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Blues Fest snarls bike traffic near Hawthorne Bridge

Posted by on July 5th, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Bike traffic mess at Blues Fest-13
A poorly placed porta-pottie is making things even tighter than usual on the Hawthorne Bridge.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland


The annual Waterfront Blues Fest has closed a large portion of the popular bike path through Waterfront Park and has snarled bike traffic on the Hawthorne Bridge. In addition, power generator equipment is set up on a section of Naito Parkway just south of Salmon and the bicycle onramp to the Hawthorne bridge is now a motorcycle parking area (you can still get through).

Here’s the bike lane situation on Naito:

Bike traffic mess at Blues Fest-2
Bike traffic mess at Blues Fest-3

I went to check things out this afternoon after hearing about a porta-pottie being placed directly on the biking and walking path on the western end of the bridge deck. Multnomah County (they manage the bridges) acknowledged a few hours ago that they did not place the porta-pottie in that location, but it remained their as of the evening traffic rush.

Here are a few images as of today at around 5:00 pm:

Bike traffic mess at Blues Fest-7
Bike traffic mess at Blues Fest-11
Bike traffic mess at Blues Fest-9

People who need to walk through the are and don’t want to enter the Blues Fest are also using the road shoulder:

Bike traffic mess at Blues Fest-10
View looking south toward the Hawthorne Bridge.

Bike traffic headed northbound from South Waterfront onto the Hawthorne Bridge is being directed on Naito Parkway. I asked the guy at the entrance gate on the Waterfront Path just north of the Hawthorne Bridge if he had any suggestions for how I could continue south. He said I was welcome to walk my bike through the fest (after having my bag checked and considering an optional donation to the Fest’s non-profit partner, the Oregon Food Bank).

Bike traffic mess at Blues Fest-14

In general, this entire area is a big mess for bicycling. I would recommend avoiding it if you can — unless of course you want to enjoy some great blues music and a great festival! Use the Morrison Bridge as an alternate, and consider using SW 3rd and 4th Streets, or take the lane and ride defensively on Naito.

The Fest started yesterday and runs through Sunday July 8th.

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