Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on August 31st, 2011 at 9:43 am
(Photo © J. Maus)
A project to smooth out two sets of railroad tracks on NW Naito Parkway is complete. There used to be severe bumps and gaps in the road just north of the Steel Bridge overpass; but now the track panels have been replaced and people who have been injured while biking over the bumps are breathing easier.
On July 24th, just over a week before the Portland Bureau of Transportation announced the project, a woman (who will remain anonymous) crashed while negotiating the tracks during a group ride. She suffered a serious wrist injury which required surgery to insert a steel plate and pin. The woman’s doctor says she’ll never regain full range-of-motion.
(I’ve asked both Union Pacific Railroad and PBOT if the track replacement project was a response to the woman’s crash, but have yet to hear back. I assume it wasn’t because of the short time window (less than two weeks) between her crash and the project getting underway.) (UPDATE: Both PBOT and UPRR say the project was completed as part of regular maintenance.)
Scott Batchelar is another person who will be glad to know the tracks have been replaced. “When I saw the new tracks I breathed a huge sigh of relief,” he wrote via Twitter. Batchelar rides in that area often, but said he used to avoid the tracks because of “how tricky and dangerous” they were. He says he’s had three “big spills” while riding across them. “I referred to those tracks as my personal enemy because of how many times they had gotten me.”
There are other bumpy tracks in need of replacement in Northwest Portland near Union Station. Hopefully those get replaced soon.