New path will link Sellwood to Milwaukie on SE 17th

SE 17th is getting a makeover between Sellwood and Milwaukie.

A new, $3.4 million path and street design update will vastly improve the bicycling connection between Portland and Milwaukie and the City of Milwaukie wants your feedback on its preliminary design.

The SE 17th Avenue Multi-Use Path project was awarded nearly $3 million in federal “flexible funds” in 2011. The project will create bike lanes and a physically-separated path on a one mile section of SE 17th Avenue between Ochoco and McLoughlin Blvd. The path will connect not only our two cities, but it will also provide a safer bikeway between two major regional paths: the Springwater Corridor and the Trolley Trail.

The Oregon Department of Transportation (who holds the pursestrings on this particular pouch of funds) initially proposed a completion date of 2017, but elected leaders in Milwaukie who are eager to close this gap successfully lobbied ODOT for an “expedited” planning and permitting process that will see it get done by fall of 2015.


SE 17th in this location is currently very uncomfortable for cycling (and walking). Or, as the City of Milwaukie described in their grant application: “The mix of deteriorating infrastructure and changing conditions results in a hazardous and confusing environment, particularly for bicyclists and pedestrians.” The shoulder in the southbound direction is often filled with debris and is relatively narrow. There’s a standard bike lane in the northbound direction, but people drive fast on 17th — thanks in part to its 60-foot width — and it’s not very pleasant to ride on.

Looking south at the 99E Junction.
Looking south, just south of Milport Rd.

The project would redesign the street to include two 11-foot wide standard lanes, two five-foot wide bike lanes, and an 11-12 foot physically separated (with a planted stormwater swale) path for biking and walking along the western edge of the existing right-of-way (see lead graphic).

The City of Milwaukie has completed a preliminary design for the path and they’re hosting an open house on Monday, October 27th. There’s also a “Ride Along” event planned for October 30th.

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