Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Proposed ‘Scenic Bikeway’ would connect Hillsboro to Banks-Vernonia Trail

Posted by on December 17th, 2012 at 11:13 am

Family trip to Stub Stewart State Park-13-80

The beautiful roads just outside Hillsboro.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Oregon’s State Scenic Bikeway program has really taken off in recent years. Routes have sprung up all over the state and they’re spurring economic development and providing people with great bike adventures. But so far, none of them are very close to Portland.

Now comes word from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department that there’s a proposal on the table to designate a new scenic bikeway that would be relatively close to Portland and would begin just south of Hillsboro.

According to Alex Phillips with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, the Tualatin Valley Bikeway is being proposed (by the Washington County Visitors Association no less) as a 50-mile route that passes through Hillsboro, Forest Grove, Banks, and L. L. Stub Stewart State Park. This would be a boon for Portland riders, not only because this area offers some great roads for riding; but the start of the new route (at Rood Bridge Park) is just three miles away from the Hillsboro Transit Center.

Check out the proposed route below:

In July 2011, we joined several families for a family bike camping trip to Stub Stewart State Park via the Banks-Vernonia Trail. On our way back we rode from Banks to the Hillsboro Transit Center on some of the same routes proposed in his route. This is an exciting development for Washington County!

But it’s not a done deal yet. Before it’s officially designated, Oregon Parks and Rec will solicit public feedback to use in making their final decision. If you’d like to weigh in on this proposal, a public meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 15th at the Forest Grove Community Auditorium (1915 Main St.).

For more information, contact Alex Phillips at alex.phillips@state.or.us.

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  • o/o December 17, 2012 at 11:25 am

    They should consider alternate route straight from Hillsboro to B-V bikeway.

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    • Chris I December 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm

      There is a rail line there. I can’t imagine it would take much to squeeze a path next to the line similar to the section of the trail west of Banks. This would be greatly appreciated, as it would cut distance and add safety, compared with the existing options.

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      • sean December 17, 2012 at 1:20 pm

        Agreed. While it’s better than going down 47, and it may be nice for fun time cruising, it seems much to circuitous for any practical use.

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  • Patrick December 17, 2012 at 12:02 pm

    It seems overly circuitous.

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    • A.K. December 17, 2012 at 1:44 pm

      A straight shot isn’t the point of a “scenic bikeway”.

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  • NW Biker December 17, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    This is great news! I’ve ridden out there a lot, between Hillsboro, Banks, and Forest Grove, and I enjoy it a lot. I hope this comes together.

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  • PorterStout December 17, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    There’s nothing that says you have to take this route if you want to get there quicker. I imagine this route takes into account lower traffic roads and perhaps scenic value, etc., as would be more suitable for families who want to ride it.

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  • Andrew K December 17, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    This looks like it would be a blast and could provide a fun weekend adventure for folks like me who don’t have a lot of time away from work.

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  • Gregg December 17, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    Would somebody who has a great route for riding from MAX to the Banks Vernonia Trail post it here for those interested in riding out there now, before the Oregon Scenic Trail gets built?

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    • adventure! December 17, 2012 at 1:14 pm
    • Kirk December 17, 2012 at 1:27 pm

      Check out this route: http://bikeroutetoaster.com/Course.aspx?course=337873

      That route joins up with the Banks-Vernonia trailhead in Banks, and continues to Stub Stewart.

      Very relaxing ride, mostly farmlands, with less than one mile on any ‘high speed’ road. Enjoy!

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      • John Beaston December 17, 2012 at 5:19 pm

        Ditto on Kirk’s route. I’ve used it many times. Easy route with a minimum of travel on the heavily trafficked rural roads out there.

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        • adventure! December 17, 2012 at 7:51 pm

          To note, Kirk’s route is the same one from PBOT.

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      • el timito December 18, 2012 at 12:47 pm

        Looks like the route was drawn before the opening of the B-V Trailhead – it still points you down Nehalem Highway for a spell before getting on the trail.

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  • Ted Buehler December 17, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    So, uh, good. But it doesn’t really connect Hillsboro and Banks… Normally a “connection” in the transportation planning sense is something that is useful to go from point A to Point B. This route meanders all over the place, and has end points in Banks and Rood Bridge Park.

    This could lead to a discussion, though, of “would it be useful to have a somewhat direct connection from Hillsboro to Banks?” And the answer will be a resounding “yes!”

    The existing routes are okay, but roads are really really skinny, have blind curves and humps, and don’t have any signage letting people driving cars know that this route is frequented by bicycles.

    Ted Buehler

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  • Jacob December 17, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    So this is basically just a series of signs alongside existing roadways?

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  • Editz December 17, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    For a little excitement, go further south to Unger Rd. There’s a hill that cyclists seem to be fond of bombing down with a nice winery towards the bottom.


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  • Barney December 17, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Kind of reminds me of the Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway, very circuitous but there are good alternate routes available. I likely wont use this route either as I enjoy covering some distance along with seeing things. Zig-zagging back and forth needlessly to get somewhere isn’t my cup of tea.

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  • GlowBoy December 17, 2012 at 9:16 pm

    I personally would prefer that this route be a lot less circuitous, because I’m looking to take my kid camping at Stub next year, and any improvements to the safety of WashCo roads would be welcome. Adding numerous miles to the route is less welcome.

    Most other scenic bikeways at least have some pretense of connecting A and B. Even the loops don’t generally zig-zag all over the place. As currently proposed, I don’t think this trail should claim any pretense as a “connector” route.

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  • bike me December 17, 2012 at 9:47 pm

    Looking forward to the hawk signals on 47.

