View Full Version : Westside Ped-Bike development projects...this weeks O stories

08-13-2009, 11:00 PM
Here's links to two articles in this weeks Washington County Weekly section of Thursday's Oregonian:

Breaking the barriers to bicycling in Washington County (http://www.oregonlive.com/washingtoncounty/index.ssf/2009/08/breaking_the_barriers_to_bicyc.html) In the print version, it's simply headlined as 'Empowering Pedal Power'.

Better-biking projects range from cycletracks to river crossings (http://www.oregonlive.com/washingtoncounty/index.ssf/2009/08/betterbiking_projects_range_fr.html) Print version headline: 'Washington County agencies look to expand trails, build bridges and connect corridors for bicyclists'. Side note: Vincent Paul linked this article in his thread: '$1 Million - Bike Parking or ????????'

The O's lack of consistency in headlining its stories in print and online versions is in my opinion, self defeating, but otherwise, the articles are good.

Both stories have some information that's worth knowing. First one, Empowering Pedal Power, has good quotes from Tigards mayor, a couple Washington Co commsioners, Wash Co' senior planner and a citizen. Second article has info about important bike-pedestrian projects going in on the westside, one of them, the expensive secured bike parking at Sunset and Beaverton transit centers that Vincent did his thread on.

Another project mentioned is the connectivity THPRD...tualitan hills park and recreation district...is planning to introduce into the Westside Trail:

"The Tualatin Hills Park & Recreation District is using $15 million in bond money to fill gaps in its regional trails by 2014. In May, the district completed a two-mile stretch of the Westside Trail that will eventually run 10 miles from Tigard to Rock Creek. ..... The Tualatin Hills Park district is proposing to streamline its Westside Trail by building three bridges over Scholls Ferry Road, Farmington Road and the Sunset Highway, as well as a tunnel under the Tualatin Valley Highway -- crossings that now require clumsy detours."

Ride from Tigard to Hwy 26, mostly without having to be on the road with motor vehicles...not bad.

08-14-2009, 09:31 AM
Just adding a few excerpts from the articles I provided links to:

" Washington County Commissioner Dick Schouten wants to see more people using bicycles for shopping, errands and work. He wants to see more jeans and khakis than lycra, more "bike riders" than "cyclists," more women, seniors and others who "look less like Lance Armstrong and more like regular people." "

That is the kind of attitude that 'bikes as transportation advocates are hoping for, isn't it?
Later in the article, some cautionary remarks:

" Gregg Leion, a Washington County senior planner, said frustrated drivers sitting in traffic might see bike riders "whizzing past on a $4 million cycletrack" -- a type of bike lane separated from the roadway -- and wonder why that money couldn't have gone into a separate road lane instead."

" Kevin Stahr of Raleigh Hills agrees. Stahr spends hours driving on work-related trips and wouldn't mind if bike lanes were relocated away from traffic, but doesn't want to see them take up any more space. "For me to lose street for something like that, I'm against it."

The argument that better bicycle facilities will draw people away from their cars, thus easing congestion, Stahr says, is a theory that may not pan out. "

Of course, if people aren't provided with the option of better bicycle facilities, it seems that the chance of them being drawn away from their cars will be far less.
Commenter 'KT' on the bikeportland main page article about E-bikes picked out the excerpt telling of Tigard's mayor taking up an E-bike for his commute. Better than a personal car.
From the second article:

" Forest Grove and Cornelius want to complete a 15-mile segment of the Council Creek Regional Trail, offering a safe alternative to the busy Tualatin Valley Highway from Hillsboro. "

I rode that section of the TV Hwy in spring, have ridden it in the past as well. I would think a well paved, fast for bikes trail alternative would be a huge asset.

There's more good stuff in these articles. I just picked out what was interesting to mostly myself.

08-14-2009, 10:07 AM
KT is actually me... :) Darn, my secret identity is out! :)

Anyway: I found the article to be quite interesting. I'm glad to see that Tigard's Mayor (who lives a mile or two from city hall on low-traffic neighborhood streets that connect to the Fanno Creek trail) has taken up riding to work. I'm also glad to see that he has decided that Hwy 99W isn't as scary to ride on as it looks like it could be! Maybe we'll see some more improvements in Tigard as a result. I think I'm on the new BAC (at least, I have communicated with the coordinator and have told him that I want to participate, but haven't heard when the first meeting will be), and am really looking forward to helping the city become a better place.

