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In new video, Metro takes you across I-5 bridge

Posted by on July 8th, 2010 at 1:29 pm

As part of their ongoing Drive Less/Save More campaign, Metro has produced a new video to demonstrate how to cross the I-5 bridge. Here’s their blurb about it:

The bridge does pose some challenges like narrow paths, curving railings and traffic noise. The video provides riders with important knowledge of the bridge. It gives you the sensation of what you’ll experience first hand. It also shows the crossings you’ll need to navigate and where not to ride as you make your way through the Hayden Island area.

Metro staffer Kathryn Sofich, who works with Councilor Rex Burkholder and serves on the City of Portland’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, is the host. Check it out below…

Here’s more background on the video, and the permanent link to it on Metro’s site is here.

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Gary KercheckTodd BoulangerJoe Rowematthew vilhauerDennis Recent comment authors
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Rol
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Rol

Good video, whose necessity only highlights the inadequacy of that particular piece of bike infrastructure!

Anna
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Anna

Wouldn’t it make more sense to post signs where everyone using the area will see them ? Not all cyclists crossing the bridge are commuters or racers, several I’ve seen (and talked to) are homeless, daytrippers or kids. How will these folks see the video ? not to mention using the sidewalk on the Hayden Island roundabout is ridiculous (too narrow for 2 way traffic), its much safer to use the road once past the crosswalk, if one is traveling north. I don’t see the point in encouraging more cyclists in an area where the connections and conditions are unsafe.

Jack
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Jack

I really like the message of “We want you to know that you can cross the I-5 bridge safely on bike…as long as you’re aware of this hazard, and this other hazard, and this unsafe crossing, and this path that’s too narrow, and this unsigned, counter-intuitive trail intersection.”

If I was careful I could probably swim across the Columbia too.

Andrew Kreps
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Andrew Kreps

They’ve done a really nice job of covering the confusing bits that threw me off the first time I rode this route in Feb 2010. For me, the issue was missing signage. The poles were there (at the I-5/MLK/Marine Dr interchange for instance), but the signs had presumably been stolen. Also, those traffic lights on the south side in Jantzen Beach take a few minutes to cycle. Let’s not forget that the freeway-minded drivers aren’t likely to be watching for you.

I have to say, the ride across the bridge almost looks scarier in the video than it is in real life. Almost. 🙂

Ed
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Ed

Nice video which I appreciate and will save, BUT, how much would decent signage cost. Now, it wasn’t stolen. I’ve never seen any signage that did any good there. She even showed where the signage was misleading, telling you that the correct turn for Portland led to Vancouver!! We have some excellent signage in some areas and atrocious in others. This should be seen as low-hanging fruit, a cheap way to enhance the experience for both commuting and recreational riders, and a safety issue.

Tom
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Tom

I cannot understand the route proposed by this video. The route crosses several high volume, high speed motor vehicle on or off ramps to a freeway. I used this route once many years ago, and disregarded it as unsafe. I only use the path on the west side of I-5, for both directions of travel. Please remove this video before someone gets hurt.

Jenny
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Jenny

So…this video addresses about 10% of the confusion about crossing on I-5. Can we get a video about how to properly navigate the maze of paths on the Portland side leading to the bridge, and how to find the hidden entry to the path leading to the bridge on the Vancouver side?

Grand Master
Guest

Hey, Ted and I made a video like this one…check it out http://www.youtube.com/user/PersimmonRP#p/a/u/0/wWxY1dohFp0 ours has better music imho Nice video Kathryn. It is a nice ride to or from the ‘Couve despite it’s difficulty and safety issues. It is best to do so with an experienced partner, even with great directions like these it can still be confusing

Portland Pedicabs
Guest

Portland Pedicabs helped out with the filming by pedaling our Portland Pedicab across the River 4 times! Twice with the film crew! This was a great experience in figuring out the current constraints on cargo biking and tricycling across the bridge. On the eastern/northbound bike route, there were four spots on the trail that were too narrow for the pedicab. On the western trail heading southbound, the trail was wide enough the entire route. We encountered two other cargo bikers, both who were hauling cans.
We really enjoyed helping the film crew get good footage of their corespondent pedaling her bike behind our pedicab.

