Cyclists get shafted on St. Johns Bridge

While attending Tuesday’s meeting of the Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee I learned that ODOT has decided to give the St. Johns Bridge 2 lanes in each direction instead of a bike-friendly alternative suggested by traffic-flow consultants and local bicycle planners. With 2 lanes in each direction, there is not adequate room for bicycles.

At issue is whether or not accommodating bicycle traffic would hurt the freight capacity of the bridge. This issue was explored in a comprehensive study that showed putting 4 lanes on the bridge would not increase freight capacity. However, despite the findings of the study, it seems ODOT has made a decision that shows a complete disregard for cyclists and will make crossing the St. Johns Bridge by bike much more dangerous.

When will truckers realize that if more people were on bikes they could move their freight around much more quickly?!

Now, all that’s left is to fight for making the sidewalk (which is not going to be wide enough for bikes either) and the traffic lane as safe as possible for bikes.

I guess we’ll have to be satisfied with a bit of paint in the lane and a sign…gee, I feel safer already.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Adams Carroll (News Intern)
18 years ago

This post originally appeared when this blog was over at and comments were not possible. I’ve received a ton of them by email and I’m working on getting them posted.

18 years ago

I just rode the bridge for the first time last week. It didn’t feel at all safe to me. The sidewalk is too narrow for people to pass each other (and the west-bound sidewalk was still closed), and the curb is very high. Fortunately, it wasn’t windy the day I was cycling, but I’d be scared to do it on a windy day. Interestingly, a colleague of mine says the lanes are too narrow to pull his boat across; he is afraid that the wind would blow his car and/or trailer from the (very narrow) lane. So it isn’t that great for traffic, either. I was very disappointed in ODOT’s decision.