Groundbreaking event next week for Gibbs Street Pedestrian (and bike) Bridge

Artist rendering.

Construction of the Gibbs Street Pedestrian Bridge is set to being this month and Portland Mayor Sam Adams will host a ground-breaking event this Tuesday.

Once complete, the Gibbs Bridge will extend 700 feet over I-5, connecting the Lair Hill Neighborhood to the South Waterfront District near the Aerial Tram. The bridge will be for bicycling and walking only and according to the project website, the project also comes with some, “improvements to some pedestrian crossings in the area.”

Check out a video below showing how the bridge will look…

At the event on Tuesday, Mayor Adams will be joined by Oregon Health & Science University President Joe Robertson, M.D., and representatives from the Portland Development Commission and the South Portland Neighborhood Association. The event starts at 12 noon on January 11th and will be held on the fifth floor balcony (overlooking the construction site) of the OHSU Center for Health & Healing (3303 SW Bond Ave).

The bridge has an estimated cost of $13.6 million, of which $2 million will come from PBOT and new gas tax and vehicle registration fee revenue generated by HB 2001.

Check out GibbsBridge.org for more information.

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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Michweek
13 years ago

They couldn’t build this connection too soon. We used to live near Barbur in the Liar Hill neighborhood. Though charming as that neighborhood was once, it’s no longer a nice place. It’s cut up by several big roads and highways and just getting across Barbur or to the bagel shop that was located across Natio was scary with a tunnel and Powell blvd traffic etc. The bridge will help but that neighborhood is in a very sad state at this point.

sam
sam
13 years ago
Reply to  Michweek

Hey, that’s my neighborhood you’re talking about. Very accurately, I should add. Unfortunately this bridge doesn’t do a helluva lot to help as it does nothing to get anyone in the Barbur side of Lair Hill over Naito. Still have to take that strange tunnel and/or ride on sidewalks for that part. But hey, it adds an elevator ride into the mix.

Steve B
13 years ago

From the concept, it looks like people on bikes will take an elevator down to the ground level? Reminiscent of the Zoo station on the Max.

davemess
davemess
13 years ago

This is a step in the right direction, but it’s a bummer they couldn’t make more ramps on the river side. All bikes will have to take the elevator, or a buttload of stairs. The lack of pedestrian access around I-5 in this area is just plain sad.

Sean G
13 years ago
Reply to  davemess

That was my first thought as well. The idea of carrying my bike up six flights of stairs isn’t all that appealing, although getting a bike ramp up that high doesn’t seem any more practical.

Still, excited to see this, it’ll really open up opportunities for biking in that area.

Duncan
Duncan
13 years ago
Reply to  davemess

I bike for a work out…. humping a bike up a bunch of stairs is a great work out 😉

aljee
aljee
13 years ago
Reply to  Duncan

yep, good cross training for alpenrose, ay?

Spiffy
Spiffy
13 years ago
Reply to  davemess

yeah, looks like a pedestrian facility that bikes are allowed to use… inconvenient, but probably quicker than riding around the long way…

Paul Souders
13 years ago
Reply to  Spiffy

Agreed. The “long way” is an incredibly long way: North to Harrison or south on Corbett to the Willamette Greenway. I used to work in Lair Hill just a few blocks from Gibbs; at that time my wife & I were expecting our first child & had lots of ultrasound appts @ OHSU on S. Waterfront. It was annoying/entertaining to ride 1.8mi to travel 0.4mi. http://bit.ly/fq6Gcq

spare_wheel
spare_wheel
13 years ago
Reply to  Paul Souders

sheridan takes less than half a mile.

Hart Noecker
13 years ago

Nothing makes me smile like the words “new gas tax and vehicle registration fee”. Amazing how cheap a bridge you can build when you don’t have to design it for disgusting, stinking, dangerous cars.

Jim Lee
Jim Lee
13 years ago

Strange! Wonderful!

Other than that, no comment.

BURR
BURR
13 years ago

this is what they should be doing in the Rose Quarter to replace the Flint St. overpass if ODOT goes ahead with the widening of I-5 in that area.

mike
mike
13 years ago

Elevator/Stairs..
Still no basic separation of walking/cycling..
Would love to see a better rendering of it.

JDL
JDL
13 years ago

Will there be bike gutters on the stairs at the west end, or will the elevators be our only option?

jim
jim
13 years ago
Reply to  JDL

they mightnot want to do bike gutters because of skateboarders?

Matt
Matt
13 years ago

That’s the best video I’ve watched today.

Schrauf
Schrauf
13 years ago

Those stairs look incredible for a full-suspension mountain bike. =)

Jack
Jack
13 years ago

Seems to me that this elevator would qualify as an ‘outdoor municipal elevator’, making it only the 2nd in the US (first being in Oregon City) and 5th in the world.

I’m all for trying new things, but there must be reasons why outdoor municipal elevators are such a rarity. I’d be interested to know what those reasons are.

One that comes to mind is maintenance/operating cost. Obviously the lift requires energy, but will it require an attendant, as does the Oregon City elevator? Will it be open 24/7?

On a relevant tangent (and ignoring that the lift is primarily intended for those with disabilities):

Wouldn’t it be cool if instead of a powered elevator, there were a series of modified dumbwaiters which you could ride onto and sort of dock your bike into a mechanism so that your pedal power would operate the lift? I would make detours in all of my trips to take advantage of such a device.

Facts, maybe...
Facts, maybe...
13 years ago
Reply to  Jack

Isn’t there also an elevator for the pedestrian bridge that connects Union Station to the McCormick Pier area?

