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Bicycling, road safety will play big role in Sauvie Island transportation plan update

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Cover of scoping report.
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Multnomah County is updating two plans that govern Sauvie Island and not surprisingly, bicycling and road safety have played key roles in the initial conversations. After garnering public feedback last spring, the County has put together a ‘Scoping Report.’ That report (PDF) was a central piece of the agenda at a meeting of the Sauvie Island/Multnomah Channel Community Advisory Committee that met for the first time last week.

This public process will update the Sauvie Island/Multnomah Channel Rural Area Plan and the Multnomah County Transportation System Plan, which will “inform area policies, zoning code updates and transportation improvements for a 20-plus-year planning horizon.” The current plans have not been updated for 16 years.

During the public outreach process to develop the scoping report, Multnomah County heard loud and clear that bicycling and road safety issues need to be addressed. In the section of the report labeled “Transportation Visions”, two items are listed: “Reduce Traffic conflicts between modes,” and “Provide for safe roads/facilities for all users.”

As we’ve reported on for years, Sauvie Island has been seen more than its share of road rage incidents and tense encounters.

The community’s concerns about road use behaviors and existing transportation conditions on Sauvie Island are also evident in the report’s “Transportation issues” section that identifies plan tasks and summarizes community feedback.

Riding on Sauvie Island.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Under the heading, “Develop actions for decreasing traffic conflicts,” the scoping report lists several concerns:

  • Vehicle speeds and speed limits are too high
  • Too many vehicles are using the roads
  • Cyclist and drivers do not follow the “rules of the road”
  • Traffic violations are not enforced
  • Drivers and cyclists need to be educated about how to share the road

Another section of the report lists a set of recommendations for the update of the Transportation System Plan:

  • Examine existing concerns to develop actions for decreasing traffic conflicts, including conducting traffic counts; traffic policy discussion for County
  • Examine safety concerns to make it safe for all travel modes; develop a multi-modal transportation study and speed/safety study
  • Examine the traffic impacts of island visitors during the peak-season; develop a demand management strategy.

That last item, “develop a demand management strategy,” is interesting. It doesn’t say whether it would include people riding bikes to the island, or just people who drive there.

We’ll be following this process closely and we hope everyone who rides and/or cares about traffic safety on Sauvie Island will pay attention and get involved when the opportunity arises. We’ll post major updates here on the Front Page and on Twitter. For now, you can learn more at the official project website and you can send comments to

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