Gregoire, Kulongoski have a memorable cycling moment on I-5 bridge

Tour of Tomorrow

Bike. Bridge. Truck
(Photo © Jonathan Maus)

The Columbian newspaper reported on Saturday that Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski and Washington Governor Chris Gregoire got an up-close and personal look at current bike access conditions on the I-5 bridge over the Columbia River.

Here’s a snip from the article:

“Gregoire and Kulongoski, wearing safety hats and vests, started their meeting with a walk onto the north end of the bridge’s pedestrian walkway…Trucks sped by a few feet away, and at one point the two elected officials had to dodge as a bicyclist pedaled through…”

According to Columbian reporter Don Hamilton, they remembered that encounter during a Q & A session with Columbia River Crossing project staff. When they asked about bike and ped access on the potential new bridge, they were “assured that conditions would improved” and reportedly “vowed to one day ride their own bikes across the new bridge.”

[Read the full article on Columbian.com.]

Just how exactly would bike access improve on the alleged $4-6 Billion bridge? Stay tuned for a sneak peek at some engineering sketches and follow my ongoing coverage of this project here.

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 maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Dabby
Dabby
16 years ago

The I-5 bridge crossing is the most dangerous I have ever done.

I would almost prefer to ride across the Ross Island in the traffic lane than ride across the !-5 bridge.

I have gotten flats while crossing the plates where the bridge comes together.

I have had pedestrians pop out of corners into me. I have been hit by birds in th head. I have been blown hard enough to where I hit a girder with my handlebar.(since they are mere inches away anyway)

And even worse yet is the gate on the northbound side that closes the path while the bridge is up.

When passing it, it swings slightly and is very scary.

And I am a very experienced rider.

Just think how daunting, and detrimental it must be to a novice cyclist. It is enough to keep people from even crossing the bridge.

A long running, sad state of affairs…

Nothing less than a full width bike path across the new bridge will do.

Zaphod
16 years ago

I ride that bridge on my commute to/from work every day. It is common for the traffic noise to be so loud that bell ringing and shouting doesn\’t alert the pedestrian. What often happens is that I slow to their walking pace and continue to make noise until they finally hear me. Unfortunately, this tends to startle them. I then apologize and go on my way.

While it\’s not terribly dangerous, it is tedious and uncomfortable. I anxiously await a new wider and quieter bridge.

Rick Glos
16 years ago

I commute from SW Portland to Vancouver and back a few times a week by bike over that bridge. Although I\’ve now grown accustomed to the bridge, it was a bit shocking when I moved here two years ago. It will be nice to have something better.

Jim O'Horo
Jim O'Horo
16 years ago

Dabby #1:

\”I have been blown hard enough to where I hit a girder with my handlebar.\” I know at least 3 people, all experienced cyclists, who have broken collarbones after being blown into girders on the I\’5 bridge. That was on the southbound side of the bridge. The northbound sidewalk is even worse because it\’s 6\” narrower.

\”I have gotten flats while crossing the plates where the bridge comes together.\” The worst of these is going north on the southbound sidewalk. You\’re moving fast, coming off a descent and the sharp lip isn\’t particularly obvious. Knowing it\’s there, I watch for it & bunny hop to clear it, but as Zaphod noted, bunny hopping isn\’t something the average novice is likely to be able to do especially in a crosswind with a narrow path.

Moo
Moo
16 years ago

North-south either way you have a chance to bust some serious knuckles there. If there is a toll on the new bridge, I would guess that bikes would cross free of charge…unless of course, they want cyclists to pay for using their side of things.

Schrauf
16 years ago

I don\’t know. The crossing leaves MUCH to be desired, but it doesn\’t seem as difficult as some make it out to be. Maybe because I come from a mountain biking background and I am comparing it to a technical trail. =)

Dabby
Dabby
16 years ago

Schrauf,

I, as a serious Mt biker, would rather needle it through a section of trees, downhill, in the mud, with my glasses fogged up, than ride northbound across the river to Vancouver.

It may not seem as bad as some make it out to be, as you said.

But it is in fact the worst bridge crossing in our area.

Dan Kaufman
16 years ago

I rode that bridge almost every day for two years (rain or shine) it was one of the favorite parts of my commute.

Don\’t let \’em trick you. We don\’t need a new bridge. If you think it\’s unsafe to ride then get off and walk your bike. The view is better anyway.

Jeff
Jeff
16 years ago

They “vowed to one day ride their own bikes across the new bridge\”? Man, how big a deal is that? How\’s tomorrow? Does that work for you? Like it\’s some Arctic passage they hope to trailblaze.

Ridiculous. Just get your asses on your big, cushy, foam-handlebar cruisers and ride across, like thousands of other people do daily!

Dabby
Dabby
16 years ago

The thought that we do not need a new bridge is asinine.

We have needed a new bridge for 20 years.
For more reasons than I even care to write.

john
john
16 years ago

I have never minded the actual crossing. What I find a pain is Janzten Beach and the portland side access.

JE
JE
16 years ago

A new bridge, if built, should be for ped, bike, and mass transit only.

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
16 years ago

For anyone interested in how mentally bike across the bridge and way find to it and local transit…our \’RU Bridge Curious\’ / \’RU Couver Curious\’ guided tours across the I-5 bridge will be starting up again in June. RSVP if you are interested.

Todd Boulanger
Transportation Services
City of Vancouver
360.487.7726

Dan Kaufman
16 years ago

Asinine? Stupefying?

Just for you, Dabby 😉
http://youtube.com/watch?v=chRn2Fk1Dhg

Dabby
Dabby
16 years ago

Funny video…

What I truly meant, even though I used the word asinine…. is that no matter how much we would all like to have automobile traffic reduced, if not negated entirely, the likely hood of it happening within the lifetime of the 1-5 bridge is slim to none.

What we do have is an opportunity to build a bridge that can not only handle all the bike, pedestrian, auto and mass transit traffic that we can throw at it, but can also endure a long future of hopefully \”mostly\” alternative modes of transportation.

Why would we not want this to happen?

Why would we even venture to think that the federal government would fund, instead of a needed replacement, a separate, new bridge that would not even benefit the majority users of it? (automobiles)

Sometimes we need to wake up from our bicycle dreams, and face reality.

Dabby
Dabby
16 years ago

In my first sentence above I meant the \”current\” I-5 bridge.

Have a good day!

Todd B
Todd B
16 years ago

Yes the current bridge pathway can exact a steep price if one errs in judgement or speed or hits the grease or raised plates at speed.

I have crossed the bridge 100s of times without much more than smoke filled lungs or bird droppings…while one of our companions lost control and broke a pelvis, arm/leg and such after bouncing between the railings.