Originally Posted by finallyinpdx
Does anyone commute in from Tigard or Beaverton to downtown, or to the Pearl? Any advice on a route would be appreciated.
I commute from DT to Beaverton. Going to Beaverton I take Jefferson through the Zoo then get on Hwy. 26 at the Skyline/Silvan exit. If I'm running late, I'll take Jefferson straight to Hwy. 26. The shoulder is kind of narrow (and bumpy), but most of the traffic in the slow lane is slow-moving semi-trucks, so it's not too bad. There's also the multi-use path that parallels 26, but when the weather's nice it tends to be crowded with pedestrians and dogs on extendable leashes. I've had one close call with a light-less cyclist descending west on the path when I was going east; I feel safer on Hwy. 26, the shoulder's nice and wide. Depending on my mood, I'll get off 26 at the 69a exit (just before the 217 interchange) and take neighborhood back roads or else take 217 to the Canyon Rd. exit if I'm in a hurry. There's 3 (maybe 4) onramps that you have to negotiate, but the traffic moves in waves, so you can usually just wait in the merge median for a gap in traffic.
Going east, I get on 26 via Parkway right at the 217 interchange. I once rode on 217 from Walker to 26; the shoulder is like 1.2 feet wide. I had to ride in the traffic lane (a couple of motorists weren't too happy about that!). I wouldn't take 217 from Tigard, the shoulder varies in width and there's lots of exit/onramps to negotiate. I would just take arterials into Beaverton (Hall Blvd., Murray, etc.). Once on 26, I usually get off at Silvan/Skyline and cut over onto Canyon Ct. via the last segment of the multi-use path and take that to the zoo. It tends to be easier than negotiating past that exit ramp and getting off at the zoo exit. The shoulder also gets kind of choppy past Skyline, so be careful if you ride 26 past there. I've taken 26 all the way to the PGE exit (73 I believe, the last exit you have to take before the Vista Ridge tunnels) which puts you onto Jefferson. It's a nice quick way to bypass the zoo if you don't have the time or energy to climb through the arboretum. It's also kind of fun riding through that tunnel, the shoulder continues all the way through it and only drops after Jefferson starts to descend (where you can comfortably take the lane).
You could also take Pac Hwy. to Barbur into downtown, that's a pretty straight shot. Be careful though, both Pac Hwy. and Barbur have some poorly designed/maintained bike lanes that abruptly end in a couple spots without warning. I usually only ride PAC Hwy. during rush hour if I absolutely have to.
The zoo is really fun to ride through, I highly recommend it to anyone commuting into DT from the west side. If you think freeway riding is dangerous the accident statistics show otherwise; freeways are the safest roads out there because there's no turning or crossing traffic. Hopefully ODOT won't try and ban bicycles from state highway shoulders again (I think they proposed that a couple of years ago), I think they're fun to ride on and really convenient if you're in a hurry.