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Tilikum Crossing may have boosted bike traffic already (corrected)

Posted by on October 2nd, 2015 at 9:34 am

Sunday Parkways September 2015-5.jpg
Tilikum Crossing during Sunday Parkways last weekend.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Correction 10/5: Unfortunately, an earlier version of this post was based on inaccurate data. As explained in the comments by Portland Bicycle Planning Coordinator Roger Geller (and first noticed by reader Psyfalcon), the Hawthorne counter failed to capture eastbound bike data from Sept. 9 through the end of the month. This problem wasn’t noted on the city’s website but we should have noticed the east/west discrepancy and checked with the city before running this story.

This means it’s likely that the Tilikum has boosted total bike traffic across the Willamette, but that Hawthorne bike traffic hasn’t dropped by anywhere close to one-third. It’ll take several weeks to learn the truth. In the meantime, we regret the error. The original (incorrect) version of the post follows.

Here’s a riddle to ask grandchildren: How did Portland make its most popular biking bridge better to use while simultaneously getting fewer people to use it?

The answer, of course, is “it built a totally different bridge a little way upriver.”

The Sept. 12 opening of Tilikum Crossing has cut Hawthorne Bridge bike traffic 33 percent, according to the bike counters on the two bridges.

bride traffic trend

Basically all of that reduced traffic seems to have shifted to the new Tilikum.

There’s no sign yet that the two-bridge combo is already drawing more bike traffic than the Hawthorne alone. Though the bridges’ combined bike count for September is 9 percent above the Hawthorne’s previous September high (captured in 2012) celebratory events like Sellwood Sunday Parkways seem to fully account for that jump.

When asked about daily bike traffic numbers on the Tilikum, Portland Bureau of Transportation Bicycle Coordinator Roger Geller thinks it’s still too early for a full analysis. “There’s still a lot of curiousity about the bridge,” he said in an interview last week. “It’s still kind of a destination. A novelty. It takes at least three months for people to figure out whether the bridge makes sense for them to use or not.”

Geller added that Metro is leading an effort in partnership with PBOT, TriMet, and researchers at Portland State University to collect baseline traffic and origin/destination data for bike trips across the bridge.

During its first two weeks open, Tilikum actually carried 15,000 more bikes than the Hawthorne. This week, though Tilikum traffic has fallen back to about half of Hawthorne traffic, which seems likely to be closer to its long-term state.

But the shift is already great news for people walking and biking on the Hawthorne, which has suffered from summertime bike congestion for years.

Bike traffic on Hawthorne Bridge-3

For those of use not navigating those bridges in rush hour, what matters will be how the increased comfort of the Hawthorne, the existence of the attractive new Tilikum, and the opening of the vastly improved Sellwood Bridge in a few months shape Portlanders’ habits over the course of the next few years.

Have you noticed a difference on the Hawthorne? Has Tilikum proved to be a better crossing for some of your trips? Will the new Sellwood?

Jonathan Maus contributed reporting to this story.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Mark October 2, 2015 at 9:37 am

    What’s even better? If you mess up on the Hawthorne, you are in traffic. If you mess up on the tilikum, nothing. Who wants to pedal the Hawthorne with their kids?

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    • Tad October 2, 2015 at 9:53 am

      Totally agreed. Hawthorne is fine for me biking on my own, or with the kids in the trailer, but with two kids on their own bikes, the dedicated single-direction bike lanes (with the cutouts for stopping/resting/picture taking) make Tilikum so much better when you’ve got kiddos to corral.

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    • Seth Alford October 3, 2015 at 8:04 pm

      What about those chiselled tops of the railing posts? OK, not as much of a hazard as a motor vehicle, but I still think they could have adopted a safer design.

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      • wsbob October 4, 2015 at 9:37 am

        “What about those chiselled tops of the railing posts? …” Seth Alford

        Of all the many thousands of people already having ridden across this bridge since its recent opening to the public, has there been even one person that’s leaned up against, or touched, or crashed into and was injured on those posts?

        Have heard no reports of this having happened. Seems a bit silly to worry about, or change something posing no real problem. Time and energy could be spent more productively elsewhere.

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  • 9watts October 2, 2015 at 9:51 am

    induced demand just around the corner?

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    • Joseph E October 2, 2015 at 8:30 pm

      Yep. Give it at least a year to see the initial usage. But even after that I expect to see a slow climb in the numbers of bikes crossing the Tillikum bridge, as people make choices about where to work and where to live, influenced by this bridge and the bus + train connections. With all the development planned around both sides of this bridge, and in the South Waterfront area, many more trips will be possible in 5 years or 10 years from now.

