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Consultant: Sharrows on the Oregon City Arch Bridge likely (with public push)

Posted by on September 18th, 2012 at 1:12 pm

New sharrows on Main Street in Oregon City.
Will they put these on the Arch Bridge too?
(Photos: Don Arambula)

According to a source close to the project, the Oregon Department of Transportation and the cities of West Linn and Oregon City are strongly considering installing sharrow markings on the historic Arch Bridge when it re-opens next month after a multi-million rehabilitation project.

Back in August, we wondered whether the time was right for ODOT to add sharrows to the bridge’s main roadway. After all, we thought, ODOT installed sharrows on the St. Johns Bridge back in May following a similar rehab project. And like the St. Johns, the Arch Bridge has sub-standard sidewalks that do not adequately serve bicycle traffic. With people all but forced onto the main bridge roadway, having a large bicycle symbol in the center of the lane would be a small, yet helpful, bike safety improvement.

Aerial view shows new sharrows downtown and ongoing construction of the bridge.

In recent weeks, ODOT Community Affairs staffer on the project, Susan Hanson began looking into the possibility. On August 28th, she told me via email that, “We are working through this,” and that she was “in discussions” with leaders from Oregon City and West Linn about it (the bridge over the Willamette River connects the two cities).

Since then, we’ve learned that the downtown circulation study developed by consulting firm Crandall Arambula for Oregon City in 2010 (and later adopted by city council) recommended sharrows on the bridge. Don Arambula, principal at the consulting company, tweeted a photo this morning from the dedication of downtown street improvements (which include sharrows) in Oregon City. Arambula also wrote that, “Sharrows will likely be on the Arch Bridge.”

Arambula says that sharrows on the bridge roadway were adopted recently by Oregon City and ODOT as part of his firm’s reconstruction plan; but it’s not a done deal yet. The city engineer must sign-off on the plan and ODOT is not obligated to install them.

The topic is expected to be discussed tonight at a meeting of the Oregon City Transportation Advisory Committee. If you want to see sharrows on the Arch Bridge, consider speaking at that meeting and/or email Oregon City Public Works Director John Lewis at jmlewis@orcity.org or ODOT’s Susan Hanson at Susan.C.Hanson@odot.state.or.us.

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  • Andrew K September 18, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    e-mails sent!

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  • 9watts September 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    “The city engineer must sign-off on the plan and ODOT is not obligated to install them.”
    Just imagine if the same were true for, you know, traffic lights or turn arrows – infrastructure that is deemed important to cars….

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  • Dan September 18, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Another good place for sharrows: Kingston Drive in Washington Park.

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  • Spiffy September 18, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    if enough of us email, or show at the meeting, and press them to do this then it’s another reason for Clackamas County to be mad at free-loading bicycles using their money for our recreational activities…

    if we don’t do anything and they don’t get installed then it’s business as usual for Car City USA…

    I’m going for the third option: don’t do anything and leave it to the government to do their job and do the right thing… if they don’t then it’s business as usual and nobody is surprised, but if they do then they get major kudos and at least we can’t be blamed…

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  • bicycle rider September 18, 2012 at 10:47 pm

    watch out, clackamas county voters will have to vote on those bike lanes, theyre part of the “downtown portland values”, “portland creep” and agenda 21

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    • Chris September 19, 2012 at 1:17 pm

      Yep, and after the sharrows are installed, they’ll probably start a ballot initiative to require voter approval before spending any money on sharrows in Clackamas County.

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  • rg September 20, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Hey, we aren’t all tea party fanatics in clack co! I ride the bridge all of the time when it is open. The accepted local practice is to ride the sidewalk uphill (OC to WL), and take the lane on the downhill. The sidewalk is adequate for bikes.

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  • Steve September 20, 2012 at 9:33 am

    FYI, this area is controlled by Oregon City (not Clackamas County), which has done a pretty good job of incorporating bikes into their downtown transportation makeover plan.

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  • gl. September 20, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    but it’s just a 2-lane bridge, right? if so, it’s the equivalent of putting sharrows on the sellwood (except i think the OC bridge is steeper). there’s no way i’m taking the lane on that bridge, sharrows or no.

    having said that, i love the sharrows in downtown OC. it immediately felt more welcoming and safer. (the newly smooth streets don’t hurt, either!)

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