Tour de Lab September 1st

County wants your big ideas to make biking on bridges better

Posted by on February 16th, 2015 at 2:01 pm

Bridge Pedal 2009 from the air-36

How about a real lane for bicycling on the Hawthorne?
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Multnomah County wants your big ideas for how to improve travel across their six Willamette River Bridges. They’ve released a draft 20-year Capital Improvement Plan that will prioritize the major projects and funding to maintain and rehab the Broadway, Burnside, Hawthorne, Morrison, Sauvie Island and Sellwood Bridges.

If you bike in Portland, you know how important these bridges are to the bicycle network.

When I asked County spokesperson Mike Pullen how bicycling improvements fit into this plan, he said, “Often, the projects that bicyclists are interested in cost much less than that and we try to fund them through our maintenance budget.” Now, I know Pullen. He’s a good guy. But I have a hunch that some of you might actually have bigger ideas than a bit of paint here or a sign there. Like, how about finally getting a real, protected bike lane on the Burnside. Or how about widening the paths on the Broadway Bridge?

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The projects in the draft plan are limited in detail, but some of them include elements that would impact/improve bicycle access. They include better lighting on the Hawthorne, Morrison, and Broadway, and improved signage on the Hawthorne.

In total, the 20-year plan includes 53 projects worth about $1.3 billion. One of the most expensive projects on the list is the 2016 Burnside Rehabilitation Project which is has a “target cost” of $30.8 million.

You can see the draft plan and take a survey at the Multnomah County Bridge Plan website. The survey will only be open until February 26th, so make sure to get your comments in. The County will officially adopt the final bridge plan as part of their Transportation Capital Improvement Plan in May.

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87 Comments
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    Rick February 16, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Replace the Burnside Bridge

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      Eastsider February 16, 2015 at 10:59 pm

      I don’t think the bridge needs replaced but it could definitely use some cycle tracks. By simply reducing the east-bound traffic from three car lanes to two, there would be enough room for a separated cycle track on both sides of the bridge. And still have two lanes of car traffic in both directions!

      Imagine the psychological effect this would have for biking in Portland – if the cycle track extended to the Park Blocks, it would connect all four quadrants of the city, as well as Downtown, Old Town and the Pearl District!

      Dedicating a small amount of real estate on the bridge most central to Portland to cyclists and making it a safe, pleasant, and efficient place to ride would go a long way towards transportation equity.

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      Dan M. February 17, 2015 at 10:09 am

      Why? It’s one of the most bike-able bridges out there and it supports a ton of traffic without much issue. The best part is commuting east in the afternoon rush and passing a literal bridge full of stopped cars. Peace, suckas!

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        Eastsider February 17, 2015 at 11:46 pm

        I agree that the bridge feel safest when it is actually full of backed up car traffic. Its other times though, such as biking home from work on a Saturday night in the rain, that it feels very unsafe.

        If we’re going to attract a full range of bikers, including the “interested but concerned,” we can’t expect them to be comfortable riding on the Burnside Bridge, inches away from cars and trucks zooming by at 40+ mph separated only by a line of paint, and then being dumped on the west side of the bridge where the bike lane disappears into a parking lane and there is no clear connection to the waterfront path or any other biking network.

        Its also worth nothing that there will soon be a ton of new apartments near the bridgehead on the eastside. Because of misguided city policy, many of these will have a plenitude of car parking included. If we don’t want even more car traffic choking downtown, we need to make biking across the river easier than driving.

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          maccoinnich February 17, 2015 at 11:54 pm

          The decision to include car parking in the various developments going up at the Burnside Bridgehead was entirely made the developers. There are no parking minimums in the Central City.

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          davemess February 18, 2015 at 8:42 am

          “Because of misguided city policy, many of these will have a plenitude of car parking included. If we don’t want even more car traffic choking downtown, we need to make biking across the river easier than driving.”

          Do you think that most people who live in these apartments (literally on the Burnside bridge) will all be driving downtown? I’m no so sure about that.
          But just not offering parking isn’t going to make people stop having or using cars. It’s not exactly working out that way in the parking-free buildings we’ve seen built recently.