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      • Spiffy October 3, 2015 at 12:17 pm

        the bus connections are mostly the same… the train is slower than the bus from downtown to SE…

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  • Tad October 2, 2015 at 9:58 am

    > Has Tilikum proved to be a better crossing for some of your trips? Will the new Sellwood?

    The new Sellwood Bridge is the big one I need handled right now, especially traveling with kids. I live in LO, so my ways into the city are either (a) through the Cemetary, across Sellwood & up the Springwater or (b) down Barbur. I won’t take my kids on Barbur, and I’m utterly terrified to take them across Sellwood right now.

    Once the Sellwood Bridge is done, the next target would be figuring out some way to use the trolly tracks right-of-way to get a bike path straight into LO.

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    • Paul Cone October 2, 2015 at 10:31 am

      Yes, this. The existing path on the west side of the river is terrible. Bad sightlines, lots of turns, tree roots bubbling up the asphalt, etc.

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      • Scott H October 2, 2015 at 11:11 am

        What existing path on the west side of the river? Hwy 43 doesn’t even have a shoulder.

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        • Tad October 2, 2015 at 11:46 am

          Exactly. It looks like they’re planning on extending a bike path north from the west side of the Sellwood Bridge (http://www.sellwoodbridge.org/?p=project-area) but nothing southbound. I know LO has a rep for being all rich folks who don’t care about transit or biking, but there has got to be an alternative to either braving the 43 and likely getting run over, or climbing 500′ through the cemetery.

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          • 9watts October 2, 2015 at 11:48 am

            “but there has got to be an alternative to either braving the 43 and likely getting run over,”

            That seems like a stretch. I’ve biked on Hwy 43 plenty and never felt like I was going to get run over. Nice views, decent shoulders (or at least that was my memory of the stretch South of the Sellwood bridge). Most people driving the same direction as I was moved into the center lane to give me a wide berth.

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            • Jamie October 2, 2015 at 12:46 pm

              I recently moved and now take 43 south from Sellwood bridge. The first few times I tried to stay on the shoulder and got buzzed several times. Now I take the lane staying far enough in to force people to change to the center lane. It’s not a real comforting feeling, and with the construction there really isn’t a shoulder. Hopefully it will get better next year, but +1 for a trolley bike path, I won’t take my kids on 43.

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            • Scott H October 2, 2015 at 1:29 pm

              You can’t seriously claim that it doesn’t take huge cajones to ride that stretch of 43. Sure, statistically, you’re more likely to be injured by a vehicle crossing the front of your path, rather than hitting you from behind, statistically. But it just. doesn’t. feel. safe. Getting buzzed at 50 mph just isn’t any fun. At times there is only one lane to take, and one day someone could be too busy texting to notice you and that would be the end.

              I know the current ODOT overlords would never do it but it would be incredibly easy to take that stretch of 43 from 3 lanes down to 2, with nice wide buffered bike lanes, and you wouldn’t even have to touch the trolly tracks.

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          • B. Carfree October 4, 2015 at 1:55 pm

            Are you sure the cemetery is a 500′ climb? It always seems more like a third of that.

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            • Tad October 5, 2015 at 10:16 am

              Just went back to my last Strava results – said it went from 13′ elev at the gate to 492′ on Palatine Hill Rd – so, pretty close to 500′.

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        • Joseph Edge October 2, 2015 at 1:31 pm

          This is one of the reasons we’re pushing the County ahead on the Lake Oswego-Milwaukie (Oak Grove, really) multi-use path bridge. Clackamas County has this bridge on the priority project list (5 years-or-less) but it is as-yet unfunded. This would provide a direct, low-stress connection from Lake Oswego to the Trolley Trail in Oak Grove, which connects to the Orange Line as well as the future 17th Ave Multi-use path in Milwaukie (which is being constructed, afaik) that will link to the Springwater Trail. The connection from Downtown Lake Oswego to the east side trail network is potentially a far-cheaper solution than reconstructing Hwy 43 from LO to the Sellwood Bridge (that should certainly happen but is not the low-hanging fruit here).

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          • Tom Hardy October 3, 2015 at 8:03 pm

            Anything cycling is last priority for Clackamas county, especially if it enhances access to anything in Multnomah county.

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        • Granpa October 3, 2015 at 1:21 pm

          There is nice length of greenway trail along the west side of the river that runs from Willamette Park all the way to the south waterfront. It is in poor shape and pretty slow, but lovely and unobstructed by traffic.

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      • Terry Nobbe October 5, 2015 at 9:55 am

        Paul: The existing path from the tilicum west IS poor compared to connecting to Corbett on the east side. Is there any option to climbing all the way to Broadway to get to Broadway southbound?

