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How to get a curb cut on southbound Naito south of the Hawthorne Bridge overpass?

Subscriber Post by Dan on October 26th, 2015 at 4:33 pm

As a “fast bike” (rolls eyes), I have primarily been riding southbound Naito for the last few years for my evening commute. I have found it less hassle than contending with strollers, dogs, tourists, and the other hazards on the Waterfront Park MUP. The unused clover leaf that connects southbound Naito to the Hawthorne Bridge eastbound works great for bikes to get on the bridge with just one caveat: there’s no curb cut on Naito.

There are two options: make a right turn on Jefferson, then use the curb cut there and double back to the ramp, or hop the curb at the foot of the ramp. I’ve been hopping the curb at the foot of the ramp — which is the most direct route — for years now and am starting to get a twinge in my elbow. Apparently hefting my pig of a commuter up over the curb every weekday is starting to take a toll.

So, who in the city should I contact to get a curb cut here? That would make the Naito commute an even more attractive alternative to the Waterfront Park MUP.

The cherry on top would be another curb cut at the top of the ramp that would drop you onto the asphalt-level bike lane on the Hawthorne bridge. You can ride the sidewalk there until you join up with the main stream of bike traffic, but cars are usually blocking the crosswalk, so it’s much easier to go directly to the asphalt-level bike path when you get on the bridge. The curb there is close to a foot tall, which is more than I like to drop – a curb cut would be an improvement.

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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

13 Comments
  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 26, 2015 at 4:37 pm

    Dan! I am so glad you have posed this question. I have been wanting to see a curb cut here for many many years. It’s such an obvious oversight and needs to happen.

    Let’s see if this post can lead to it finally happening. Here’s what I recommend that you:

    — Take a photo and/or grab a photo from Google Maps of the exact location.

    — Send that info along with an email about the problem and your solution to fix it to: safe@portlandoregon.gov and cc jonathan@bikeportland.org

    That should bet the ball rolling. Keep me posted. If you don’t hear back in a reasonable time, we can take things to the next level. Let’s do this!

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  • maccoinnich October 26, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    That site will be location of the new Multnomah County courthouse, and the ramp will almost certainly be going away in the next few years. It’s therefore unlikely that anyone would be willing to build a curb cut that would so short lived.

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    • Dan October 26, 2015 at 4:51 pm

      And just like that, wind out of sails. 😉

      Oh well, good to know, I guess.

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      • maccoinnich October 26, 2015 at 5:17 pm

        Yeah, sorry about that.

        Were it not for the Courthouse thing, it would be a pretty good suggestion. I’ve often wished a curb cut existed there myself.

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) October 26, 2015 at 10:25 pm

        Dan and maccoinnich,

        The courthouse won’t be going in for a few years and we’re only talking about a tiny little ramp here. I don’t think we should have to wait for that courthouse project to come before putting a few pounds of asphalt on a curb to make it easier for people to bike… especially in a place where PBOT knows there should be a ramp.

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        • 9watts October 27, 2015 at 8:14 am

          “a few pounds of asphalt on a curb”

          That’s how I tend to think of it too. But before you know it, those few pounds of asphalt turn into $8,000 in taxpayer dollars. We need a guerrilla contractor the city can hire that can accomplish these sorts of things quick and cheap.

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        • lop October 27, 2015 at 7:29 pm

          The county is planning to begin construction on this site in winter 2016/2017. So in ~12 months the curb cut you want will go to a construction site, not a few years. When the construction is done there will be a curb cut around there. But it will be for prisoner transfer vehicles heading to the courthouse on the site of the bridge ramp, not bikes heading to the bridge.

          http://imgick.oregonlive.com/home/olive-media/width960/img/oregonian/photo/2015/01/30/-cfa463c40d9606cf.jpg

          Might it be better to redirect any activist energy to getting a more permanent facility on the park side of Naito?

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  • Dan October 26, 2015 at 5:26 pm

    For reference, here’s the location – the curb cut would go just on the other side of the pickup truck. https://goo.gl/3Wou9x

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    • Ted Timmons (Contributor) November 7, 2015 at 1:51 pm

      Please keep us posted after you email! I use this ramp occasionally too, because I do that same southbound naito thing.

      Unless there’s someone with a concrete saw and we can go down in the middle of the night sometime 🙂

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  • mark October 29, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    What’s interesting to me is why Portland, and other municipalities, make a single curb cut vs making a curb cut all the way around the corner. Seems just as easy to do.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty November 5, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Anyone know how riders on Naito will access the Hawthorne Bridge when that ramp is gone?

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  • peter haas November 14, 2015 at 7:55 am

    I agree…a curb cut out to make easier access to the bridge would be great! On my southbound route to Hawthorne, I’m always juggling which way to take…waterfront, Naito or 3rd…all are ok, but not without compromises. I wonder if the new north/south route through downtown will get established by the time the courthouse is built. If so, it might become the best option to get to the bridge.

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