Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Enjoy a nearly carfree NW Cornell Road this weekend – Updated

Posted by on July 26th, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Thanks to a PBOT construction project this weekend, the citizens of Portland will have a rare opportunity to enjoy NW Cornell Road through the West Hills with very little to no motor vehicle traffic.

Map shows section of Cornell that will be open this weekend only to local traffic and bicycling/walking.

PBOT is doing repair work on the tunnel and they will detour motor vehicle traffic off of NW Cornell between NW Lovejoy all the way up to Skyline. That leaves about a three mile stretch of one of Portland’s most scenic paved mountain roads open only to local traffic (of which there is very little) and people walking and bicycling (or bird watching or hiking, or whatever!).

And yes, as you can see on the map above, the road goes right by Macleay Park (with access to Forest Park trails) and the Pittock Bird Sanctuary/Audubon Portland.

The closure is expected to last from 7:00 am to 3:00 pm on Saturday (7/30) and Sunday (7/31).

Citizen activist Andrew Holtz has been working to spread the word about the closure. He’s set up a Ride Cornell without (or hardly any) Cars! Facebook page and plans to lead a group ride on Sunday (meet at Skyliner Restaurant at Cornell and Skyline at noon).

If you’re not already familiar with the road, Holtz also shot this helmet-cam footage to whet your appetite:

Whether you want a peaceful climb (it gains about 700 feet in three miles) or a dreamy descent, Cornell is where it’s at this weekend.

UPDATE: PBOT will also be replacing existing speed bumps on the segment of Cornell Rd between Lovejoy and the tunnel. It will be an active construction zone all weekend so please use caution and obey flaggers.

: See this City of Portland notice for latest update.

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

  • dmc July 26, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    I was just in the area last week admiring the pittock mansion and the view. Looks awesome.

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  • olivia July 26, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Wow, thanks for the tip. If I could, I absolutely would. Sounds like a gorgeous ride.

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  • A.K. July 26, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Wow, thanks for the great tip! I did the zoo and Saltzman on my rides last weekend, I guess I know what I’m doing this weekend!

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  • Jim Labbe July 26, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    I wish this closure extended to Monday morning when I cycle to Audubon Society of Portland. But Balch Creek watershed’s wildlife will enjoy this automobile haitus too. Yesterday I biked by a road-squashed Western Tanager and that was not the first time.

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    • El Biciclero July 26, 2011 at 2:23 pm

      Wow, the Tanagers are really out this year. I’ve had several pass through my back yard–something I haven’t seen as long as I’ve lived there (8 years).

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  • Schrauf July 26, 2011 at 2:47 pm

    Isn’t there potential for long delays near the tunnel? I realize there is a path around the tunnel, but there could be construction vehicles and flaggers at either end to avoid conflicts. I guess we shall find out…

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  • Jim Labbe July 26, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    El Biciclero… Observations of many neotropical migrant species were up this year, not necessarily because there are more birds passing through but because the cool wet spring concentrated their passage through lower elevations, and thus through human settlements where lots more people noticed them.

    So its a bit like closely the Broadway bridge and seeing an uptick of cyclists and pedestrians on the Steel bridge.

    And this just in: Free lemonade and cookies for anyone who stops at the Portland Audubon Sanctuary (halfway up the Cornell) this weekend!

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  • Andrew Holtz July 26, 2011 at 4:59 pm

    Thanks for helping to spread the word, Jonathan. As you mentioned, the opportunity to enjoy Cornell with little vehicle traffic will extend most of the day Saturday & Sunday. I’m planning to ride midday on Sunday and am happy to have company, but the main point is to let everyone know about the tunnel closure, so they can go for a ride or walk anytime that’s convenient for them.

    Note: the city notice warns that plans could change, so please check the link to the city web site in the story above for any last-minute adjustments. And as Schrauf noted, be careful as you make your way around the tunnel that’s being repaired.

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  • Scott Batson July 26, 2011 at 5:04 pm

    Just a note, PBOT will also be reconstructing the speed bumps between Lovejoy and the first tunnel this weekend as well, so, yes there will be construction vehicles, pavers, dump trucks and flaggers restricting access.
    The sidewalks may be clear, but there is also a home tour this weekend in the area.

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  • Andrew Holtz July 26, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    UPDATE: I just heard from the city about the speed bump work between the tunnel and NW 25th. When I ride, I’m going to peel off Cornell just below the tunnel to take 30th > Quimby > 29th > Raleigh to avoid as much of the speed bump work as possible.

    Here’s a map showing that detour: http://is.gd/fVOhqJ

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  • Scott Batson July 27, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    There is still one bump between the tunnel and 30th that is going to be replaced.

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  • Nancy Mattson, Audubon Nature Store Mgr. July 27, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    The road signs actually indicate that the tunnels will be closed until 7pm both days rather than 3pm. Everyone is invited to stop at Audubon for free lemonade and cookies compliments of the Nature Store!

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    • Andrew Holtz July 27, 2011 at 8:52 pm

      I’ll be sure to stop for a refreshment break. Thanks!
      The sign at Skyline shows a 3p end, but the city notice says 7p. I assume the varying times reflect uncertainty about how long the work with take.

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  • Andrew Holtz July 29, 2011 at 10:04 am
  • Andrew Holtz July 31, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    Closure ending.
    The tunnel was about to reopen when we rode by about 1:30p. There was still some speed bump work closer to 25th, but the sidewalk is open around the fresh bumps… and the detour using 30th just below the tunnel also works.
    What great fun to meander along Cornell with very little vehicle traffic!
    Saw lots of people on bikes and a number walking.

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  • patrickz July 31, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Went too early for the treats, but it was delightful to have the road to myself for most of the ride. Should have taken my road bike, especially for that last bit after Audubon, when a granny gear helps.

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