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Sellwood Bridge update: Bike/ped only bridge will be studied

Posted by on October 2nd, 2007 at 2:59 pm

Multnomah County Commissioner
Maria Rojo de Steffy at
last night’s meeting.
(All photos © Jonathan Maus)

An influential advisory group made up of elected and appointed officials has narrowed the options for the design of the future Sellwood Bridge.

At a meeting last night, the Policy Advisory Group of the Sellwood Bridge Project decided on four alternatives (listed below) to be put forth to the next phase of study.

In addition to those was an interesting idea put forth by City Commissioner Sam Adams and Metro Councilor Robert Liberty. They want to take a closer look at a totally separate bridge for bikes and pedestrians, while rehabbing the existing bridge for cars, busses and streetcar.

According to the Multnomah County press release (download PDF here), “the location and configuration of the bicycle/pedestrian bridge will be proposed after consulting with representatives of user groups”.

Jim Francesconi (at left) addressed the Policy Advisory Group on behalf of condo owners.

Here are the other design alternatives that made the cut:

  • A 57-foot wide rehabilitation option with two 11-foot traffic lanes, two 5-foot shared bike path/shoulders, and two 10-foot shared use sidewalks.
  • A narrow new bridge option with a lower deck featuring a 20-foot wide shared facility for bicyclists and pedestrians. Lane and shoulder widths will be determined in the next few weeks. Possibilities for striping this cross-section for three lanes to accommodate a future streetcar will be considered. This option would be located on the Yellow, existing bridge alignment.

Metro Councilor Robert Liberty
listens to public comment.
  • A 64-foot, two-lane new bridge option with 6.5-foot bike lanes and 12-foot shared use paths on each side. This option would be located on the Yellow South alignment, which includes the existing bridge area and the area immediately to the south.
  • A 75-foot wide new bridge option with two 12-foot lanes for transit vehicles, two 12-foot lanes for other motor vehicles, a 16-foot shared use path and an 8-foot sidewalk. This option would be located on the Teal/Pink hybrid alignment north of the existing bridge that avoids residential relocations.

For more details, download a PDF of the press release from Multnomah County, or read more coverage of last night’s meeting:

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  • Bronson Pinchot October 2, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    Forget the bike lanes: \”Keep \’em separated.\” I like the below-deck segregation option the best. And let\’s ban jogging, for crying out loud!

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  • bahueh October 2, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    good to see all options being considered involve multiuse paths similar to that on the Hawthorne bridge…kudos to the advisory group on that one consistency!

    what struck me is that they are all better than the last bridge overall on the St. Johns…and mentioned nothing about signs signaling cyclists to ride in the auto traffic lane.

    I personally think they should scrap the whole bridge and start over…its old and time to be replaced.

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  • Spencer October 2, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    I thought sue to slow mass wasteing on the west side of the bridge, that the bridge ultimately needed to come down. Dewatering and stabalizing that whole slope has too be a pretty expensive proposition.

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  • a.O October 2, 2007 at 5:16 pm

    The compelling public interest in preserving existing greenspace, including the Willamette River Greenway, Sellwood Riverfront Park, and the Springwater Corridor vastly outweighs the property interests of a dozen or so relatively wealthy individuals who will be *fully compensated* for the taking.

    Although Teal/Pink avoids residential relocations, in addition to taking substantial existing park space, it takes commercial property that would be much more expensive to condemn and does so on both sides of the river.

    It also requires substantial new road construction, including an entirely new interchange on the west river bank, which is also very expensive.

    The Teal/Pinkos – all 20 of them – would have you, the public, subsidize all this extra cost rather than get paid the fair market value for their condos and re-build the bridge where it already is.

    Yellow(s) is the sensible, democratic land use decision. Teal/Pink is welfare for wealthy landowners.

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  • Elliot October 2, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    It\’s fantastic to hear there\’s an innovative fifth option on the table. When the original four came out I was a bit worried about the presence of only one option with dedicated bicycle travel lanes. Although I suppose I would be willing to compromise on sharing space with peds on a multi-use path if the transit lanes were truly exclusive (the last option listed).

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  • N.I.K. October 2, 2007 at 11:48 pm

    I like the below-deck segregation option the best. And let\’s ban jogging, for crying out loud!

    Hey Balki? Don\’t be ridiculous. 😛

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  • snapper October 3, 2007 at 9:45 am

    I saw a fender-bender this morning while crossing the Hawthorne bridge westbound. One car was halfway on the ped/bike sidewalk. Luckily no peds or bikes were crossing right there at that particular moment. I knew I would see something like this eventually!
    I vote strongly for clearly/physically separated multi-use paths from the giant masses of metal flying down the road. It seems like the only smart answer for everyone\’s safety!

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  • tonyt October 3, 2007 at 4:56 pm

    Saw that fender bender too – after the fact.

    Metal grating + rain + over-confident SUV drivers = trouble.

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  • Matt October 3, 2007 at 7:19 pm

    And that was just today. Yesterday there was a fender-bender on the Morrison Bridge, which diverted everythign to Hawthorne. Total chaos. How can one car cause so much chaos?!

    Let\’s hear it for bikes.

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  • Michelle October 4, 2007 at 10:55 pm

    The below deck option for the Sellwood makes me wonder about after-dark safety. I generally avoid covered spaces that are out of sight (as a below-deck path would be, whereas a road-side path would be visible to motorists) because they feel incredibly unsafe to me. No matter how well lit.

    Anyone else feel this way? Women? Men? Everyone? Noone?

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