          Like it or not there is a still a very strong public demand for apartment parking.

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      was carless February 17, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      Well, the city is already looking at spending $1.3 billion to upgrade all of the city’s bridges, and $547 million for the Burnside alone.

      Sources:

      http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2015/02/multnomah_countys_20-year_brid.html

      http://media.oregonlive.com/portland_impact/other/R_2015-02-12_CIP_Report_for_Publication.pdf

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        Sigma February 18, 2015 at 4:46 pm

        Are you kidding? Those articles are about the county bridge plan, as is the article you commented on. The city and the county are not the same thing. Also, please read before commenting.

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    Adam H. February 16, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Please build protected bike lanes (separated by a curb or barrier) on the Burnside Bridge. Close the Hawthorne outside car lanes to car traffic, place non-slip plates over the open-grate deck, and make the lanes bike-only. Widen the sidewalks/bike lanes on the Broadway Bridge.

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      dan February 16, 2015 at 3:45 pm

      Yes, and separated walk and bike lanes on the Hawthorne while we’re at it.

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        soren February 17, 2015 at 9:56 am

        Word. The Hawthorne Bridge is hell for pedestrians during peak bike traffic hours.

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          Kris February 17, 2015 at 6:55 pm

          So true. I was seriously afraid for my safety the time i wound up trying to walk west on the east bound side of the bridge during rush hour! Never made that mistake again.

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      maccoinnich February 16, 2015 at 4:53 pm

      I know it’s not a County responsibility, but I think the approaches to the Burnside Bridge are of much larger concern than the bike lanes on the bridge itself. Ideally there would be a continuous bike lane on NE Couch (incredible that it wasn’t built as part of the part of the couplet) and bike lanes on W Burnside at least as far as the Park Blocks.

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        Reza February 16, 2015 at 5:54 pm

        I think the westside approach is so much more of a pressing need than the eastside at this point. While bike lanes on Couch would’ve been nice, that would’ve required removing parking as a single westbound travel lane on such a high-volume segment would’ve never passed muster with engineers. And at least the signals and slow timing progression of the signals helps you take a lane there with relative confidence.

        West Burnside is so much worse right now.

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          Kyle February 16, 2015 at 6:58 pm

          West Burnside easily has enough room for bike lanes on both sides if (seldom-used) parking is removed, and the westbound bike lane could go all the way to the park blocks if the sidewalk could be moved inward a bit at Broadway. It’s ridiculous that the city doesn’t have the nerve to change a few signs and put down a little bit of paint.

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            Reza February 17, 2015 at 9:58 am

            Buffered bike lanes and right turn boxes at 3rd, 5th, and Broadway.

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              maccoinnich February 17, 2015 at 10:23 am

              I know I saw drawings for something like this once, but I can’t find mention of it on Bike Portland now that I’m looking. It wasn’t part of the West Side Couplet, as it showed Burnside running in two directions. I thought it might have been part of the Pearl District Access and Circulation Plan, but it’s not in there either

              Does this sound familiar to you or anyone else?

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              Andy K February 19, 2015 at 7:33 am

              +1 for buffered bike lanes (EVERYWHERE)

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            Reza February 17, 2015 at 10:07 am

            Of course I meant “left” turn boxes…

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            paikiala February 17, 2015 at 10:24 am

            Kyle,
            What happens west of Park?

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              Kyle February 17, 2015 at 3:14 pm

              The road narrows significantly and there’s only room for two auto lanes in each direction. This can’t be easily fixed unless one auto lane were removed.

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      Dan M. February 17, 2015 at 10:44 am

      There is nothing wrong with the Burnside Bridge as is. It’s the best biking bridge there is. If you’re not comfortable on that bridge, you’re not comfortable on any street and should think about other options.