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    • Eric Leifsdad October 2, 2015 at 1:44 pm

      Right now, you could take Terwilliger->Barbur->Miles->Brier->Custer->Corbett (->laView?) down to the river trail and get to south waterfront. Optional scenic bypass for that 4 blocks of Barbur: take the stairs down from Terwilliger before I5 and that trail east to Custer.

      I agree the Sellwood bridge and trolley trail would be a great bike connection, but given how bikes are treated during the bridge construction, I doubt it will be low-stress. We need to widen Springwater and maybe add striped/separated pedestrian lanes on it. But then again, there is plenty of extra space on 43 all the way to downtown.

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    • Paul Souders October 2, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      I lived in outer SW for a decade, almost LO, and commuted with my son to inner eastside. He rode on a tag-along tandem. We moved before the Tilikum was finished but that would have added some other options for us.

      Here were our usual routes to get from Lewis & Clark to OMSI:

      Cemetery > Sellwood Br > Springwater

      Cemetery > sidewalk of 43 > Miles Pl > Willamette Park > Willamette Greenway > S Waterfront > Hawthorne

      Terwilliger > (downtown) > Lincoln > S Waterfront > etc.

      Terwilliger > Barbur (2 blocks, sidewalk OK) > Miles > Brier Pl > Corbett > Nebraska > Willamette Park > etc.

      Terwilliger > Barbur > Miles > Brier Pl > Corbett > LaView > sidewalk of Taylors ferry > Virginia > Nebraska > etc.

      Terwilliger > Troy > 5th > Path under NB I-5 on-ramp (!) > Custer > Brier Pl > etc.

      NONE of these routes are fast, but they are pleasantly chill. If you’re in a hurry your choices are Barbur, and also Barbur.

      The Westside Willamette trail has its challenges but it’s a good ride for little ones. And they are already building the connection between the Sellwood & Willamette park. South of the Sellwood — Lord help you. I braved SR 43 exactly once and that was enough. Someday we might have the LO trolley trail. Someday.

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    • rick October 2, 2015 at 3:07 pm

      Contact Jon Gustafson from the Lake Oswego city council. He is working to get the paperwork undergoing to see what it will take to put a trail on the rusting row of the Willamette Shore Trolley.

      There will be historic levels of daily pedestrian and bike traffic in and around the new Sellwood Bridge once it is done.

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  • Psyfalcon October 2, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Is the counter working right? For the last month its about 2500 westbound, and only 500 eastbound.

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    • 9watts October 2, 2015 at 10:08 am

      An interesting question. I’ve not looked at the counters in ages, but remember several times when the counter was not logging Eastbound traffic. Easy to tell when you stand in front of it and watch a stream of bikes heading East and the counter doesn’t log them.
      At times this real time glitch seems to have been corrected on a longer (daily) time frame, but I’ve long been suspicious of the reliability of that East-bound counter.

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      • Tad October 2, 2015 at 10:27 am

        My last crossing on Tilikum showed I was around the 40,000th person eastbound, and that was last week.

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        • 9watts October 2, 2015 at 10:32 am

          How were you able to determine this? From the Eastside counter loop you can’t read what is on the West-mounted counter screen.

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          • 9watts October 2, 2015 at 10:33 am

            Oh, you said Tilikum. I thought we were discussing the counter on the Hawthorne Bridge. Never mind.

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      • lop October 2, 2015 at 12:51 pm


        On Monday the Hawthorne counter recorded 5,995 westbound and 82 eastbound. Yesterday October 1st it recorded 61 westbound and 3,264 eastbound.

        Seems a little off.

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    • Roger Geller October 2, 2015 at 1:09 pm

      Beginning on September 9 the counter on the eastbound path was recording only a fraction (if any) of the trips on that sidewalk. We (PBOT) repaired that a couple of days ago.

      For the wonky among you: we have had difficulties transmitting the data from the eastbound pathway to the display. That communication is via radio. However, with the exception of this recent outage, the data is all sent to a server and that data is recorded on the Hawthorne Bridge counter website (http://portland-hawthorne-bridge.visio-tools.com/). In short: data intact; display sometimes lacking and something we’re working to address.

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      • lop October 2, 2015 at 2:01 pm

        Is there anyway to download daily counts in each direction as a csv?

        Date eastboundcount westboundcount

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        • holla October 13, 2015 at 9:01 pm

          This would be really cool!

