Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

First look: Sharrows installed on historic Oregon City/West Linn Arch Bridge

Posted by on October 11th, 2012 at 8:47 am


Freshly laid sharrow on the (still closed for repairs) Oregon City/West Linn Arch Bridge.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has listened — and reacted to — community feedback calling for improved bicycle access on the Oregon City Arch Bridge. Today, while in Oregon City for an unrelated story, I happened to notice that crews have installed sharrows on the newly-renovated bridge that connects the city with West Linn.

The bridge has been closed for repairs for two years and is set to open with a carfree grand celebration this weekend. Back in August, we wondered whether ODOT should consider sharrows on the deck of the bridge. After all, they recently installed sharrows on the St. Johns Bridge, and there are similar conditions on the Oregon City Arch Bridge. However, unlike the St. Johns Bridge, the Arch Bridge is much narrower (just one lane in each direction with no shoulder) and the sidewalk is even less hospitable to bicycling (making sharrows even more necessary).

It turned out that ODOT and others were thinking the same thing. I hadn’t heard from ODOT in a few weeks and I assumed they were working to get final sign-off from stakeholders on both sides of the river before making a final decision; but after seeing it with my own eyes yesterday, I no longer have to wait for that decision.


One thing of note is that the sharrow marking they’ve used on the bridge is non-standard. Instead of the FHWA-approved symbol of a bicycle and two chevrons, they’ve used the bicycle rider symbol with two chevrons. I’m not sure why they did that (and I’m not sure if it’s significant), but it’s worth noting.


These sharrows — combined with a recently completed downtown transportation revitalization plan that has brought smooth streets, sharrows, and new bicycle wayfinding signage — has improved riding conditions in downtown Oregon City. Another major bright spot in the area is the new Trolley Trail. If you’d like to get out there and check these new bikeways out for yourself, Portlander Matt Picio is leading a ride on the Trolley Trail this Saturday that will end at the Willamette Falls Festival.

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  • Zaphod October 11, 2012 at 9:22 am

    Pleased. This is nothing but positive

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  • Rithy October 11, 2012 at 9:23 am

    Maybe they had some leftover thermoplast bicycle riders and wanted to save some money.

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  • Matt October 11, 2012 at 9:35 am

    The bike/ped projects happening in the Cities like Milwaukie and Oregon City are proof that not everyone in the County is “anti-everything”.

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  • Spiffy October 11, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Instead of the FHWA-approved symbol of a bicycle and two chevrons, they’ve used the bicycle rider symbol with two chevrons.

    perhaps they thought it would make drivers think that bicyclists are people…

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    • Paul Souders October 11, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      Or demoted to corporal?

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  • Dan V October 11, 2012 at 9:36 am

    It looks as though the rider is wearing a wok on its head; not that most drivers think we’re crazy…

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  • Lloyd Purdy October 11, 2012 at 10:40 am

    See the excitement and energy building up in Downtown Oregon City at http://www.bluecollarcreative.org.

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  • Steve B. October 11, 2012 at 10:41 am

    Nicely done everyone! Goes to show it’s never too late to get changes into a project.

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  • Todd Boulanger October 11, 2012 at 11:32 am

    Yes. It’s good they added the sharrows, though it still amazes me that too many agencies still apply white thermo stencils onto fresh concrete roadway surfaces., as there is too little contrast between them to effectively communicate the message once the surfaces get dirty.

    [Hello thermo stencil product producers…make a bike stencil/ sharrow with a black edge…like the lane stripes currently on the market.]

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  • spare_wheel October 11, 2012 at 11:54 am

    awesome. now lets get some of these things on commercial roads in pdx.

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  • Paul Hanrahan October 11, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    How about some sharrows on the Sellwood bridge?

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  • 9watts October 11, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    + ODOT likes the idea of sharrows on this bridge.

    – ODOT is also eager to see a new allocation of the $38 million in federal funds… (from yesterday’s story about Metro)

    Right hand… left hand…? What happened to that bold vision thing from Garrett?
    “…we’re trying to move out of the siloed approach that is dictated by the way we fund transportation… Let’s move from a ‘highway region’ to a transportation region…”

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    • matt picio October 12, 2012 at 12:56 pm

      That’s the problem, actually – ODOT appears to view the 72/25 split as “siloed”. Opening the pot to everything is the “non-siloed” approach. It *does* allow for more money to potentially go to an Active Transportation project, or for NO money to do so.

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  • resopmok October 11, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Too bad they couldn’t have been done a week earlier 🙁 I’ve been waiting to do the 205 trail -> OR city -> Lake Oswego -> Terwillger loop again forever! Now it’s gonna rain on the parade!

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    • A.K. October 12, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      Shouldn’t be too bad tomorrow. I am thinking about doing a large loop and incorporating the bridge, and I’m more worried about the “festivities” blocking easy access across!

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  • Sunny October 11, 2012 at 8:19 pm

    The Chinese ride invisible bikes?

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  • jeffrey utterback October 11, 2012 at 9:10 pm

    Too bad they couldn’t have been done a week earlier 🙁 I’ve been waiting to do the 205 trail -> OR city -> Lake Oswego -> Terwillger loop again forever! Now it’s gonna rain on the parade!
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    At least it’s concrete, unlike some steel grated “ice rinks when wet” bridges I’ve crossed in my area.
    Next time I’m in Portland, I’d like to do that route…where do you start from on the 205 trail?
    I live in Sacramento, Ca now, but visit my sisters up there a few times a year.. grew up near Laurelhurst Park.

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    • Terry D October 11, 2012 at 11:03 pm

      The 205 path basically follows I 205 from Vancouver south, with a couple workable gaps, to the Clackamas river. I live a just north of mount Tabor a mile east of Lauralhurst Park and I usually just jump on the the greenway of Ankeny/Couch/Davis/Everette to 71st then the East Burnside bike lanes the rest of the way.

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    • resopmok October 12, 2012 at 5:20 am

      They’re ice rinks when they’re not wet too.. I live in MT Scott/Arletta and usually pick up the trail for this ride at 92nd + SE Crystal Springs Blvd, just south of Flavel. The 205 trail dead ends at SE 82nd Dr, which you can follow south (left) to an old railroad bridge (now pedestrian path) to get you across the Clackamas and into downtown Oregon City. Once across the bridge I take 43 all the way to Lake Oswego, then Terwillger into downtown Portland.

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      • matt picio October 12, 2012 at 1:00 pm

        Actually it does that *twice* – it transitions to bike lanes at 82nd Drive, and becomes a MUP again just west of I-205 at Hwy 224. There’s about 2 miles of trail before it runs *back* into 82nd Drive for a few blocks before the RR bridge.

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  • Sunny October 13, 2012 at 12:54 am

    Mainly dry on Saturday. Let’s ride!

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  • Ted Buehler October 14, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    A gutsy maneuver by ODOT, lets hope it goes well.

    St. Johns and Oregon City bridge sharrows will set a good precedent for more sharrows on Willamette bridges — up and down the valley, and on the main roadway of the Broadway and Steel bridges in Portland.

    Ted Buehler

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  • Jonathan Gordon October 16, 2012 at 8:52 am

    This is great news! I like to think that my email helped.

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