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        MaxD February 17, 2015 at 2:17 pm

        Dan M.
        My bicycle is my primary means of transportation, and has been for the last 24 years or so. I have ridden throughout Portland, Vancouver BC, Seattle, lots of small Oregon towns and plenty of rural areas in all types of weather and throughout all hours of the day and night. I am not comfortable on the Burnside Bridge because there is very poo access on to and off of the bridge, drivers travel way too fast for road conditions, and the narrow bike lanes offer very little margin of error (mine or the vehicle next to me. The westbound bike lane simply disappears before reaching the foot of the bridge and bike riders are left to take the through lane or the turn lane with no support signage and vehicles regularly traveling over 40 mph. I am amazed to hear you say this is the best cycling bridge there is and I am offended that you state I should find a different means of transportation become I am uncomfortable with a shitty piece of infrastructure that fails by practically any measure of good quality.

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          davemess February 18, 2015 at 8:45 am

          Drivers aren’t going 40mph into downtown at the sections where the bike lane drops. There are a bunch of lights there, people do slow down.
          I agree it could be much better though.

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        Brad February 17, 2015 at 3:56 pm

        If you’re not comfortable biking on the Burnside bridge, it’s because it’s a piss poor bridge to bike on that could really benefit from bike lanes.

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      Thomas February 18, 2015 at 1:59 pm

      And where would the buses go? The two center lanes are two narrow for two buses to pass safely…

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      • Chris
        Chris February 18, 2015 at 7:13 pm

        Buses could share the outer lane with cyclists… all other vehicles down the middle. If we assume that cyclists on the road will be the stronger ones (i.e. the ones willing to ride with the buses), the delay might not be too much.

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    V$ February 16, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    Bike/Pedestrian only bridge between the Broadway and St Johns bridges? Pretty Please?

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      Nathan Hinkle (The Bike Light Database) February 16, 2015 at 5:19 pm

      There is the union pacific bridge already there, but access to that point is fairly nasty (I used to commute up there and it wasn’t bike friendly) and I doubt UP would allow bike access. That is a really frustrating area to bike through, as connections are very limited in general, especially across the river.

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        paikiala February 17, 2015 at 10:24 am

        Yes. Hang a ped/bike only connection off one or both sides.

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    • John Liu
      John Liu February 17, 2015 at 9:28 am

      No money. Tilikum Crossing cost $130MM and the only reason the money was available was federal grants for transit. Even if that much money were available for purely bike/ped infrastructure, it would be far better spent to build bike lanes and other improvements on existing roads. In my view.

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        paikiala February 17, 2015 at 10:26 am

        I’m pretty sure there is a federal agency or two that provides funding upgrade money for rail infrastructure, somewhere. I’m sure FHWA could incentivize such improvements.

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    Stu February 16, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    Bike lanes over the Morrison Bridge that connect to SE Belmont and SE Morrison.

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      soren February 17, 2015 at 9:59 am

      Yes to this. The current bike/walk facility on the Morrison Bridge simply does not work for commuters and the main traffic deck is treated like a high-speed freeway by drivers.

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        Spiffy February 17, 2015 at 11:09 am

        “the main traffic deck is treated like a high-speed freeway by drivers.”

        the only time I ever use the Morrison is when I’m getting on the freeway… so to most I believe it’s just a freeway on-ramp to them…

        what’s funny is that there’s a sign prohibiting bicycles but once on the bridge there are warning signs for bicycles as if they’re allowed there… the best is the one warning of the pavement joint as you’re biking onto the I-5 North freeway on-ramp…

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    dw February 16, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    Steel Bridge – I know this isn’t multnomah county’s issue, but … 1) fix the lights on the west side. out for months. 2) widen the walkway on the top deck and replace the steel decking with something that’s not slick. 3) widen the bottom deck. 4) fix/smooth out the joints from short to bridge, and from bridge to lift span, on the bottom deck.

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    Mike Quiglery February 16, 2015 at 5:21 pm

    Off topic, but the old McKenzie Pass highway is clear of snow from both sides, and no traffic. Gates are still closed. Not bad for mid Feb.

