Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Sellwood Bridge opening celebration and bike party set for February 27th

Posted by on December 17th, 2015 at 2:32 pm

sellwood_surfacetreatments

Get ready to ride — and party! — on the new bridge.

According to Multnomah County the new Sellwood Bridge will be ready for traffic by late February or early March. That would be about 10 years since we first started planning it and just over four years since the project broke ground in 2011.

“The new bridge will be open to bicyclists without motor vehicles during the event and we are planning to include historic bicycles in our opening parade.”
— Mike Pullen, Multnomah County

The bridge is about 88 percent complete and it won’t be fully done until next Thanksgiving, but County spokesman Mike Pullen says we’ll be allowed to bike on it at a celebration tentatively set for Saturday, February 27th.

After hearing the latest update to the project timeline, I contacted Pullen to ask him how biking traffic figures into the news.

Pullen confirmed a few exciting details that will greatly improve cycling connections in the area. By late February the new section of biking and walking path on the west side of the river between the bridge and Willamette Park, will be fully completed and open for business.

As for the bridge itself, only one side of it will be open for cycling. When the bridge first opens to traffic, the County has decided to have two-way bicycling and walking traffic on the north side of the new bridge deck. The reason for this is because the south side is connected to the old bridge structure which isn’t going to be removed until fall 2016. “We can’t build the full width of the east approach until the old bridge is removed,” Pullen explained.

Advertise with BikePortland.

If you’re miffed at this news, consider this: The old bridge had just one extremely dodgy, 3-4 foot wide sidewalk that was shared by everyone not inside a car. By comparison, the one side that will be open in a few months on the new bridge will have 16 and 1/2 feet of width for bikers and walkers to share. That 16.5 feet is split between a 12-foot shared path on a separated grade from the standard bridge lanes and a 6.5-foot bike-only lane directly adjacent to the standard vehicle lanes (see image at top of post).

Pullen also shared that bicycle riding will play a very prominent role in the big grand opening celebration. “The new bridge will be open to bicyclists without motor vehicles during the event and we are planning to include historic bicycles in our opening parade,” Pullen said. And to top it all off, he said they’re lining up a local elected official to make the ceremonial first bike crossing.

We can’t wait for the big party!

Keep your fingers crossed for good weather so crews can finish up the concrete pouring and hit their February-March goal. And mark your calendar for February 27th from 12:00 to 4:00 pm.

If all goes according to plan the new bridge would open for regular traffic in time for the morning commute on Tuesday, March 1st.

For more on the Sellwood Bridge project, check out our extensive archives dating back to 2006 and visit SellwoodBridge.org.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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.

135 Comments
  • tedder December 17, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    The article implies it’ll be open to bike traffic before Feb27. Am I reading that wrong?

    In any case, not only was the old sidewalk narrow, it was also tall, so it was really difficult to ride on the edge.

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  • mark December 17, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    So…all that work and the bike lane is exposed to heavy traffic? Hmmmmm.

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    • J_R December 17, 2015 at 2:54 pm

      You will have OPTIONS! If you want to be separated from motor vehicle traffic, use the 16-foot wide MUP on either side and put up with some possible conflict with pedestrians. If you want to ride fast without pedestrian conflict use dedicated (but not buffered, not protected) bike lane next to the motor vehicles.

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    • Sigma December 17, 2015 at 3:06 pm

      13 minutes. That’s how long it took before someone started complaining that a 6.5 foot bike lane AND a grade-separated multi use path aren’t good enough. Of course, after reading dozens of people whining today because OHSU is literally curing cancer, I don’t know why I expected anything else.

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      • Harvey December 17, 2015 at 3:12 pm

        #bikeportland

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        • Dave Thomson December 18, 2015 at 12:09 pm

          Absolutely. And Jonathon is so proud.

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          • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) December 18, 2015 at 2:44 pm

            “proud”? What exactly are you inferring Dave?

            My goal is to make sure comments remain as open as possible and that people feel free to express themselves without fear of reproach.

            If someone’s not satisfied with something, then by all means I hope they share their opinions.

            I might not like the tone some people choose to take … But I see the bigger picture: BikePortland is a public square. It’s an agora. It’s democracy. BikePortland is a platform for all our ideas and we’ve worked hard to keep it relevant and vibrant and open.

            I’d rather focus on respecting everyone’s perspective, even if it’s different than mine… And remember, the best way to make these comments as productive and awesome as possible — and to turn the tide of a thread if it’s going in a direction you don’t like — is simply to comment. And comment well.

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            • jeff December 21, 2015 at 1:39 pm

              is that why you deleted mine?

