Posted by Will Vanlue (Contributor) on February 28th, 2012 at 1:41 pm
at an open house last September.
(Photos: Will Vanlue/BikePortland)
On Thursday, the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District (THPRD) will host another open house to discuss improvements to the intersection of the Fanno Creek Trail and Hall Boulevard. As this project has evolved, the two current options being considered are a tunnel or a bridge.
Anyone who uses the Fanno Creek Trail knows how much of a hassle it is to cross at Hall. The intersection is one of the last gaps in a trail system running for about 10 miles between Tigard, Beaverton, and Portland.
Back in September THPRD presented four options for the project: raising Hall Boulevard and installing a tunnel for the trail, constructing an on-street crossing for bicycle and pedestrian traffic, or building a bridge over Hall with either straight or spiral ramps at either end.
In January the list narrowed further when the project committee eliminated the option of an on-street crosswalk.
That option was viewed unfavorably at the open house in September because motor vehicle traffic at a nearby intersection would likely back up and block any on-street facilities for bikes and pedestrians.
Opinions were mixed on the remaining options.
Visitors to September's open house expressed concerns about ramps for a bridge being too steep or too tightly curved for two directions of traffic to pass safely.
Project representatives explained those concerns were already being addressed. As an example, they explained ramps leading to a bridge over Hall would be wider, have a shallower grade, and (in the case of the spiral ramp) also have a wider radius than the ramp connecting the Morrison Bridge with the Eastbank Esplenade.
The option of tunneling under Hall Boulevard presented the largest change to the landscape around the Fanno Creek Trail.
To prevent Fanno Creek from flooding the tunnel (like it constantly does in the tunnel under Schools Ferry Road) Hall Boulevard would need to be raised up enough to keep the tunnel at the current level of the trail.
Most everyone I spoke in September with agreed a tunnel would be the best option for bikes and pedestrians on the trail but many were concerned about the impact raising Hall would have on motor vehicle access to nearby parking lots and businesses.
Now that the options have been narrowed down to a tunnel or a bridge it will be interesting to see how THPRD and project staff are addressing the challenges associated with each option.
You can learn more about the remaining options for the intersection of Hall Boulevard and the Fanno Creek Trail this Thursday, March 1st from 6-8pm at the Elsie Sturh Center or by visiting the project's website.
Check out more of our Washington County coverage here. Send feedback and tips to will [at] bikeportland [dot] org.