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      drew February 17, 2015 at 1:50 pm

      Yes, and Larch Mt road is snow free but still gated to cars at mile 10. You can ride up there and hang out at the amazing Sherrard viewpoint and you will be quite alone.

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    Champs February 16, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    Broadway: a new Lovejoy Viaduct spur concept! It starts where the two current ones meet, runs in parallel with Lovejoy, then drops down to NW Park. The companies that redevelop that USPS property would love to build along a Park Avenue Greenway all the way to PSU.

    Burnside: bicycle access to/from the Esplanade, and get rid of those the pavement grooves in most of the bike lane. They give an amazing amount of unpleasant feedback. On that feedback tip, I am as interested in your magic tires that don’t have this problem as your only-slightly-itchy wool garments or obnoxious diet.

    Morrison: access to the eastside viaducts, or at least some kind of train bypass. Sometimes you get on the bridge and get that sinking feeling when you hear the train horn…

    Hawthorne: I am proposing a general strike on the Hawthorne until conditions are improved. Then nominating myself as a scab.

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      Reza February 16, 2015 at 8:29 pm

      +1 on the Burnside pavement grooves. Makes me have to bike far too close to the curb in the eastbound bike lane.

      Morrison also needs a much more thoughtful connection to the downtown grid going westbound.

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      • John Liu
        John Liu February 16, 2015 at 9:34 pm

        No on protected bike lanes on the Burnside Bridge. There is no need for them, and they would reduce the space available to pass the cyclists who slow to 8 mph going up the approach. Yes on eliminating the pavement grooves, and the storm drain grates need to be revised to reduce the threat to a skinny bike ride. The S curve needs some bollards or aggressive pavement markers at the one spot where cars tend to fit into the bike lane. The west part of Burnside really, really needs bike lanes connecting the bridge to 2nd/3rd at very least.

        The Hawthorne Bridge is heavily used by cars, I don’t see any realistic way to shrink it down to just two car lanes. The Tilikum Crossing may take some bike traffic from the Hawthorne anyway. The bollards in the east blind direction don’t obstruct a driver’s view of bikes at all – drive it sometime, you’ll see – but I’m also troubled that drivers don’t face a clear “Yield To Bikes” sign with flashing light.

        I have no complaint about the Broadway Bridge. The issue is instead that Broadway westbound approaching the bridge remains a source of accidents and close calls. Well, I would like more signs and pavement markings on this and other bridges where bikes and pedestrians share a MUP, reminding pedestrians to stay right and cyclists to pass left.

        Finally, I cross the St John’s Bridge in the car lanes, because the side path is just too alarming if you have a touch of “fear of heights”. Drivers tend to be a bit surly about it. I’d like to see prominent signage reminding drivers that bikes are permitted on the roadway. Or, raise the guardrail on the side path, so that it doesn’t feel like a bike-ped collision would send the cyclist over the rail . . .

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          Kyle February 17, 2015 at 8:20 am

          I agree about needing to pass the slower cyclists on the Burnside bridge, but eliminating one car lane (perhaps the third eastbound lane) would provide enough room to install protected bike lanes on each side with room for passing other cyclists.

          At any rate, I’m occasionally the victim of road rage when I safely and legally move into the right car lane to pass cyclists on this bridge. Usually honking, finger gestures, and occasionally yelling (along the lines of “stay in the f***ing bike lane”). Never mind the fact that I’m usually clipping along at 20-25mph, so it shouldn’t be that big of an inconvenience.

          How do so many drivers have absolutely no clue what any of the road-use laws are?

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          • John Liu
            John Liu February 17, 2015 at 9:22 am

            Burnside Bridge’s eastbound car lanes already get really congested during the afternoon rush hour. Sometimes it takes 10 minutes to cross the bridge. I think shrinking the bridge to two eastbound lanes would make for a traffic disaster. Portland roads have to work for everyone, including cars and buses. I wouldn’t want to see a small improvement for cyclists that causes a major problem for everyone else.

            Perhaps the center lane(s) could be signalized, to be eastbound or west bound depending on hour of the day? Can Portlanders grok dynamic lane assignments?

