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Sellwood Bridge plans finalized; County will use green concrete on bike lanes

Posted by on July 23rd, 2012 at 9:48 am

Adopted plans.

Last week, the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners adopted final plans for the new Sellwood Bridge. After a bumpy final week of the six-year process to arrive at a design, people who care about quality bicycle access breathed a sigh of relief on Thursday when the Board voted to shelve their hastily planned, cost-cutting alternative design.

On July 13th, the County raised lots of eyebrows when they shared several cost-cutting measures that would have dramatically changed bicycle access. On Monday of last week, at the meeting of the Project Stakeholder’s Committee (PSC), Portland Mayor Sam Adams eviscerated the County’s plans. Adams poked holes in the County’s proposed money saving measures and raised significant concerns about the hasty timeline and the impact the design would have on bicycling and walking.

Speaking about the public dust-up over the proposed changes, County Commissioner (and PSC Chair) Deborah Kafoury said they’ll continue to look for cost savings in the project. “I’m happy that people are thinking of ways to save money to make changes to the project,” Kafoury said. “And I’m also happy to have the opportunity to listen to the community when they say we don’t want those changes.”

“The concrete will be stained this dark green color, so it will be integral to the concrete. The color should not wear out the way a painted bike lane does.”
— Mike Pullen, Multnomah County

On Thursday, the County officially approved a final design that maintained the key bike access components including: the symmetrical bridge deck cross section featured both bike lanes and bike access on a raised sidewalk on both sides of the bridge; a new multi-use path bridge that will take people from the south side of the bridge’s western end down to the new section of path along the river, and a colored bikeway treatment that will create visual separation of the bikeways.

There has been some confusion over whether or not the green-colored bikeway treatments made it into the approved plans. According to County spokesperson Mike Pullen, they did. He shared with me last week that the plans include colored bike lanes for the entire length of the bridge. Pullen also said that, the County will used colored pavement, not thermoplastic like the City of Portland uses on bike boxes and high-conflict intersections throughout the city.

The City’s Bureau of Transportation has had difficulty maintaining thermoplastic and some people feel it’s too slippery when wet. Pullen says the County’s green pavement won’t just last longer, it will also be much darker than the bright green used by PBOT.

“The concrete will be stained this dark green color, so it will be integral to the concrete. The color should not wear out the way a painted bike lane does,” Pullen said. “Our main goal is to indicate to drivers that the shoulder is a bike lane and that bicyclists have a right to be there.”

The $299 million project will now enter into the construction phase and is expected to open in be completed in early 2016.

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lavie.lama
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lavie.lama

A new section of path along the river? I’ve not heard of that; Is that on the west side?

michael downes
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michael downes

Hooray for common sense!

Kirk
Guest

Great news about the green concrete treatment, but I sure hope they change the logo in the bike lane from sharrows to a regular bike lane image.

q`Tzal
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q`Tzal

Hopefully they have the forethought to get a green that is close enough to the shade specified in the federal code so that it doesn’t have to be removed later like our old BLUE blike lanes.

ScottG
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ScottG

My understanding is that a temporary bridge is in the process of being set up while they dismantle the old one and re-construct it. Does anyone have an idea whether the temporary bridge will have bike lanes?

michael downes
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michael downes

The center span will be slid over on rails onto temporary form work so they can dismantle the piers and construct the new bridge in the same place. Apparently this is called a ‘shoo-fly’ in civil engineering speak.

Steve B
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Alright! Let’s start using this green concrete in other projects! http://bit.ly/PKADKx

Andrew K
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Andrew K

Nice job to all those who saw the proposed changes and spoke up about what the bike community wants. When this bridge is finished in 2016 I hope you look at it and feel the sense of pride you deserve.

DK
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DK

When I went to traffic school to learn how to drive, I was taught that green means “GO!” It’s been a while for me but I’m pretty sure they’re still teaching this to drivers.

Seems such a silly color to use in this application… Same can be said for using it in bike boxes, IMO.

I love the idea of the colors being used to bring attention to the shared facility but out of the entire spectrum of colors, is green our only choice?

kww
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kww

A win for all. But we have to keep an eye on the Mult. County commissioners and the bridge project staff to ensure that they don’t think that they can pull another fast one, down the line. This constitutes a ‘fast one’ in my book. You would think they would know better after everyone having to live with the disgrace of the existing bridge and other gems like Ross Island bridge.

DR
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DR

This looks great! In light of at least one recent incident, would be nice to see this design execution inspire a change to the design / traffic pattern on the st.John’s bridge; indicating a distinct lane with a color is crucial in such a narrow space.
I Also feel the stained concrete is a step in the right direction in regards to traction. I like the visibility of green paint, but it can be sketchy when the rain falls.

Brad
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Brad

Green is picked up and processed faster by the human eye.

IanC
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IanC

I’m one of those red/green colorblind guys (and a 40 year old strong/fearless type!). Most red/green colorblindness is highly shade-dependent. The bright, lime green of the bike boxes is easy for me to see, but forest green, especially in low light or next to colors of similar hue like brown, burgundy, etc. are very hard to see. Red/green colorblind people usually see blue/yellow more vividly, so my preference for safety striping follows a more Provencale color scheme!

dan
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dan

There may be way more room on the street, and way less foot traffic on the sidewalk than I expect, but I can’t imagine using the on-street bike path when there’s a grade-separated MUP. I suppose the bike lanes are really there as de-facto breakdown lanes, and to provide a place for debris to collect outside the automobile travel lanes.

Lenny Anderson
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Lenny Anderson

Amazing what a lame duck can do! We all owe some thanks to Sam Adams who has been, and will continue to be until December 31, a real friend to those who bike, walk and use transit in Portland.

Andy K
Guest
Andy K

I went to the opening on Saturday and thought I would follow up on this after reaching out to one of the engineers on the project:

The concrete will be stained green at a later date in the project (for staging reasons). As you can see, it was not poured green, nor will it technically be integral.

This is out of my expertise are but the way I understand it, this stain will permanently change the color of the concrete at the surface but not alter the friction.