More thoughts on Hawthorne

Posted by on November 22nd, 2005 at 11:02 pm

(**For anyone sick of jabbering about the Hawthorne Bridge, stop reading right now and wait for my next post. It will be fun, I promise!).

I feel like I’ve opened a can worms. My posts about the the new bike/ped markings on the Hawthorne Bridge have gotten many comments and I received an email from someone on the County bike advisory committee who said my recent post, “frivolously demeans the efforts of everyone on the County bike and ped Committee.” Then his email was CC’d to all sorts of prominent folks whom I have much respect for. Ouch.

Given all this, I want to clarify a few things.

First, I have not been at the front of this issue. In fact I heard about it for the first time on Monday morning. My thoughts were hastily formed by emails I read from bike advocates who I know and respect as being in-the-loop, rational, and smart. When I realized several of them were not happy with how the County treated them throughout the process which led to these new lane markings, I became concerned.

Based on this concern I posted that the markings were planned with “little or no input from cyclists.” I now realize that that statement is not entirely accurate.

The bridge review committee was full of cyclists (including one person from the PBAC and the BTA). However the issue is more complex and messy than that. I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say it seems the PBAC, POOT, and Multnomah County bike and ped planners still don’t see eye-to-eye.

I realize the markings actually work pretty well for most of you…that’s great. I agree, they are pretty cool. But it’s not just about the markings. I feel the County should take more time to gauge public input and listen closely to local experts and advocates when they embark on projects of this much importance. My feelings are shared and more eloquently conveyed by POOT Bicycle Coordinator Roger Geller.

I always try to be accurate, fair and quick with the news, but sometimes those things get in the way of each other. Thanks for reading.

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Is this really a big issue? Some folks got together through the established process and made what appears tobe a workable choice. Given that the responses to so many items is to create another “study group” or committee to report back, this simple decision seems good!


Jonathan you rock my bike world. I have become a religious bikeportland-checker. Your level headedness and approach to issues is terrific. Keep up the good work.


ditto what Nate said.


The county did a very poor job of getting public input. It seems to me that Multnomah County bureacrats/planners told Portland-level bike bureaucrats/planners, advocates, and influential community members: “This is what we’re going to do next with the bridge. After this you better stop whining, because all your input is distracting us from our job, because we obviously know best, and in future please leave us alone, and let us do our job, which is -not- listening to outside meddlers like you.”
I would say there are some obvious problems with our county level government. I hope that in the next county elections, the Bike Walk PAC mobilizes, so that we can get some more responsive government.
I don’t have a problem with the solution as such. The way that is was arrived at however…that is very poor.