            In general, I don’t think the bike lanes on the bridge are the bottleneck/problem. My experience is that if you stay in the bike lane, there is minimal issue with the adjacent car traffic. If you want to pass, you can usually do it on the white line. If the rider pays attention to the car traffic coming up behind, passing on the line very seldom leads to contention; if car traffic on the bridge is moving at the speed limit, there are usually gaps between cars that allow you to time your pass, and if car traffic on the bridge is dense, that traffic is usually jammed so that a fast cyclist is moving faster than the cars anyway.

            (That’s my experience riding eastbound from 3 pm to 6 pm. I ride westbound at 5:30 am and there is virtually no car traffic then.)

            Rather, I think the configuration of Burnside leading to/from the bridge, especially on the west side, is the problem. What’s the point of protected bike lanes on the bridge, if they dump riders onto West Burnside in its current state?

            I’d like to see 2nd/3rd get developed into the bike/ped/streetspace space it could be. With good connecting bike lanes on west Burnside, from the bridge to/from 2nd/3rd. That would do the most to increase ridership on the bridge, in my opinion.

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              Kyle February 17, 2015 at 9:45 am

              Passing on the white line with 35-45mph traffic zooming by is taking your life into your hands. I used to do that until I had too many close calls with inattentive drivers and large trucks. It’s legal to use the full car lane to pass a cyclist and it’s far safer provided you don’t dart into the lane dangerously. It’s the same thing in my book as hugging the door zone or curb on any shared street – it encourages drivers to dangerously pass you within their lane.

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              Reza February 17, 2015 at 10:02 am

              I’m not sure why you replied to my comment, but I agree about Burnside. Too often cycling advocates push for a road diet on streets without thinking of the consequences for people on transit who have to get stuck in that congestion (maybe because they never ride it themselves). Burnside really needs an eastbound peak hour bus-only lane more than it needs a protected bike lane. I’m sure there’s a way to fit a 2 foot buffer for the lanes to allow for a little separation and passing maneuvers…

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                Nick Falbo February 17, 2015 at 1:23 pm

                This is the question to ask yourself: would you rather have three lanes of congestion, or two lanes of congestion?

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                davemess February 18, 2015 at 8:47 am

                two lanes of congestion AND congestion on other streets.

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              paikiala February 17, 2015 at 10:35 am

              Since 2009 the highest hour count has been eastbound and about 2100 cars in one hour. That would mean 2+ lanes are needed, if that is what we want Burnside to do, move cars. It would be interesting to see where those cars are coming from and going to. I-5 via Grand? Clackamas via MLK? From where? And if Burnside is the most appropriate pathway.

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                Kyle February 17, 2015 at 3:18 pm

                I have no data on this subject, but I suspect a significant portion of traffic on the Burnside bridge used to drive on the Morrison bridge. Traffic wasn’t half as bad on Burnside until the Morrison project to replace the bridge deck, and it seems to have worsened lately with the recent lane closures on Morrison.

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              MaxD February 17, 2015 at 12:00 pm

              John,
              I do not think the quantity of lanes on thee bridge has much effect on congestion, it is the traffic grid it is connected to that causes the congestion. The vast majority of the time, people drive far too fast to be safe across the bridge. Removing a driving lane would have a minor impact on congestion but a huge impact on safety.

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            • Chris
              Chris February 18, 2015 at 11:53 am

              Removing lanes might not be such a traffic disaster if the real bottleneck is elsewhere. The question is why does it take so long to cross the bridge? If it’s because the intersection at Sandy is capacity-bound, then the number of lanes on the bridge might not make much of a difference.

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            Spiffy February 17, 2015 at 11:00 am

            “How do so many drivers have absolutely no clue what any of the road-use laws are?”