As far as the notion that more cyclists equals less congestion not panning out-- it's simple math. If I'm in my car, that's one more car in front of you at the traffic light that you might not make because of me. That sets you back a whole light cycle at that point, creating a cascade effect throughout the rest of your commute. If I'm riding, that's one less car in front of you at the traffic light and you might make it through because of me. That puts you up in time and creating a cascade effect throughout the rest of your commute. Simple. Encourage me to ride. Encourage others to ride. Make your commute go faster.

You can see it in action during summer-- my driving commute is 10 minutes when school's out and 30 minutes when school's in. More cars are on the road when school's in. The distance from home to work doesn't change, the timing of the traffic signals doesn't change, but my position on the road does because there's more cars.

Anyway: it was an interesting article (I read the print version, loved the cover shot!!), I'm excited about the prospects out here in Wa Co.

08-14-2009, 11:11 PM
Hey...'KT'...;)...good comment on the main page thread! I admire your moxie, but yeah..I agree, it's important to be careful about when and what you say to other people on the road about what they're doing. If though, no one somehow makes an effort to tell them...they just keep on thinking it's alright to keep on doing dumb stuff.

From what I can tell, you being on the new Tigard BAC, if it works out, should be a great boost for advances in bike use. Outfits like that need people with get-up-and-go that aren't shy wallflowers ! ...that can help them keep their eye on spots in the area that, with a little improvement, might really help to encourage more people to ride.

The route projects mentioned in those articles look to be a lot of the right things necessary to get that to happen. Connectivity and continuity of routes...signage. Just having a wider awareness amongst the public that easy to follow, safe to ride bike routes are in the works and coming their way may be one of the most important accomplishments.

That brief quote in the article from Tigard's mayor about taking up bike commuting...even given the fact he's riding an E-bike, is encouraging. Especially in Beaverton where biking hasn't yet attained as high an 'in vogue' factor that big sister Portland has, that's really important. More of our towns officials from; Beaverton...Aloha...Hillsboro...Tualitan, experiencing the challenge to bikes posed by existing problem road conditions could really help them to relate and put the fire under getting some of those projects on a fast track.

08-17-2009, 10:06 AM
I think part of the problem out here in the 'burbs is that people don't think it's possible to get places by bike.

Or that it's going to be "horrible", to quote Mayor Dirksen regarding riding on hwy99.

It's a perception problem: it is possible to get where you want to go by bike out here. There are plenty of routes that connect up, with bike lanes or sidewalks or wide shoulders. Most of my regular routes are on main roads with speed limits of 35-- except for Hall Blvd, which has a posted speed limit of 40 out at this end of it.

Vehicular cycling advocates will say that we don't need bike lanes-- but the perception is that a road with a bike lane is a safer place to ride, and that gets more people out there riding. And once they try it, they discover that it's not as bad as they thought it would be.

There are a lot of connectivity issues with the Fanno Creek trail with its many chopped up pieces and really terrible crossings (Hall has two terrible crossings, one out in Beaverton and the other down in Tigard). There are a lot of lower-speed streets that could be great for cycling routes off the arterials if there was only a shoulder, or a bike lane (for instance, Fonner at 25mph parallels Walnut at 35mph from Tiedemann up to 121st-ish. No shoulder or bike lane on Fonner, though, and an intermittent one on Walnut, and Fonner is where I have most of my problems-- it's a hill, for goodness' sake, I'm going as fast as I can).

Anyway. I'm looking forward to being a part of the process of change; I figure, since I'm out there riding and driving on the streets, I see a lot more than maybe the City Council people do-- at least, with a different perspective!

08-22-2009, 10:12 PM
I wish there were a sub-thread to this thread that I've started, so that I could post this tale of my day on the Westside trail there. Since there isn't, and there doesn't seem to be anyone but me and mademoiselle Haven posting on this thread anyway...I'm gonna just go ahead and post it here.

With my interest piqued by THPRD's stated intention to make the Westside Trail a continuous, off-road asphalt route from Oak Hlls/Hwy 26 to Tigard, I decided today to ride a section of it.

Read the rest as you feel so inclined, but the short list of what I discovered riding it is:

It's worth riding, has potential...yet to be fully realized, needs connectivity and directional signs.

I started at its intersection with Millikan, then southward. Tell you what...without a map, it's a challenge. First barrier is Tualitan Valley Hwy ( which, as one of the articles above states, the park district some time in the future, hopes to build a tunnel to eliminate that barrier.

So, what you do is ride a couple hundred feet west on the sidewalk to the signaled(that's a blessing) crosswalk. Get across the highway, jog east on the first road left to get back on the trail under the power lines (the trail uses the power line easement for its route)and...where's the trail? No where in sight...no directional signs...trail just ends.

