeting.
Even after this interim path and fence is in place, a safe crossing for trail users is still years away. While there's funding for the feasibility study, there is not yet funding for construction of whatever solution they come up with.