            I was completely clueless to many motor vehicle laws until I stopped driving and started fearing for my life and looking into the actual laws that were now effecting me…

            people in cars only care about what can hurt them…

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          soren February 17, 2015 at 10:03 am

          There is plenty of room for an 8+ foot protected bike lane that would provide room for passing on the Burnside bridge. I personally favor something like the facility on the Sellwood bridge: a protected bike lane and an enhanced bike lane.

          The city will never achieve its stated sustainability goals if it does not implement policy which discourages low-occupancy vehicle use. And, IMO, our bridges are a very good place to start.

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            davemess February 17, 2015 at 12:25 pm

            Would you want only 2 auto lanes like on the Sellwood?

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              soren February 17, 2015 at 4:49 pm

              I believe there are 70+ feet of deck on the Burnside bridge. 4 lanes of traffic can fit in 45-46 feet.

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      Spiffy February 17, 2015 at 10:56 am

      Hawthorne: it’s my opinion that the share-d use path is not a bike lane and therefor you don’t have to ride on it and can take the bridge lane whenever you like after the actual bike lane ends at the actual metal part of the bridge…

      sure you have to just off the curb onto the grate but that’s part of the fun of the twisty you just went through getting up on the curb…

      I’ve only done it a couple times when there was a lot of bridge traffic…

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    doug B February 16, 2015 at 6:27 pm

    I don’t have a chance to ride the others much, but for the Hawthorne they should dedicate the outer two car lanes into bike lanes and leave the sidewalk for walkers/joggers/kids. It make so much sense and would greatly increase the number of users. Also the lower level of the Steel should be widened, it gets so packed when it is nice, and can be a real turnoff for tourists( I’ve heard many complaints). It would also be nice if the Steel had bulbouts or places for people to sit. It seems there is always people there that want to stop, but it holds up everybody that needs to get somewhere.

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      Spiffy February 17, 2015 at 10:53 am

      definitely needs to be wider on the bike/ped path… it’s pointless as an evening commute route in the summer due to the pedestrian traffic and Surrey bikes clogging the narrow on-bridge path…

      no seats though… it’s a draw-bridge and people shouldn’t get too comfy in case it needs to be raised… bulb-outs would be nice for those tourists stopping to take photos and end up reducing the path to 1 shared lane…

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    Mark February 16, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    I commute across the Hawthorne bridge five times a week, and I have had several close calls since they re-designed the bike lane on the eastbound elevated section as it nears SE Grand. The old configuration had a sign that instructed right-turning motorists to “Yield to Bikes.” Since the reconfiguration, the sign has been changed to a yellow diamond with a silhouette of a bike rider and a pedestrian, but no text. This does not communicate adequately that motorists must look and yield. Additionally, the reflective bollards serve to clutter the view and make it harder to see vulnerable road users. I don’t understand why, instead of going straight through the intersection, the bike lane zigs and zags at the crosswalk.

    I have taken to riding on the left side of the bollards, so that I’m not hidden from view, and so that it is obvious that I am continuing straight through, not turning. This has cut down significantly on the number of close calls that I have, but has not eliminated the problem completely.

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      Alan Love February 17, 2015 at 9:03 am

      If only I could hit the thumbs up button 15 more times. The new configuration is meant to say “everyone be careful” but in reality it needs a firmer statement of “you guys stop for them guys”. Currently, many drivers might assume that bikes/peds are crossing “their” lane as it peels off. In the old configuration, it was more obvious that bike/ped traffic was continuing straight, while drivers were the ones turning.

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      soren February 17, 2015 at 10:06 am

      Mark, I boycott that terrible facility too. IMO, anyone who feels comfortable doing so should start riding on the left where they are far more visible to potentially inattentive motorists.

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      Spiffy February 17, 2015 at 10:50 am

      I hate that thing… because now I no longer have the right-of-way because I’m not continuing in a forward lane, instead I’m turning across the left turn lane… I see nothing that gives bikes the right-of-way unless you stop/slow and assert your right to cross in the bike crosswalk like a pedestrian…

      the bike lane needs to go STRAIGHT through here and the auto lane needs to be the only turn…

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      Paul Souders February 17, 2015 at 2:36 pm

      And to pile on, the flimsy little bollards (not strong enough to actually stop a moving car) just cut into our lines of sight. I have trouble spotting cars over my shoulder, they have trouble seeing me.

