Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Signs of life — and a new bike/ped path — on the Morrison Bridge

Posted by on September 11th, 2009 at 9:04 am

morrison bridge

The Morrison Bridge will soon be a connection for walking and biking, rather than a barrier. (Photo © Elly Blue)

The long-planned bicycle and pedestrian facility on the Morrison Bridge has progressed tangibly in the last two weeks. Multnomah County has announced that the new path is expected to be completed by December.

morrison bridge

The new westbound bike/ped ramp from
the bridge onto SW Alder and 2nd downtown.
(Photo © Elly Blue)

Construction began this March on a 15-foot wide concrete pathway that will carry two directions of bicycle and pedestrian traffic on the south side of the bridge.

The pathway will be separated from auto traffic on the bridge (which contains a freeway entrance and exit) by a two foot tall concrete barrier topped with a metal guardrail.

Story continues below


morrison bridge

Looking east across the bridge.
The 2 foot concrete barrier will be topped
by a metal guardrail.
(Photo © Elly Blue)

The facility this pathway replaces was a pair of 5 foot (or narrower) sidewalks on the bridge’s north and south sides. The bridge has been closed to bicycle and pedestrian traffic since construction began in March. The County says they hope the new path will ease some of the growing bicycle congestion on the Hawthorne Bridge to the south.

– The project’s website has more information and will have future updates.
– See our previous coverage of the new Morrison Bridge bike/ped path for more details about the project.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Jeff Ong September 11, 2009 at 9:30 am

    That’s really great. It will be so convenient to just zip downtown on the Morrison Bridge!

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  • jordan September 11, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Can’t wait to try it out.

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  • Nick V September 11, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Great to see a barrier between cyclists/peds and cars.
    However I would suggest taking it slow over this bridge considering the 15′ wide path handling both directions of bike/ped traffic. Rubber side down!

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  • patrickz September 11, 2009 at 10:17 am

    Agree w/ #3: more river crossing venues might-optimistically speaking- temper the hubris of the Lance/Alberto wanna be’s.
    Happy (and SAFE) riding!

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  • anonymousbikemessenger September 11, 2009 at 10:45 am

    No more tour de Hawthorne? Lame

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  • Ben Foote September 11, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Live video of the Morrison Bridge from tripcheck including a view of the construction area on the west side of the bridge.

    (careful, open in new window cuz it resizes the browser)


    Not really all that interesting today but on occasion I check this out and as I revisit it the progress, as you can imagine, has occasionally made quite a leap forward.

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  • Todd Boulanger September 11, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Great news…though how well will the connections to the new Morrison Bridge bikeway be? (Me thinkith.)

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  • Lester September 11, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Sweet! I’ve been chided by the Po-Po a couple of times for crossing it in the auto lanes. The only scary part was negotiating the I-5 onramp when westbound.

    Getting on the grating was freaky first time, but you get used to it, and the view of the water below is awesome!

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  • sabes September 11, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    @Lester – and cyclists wonder why drivers hate cyclists so much…

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  • peejay September 11, 2009 at 4:14 pm


    What’s that supposed to mean? Some motorists may hate cyclists who take the lane, but it’s not the cyclists’ fault, is it? So to respond to your point: while I might wonder why some drivers hate cyclists, I view it as more the drivers’ problem than mine.

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  • Lester September 11, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    sabes, I never had any problems with motorists on the Morrison bridge. I don’t understand where you’re coming from. The lanes were quite wide and most reasonable motorists cross the bridge at approx the same speed that they drive on either side of the bridge – 20mph or so, barely outpacing me. If necessary, I always waited foot-on-curb for i-5 on-ramp traffic to clear.

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  • Lester September 11, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    I wonder when bikes were banned from the Morrison? Seems like it must’ve happened 93-94, somewhere in there?

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  • Maren September 11, 2009 at 9:47 pm

    Just a slight clarification: the north sidewalk remains open to pedestrians; I cross on foot almost daily. I’m *really* excited for the new path to open, though!

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  • Vance Longwell September 12, 2009 at 7:53 am

    This is just a sidewalk. And just like the Hawthorne, it blows to be forced off the public right-of-way onto the sidewalks.

    On a side note. patrickz #4 – Many of us comment here under a mandate to avoid insulting other commenters. Your comment openly derides a certain riding style. The implication being that cyclists who ride faster than you are somehow in the wrong.

    Why would you say something like this? What have you accomplished? At the very least you are instigating, and at that, from behind your hand. If you are a new-comer you must realize that there are a lot of people using the public-right-of-way who have been riding for a very long time. If you are a veteran then certainly it’s nothing new to you to have to share the road with people who admire Lance/Alberto [sic], and/or, who ride faster than you.

