If you, like us, have spent the last five years dreaming of the day you’ll be pedaling across Portland’s lovely new car-free bridge, this weekend is your first chance.
The Tilikum Crossing will temporarily open to bike traffic this Sunday, Aug. 9, for two events: first, the Providence Bridge Pedal, the paid ride that loops across Portland’s Willamette River bridges; and second, a three-hour open window that TriMet is calling “The People’s Preview.”
Bridge Pedal’s four main routes cost $30 to $60 per person, depending on length, with discounts for youths and seniors. All Bridge Pedal routes close at 12:30 p.m. The People’s Preview of Tilikum, from 1:30 to 4:30, will be free.
Bridge Pedal bike routes across Tilikum will all begin at the east landing, just south of OMSI, and loop immediately on the west side to return people to the east landing, from which they’ll continue south.
Because the sidewalk of the Tilikum is just 14 feet wide with no physical separation between people walking and biking, Bridge Pedal organizers will be attempting to keep people from taking photos during their first trips. Whether or not they’ll be successful in this, it’s probably safe to say that Bridge Pedal will offer a smoother ride than during the People’s Preview, so plan accordingly — and maybe savor the pressure to keep your cell phone stowed on your first trip across and back.
The bridge has been open to occasional official tours for a few months now — Jonathan and I walked across it in March — but TriMet has been steadfast in those being walking tours. Now that the bike infrastructure on the bridge is installed, the first rolls are just about ready to begin.
Obviously the bridge itself will be a major boon to biking connectivity between the South Waterfront, Lair Hill, the Brooklyn neighborhood and the inner Division area. The new bike infrastructure surrounding the bridge on both sides definitely has problems (we’ve got a post in the works about the ups and downs) but in general it’s an improvement that seems certain to increase the number of bike trips through the area.
It will this Sunday, at least — we can pretty much guarantee that. See you there.
Correction 8/8: An earlier version of this post incorrectly suggested that the Bridge Pedal doubled as a BTA fundraiser. It once did but no longer does.