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ODOT wants your thoughts on Mt. Hood travel options

Posted by on May 2nd, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Mt. Hood could use more
travel options.
(Photo: ODOT)

The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has released an online survey that seeks input to inform their Mt. Hood Multimodal Transportation Plan. As reported back in March, ODOT wants to make it easier and safer to bike, walk, and hop on a bus around Government Camp, Timberline Lodge, and all the other popular recreation destinations on Mt. Hood. The plan focuses specifically on reducing auto trips on highways 26 (Sandy) and 35 (Hood River).

ODOT Region 1 Project Planner Mike Mason told us in March that, “What we’re hoping to find are good ideas to reduce the number of people who feel they need to drive cars up there.”

In a statement released today, Mason said, “People travel along the Mount Hood highway corridor for many reasons… We want these people who use the highway to help shape the future of transportation on the mountain.”

The online survey asks for information about how people travel to and on the mountain (and yes, bikes are an option). It also asks people to judge, on a scale from one to 10, if “Bicycle safety is adequate along US 26 or OR 35.” There’s even the opportunity to share specific locations for intersection improvements. In the section on “transportation alternatives” the survey asks if people would support various transit and shuttle options if they were available. ODOT also wants to know whether people agree or disagree with the following statement: “I would support travel information or roadway enhancements that would improve conditions for bicycle travel up to and around the mountain.”

By this fall, ODOT expects to come up with a list of prioritized projects. The survey asks for feedback on the types of projects they already have in mind. Those projects include: Intersection improvements/realignments; transit to and from Mt Hood, more “pedestrian connections”, improved bike facilities”, more enforcement of traffic laws, and more.

The survey is open until May 31st. Take it here and let’s help ODOT make it easier to access Mt. Hood without a car.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Rebecca May 2, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    I’m so happy that ODOT is looking in to this. Especially in the winter, so many people are heading from Portland to the same destinations – Timberline, Meadows, Ski Bowl, etc. Having a reliable bus service to these destinations, and perhaps some sort of incentive to use them instead of driving alone (on-board Wifi, a Bolt-Bus-esque early reservation discount) could help keep a lot of cars off of the 26.

    Less congestion, less auto burp in our National Forest, knowing you won’t spend 3 hours bumper to bumper heading back from the mountain on a Sunday evening…this effort is worth supporting for so many reasons.

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    • rain bike May 2, 2013 at 4:13 pm

      It’s not “the” 26.

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      • Daniel R. Miller May 2, 2013 at 10:14 pm

        who cares

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        • rain bike May 3, 2013 at 7:01 am

          If you have to ask, your wouldn’t understand the answer.

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        • A.K. May 3, 2013 at 11:51 am

          I’ll give you an answer since rain bike is full of anonymous internet snark.

          Some people say “the 26” or “the 5”. Generally, those people tend to be transplants, but not always.

          So anonymous internet dweebs like to pick up on that an insinuate that you’re not a real local if you put “the” before a freeway name.

          It’s completely stupid.

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    • dan May 3, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      In theory I love the idea of a bus from Portland to Meadows, but in practice, I want a few things that I feel are unlikely to be offered in any transit solution that arises:
      1) Arrive in the Meadows parking lot by 8:30 a.m. in all weather conditions (especially on powder days !@#@!)
      2) Be able to leave at some time before 4:00 p.m. – usually on a powder day there’s nothing left by noon, and I don’t particularly need to spend 4 hours in the bar.
      3) Bonus would be if they made it easy to bring up more than 1 board (hey, I’m a gear whore), and had storage on the bus that kept boards stationary and prevented edge damage, nicks and chips.

      Thinking that it’s not likely that we’ll be getting a transit service that offers all that, but that’s what it would take to move me away from carpooling.

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  • Coach Dan May 2, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    I don’t get it. ODOT just spent 15 years making a super wide, super fast road (both 26 and 35) that completely split all the up-mountain communities, and made the experience more dangerous for anyone but car people. A complete gift to the gas powered. And now they want to reduce usage ?

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  • Coach Dan May 2, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    How many extra car trips per year are projected for the proposed T-line MTB facility ?

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  • Coach Dan May 2, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    I could never figure out why T-line and Meadows didn’t offer bus service to the ski hills during the winter. Personal vehicle owners only seemed to be the message.

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    • Chris I May 3, 2013 at 7:50 am

      They do offer bus service, but it is fairly expensive. It only makes sense if the only other option is driving alone. What they need to do is start charging more to park in the main lot, and less to take the bus. It is in their best interest, as the lots get completely full on the weekends and effectively limits the number of customers they can get.

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      • henrik May 3, 2013 at 9:23 am

        Are you kidding me, charge even more for their parking?! They are already the MOST EXPENSIVE resort on the mountain to boot. It’s all about mid-week trips up there man, as the weekends are just bloody murder and not worth it.

        I am with you on the bus option though, way too much as it is for more than a single person… I guess they know most Portlanders are car-free so they know they can get away with it.

        Seriously, they need a Bolt bus equivalent up there I say!

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  • d May 2, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    I believe that picture shows Highway 35 not 26…

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  • Robert Ping May 2, 2013 at 7:55 pm

    Yes, that is looking west/northwest at White River intersecting hwy 35.

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  • Adam May 2, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    My partner and I are thinking about doing a mini-weekend bike tour up to Mt Hood, staying at Timberline Lodge. I am absolutely pooping myself at the thought of biking on Highway 26.

    I wish the Springwater Trail would just continue on, and on, and on, until it reached Mt Hood!

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    • Gabriel Amadeus Tiller May 3, 2013 at 9:21 am

      There are some alternatives. The barlow trail route has more ups and downs, but is very pretty and serene. Then you can hop on the Still Creek Road by Zigzag if you don’t mind biking on gravel up to Government Camp.

      Like this: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/2449395

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      • longgone May 3, 2013 at 10:12 am

        Great advice GAT. This is an AWESOME route.

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    • nuovorecord May 10, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      You can take back roads out of the Portland region until you get up to ZigZag. I’ve ridden 26 many times from there up to T-line and it’s really not that bad. The shoulder is plenty wide, except for a few spots.

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  • Daniel R. Miller May 2, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    A daily (at least) bus to Government Camp would seem like a no-brainer

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  • Lance P May 3, 2013 at 9:53 am

    done and done

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  • longgone May 3, 2013 at 10:17 am

    I wish some group would sponser a holiday weekend ride AROUND Mt. Hood. Say a 375-425km campout ride. Big day/small day/bigday. lots of support and media coverage. Is there a ride like this? Has there ever been ? Is it possible?

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  • Garlynn Woodsong May 3, 2013 at 10:29 am

    I’m wary of the term “intersection improvements”; when you’re talking highways and a state transportation agency, that usually means ramps and interchanges. That stuff costs a ton of money, which would be better spent on investing in alternatives — a separate bicycle route, improved to Springwater Trail standards end to end and maintained in the winter, for instance; or even an aerial tram up the mountain with enough space for bikes…

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  • AndyC of Linnton May 3, 2013 at 10:39 am

    A trolley!

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  • Sigi S May 3, 2013 at 11:11 am

    Need a train. This is what they do in Switzerland. A train that plows up the mountain to a hub. Also a large skytram from govt camp to timberline. Expand timberline to a larger hotel, akin to whistler. Bring back the new deal like what built timberline to build the train.

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  • nuovorecord May 10, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Keep in mind that one of the issues is the fact that the three ski areas wish to expand their parking lot footprints. Simply doing so would worsen an existing bad capacity and congestion problem, to say nothing of paving over more National Forest land.

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