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  • Alan Love October 2, 2015 at 10:16 am

    I live at the far edge of SW PDX and work in inner-SE. Previous to the Tillicum, my commute was Barbur to Naito and over the Hawthorne to Lincoln/Harrison. I still have to deal with the joys of Barbur, but can now cut out the weaving/lane sharing/forced merges of Naito by taking Corbett to the Gibbs bridge. It’s a more pleasant commute on that section, but once over the bridge, the complicated weaving over the various tracks with poorly timed lights and UP trains, then onto busier-than-it-should-be Clinton brings on a different kind of unpleasantness that also takes a bit longer to ride, despite being shorter as the crow flies. Coming home, climbing back up Corbett after the Tillicum with impatient drivers behind is not fun.

    The Tillicum is an awesome bridge, but the connections on/off and required elevation changes make it more difficult than it would seem. For the most part, I’m switching back to the slightly less-safe but far more straightforward Barbur-Naito-Hawthorne route. If ODOT was willing to make Barbur safer and have some sort of actual facility for people on bikes to get to Naito, it would be a great route.

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    • 9watts October 2, 2015 at 10:24 am

      Very interesting bit of ground truthing, Alan. Sounds awfully frustrating.

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    • Justin Carinci October 2, 2015 at 11:11 am

      I’m hoping the signal timing will fix a few things and not require a bigger, more expensive solution. As it is, the more direct route on Tilikum takes me longer than detouring north to Hawthorne and then back to Clinton.
      I’ll know things are better when I stop seeing so many people ride on the Ross Island Bridge. It hasn’t happened yet.

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    • Phil Richman October 2, 2015 at 12:54 pm

      I have the same commute, same experiences and agree with your assessment. I’ve timed the route with limited infrastructure (Barbur/Naito) at 18-20 minutes and Tilikum at 25-28 minutes. When Sellwood reopens I will take the cemetery to Spring Water. The Barbur Road Safety Audit report is due out soon. ODOT’s Susan Hanson told me there has been some delay due to the length of the report.

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    • PorterBall October 5, 2015 at 10:02 am

      Have you tried the Ross Island Bridge? You could shave some minutes off depending on where you work in inner SE… You can cut under the train tracks on Powell and skip most of Clinton that way as well… basically go dead East from Corbett to like SE 20th.

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      • Justin Carinci October 6, 2015 at 11:36 am

        Welcome to America’s Bicycle Capital.

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  • Terry D-M October 2, 2015 at 10:39 am

    I have been doing Tilikum-Hawthorne loops with excursions south to relax on either side of the river. My old pattern was Hawthorne-Steel with excursions south, east side. I am excited about the new Sellwood but until the west side path is completed the numbers south on the west side won’t bump up like they should.

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  • TonyJ October 2, 2015 at 10:47 am

    I’ve seen some anecdotal data on trips over the bridges and what really stands out is how little we got for the 2 million spent on the Morrison Bridge. It’s a shame, and an embarrassment, that the only truly separated bike path over the river (even Tilikum is multi-use) has terrible connections on both sides of the river. What a waste of money.

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    • Paul Cone October 2, 2015 at 10:48 am

      Indeed. There is only so much you can do with a bridge that is basically a freeway ramp.

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      • fourknees October 2, 2015 at 11:10 am

        The Morrison and Steel bridges are my favorites to due protection. I walk the waterfront during lunch and even then the Hawthorne can feel crowded.

        I avoid Burnside when possible. If we had Morrison like infrastructure on Burnside, which also feels like a freeway ramp, we wouldn’t have had the recent pedestrian fatality there.

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    • Adam H. October 2, 2015 at 11:12 am

      The Morrision Bridge is great if you’re going to Hair of the Dog brewery, though. That’s about all it’s good for. 🙂

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      • Bryan B October 2, 2015 at 11:47 am

        The only times I’ve used the Morrison in my two years living/biking in Portland is getting to/from Hair of the Dog. The access on either side is so bad that it doesn’t integrate with the rest of the bike network well.

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      • Brad October 2, 2015 at 11:54 am

        It’s actually really easy and convenient to use the Morrison to get into downtown if you’re coming from Ankeny in the SE, which is my local greenway. My wife doesn’t like using the Morrison because the climb over the hump creates too much sweat on the way to work.

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    • Scott H October 2, 2015 at 11:14 am

      Not to mention the Morrison is now literally falling apart.

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    • Terry D-M October 2, 2015 at 11:18 am

      As a city we are terrible about building connections. Morrison is not the only one…..17th and Holgate MAX station…how to get east?, Waud Bluff Trail….how about a Greenway connection? Chimney-Pier Park bridge….not even a few measly sharrows to connect the path to the Greenway a few blocks south….past the park no less.