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    Keith February 16, 2015 at 9:06 pm

    The city and ODOT need to conduct the same outreach and show the same level of interest for improving the bridge crossings over I-405 to make traveling in/out of downtown and the Pearl easy and hospitable. In particular, the bike entries into downtown between Burnside and Moody are poor to non-existent.

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      Reza February 17, 2015 at 10:05 am

      I think I know why you stopped at Burnside, but just know that Couch is no picnic either with that awful northbound on-ramp intersection where drivers accelerate up to freeway speeds without any sort of stop control. There are some improvements planned for that intersection but nothing that will truly make it safe. Plus, Couch doesn’t connect west of 19th.

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      Dan M. February 17, 2015 at 10:10 am

      What about the Broadway and Steel Bridges? They’re great to bike on. Aside from the fact that the Steel Bridge is ready to collapse at any second, but that’s not a biking issue.

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    DMV for Victory February 17, 2015 at 9:07 am

    finish the morrison bridge lawsuit and fix that thing!!! it is literally coming off the rails… super scary.

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    Boris Kaganovich February 17, 2015 at 9:15 am

    Bike Lanes on the Morrison Bridge Viaducts. You could squeeze them in on the middle segment away from onramps/offramps. What a shortcut that would be, especially after Bike Share launches, considering #15 bus frequency is too low at night or on weekends.

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      Reza February 17, 2015 at 10:05 am

      “considering #15 bus frequency is too low at night or on weekends.”

      Maybe we ought to start considering that a problem in Portland.

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    Granpa February 17, 2015 at 10:10 am

    The ramp between the Hawthorn bridge, eastbound, and McGloughlin southbound is a dreadful conflict. SEPARATION

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    MaxD February 17, 2015 at 10:18 am

    People drive cars and trucks way too fast over all the bridges; Morrison and Burnside are the worst! Some traffic calming and enforcement on all bridges is necessary. The highway-style on-ramps and off-ramps are totally inappropriate for an urban environment and should be closed. People in cars and trucks can simply use the grid to get around. The pedestrian condition crossing the ramps is atrocious- particularly at these ramps: ton the west side of the Morrison there are no curb ramps and peds are actually expected to cross a block west to continue north or south! The Morrison bridge should to SOMETHING on the west side and the east side: both connections are laughably useless to me now. The Burnside bridge should have improved connections to it on the east and west sides, west side definitely to the Park Blocks at minimum. The driving lanes should be narrowed and reduced to 2 lanes in each direction with wider bike lanes. Maybe the bike lanes could built up to match sidewalk grade, with a painted walking and biking lane for extra passing space if no peds were present. I am not sure if the MLK bridge over I84 is on the table, but with so much of the sidewalk closed on the west side, people heading to north Portland are having to use the east side sidewalk with no curb ramps, very poor/low lighting, and a massive pole blocking everything at MLK and Lloyd. The St Johns is a terrifying mess- bike DO NOT belong on that sidewalk for their safety and ped safety, but it is completely unsafe in the lane, too. People drive super fast, and weave around jockeying for position. There should a single wide (13-14′) lane in each direction with a center buffer of 3-4′, and the remaining width given to a protected bike/jogging lane (protected with Jersey barriers or similar). Getting on to the Broadway westbound is too narrow and inefficient: the area currently painted green along Broadway and the stretch of Larrabee from Broadway back to the stop bar should be raised to sidewalk height to prioritize pedestrians and simplify riding for bikes. Exiting Broadway eastbound is likewise too sketchy with a highspeed merge, blocked sightlines and a narrow ramp; moving/removing the ped ligh pole (move lights to catenary pole) would help a lot, and a curb separating bikes/cars extending 30′ or so past teh bottom of the ramp would also help. I think that the 3rd eastbound motorist lane on Broadway should not start until after Larrabee to provide a wide/long and safe place to bike to ext the bridge.