I think, oh well...now I've got an excuse to resume my days ride on a regular road where I can pick up some speed. So I go back to the main south bound road, but decide to stay on sidewalk, east side of the street to look for another side street that might resume the trail. Blanton Drive, I believe. Sure enough...ride a couple hundred feet east and there the trail resumes southward.

Now that I've found it once again, it's worth it...quiet...not much in the way of beautiful foilage...mostly himalayan blackberries and mown grass...but still nice. It goes past an apartment complex where residents have built an extensive, well tended community garden...beautiful plants growing fairly well. People are nice...the guy and his little boy from whom I asked questions about the garden were nice, and proud of their work in the garden. This section of the Westside takes you all the way to Farmington. Easy to connect without signs after crossing this road, because you can see the trail resume across the street.

The section of the Westside south of Farmington begins to climb as it proceeds towards its intersection with Davis Rd. It offers a beautiful, tantalyzing view of a big hill rising sharply just south of Davis Rd, planted with tall, lush, thickly growing conifers...doug fir? This hill can be seen from all of the way down on Millikan. I've often thought this hill might have great potential for mountain bike riding.

It's a bit disappointing to complete the climb on the Westside to Davis Rd, because the trail seems to just end there. No signs to indicate what the situation is, one way or another. Because of that, I just gave it up and changed my itinerary....went east to Murray to Schools Ferry to Roy Rodgers and Beef Bend.

When making the climb on Scholls Ferry in the area of Murrayhill, as I rode under the power lines again, I happened to notice a trail resume northward in what's called Murrayhill Park. Hmmm-m. On the way back, I decided to follow this path. It takes you on a stiff climb north up the hill. Crest the hill and you can see Davis Rd down the hill about three-quarters of a mile away...but there is no trail to follow....private property!...no trespassing!. To get to where the Westside intersects with Davis, you've got to go east on the road you've just come to, and turn north on 155th to Davis....double back to catch the Westside again. But...there are no signs to give you directions...not a good idea, I don't think.

What there is of this trail is decent fun to ride.; it's not to be ridden fast, or shouldn't be. Even if it were already continuous from Hwy 26 to Tigard, I can't see it ever seriously being much of a commuter route. Even as a recreational route, the idea of large numbers of people riding over it doesn't seem like something it's suited for. Still, it's a nice change of pace, and kind of a ' can't lose' amenity due to the fact that it serves many residents living next to it as a place to walk or ride.

08-30-2009, 10:18 PM
I rode again this weekend on the Westside Trail south to the big hill at Davis Rd. This time I was prepared with quite a nice map that THPRD has available no charge; nice heavy paper...probably slightly plasticized. It's pretty good, but not all streets are labeled with names.

That can be a problem when trying to find access points to parks such as the one on the big hill. Actually, on the map the fairly large green area on the big hill is comprised of three parks: Thornbrook Park, Burntwood West Upper Park, and Mt. Williams Park. Mt. Williams is the park you can see from Millikan.

There are instructions online for directions to the park access. I left the map at home because I thought I could just wander around and find it. Well, I did...sort of. Asked a very attractive lady in the adjoining neighborhood for directions, which got me to an access point with a THPRD info board.

Turns out it was through Thornbrook Park, the narrowest segment of the park. I should have written down directions or printed out the directions available online, because I forgot much of what I needed to remember to get a sense of how this trio of joined parks lay in relation to surrounding streets.

The Thornbrook Park access takes you 400 feet or so up a steep, primitive path just to the east of someone's backyard fence. I kind of dumbly turned another direction at that point, thinking I was close to entering private property. At home looking at the map again, I realized if I'd turned left...eastward at that point, I'd probably would have walked into the Burntwood West Upper Park section...or maybe not; THPRD's yellow star marked google map shows Burntwood a ways away from the bigger green area. I imagine I would have actually been walking into the Mt. Williams park section. The lady mentioned a bench being there. Never saw it, so must not have gone far enough.

This is an undeveloped park. In fact, the Mt. Williams Park section, though labeled on the new map, is not listed in the park websites drop-down 'locate a park or trail' finder.

I'm interested in getting back there and exploring this park further. It's small by Forest Park standard, but what isn't?

09-01-2009, 01:01 PM
Hi Haven - this is the first I heard that Tigard was starting a BAC. They could certainly use one, their bike facility decisions are often poor, so the little money they do spend is frequently wasted. I'm one of the Bull Mountain residents that declined to become part of Tigard; in my case it was more of an issue with how Tigard delivered (or didn't deliver) services rather than higher taxes. Cycling infrastructure was certainly part of that. Anyway, hopefully with you and some other motivated folks on board they may start making some better decisions regarding infrastructure. Best of luck!