      I could go on and on….Portland always builds nice things….on the cheap…and hopes the connections work out. We need to budget an extra 10% to make sure whatever “expensive” bridge or retrofit safely CONNECTS to everything. In the Morrison case, the only decent connection is from the Green bike lane on SW Stark heading west, and even there the shared environment for two blocks creates a safety bottleneck.

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      • Hello, Kitty October 2, 2015 at 12:25 pm

        I have to agree. In many cases, improved connections could be done for very little money. The Lafayette St. max station has good bike access from the east (over that new pedestrian bridge), but you’d never know it, even if you were only a few blocks away. Paint some bike lanes or sharrows on 21st, add a few signs, and you’ve got a great connection from the existing lanes/trails that pass nearby (Gladstone, 26th/28th, Clinton, etc.)

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    • Elliot October 2, 2015 at 12:15 pm

      The Morrison Bridge is definitely multi-use, except for the short grade-separated segment in the middle section of the bridge that lifts where bikes are on the bridge deck and peds are on the sidewalk. And while the connections on either side of the bridge are poor, I wouldn’t call it a waste of money – just an investment that is lying dormant, waiting for a future Morrison/Belmont couplet cycle track in SE. We can dream, right?

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  • armando October 2, 2015 at 11:17 am

    during the summer i mostly commute to the tram by way of hawthorne, but when school is in session i use the steel(via ne portland). i’ve changed now to taking the tilikum. it’s shortened my commute by about 5 minutes, mostly because i don’t end up waiting for car traffic like i did on the west side. i also have the benefit of not having to wait for bridge lifts by going over the tilikum.

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  • Todd Hudson October 2, 2015 at 11:20 am

    I would very much like to see segregation of pedestrians and cyclists on the Hawthorne Bridge. I’d even be happy if it was made one-way for cyclists so peds could have one side and not be able to use the other. Riding past people who aren’t paying attention, with that high curb and a metal grate below (not to mention oncoming traffic), has always made me weary.

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    • Scott H October 2, 2015 at 11:26 am

      I’ve never had any serious problems on the Hawthorne. Just slow down. It’s meant to be a multi-use path, not a race track.

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      • Elliot October 2, 2015 at 12:26 pm

        I’m in agreement with Scott H that the only issues I’ve seen on the Hawthorne Bridge are caused by people riding too fast and passing carelessly. I have had several close calls, though. This summer I had another rider actually reach out and push me out of the way in order to pass me.

        The burden of safe passing always falls upon the passer, not the passee – if you can’t pass safely, slow down and wait for an appropriate window.

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    • soren October 3, 2015 at 9:22 am

      I ride across the Hawthorne bridge 6-8 times a week. Other than being irritated by the occasional close-passing knucklehead I have absolutely no problems cycling across the Hawthorne bridge.

      Nevertheless, the Hawthorne bridge is hell for pedestrians. If I try to cross during peak commute hours people cycling will buzz me at high speeds, shout at me, ring their bells at me, and occasionally curse at me. The harassment of pedestrians on the Hawthorne bridge MUP may be mostly unintentional but it is a perfect illustration of how “shared” infrastructure is failed infrastructure.

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      • Hello, Kitty October 3, 2015 at 11:13 am

        I totally agree. I rarely walk across the Hawthorne Bridge, but as a cyclist some of the rude and dangerous behavior I see coming from my fellow cyclists really disgusts me.

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      • lop October 3, 2015 at 11:32 am

        The waterfront is no better. The path is wider but bikes go both ways and there are people who sit down or stand still.

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      • Bill Walters October 3, 2015 at 1:58 pm

        Yeah, but Soren, you have admitted to rather unorthodox methodologies under both your current commenting name and your previous one. One wonders, if you’re getting that kind of reaction regularly, are you footing it on the wheel side of the way?

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        • soren October 3, 2015 at 3:07 pm

          Bill, Do you really believe that someone who has biked across the bridge over 10,000 times does not know which side to walk on? Earlier this year I participated in an unmarked cross-walk action on Hawthorne near the bridge. ~50% of people driving stopped for pedestrians (terrible) but hardly anyone cycling stopped. The behavior of cyclists there was really eye-opening to me as an active transportation advocate.

          PS: my handle change from spare_wheel was no secret.

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          • Bill Walters October 3, 2015 at 3:38 pm

            Meh, my belief doesn’t change how you walk there — which is why I thought I’d ask. Still don’t know. But agreed on the crosswalk thing.

            Myself, I start appealing to walkers on the Hawthorne only when they do that four-abreast thing that blocks pretty much the whole width. Seems more common on the north side than the south, for whatever reason.