    My summary is that bridges in Portland are among our worst-designed infrastructure for everyone. They do a very poor job of accommodating pedestrians both in using them (mixed with bikes) or crossing their bridgeheads (missing curb ramps, crosswalks, dangerous slip lanes). They serve bikes poorly (narrow lanes, poor connections, shared space with pedestrians). They are unsafe for motorists because they present a wide, multi-lane, signal free opportunity for certain drivers to drive as fast as possible and use the multiple lanes for passing and jockeying for position. If the county is considering spending any money on the bridges, I hope they take some time to step back and evaluate how these bridges are contributing in a negative way to our urban fabric. Portland has so many great bridges, and crossing the river should be a mini-celebration, but it is currently an unpleasant experience, fraught with danger and discomfort regardless of mode. Prioritize safety and re-design from the ground up for the 21st century.

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      soren February 17, 2015 at 10:25 am

      POTW?

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    Spiffy February 17, 2015 at 10:26 am

    reduce the speed limits on all bridges to that of the slowest speed on either side…

    right now the speed limit on most bridges is higher than the surrounding streets that it supports…

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      Reza February 17, 2015 at 11:29 am

      That does absolutely nothing as long as have you have a straightaway with clear sightlines across the bridge. People will drive at the speed that’s comfortable for them. Narrowing the lanes could help but maybe if speed cameras were installed…?

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        Dan February 17, 2015 at 12:50 pm

        I wonder how much they would go over if the speed limit was set at 25. Even without full compliance I’d guess speeds would go down.

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    Eric Iverson February 17, 2015 at 11:37 am

    I hope all the above commenters took the survey!

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    Granpa February 17, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    The Interstate Bridge has terrible bike/pedestrian facilities. I wonder why no one has suggested replacing that structure with something that better addresses the multiple needs of that crossing…..

    OH, never mind.

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      J_R February 17, 2015 at 3:54 pm

      I second that notion. I commuted over the Hawthorne Bridge for years and was an occasional user of the other Willamette River bridges. I also commuted by bike over the Interstate Bridge for several years and it’s far worse than any of the Willamette River bridges! Somebody really should do something for bicyclists and pedestrians in that corridor.

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      Chris I February 17, 2015 at 8:06 pm

      Do you have $4 billion lying around somewhere?

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    Paul Souders February 17, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    The westbound offramps for Burnside, Morrison, and Hawthorne are a travesty.

    Hawthorne is the worst: we have a grade-separated bike path that abruptly dumps you into a vehicle lane, at an intersection no less. Confusing and stressful. At least you can opt out by curving onto the westbank esplanade (but “fast bikes use Naito” ha ha ha WHERE?)

    Burnside also drops you into a travel lane, on Burnside. The only opt-out is to turn right on 2nd.

    Morrison, geez where to begin. Like Hawthorne you’re on a separated bikeway, but it doesn’t end…anywhere. At a crosswalk? past what most drivers regard as a freeway onramp? What a mess.

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    Alex Graham February 17, 2015 at 2:53 pm

    I sure hope that you all have enough sense to actually visit the site and put your requests in there rather than the comments section of an article on BikePortland.org.

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      J_R February 17, 2015 at 3:52 pm

      My guess is that fewer than 1 in ten will do so, but it’s good to have hope.

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    Carter Kennedy February 17, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    The trouble with turning the outside car lanes of the Hawthorne Bridge into bike lanes is that the inside lanes are narrower. I don’t know if two buses can pass each other on those lanes.

    Now if there were some way of turning those two inside lanes into bike lanes, you’d have something.

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      Thomas February 18, 2015 at 2:02 pm

      As a bus driver I can tell you it is a harrowing experience trying to pass another bus in the center lanes. The only reason I know this is that occasionally the outside lanes are closed. There are mere inches of spare room on either side, the driver side mirrors nearly touch. It doesn’t make much sense to close the outside lanes to buses. Bikes and buses could share them. Alternatively, they could close one outside lane and one inside lane…

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