Lenny Anderson
Lenny Anderson
13 years ago

Now we can get busy to see that a similar bike/ped bridge is built for NE 7th Avenue across I-84 and Sullivan’s Gulch.
re South Portland…the “highway improvements” at the west end of the Ross Island Bridge and the old Harbor Drive (Naito Parkway…Ha!), built in the 40’s, chopped the hell out of that community. The first of a half dozen neighborhoods compromised by highway construction in the Central City in the last century. Next step there? convert Naito into a “Main Street” with retail, mixed use, etc. and remove all those old ramps to the Ross Island Bridge.

Elliot
Elliot
13 years ago

Slight correction on the price tag, from the project website, http://www.gibbsbridge.org/home.aspx:

“Bids were opened in October [2010] and the construction contract was awarded to Wildish Standard Paving Co., a Eugene-based company with experience building roads and bridges throughout the Pacific Northwest. Their bid was $6.7 million compared to the engineer’s estimate of $8.1 million.”

I can’t find exact cost info on the rest of the project website, but maybe the $13.6 million figure includes the cost of a bunch of intersection/crossing improvements for the area that will help people access the bridge? From the “Project Library” page:

“Included as part of the Gibbs Street Pedestrian Bridge project are pedestrian crossing improvements. These are proposed at Naito Parkway at Whitaker, SW Barbur Boulevard at Whitaker, SW Corbett at Whitaker or Gibbs, SW Gibbs at Kelly.”

Jim Lee
Jim Lee
13 years ago

We need a contest for the best pedal-powered elevator.

Joe
Joe
13 years ago

How about putting down a little runner on the stairs for the tires of the bikes so that people can push their bikes instead of lugging it?

jv
jv
13 years ago

Hopefully that awkwardly placed bench at the beginning of the video rendering does not stay there…it seems bad practice to put seating right there between a corner and a bollard. I see some good stairbombing opportunities here once it is built. Ride the elevator up, ride the stairs down. In all seriousness though, it does appear to be a good connector, that area does not have many options. I don’t see a practical way to make a ramp work in that space considering the clearances that are necessary for the freeway underneath.

SW Gibbs Street Folk
SW Gibbs Street Folk
13 years ago

We raised concerns about having to get off Bikes to get down to the base of the South Waterfront back at the Open House in 2006… All the Engineers we asked said that it was impossible ! And could not come up with a better Idea than this…. All of us over here sitting under the Tram basically told them to EAFD that night..We were screwed over twice… I hope Matt Brown the Project Manager (AKA “The Tram will only cost about 17 Million Dollars) then left the City Of Portland to work for that Developer in L.A. can sleep well at night ! This is your Portland Legecy. A Half Ass Bridge. Enjoy.

Whyat
Whyat
13 years ago

Except that it’s still WAY better than the bridge that isn’t there now. Sometimes there have to be compromises. I’d take this compromise any day if it gets a bridge there now. You can’t have cheap and perfect. Sometimes in the real world it’s more than you want to spend and has inherent limitations.

spare_wheel
spare_wheel
13 years ago
Reply to  Whyat

can’t imagine why a cyclist would take this bridge other than for exercise. sheridan is ~600 feet up moody.

aljee
aljee
13 years ago
Reply to  spare_wheel

correct me if i am wrong but could you get to the same area via sheridan? could you get to gibbs and corbett? i haven’t taken sheridan so i don’t know, but it seems like there isn’t really a connection to the same area when i look at an aerial, but i would love to hear about a hidden one, if there is one.

from what i could tell, it looks like one would face a lot of barriers to that neighborhood if you try to get there via sheridan, such as 26 and the ross island bridge ramps. plus, you would have to double the distance (~.5mi) to get back to that area. seems like the bridge would be pretty ideal in comparison.

spare_wheel
spare_wheel
13 years ago
Reply to  aljee

There is a pedestrian bridge. Arthur to Naito also works for the more brave.

SW Gibbs Street Folk
SW Gibbs Street Folk
13 years ago
Reply to  Whyat

Lair Hill has already made the compromise(s). We have a 48 Million Dollar Tram that has Zero Connections to our Neighborhood. Plus we were ALL lied to about sight lines into residents back yards. I whas there when Matt Brown showed the sample of a Sight Defusing Lamination Material. But now, (See the Article about the Guy that put up the *uck the Tram Sign) too funny.. Anyhow, OHSU got a First Class Tram ! So why do we have to settle for something less on the Bridge ?

Don Arambula
13 years ago

Very glad to see this much needed connection… I only hope that a ramp over Moody to the waterfront will be phase II of this project.

Owen Walz (Friends of Barbur)

I see two documents on their site detailing pedestrian crossings at Naito and Barbur (with refuge islands in the turn lane… seems a decent solution). I wonder what that status is on those ideas. Anyone know?

That Naito crossing is a nasty one, as some have mentioned here. I see people sprinting across it pretty often. The way Naito divides that neighborhood is almost as bad as I-5. Really inhuman.

SW Gibbs Street Folk
SW Gibbs Street Folk
13 years ago

The Barbur Crossing might just work out ok fine.. But the one that will Cross Naito will be hard.. I think that’s a 35mph zone but for the most part from 6-9 am then again from 4-6 pm it’s more like 50 mph average… Hard to get two steps out from the sidewalk….The tunnel to get across is just nasty… Always slick and smells like urine 9 months out of the year…

mike
mike
13 years ago

I vote for this.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7j1PgmMbug8
I know they can find a way for it to be able to carry multiple people up. rotating belt?

Jim Lee
Jim Lee
13 years ago

Must visit Trondheim again sometime.

Really neat, Mike, but it would be awkward on a fixie.