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Cyclists get shafted on St. Johns Bridge

Posted by on May 12th, 2005 at 4:05 pm

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.

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1 Comment authors » Blog Archive » City planner takes on bikes in the » Blog Archive » ODOT proposes bike » Blog Archive » Cyclists on the St. Johns BridgeALJonathan Maus Recent comment authors
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Jonathan Maus

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.


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.


[…] A while back I posted something about how ODOT (Ore. Dept. of Transportation) had decided not to make cycling safe on the St. Johns Bridge. ODOT has caved into special interest groups and ignored the research on traffic congestion on the bridge. The result is a remodel plan that makes crossing the bridge dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians. […]


[…] I really think ODOT should be working with the bike community to create more safe transportation corridors, instead of restricting our access without providing any alternatives. I am trying to give them the benefit of the doubt until more details surface, but given their track record I’m very skeptical. […]


[…] Or, maybe this “small but vocal group” is the same group of insiders that forced ODOT to exclude bike facilities from the St. Johns Bridge? […]