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  • Skid December 17, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    I’ll take a longer distance over traffic for a weekend recreational ride.

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    • Erinne December 18, 2012 at 10:53 am

      See the route posted above for a low traffic AND direct route.

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      • GlowBoy December 19, 2012 at 11:55 am

        The route posted above route is pretty much the one I’ve been planning. If the point of posting signs along the bikeway is to raise awareness so that cyclists know where to go and more drivers expect to see bikes there, why not post Kirk’s route with signs instead? Seems a much better choice.

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        • Art Fuldodger December 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm

          Yeah, I’m kind of mystified about what the advantage is of the circuitous route. The short, direct route – which I’ve ridden probably a dozen + times – has only one segment (Wren Rd., about a mile) with “moderate” traffic (1200-2500 vehicles per day), and a short section (1/2 mile) of busy Cornelius-Scheffin that now has a good wide bike lane:


          By contrast, the longer route has a number of longer segments (Johnson School, Burkhalter, Rood Br.) that have 1200-2500 per day, plus a 1 1/2 mile segemt of Golf Course Rd with 2500-4000.

          Just not sure what’s being accomplished by signing the long route.

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  • Rick Potestio December 18, 2012 at 8:57 am

    My concern is that by identifying cycling routes, we also are creating a road hierarchy in which the remaining “auto routes” may be “improved” for higher speed travel with more lanes, straighter turns, and easier grades, thereby making them less safe or enjoyable for cyclists. A classic example of this is the speedway called Roy Rogers Road, which used to be the very ridable Beef Bend Road.

    I firmly believe that all the two lane roads should be ridable, and rather than identify a “route” I would prefer a network. If we lowered speeds, and improved and maintained a shoulder, we could adopt a way finding system of markers like that used in the Netherlands and Belgium.
    Thus one could create a personalized route suited to skill, time, interest and destination and be reasonably assured that it will be safe. The Netherlands’s “fietsroutenetwerken” is a system of numbered junctures or intersections marked by posts with the numbers, that correspond to maps one can view on line, purchase or consult on kiosks at major locations. “Routes” derived from the network could identified and classified according to difficulty, scenic quality, etc.

    The key to a fietsroutenetwerken system is that all roads are equally suited to cycling and not dominated by high speed auto use.

    Washington County has consistently reworked its rural road system to favor auto usage and has thereby eliminated many roads from cycling use that I enjoyed when I first returned to the Portland region in 1990.

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    • Dave Thomson December 18, 2012 at 9:56 am

      Interesting comment on Roy Rogers, but you have it pretty much backwards. Beef Bend/Elsner were nice back in the 80’s and early 90’s, but by the time Washington County had started planning Roy Rogers the traffic had already increased to the point that those old farm-to-market roads with no shoulders were no longer rideable on weekdays unless you didn’t mind having 10 cars stacked up behind you waiting for a chance to pass. The underlying issue was the huge population growth in Sherwood.

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  • Brad December 18, 2012 at 10:16 am

    What’s wrong with Roy Rogers? High speed for cars but, wide bike lanes and very good sight lines. To me it feels safer than some of the lesser traveled farm roads with loads of blind corners, no shoulders, and the sporadic driver doing 50+mph.

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  • Rick Potestio December 18, 2012 at 11:28 am

    To my way of thinking lots is wrong with Roy Rogers. It is a bland highway profile designed for high speed auto traffic. It is a connector that facilitates more driving in the suburbs and displaces the rural character of the area with people driving through farm land to connect suburban hubs.

    In my opinion the bike lane does not correct for the overall degrading of the experience. If you rode Beef Bend before the change, you would have experienced a more bucolic country road. It had narrow shoulders but also had fewer drivers driving slower and more attentively. It was better as a riding environment.

    I get the sense that you feel more comfortable on wide level roads with dedicated bike lanes — That’s what our DOT’s want to substitute for the current and diminishing network of winding narrow rural roads.

    Roy Rogers like roads are fine for lots of people, but as I have gained in riding experience, fitness and confidence I have become more adventuresome and seek out a more genuine country experience on roads that preserve the rural character as it is.

    Over and out….

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  • Jeremy December 19, 2012 at 9:20 am

    This proposed route is so sinuous… I say extend the rails-to-trails all the way from Banks-Vernonia straight to downtown Hillsboro!! The rail line is lightly used anyway and a total eyesore and earsore cutting through downtown Hillsboro. It tracks end literally right next to the Blue line MAX… Hello bike riders, runners, walkers and families! The upside is pretty amazing.

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    • Ray Ogilvie December 19, 2012 at 6:05 pm

      The rail line from Banks is not the same line as the Banks-Vernonia Trail.
      It is an active freight line.

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    • adventure! December 19, 2012 at 6:10 pm

      While I’m all for more rail-trails, I’m not for converting active rail lines, “eyesore” or not. If anything, we need more rail options, not less. In any case it’s moot point as it’s still an active freight line as Ray points out. Rails-with-trails (like OMSI-Springwater) may be an option, though.

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  • Ted Buehler December 20, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    On the route — does it connect? — depends on your definition of “connect.”

    Riding from Hillsboro MAX to the start of the Banks – Vernonia Trail is 11.7 miles.

    Riding from the Hillsboro Airport MAX stop to Rood Park then on the new bike route will be 34 miles.

    Realistically, I expect exactly zero bicyclists to choose a 34 mile route over a similar 12 mile route to get to the B-V trail from MAX.

    Ted Buehler

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    • Ray Ogilvie December 20, 2012 at 6:18 pm

      Well, I choose the longer route because I like to ride my bike not just to get somewhere but to enjoy the ride.

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