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  • Adam H. October 2, 2015 at 11:25 am

    I’ve switched from the Esplanade/Steel Bridge to using the Moody Cycle track and Tilikum. I’ve noticed a fair amount of bike traffic on Moody as well. This is what happens when you build decent, safe cycling infra – people actually use it!

    Next step should be to connect the Moody cycle track/MUP combo to a Naito cycle track so people don’t have to commute though Waterfront Park.

    That and fix the signal issues on the east and west sides:

    There is still a right-hook possibility at SE 8th when both the bike signal and car signal are green at the same time. People driving should be held at a red with the existing “no right turn” sign illuminated when people riding bikes have a green.

    At SE 11th/12th, the angle of the bike signal is impossible to see from where you’d normally stop your bike. It’s also very unclear whether you’re supposed to follow the arrow signal, ped signal, or the bike signal (that you can’t see anyway).

    There is a missing bike signal at the north start of the Moody cycle track (we’re expected to use the ped signal).

    The crossing of the slip lane at Harbor Drive and SW River Parkway is never green unless one presses the ped crossing button. It should be green when the main crossing is green with a “no turns on red” sign. Or install a bike detection loop.

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    • Mark October 2, 2015 at 12:53 pm

      There is a signal guy at pbot who was on the bike Portland podcast. He seemed receptive to any signal issues. Have you pursued that avenue?

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      • Adam H. October 2, 2015 at 1:09 pm

        Peter Koonce? Yes, I’ve spoken with him many times.

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    • Eric Leifsdad October 2, 2015 at 1:54 pm

      Coming from SW, Tilikum is reducing my usage of Naito south of the Hawthorne bridge. But, maybe it’s adding thru biking on waterfront/Naito? The Better Naito lane would be a good start, though I would say just use all of the pavement east of the median and do it right. The other side could be 2-way or maybe northbound only. Cars would lose access to the ramp onto Hawthorne which merges while crossing the sidewalk and bike lane?

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      • Adam H. October 2, 2015 at 2:10 pm

        I absolutely agree that Better Naito should use up two full lanes. The median is already there. It should also extend all the way past the Fremont Bridge. There’s still the issue with the train tracks under the Steel Bridge, though.

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  • V$ October 2, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Well, now that SE is shored up, lets built a NoPo bridge!!!
    Sigh never going to happen…

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    • rick October 2, 2015 at 3:12 pm

      A North Portland bike bridge to Sauvie Island would be nice.

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    • Scott Mizee October 3, 2015 at 8:15 am

      Recall that the original vision by npGREENWAY shows a facility for people to walk and bicycle across the Willamette similar to the Steel Bridge. It would be adde into the existing railroad bridge connecting to the Peninsula Crossing Trail and would provide excellent access to Saltzman and Forest Park.

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  • rachel b October 2, 2015 at 11:51 am

    I’ve seen a lot more parents riding with their kids (kids on their own bikes) in the Clinton neighborhood in the mornings–I know many are headed to Hosford-Abernethy School but some are taking the new path. Very impressed with these parents and kids! 🙂 Love to see them.

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  • Tad October 2, 2015 at 11:59 am

    Not sure if things have changed since you last rode it, but much of the OR 43 has literally less than a foot of shoulder, and cars going 45mph or faster. (https://goo.gl/UkYkHv) Certainly not my preferred commute, especially if visibility were compromised (fog / rain / dawn / dusk).

    Only reference I could find to other options is: http://www.oregonlive.com/opinion/index.ssf/2015/01/a_small_step_toward_a_riversid.html – which is a start, an ‘idea’ but not much more.

    I’m curious as to what the cost would be to hang a bike path onto the sides of the UP rail crossing (https://goo.gl/lNMPRh) just north of downtown LO. Seems that might be just as costly as making a bike path along or replacing the trolly tracks, as well as handling the tunnel issue. Plus it would quickly hook you up with eastside bike routes, and make for a 1.5mi bike ride to the end of the Orange Line MAX. Just a thought.

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    • Joseph Edge October 2, 2015 at 1:38 pm

      A multi-use pathway/bridge in the vicinity of the Portland & Western Railroad crossing of the Willamette between Lake Oswego and Oak Grove is on Clackamas County’s short(er) list of unfunded projects for their Capital Improvement Plan. This is highly feasible if we can locate funding.

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      • Eric Leifsdad October 3, 2015 at 12:36 am

        There is some superfund work coming at the confluence of tryon creek (culverts, O43 bridge, etc.) Not sure if that can help with a river crossing.

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  • gutterbunnybikes October 2, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    However, so far this week weekday numbers on the Hawthorne have jumped back to levels consistent with traffic before the Tilikum opening.

