Advocates celebrate a new path onto Swan Island

Posted by on May 20th, 2010 at 3:12 pm

Going Street Bridge to Swan Island-2

A Breakfast on the Bridge was held
Wednesday to celebrate the newly revamped
path on the Going Street Bridge.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Yesterday was a good day for Lenny Anderson. For a man well-known to local politicians and city employees as a persistently unsatisfied advocate, he was smiling and singing the Bureau of Transportation’s praises.

“I’ve got to give them credit, the city really came through this time.”

The reason for Anderson’s happiness (besides the presence of friends, coffee, and pastries) is an improved connection for biking and walking traffic to the Swan Island industrial area on its main artery, N. Going Street.

Going Street Bridge to Swan Island-10

Swan Island transportation advocate Lenny
Anderson has been riding in the area
for over 20 years.

ODOT and PBOT recently completed a $5 million earthquake retrofit on the Going Street Bridge into Swan Island from the Greeley Street overpass to N. Basin Ave. Thanks to Anderson’s advocacy as director of the Swan Island Transportation Management Association, the project included widening of the sidewalk path on the north (westward) side of the street from eight to 10 feet and the addition of a crash barrier.

“It used to be eight feet with an open curb,” said Anderson as big trucks rumbled by, “so it actually felt more like six feet.”

Going Street Bridge to Swan Island-1

Going Street Bridge to Swan Island-4

On Swan Island, Anderson feels that separating bike traffic from motor vehicle traffic is imperative. “I told PBOT I don’t want any paint used down here.” Even so, Anderson admits that he pushed for a bike “climbing lane” on the south side of Going Street (which travels uphill) but he says federal lane width requirements meant there was no room for them.

Going Street Bridge to Swan Island-7

A nice path once you’re on it.

The new stretch of path is nice, but it’s an island with no clear or easy way to get on and off it. When coming down Going from Interstate, there is no signage to clue bike traffic that the path exists and the connections on and off of it are severely lacking.

But despite its shortcomings, it’s still progress.

Going Street Bridge to Swan Island-5

The path is one NPGreenway maps.

Advocates with North Portland Greenway, an effort to create a riverside path that connects the Eastbank Esplanade at the Steel Bridge with Cathedral Park in St. Johns, are happy to see the new path. NPGreenway core member Scott Mizee was at the event Wednesday morning. “We’re very excited. This is huge for the Greenway, Going is a major access point to the future trail.”

While Anderson is celebrating the completion of this project, he’s far from finished. He and other partner agencies are off and running with “Going Green,” a project that would turn Going Street into a stormwater catching, traffic moving, thriving active transportation corridor complete with a linear park that includes singletrack bike trails connecting Interstate Avenue to Madrone Park on the bluffs (I’ll have more on this exciting project in a separate post).

While Going Green is still just an idea, Anderson is already looking ahead toward cutting the ribbon on another bikeway project that’s close to completion — the Waud Bluff Trail near University of Portland. “Next year’s celebration,” says Anderson, “will be on the Waud Bluff Trail Bridge.”

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    Marcus Griffith May 20, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    Sweet.. While the city is connecting to islands, can we get a better catching to Jantzen Beach and Hayden Island?

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    Elliot May 20, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Looks great! Thanks Lenny!

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  • Avatar! the other one May 20, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    Last summer it was just dug up concrete and blacktop. WOW does it look good.

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    Heather May 20, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Great job!! Thanks to the Swan Island TMA for all of their hard work!

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    Scott Mizee May 20, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Thanks Swan Island TMA and PBOT! This a great start and we are looking forward to more momentum building for off-street bicycle routes connecting businesses and neighbors in North Portland!

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    peejay May 20, 2010 at 7:30 pm


    Once the CRC is dead and gone, there should be plenty of momentum for a local traffic access bridge to Hayden Island, which must include good bike and good ped access — hopefully as two separate sections.

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    Steve B. May 20, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    Awesome!! Another victory for Lenny, Swan Island TMA & the NP Greenway!

    I understand the Broadway streetcar project includes narrowing lanes on NE Broadway. Do we apply for variances to the federal code to do that? A climb lane or sidepath would be awesome here short term, maybe enhancing the ‘Going green’ to have a 2 way pathway/cycletrack?

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    K'Tesh May 21, 2010 at 12:41 am

    Lenny, please move to Beaverton, I could really use your help out here on the West Side!

    Great Job!

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    Steph Routh May 21, 2010 at 8:46 am

    Thanks for the deliciousness and all the hard work, Lenny and all! Talking with people who bike to work to Swan Island early in the morning and vie with tall traffic in late afternoon makes one appreciate the Swan Island TMA and the proposed npGREENWAY even more.

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    Timbo May 21, 2010 at 11:52 am

    I know paint is a cheap solution to many traffic problems. But some times the solution requires more then just paint.
    Good work Lenny !

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    SteveG May 21, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Nice work, Lenny. Nobody has worked harder to expand sustainable transportation options in Portland. Hats off to you.

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