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Clackamas County passes Sellwood Bridge fee

Posted by on December 9th, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Sellwood Bridge Tour with Richard M.-6

One step closer to getting it fixed.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The Portland Tribune and The Oregonian are both reporting that the Clackamas County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously today to approve a $5 vehicle registration fee that will go toward $22 million in funding to pay for reconstruction of the ailing Sellwood Bridge.

The Board heard loud opposition to the new fee at a hearing held last month when over 150 people showed up to protest. However, according to the Portland Tribune, a hearing held last night netted more support than opposition:

The commission had heard from a vocal contingent of opposition to the fee increase during a three-part public hearing, but counted a larger number in support of the fee, including correspondence and phone calls.

Gerik Kransky, advocacy director of the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, urged his members to email the Board of Commissioners. He also wrote an op-ed supporting the fee on BlueOregon.com. Today, Kransky had this to say:

“The Bicycle Transportation Alliance is happy to see that Clackamas County is committed to paying their fair share of the new Sellwood Bridge. As one of only two local connections across the Willlamette River for Clackamas County, the bridge is an important connection for all local residents – not just bicyclists – and we believe $5 per year is a small price for a safer, better bridge.”

The total project is estimated at just over $300 million. The project itself has just moved into design phase. See the current cross-section below and stay tuned for more coverage of how bikes figure into the plans…

— Read our past coverage of The Sellwood Bridge Project.

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dan
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dan

Yikes, no barrier between car and bike traffic? I will be riding the sidewalk, yielding to pedestrians.

9watts
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9watts

I’m curious how wide the Sellwood Bridge is currently. Seeing more width devoted to non motorized traffic in the above sketch is encouraging.

PdxMark
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PdxMark

9watts
I’m curious how wide the Sellwood Bridge is currently. Seeing more width devoted to non motorized traffic in the above sketch is encouraging.

I would guess the bridge is currently less than 35′ wide — 12′ traffic lanes, 4′ sidewalks, 2′ railings.

9watts
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9watts

Are there any bridge designs where non-motorized traffic is below the motorized traffic, as in on a different level/suspended beneath the road surface? It seems like that would be much cheaper/less clunky. I lived in a town in Germany where the equivalent of our streetcar lines were suspended from a single rail above the streets and the river that ran through the city. Very space efficient, and has been running since the late 19th Century. Wuppertal Schwebebahn if you want to google it.

cyclist
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cyclist

9watts: The below-grade option for non-motorized traffic was proposed and rejected by the community. I think a lot of people feel less safe when they’re not visible, and there’s the question of folks living under the bridge, etc.

Greg
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Greg

This pdf includes the other half of the above picture – http://www.sellwoodbridge.org/img/PreferredAlt2009.pdf

If you zoom in, you can see the current bridge, as well as the 1st half of construction.

Joe Rowe
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Joe Rowe

good news. Was there any mention at the meeting about how many people supported the bridge. It sounds like the tea party was just some warm passing air trying to create a stink over nothing.

Also, I think cars and bikes would like to be on diferent levels. Put the bike lane at the raised level with the sidewalk. A big curb is a pretty good barrier.

Jeff Bernards
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Jeff Bernards

The consulation is that Clackamas County is paying something, not their share by a long shot. Portland & Multnomah County + auto fees is roughly $250 mllion, their paying $22million. Remember that Clackamas County accounts for 70% of the Sellwoods Bridge traffic. They should pay more if you ask me. The bridge is just one mile from the Clackamas County Line.
Clackamas County got off easy. I was at the meeting last night.

dwainedibbly
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dwainedibbly

I also would like to have seen a bigger share come from ClackCo, but that’s water under the bridge. It’s good to see that sanity prevailed.

Raised or divided bike lanes make a lot of sense to me, too. My first thought upon seeing the design drawing above was that I’d be riding with the pedestrians.

Paul Hanrahan
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Paul Hanrahan

I live in Clackamas County and was em bare assed for the opposition of a paltry $5 a year. I am very glad it passed unanimously.

Red Five
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Red Five

They are getting off CHEAP. I just got my registration for my Subaru Outback…which by the way blasted through all of PDX’s flooded streets with ease!

jim
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jim

how much money do they expect to make from a $5 fee? It seems like it would just be a drop in the bucket. Administering it alone is going to cost a chunk of money, that sort of wipes out the profit margine

k.
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k.

I’m assuming the fee will just be tacked onto the auto registration fees for all Mult Co. residences. It should be pretty easy to institute and administer. Everything needed to do so is already in place.

davemess
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davemess

just out of curiousity, why the uproar over having bike lanes the same level, and unprotected from autolanes? There are hundreds of miles throughout the city with this same type of set up. Is it due to lack of an escape route for the bike lane? I can think of many other places in PDX where this type of set up, with an even narrower bike lane (6.5 feet is HUGE) is used next to traffic.

Then again, I’m comfortable with riding the car lane over the Sellwood now. But I am curious what the problem is?

Jerry_W
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Jerry_W

The bike lanes as drawn seem perfectly fine to me. Another option would be to leave the existing bridge in place and convert it to a bike/peds bridge, except for maintenance cost that would be a fun alternative.