    Now that assumes there is nothing wrong with the Hawthorne counter, which there might be. I assume that the eastbound traffic is mostly getting mixed in with westbound traffic. But it’s possible that eastbound traffic isn’t getting counted – and if that is the case, the Hawthorne numbers have been static and Tilikum has added 3000 commuters a day. It looks as if the Hawthorne bridge counter might have started having issues on Sept. 9th.

    Numbers so far this week

    Hawthorne Bridge

    Weekday average 5516

    Monday 6077
    Tuesday 6352
    Wednesday 6311
    Thursday 3325

    Tilikum Crossing

    Weekday average 2926 (too early to be very accurate long term)

    Monday 3153
    Tuesday 3252
    Wednesday 3129
    Thursday 3004

    Too many special events on the weekends since the Tilikum opened to really use the week end numbers for any kind of indication.

    Together everyday but Thursday of this week (though there was no or few reports of eastbound Hawthorne traffic that day), beats all but two days for the Hawthorne bridge. Those days were this year’s Bridge Pedal (+13k crossings) which just broke the long standing record held by the 2013 World Naked Bike Ride (just under 10k).

    Though too early to say, but I’d guess that the Tilikum likely will give us at least one more percentage point on the bike commute numbers.

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    • gutterbunnybikes October 2, 2015 at 1:07 pm

      my mistake, Tilikums 3000 should be trips not commuters , but more like 1300-1500 commuters assuming each commuter rides over in each direction each day.

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  • Rian October 2, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    Glad Hawthorne bike traffic is improving. I’ve been surprised that Ross Island motor vehicle traffic hasn’t improved with some buses switching to Tilikum and all that MAX capacity.(Has anyone ridden MAX to see if its getting used during commute hours?) My bus line remains on Ross Island and the length of the commute has gotten much worse since Tilikum opened. Back-to-school traffic probably has some relation, but I had been hoping for years that Tilikum would improve Ross Island.

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    • rick October 2, 2015 at 3:10 pm

      The competition of the Sellwood Bridge will see some TriMet bus service returning to that bridge for the first time in over 10 years. More pedestrian and bike commuters on the Sellwood could alleviate traffic on the Ross Island bridge.

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    • Joseph E October 2, 2015 at 8:39 pm

      It takes months for people to start using new rail lines, and years more for a new transit route to reach peak ridership. Look at these charts from Seattle: http://seattletransitblog.com/2015/10/01/may-2015-sound-transit-ridership-report/
      The new line has been around for several years, and ridership is still growing by 8% a year. It finally broke 40,000 per weekday last month, after starting at just 15,000 per day for the first 6 months. I expect to see the Yellow Line extension (eg Orange Line) to follow a similar pattern, especially if Portland and Milwaukie allow plenty of new housing near the stations, like Seattle.

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    • Joseph Edge October 5, 2015 at 11:13 am

      Everything I’ve heard (from several different sources with varying opinions of light rail) is that the Orange line is packed during rush hour and the P&R lots at both Tacoma Street and Park Avenue are full during the day.

      Remember, it’s not like they dropped in a new line where service didn’t already exist and have to wait for it to build up over time. Many inner SE PDX & Milwaukie-area bus routes, several of which have had strong ridership for years, were reconfigured to feed existing riders into the Orange line that previously were spread across probably more than a dozen different bus routes, several of which don’t go Downtown anymore. There’s probably a more visible reduction to rush hour bus traffic crossing the Hawthorne than there is to the Ross Island.

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  • soren October 2, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    The Hawthorne Bridge westbound counter was defective in September so the numbers are pretty much meaningless. There was a gradual decrease in the westbound counts culminating in 6 days with essentially no recorded west-bound counts.


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    • soren October 2, 2015 at 12:49 pm


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    • gutterbunnybikes October 2, 2015 at 1:00 pm

      though yesterday it was the opposite, eastbound got captured while westbound wasn’t.

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    • Psyfalcon October 2, 2015 at 1:07 pm

      Now it looks like the WB counter is out.

      Looks like this article is built on junk. Now who is responsible for letting a counter go out during the first month of a new bridge? Way to blow any meaningful data collection.

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      • joebobpdx October 2, 2015 at 1:41 pm

        looks like your comment is built on junk . . .

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        • Psyfalcon October 3, 2015 at 8:15 am

          From Gellers post:

          However, with the exception of this recent outage, the data is all sent to a server and that data is recorded on the Hawthorne Bridge counter website (http://portland-hawthorne-bridge.visio-tools.com/). In short: data intact; display sometimes lacking and something we’re working to address.