    Furthermore what, precisely, is the difference between you wishing for people to slow down, and people wishing for you to ride faster? Morally speaking that is. I ask this because you also imply some sort of moral, self-righteous, high-ground in your comment. My safety record with other cyclists is impeccable. I’ve never crashed anybody, and I’ve never hit anybody. Ever. In a lot of years. Yet I ride with motorist traffic on anything 25mph or less. I am safe.

    I don’t appreciate your implications. I don’t own any Lycra, but will defend those who do nonetheless. Your correlation of what is inherently a low rate of speed with safety is insulting, and painfully ignorant.

    If you’re gonna ride it, ride it like you gotta pair, or take the buses and trains you all seem to love so much.

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  • Chris Shaffer September 12, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    Vance, you were going along just fine until you got to this line:

    If you’re gonna ride it, ride it like you gotta pair, or take the buses and trains you all seem to love so much.

    So, right after you get done calling patrickz, you imply that everyone on bikes should be male and go fast: “ride it like you gotta pair.” And then you insult those of us who love buses, trains and bikes.


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  • Vance Longwell September 13, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Chris S. #15- No. I write stuff like that for a reason. It’s a figure of speech. A figure of speech so ubiquitous that even you know exactly what it means. Plus, it illustrates an abstraction, hardly the place to cross-tees, and dot-i’s.

    Being an abstraction, this carries a broad meaning. Everything from don’t be frightful, to yes, you must be precisely male. However, part-and-parcel of deploying anachronisms of this sort is the nuance associated with choosing that particular saying. Which I intended to place my own meaning, by using this turn of phrase, somewhere along this very gradient; and down at the more innocuous, don’t be a scaredy-cat level, at that.

    I’ve said it a million times. You all forget I ride these streets too. Have for 25 years, and car-free to boot. I am not specially endowed by any stretch of the imagination, and yet I manage Portland streets just fine without the expenditure of one, single, penny, of the public’s money.

    If you’re experience differs from this too greatly, I’m inclined to become suspicious about an agenda. I counter this perceived agenda with what I perceive as a negative, often converse, agenda. In this case, to deploy an almost inappropriately politically-incorrect anachronism.

    I think it’s pretty clever, but I am frequently wrong about things like that. It probably won’t help to know that I don’t use the title, “Ms.”, either. Nor will I acknowledge a hyphenated last name in any way. If you’re gonna judge.

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  • Elly Blue September 13, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    Folks, please keep this conversation on-topic. Thanks.

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  • 007 September 13, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    Now, if only we’ll be able to figure out how to get to the on-ramps from downtown streets.

    The Morrison and Steel bridges have always been inconvenient to get to from downtown streets. I still can’t figure out how to get on the steel bridge from NW Portland without going to the waterfront via Couch.

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  • dan September 13, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    I’ve been watching to construction come together, and wondering what the plan was…really, peds and bikes in both directions splitting a 15-foot lane? Sounds like mayhem during rush hour — I sometimes walk to work across the Morrison, but there’s no way I’ll do it now (unless they’re keeping the old sidewalk on the north side of the bridge).

    As far as riding across the Morrison in the auto lane, that sounds super-sketchy to me, but more power to anyone who feels up to it. There’s a bike-specific warning sign going westbound, so I assume the bridge isn’t closed to bike traffic.

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  • Lester September 14, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    007, take Everett eastbound to get onto the Steel Bridge, unless they’ve changed things recently.

    dan, so there’s just a be careful sign for bikes now? I thought the sign in the mid-late 90s said bikes keep off the bridge, and my admonishment from the policeman seemed to reinforce that, but who knows…

    My memory’s not the best.

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  • Dan September 14, 2009 at 10:08 pm

    Lester, the sign is a picture sign, no text. It’s the same one they use near streetcar tracks: the cyclist is falling off the bike after getting the front wheel stuck in the rail. It’s just in front of the exit to I-205, where an expansion joint is more-or-less parallel to the direction of travel.

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  • Rob September 18, 2009 at 11:33 pm

    I’m glad something is being done on the Morrison Bridge for cyclists and pedestrians, but 15 feet for pedestrians plus TWO directions of bike traffic? That’s nowhere near enough, especially if the goal is to lessen the cyclist traffic on the Hawthorne.

    I think 15 feet for two directions of bike traffic plus pedestrians is downright dangerous. I sure do hope time proves me wrong though.

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