Lucia
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Lucia

Nice video, Kathryn and Metro ! Good reminders – a little frustrating with all the connectors, but great to know how to do it. As to the killjoys – you’ve gotta start somewhere. The homeless folks may not see this but others will – and it will hopefully enhance the use of the space, which will then make it more ‘visible’, and facilitate enhanced signage and maybe even $$ for a less cumbersome ride for all ! Way to go !

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

that’s a great little instructional video… I like the style of Grand Master’s better and it connects you from a park to MAX which is really nice…

great to hear that the pedicab makes in through all those narrow turns on the bridge… one of these days I want to rent a 4-wheeler just to see how it feels riding one of those…

Shyla
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Shyla

It’s so useful to have a video like this, quality of the roue notwithstanding. If anything, it would be so cool to have these for as many routes as possible. I have a great bike and I love to ride, but don’t as much as I should due to uncertainty about what I will encounter when I get on the road. No matter what new ride I contemplate, it’s always those gnarly path intersections, scary interchanges and/or unpredictable hilliness that makes me hesitate before trying it out. Having something like this to look at a few times before I embark would make me feel a lot more confident. What better way to encourage cycling? Bike Portland should dedicate a section to user-generated videos of this kind, imho.

Dennis
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Dennis

yeah, the video is nice, but finding the approaches are definitely relevant under the circumstances. The ones in Vancouver are not marked, and they are only accessible through two parking lots.

matthew vilhauer
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matthew vilhauer

a good video pointing out the inherent dangers of dealing with the I-5 bridge. dirty, narrow, unlit and poorly routed. forcing cyclist to more or less become pedestrians at several crossings (does the tomahawk island drive crossing even have a ramp or is it just a curb?) a blind corner in to vancouver, and dangerous “choke” points as well. yes the directional issue has been bantered around here before but i prefer to use the west side for both north & south trips. i also enter/exit the dot parking lot on the south end and use the road to the south passing inder I-5 (by hooters) and acess the pathway again between safeway and hooters. optimal? hardly. but imo much safer and more direct (less signals, intersections, traffic, etc.).

Joe Rowe
Guest

This path has sucked for many years. We can demand a better bike path with light rail over the river without the 1960 car mindset CRC bridge.

We are paying 33k a day just to plan the new bridge. That includes making videos like this one. That is $1 million a month.

http://preview.tinyurl.com/crcpricetag

new CRC bike path: YES
new CRC bridge promoting more cars with one passenger: NO
more videos from the friends of Rex who promoted the CRC bridge: NO

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Yes there should be much better wayfinding signage through this whole section north of Kenton (it is scary to see lost Portland bicyclists climbing over fencing by Safeway or riding lost on the I-5 highway itself)…the guerrilla stencils helped a lot [though they need to be refreshed …and ideally made official].

Gary Kercheck
Guest
Gary Kercheck

First of all, thanks to Metro for putting this together. The I-5 bridge cross is not intuitive the first time you ride it.

I need to add a few points and emphasize a few made in the video. Having crashed on the southbound side of the bridge 3 weeks ago – lost a lot of skin and cut a huge gash in my side that required 4 stitches – I have a healthy mix of respect, fear and loathing for this bridge.

1) Like the video says, forget about carrying any speed on the downhill sections of the bridge. The “ess” on the southbound part of the bridge entering Oregon is deceptively abrupt. This is where I momentarily lost focus, caught a handle bar, and got thrown off my bike. Ride at a slow to moderate pace and enjoy the river view.

2) If your bike has flat handlebars, seriously consider cutting them down closer to 22″ if this bridge is part of your commute. My bike is an XL frame and came with handlebars on the order of 27″ or so. Much too wide for this bridge. I’m not recommending any adjustment that would make your bike unstable or feel unnatural, but the less metal you have extending out the sides of your bike, the less chance of hitting part of the bridge or railing. The path is that narrow that it’s a real concern.

3) *Always* use the path that goes with traffic. This sounds obvious but I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to slow down for oncoming bikers when taking the southbound path during rush hour. Homeless people who’ve been indulging in alcohol and/or hallucinogens always a joy to deal with and are never in short supply on this bridge.

The bottom line is that you need be on your toes when you ride this. It is a very sketchy patchwork to navigate through but sadly the only option if you have to cross the river on the west side.