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First look: New mid-block crossing for Rock Creek Trail

Posted by on January 15th, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Washington County advocates are celebrating the completion of a new mid-block crossing. Now, people riding on the Rock Creek Trail (a paved path) will have a much more intuitive, safe, and efficient way to get across NW Evergreen Parkway.

When we first reported on this project back in November 2010, reader Matt Picio shared with us that people on bikes were forced to go 1/4 out of their way to a high-traffic intersection” in order to cross. “Not very pleasant,” he wrote.

The Washington County Bicycle Transportation Coalition featured the project in their January newsletter. According to their report and photos, the new crossing has come with a zebra-striped crosswalk, a new traffic signal for NW Evergreen traffic, a new walking signal for trail users, and ramps from the bike lanes on NW Evergreen up to the trail. The planted median, which used to be a barrier to cross-traffic, now has a wide, curbed-off area where people can wait to cross.

“Although the design doesn’t quite treat bicycles as legitimate vehicles,” writes the WashCo BTC, “it is definitely an improvement over the 6″ high median barrier.”

Here are a few more photos (courtesy of WashCoBTC)…

Now advocates and the Oregon Department of Transportation have their eyes on another major crossing gap nearby: Cornell Rd. Fortunately, the grant applications are already in. Learn more about this project here.

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  • Granpa January 15, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    I assume that going “…1/4 out of the way to a high traffic intersection.” is intended to mean 1/4 mile. No biggie, either in distance or the typo.

    In the book The Secret Life of Dogs the author followed her alpha malamute (on a bicycle) as it ranged its territory through an urban environment. She was puzzled as the dog, which managed urban hazards safely, always crossed streets in mid block. Ultimately she figured out what the dog intuitively knew, that without cross traffic or turning traffic there were fewer hazards. It may be safer to have the crossing at a lighted intersection, but a crosswalk mid block in and of itself in not necessarily unsafe. Look both ways and cross when it is safe.

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    • Pete January 15, 2013 at 2:07 pm

      Agreed, though “mid block” depends on proximity to the intersection itself. Having a crosswalk near a right turn – within the distance it takes a driver to take his/her eyes off oncoming traffic to the left and refocus on what’s in the road ahead – I suspect would have a high incident rate. Having one near the bottom of a long grade where traffic picks up speed – like on SW Hall in Beaverton by the Greenway – probably wouldn’t be ideal either.

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  • Spiffy January 15, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    interesting that they integrated on-ramps and off-ramps for the on-street bike lane to get on/off the crossing trail…

    maybe we can start expecting other bicycle facilities to have these same standard vehicle features…

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    • Pete January 15, 2013 at 2:09 pm

      That caught my eye too – maybe designed by people who actually ride?

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  • Allan January 15, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    This project is great now that its done. During construction they completely closed access to the trail on both sides with no detour signage. Not as cool

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  • NW Biker January 15, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    This is great. Much better than before, which required either a detour to the light (not that big of a deal, but still…) or carrying my bike over the median. Much nicer. And when they get Cornell done, life on that path will be good indeed.

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  • Robert Spurlock January 15, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    Much of the credit for this goes to Mary Ordal, Parks Planner for the City of Hillsboro. Mary has worked tirelessly for years to build out the Rock Creek Trail. I consider her a hero for all bicyclists, joggers and walkers in Tanasbourne and AmberGlen.

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  • Daniel Ronan January 15, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    Hello Jonathan, worth noting, this project was funded using Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee funds.

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  • matt picio January 16, 2013 at 1:37 am

    There have been a number of parties behind the scenes on this project, and a number of advocates who helped push this along. Kudos to everyone involved, and it’s great to see Washington County and the City of Hillsboro working to realize this link. While it isn’t perfect, it’s a vast improvement over what was there before.

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  • Brad January 16, 2013 at 9:35 am

    The City of Hillsboro and Washington County are in the final stages of an ODOT funding request to construct a similar crossing for Rock Creek Trail at Cornell Road (23,000 average daily vehicles). If you’re a user of Rock Creek Trail and would like to support our effort, please take a second to fill out this ODOT public survey. (Portland and Washington County -> Project #61)

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  • GlowBoy January 16, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    This is really fantastic. Though I don’t expect to use this improved crossing very often, my job recently *almost* got moved to an office complex very near this spot, so I’m aware of the project, and the Rock Creek Trail (in some cases, including its nearby undercrossing of US 26) would have been part of my commute. I’m thrilled that it got done.

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  • Opus the Poet January 16, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    One minor quibble, this is not a “Mid-block crossing”, this is a new intersection with a bicycle-only road.

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    • Granpa January 17, 2013 at 8:21 am

      “Bicycle-only”? I don’t see where pedestrians, bird watchers, joggers, kids sneaking out to smoke or drink beer are prohibited. I am getting old, but that fine print must have been pretty small

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