          So this is the exception. The data is bad. The reader on the bridge is often wrong, but in this case, the whole thing is off.

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    • soren October 2, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      And Roger Geller confirmed that the counter was broken up thread.

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  • TomG October 2, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    The Tilikum has changed my routine ride from OHSU to steel. The east side from the Tilikum to the Steel is less crowded (maybe a little longer).It feels safer around Burnside. During the festival/concert season the new bridge will allow me to avoid waterfront park. The Hawthorne is a favorite bridge but the Tilikum is a great addition and fun to use.

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  • spencer October 2, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    I live by OHSU, and often head into SE. I’ve found getting from the Tillikum up the hospital without using the tram to be a nightmare. The bridge is pretty, but is slower than just going across the Hawthorn bridge due to the dead space / neighborhoods surrounding I5 and Barbur. The bridge is good for South Waterfront folks, but isnt that useful to go farther south or west.

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    • Joseph E October 2, 2015 at 8:31 pm

      Getting to OHSU without the tram is always a challenging bike ride. That’s a big hill! But with the tram it’s a nice quick trip.

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    • Eric Leifsdad October 3, 2015 at 12:50 am

      Gibbs -> Hamilton -> Terwilliger? That’s 500ft of climbing if the elevator is out, but pretty well connected. The highway is part of it, but the ridge is the biggest barrier. Hamilton is ok on the mid-drive 750W electric bike, but a smaller hub motor might not be much help there. It’s not a bad place to walk your fixie up the hill either.

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      • soren October 3, 2015 at 8:06 am

        Crossing Barbur and/or 26 is not intuitive at all. It pretty much requires significant route experimentation and/or a pre-planned route.

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    • davemess October 3, 2015 at 8:00 am

      It’s pretty easy to take Moody to get into John’s Landing. What “going South” do you mean?

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  • davemess October 2, 2015 at 5:17 pm

    I only have to cross the river once a week. I’ve switched to the Tilikum since I’m going to the tram from S-SE Portland. I do save about 5 minutes on average so far, but I was expecting it to be more. It’s just pretty slow getting to the bridge on the east side, but I think we all know that already.

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  • Barbara October 3, 2015 at 7:47 am

    Agree that using the Tillicum to get to OHSU not useful.. Much easier and faster just to use the Hawthorne. The tram is not a quick trip when you add in the slowdown to avoid people on the path, then having to walk bike at either end and wait in line and loading. I’ve always found it faster to just bike up the Hill via Campus Dr. I timed it several times tram way always slower.

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    • soren October 3, 2015 at 9:10 am

      Clearly many find the tram useful as the hundreds of bikes parked at it’s base illustrate.

      (Like you I ride terwilliger-campus dr but people like me represent a miniscule fraction of potential cyclists.)

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  • Johnny White October 3, 2015 at 8:01 am

    I thought, and I still think, that this was good news, since a new bridge was put up. Seeing though the comments made it seem that it’s not that helpful. But then again, these are just a handful of people.

    The way I see it, this is still a step forward (along with the said planned improvement of Sellwood Bridge) in promoting cycling as an alternative means for transportation.

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  • Matt M. October 3, 2015 at 10:35 am

    I commute from SE (34th/Div) to downtown (5th/Clay) and have always gone the Harrison/Lincoln – Ladd’s – Hawthorne route. I’ve tried the Clinton – Tilikum route instead maybe eight times so far, and it’s a real bummer how much longer it takes despite being only 0.25 miles more distance for me from point to point. With all of the zany turns and signal issues on both ends, it can almost feel like the ride takes 2x as long.

    To me, if you live in SE and work in the central downtown area, and your goal is just to get to work in the most straightforward way (so, putting aside aesthetics) it’s hard to see why you would use Tilikum to get there, even if you live south of Clinton. The westside connections are just weird enough that I would still just go up to Hawthorne to cross, where despite all the cacophony of that western end, at least you are right there in downtown. West end of Tilikum to downtown feels like a weird little additional journey that I haven’t quite yet nailed despite trying 3 or 4 different variations at this point.

    That said, it does feel to me that there’s been a bit of a drop in the Hawthorne crowds most days so far.

    Anyway – these are obviously observations for a specific route, but I suspect there are many others that do a similar SE-to-central downtown ride each day. Curious to know if others share that view.

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    • Paul H. October 5, 2015 at 9:45 am

      I come up Springwater and work in the same part of town that Matt does, perhaps even in the same building. I agree with his assessment completely. I’ve ridden Tilikum a couple times, but the Hawthorne’s connection to downtown is faster and cleaner (even accounting for the abysmal pavement as you exit the Hawthorne traveling west).

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