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      • Peejay December 17, 2015 at 3:46 pm

        People have opinions. Some of those opinions differ from yours. Some people, for instance, have no idea why there couldn’t be a barrier between dangerous car traffic and all other forms of traffic, and that sounds like a reasonable opinion.

        Just because this is a far, far better bridge than The one it replaces doesn’t mean we cannot point out the flaws in it, especially since those flaws are obvious, seemingly arbitrary, and not because of lack of space or funds.

        Opinions other than consensus are how things move forward; they are why we are just starting to move beyond painted bike lanes. At one time, the consensus (at the League of American Bicyclists) was that even bike lanes were unnecessary, remember? I’m glad we moved beyond that. I want to keep moving. If that means we hear from people who aren’t thrilled with the Selwood Bridge, so be it.

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        • Scott H December 17, 2015 at 4:06 pm

          *shakes my head* But there IS a barrier, there is a grade-separated pathway, completely separated from the car traffic. This new bridge is amazing and I am so excited to ride it every day! Some people really have nothing better to do than complain.

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          • Spiffy December 17, 2015 at 4:11 pm

            curbs don’t stop cars…

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            • tedder December 17, 2015 at 4:15 pm

              curbs may not stop extreme crashes, but it removes 99% of car intrusion. (see also: 3rd Ave)

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            • Mark December 17, 2015 at 8:44 pm

              soda choke

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          • Harvey December 17, 2015 at 4:13 pm

            And I wish that slight grade separation the best of luck when it comes time to prevent a vehicle from veering into a biker during an accident.

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            • Scott H December 17, 2015 at 4:20 pm

              What would you have the designers do? Put up 10 foot tall Jersey barriers? Even then, some people would find some kind of fault. “Well the Jersey barriers are nice but now I wish the bike line were 7ft wide instead of 6.5 feet wide”

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              • J_R December 17, 2015 at 4:48 pm

                Jersey barriers would not protect from drones or meteors. Better provide a roof on the bike facility, too.

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              • paikiala December 18, 2015 at 2:04 pm

                I was always curious why the original design was not a deep truss, I-beam shape, with auto traffic on top of the top flange and fully separated bike and ped facilities on top of the bottom flange.

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          • RH December 17, 2015 at 5:10 pm

            True, lots of complaining on bikeportland these days. Pretty much there is a 90% chance the first comment will be negative .

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            • Alex Reed December 18, 2015 at 1:08 pm

              Given that Portland has been stagnating in its bike mode share for years (the recent 1% increase/blip notwithstanding, it’s still a plateau) when other cities are rapidly moving forward, the overall picture for biking in Portland *is* negative/not-that-great/not-as-good-as-a-lot-of-people-want/not-in-accordance-with-the-popular-conception-of-Portland-as-biking-Nirvana. So, I see it as people just saying how they feel, based on real conditions on the ground, when they post negative comments.

              I know that this doesn’t jibe with Portland’s rah-rah, we’re so green, be nice to everyone about everything (to their face) culture, but I think saying negative things (in a constructive way) is useful and helps move the city forward.

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              • Alex Reed December 18, 2015 at 1:28 pm

                I didn’t mean to say that there’s not justified ways to see the overall picture as positive (better than almost every other American city, with potential to get better if people do the hard work of activism, maybe the +1%/year trend will continue into the future if you think the recent trends in infrastructure & driver behavior are more positive than I think they are or think more people are going to bike for their own reasons even if the actual biking experience doesn’t get better). Just that there’s also certainly a justified way to see the overall picture as negative.

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              • Scott H December 18, 2015 at 1:51 pm

                I think a lot of us are just fed up with the boilerplate complaints that some people throw here no matter how positive the article, because it comes across as nothing-is-good-enough, and that’s not a useful attitude to have.

                We worked hard to get not only the bridge itself, but also for this design. Here we have an article about the opening of this bridge we have worked so hard for, so when someone is plainly unappreciative and disappointed because it’s not PERFECT, that’s beyond frustrating. It’s like witnessing a 16 year old teenager complain that they got a Honda Civic for Christmas when they really wanted a Corvette.

                The same thing happened to the great article on the Moody cycletrack: http://bikeportland.org/2015/08/14/first-look-southwest-moody-now-probably-portlands-best-street-bike-155284

                There are plenty of poorly designed pieces of infrastructure to complain about. This is not one of them.

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              • Alex Reed December 18, 2015 at 4:01 pm

                I agree, wholly negative comments on the few bits of infrastructure (like, apparently, this one) that really raise the bar in Portland (even though they are not totally perfect) are frustrating. I was speaking towards negative comments in general 🙂

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              • soren December 22, 2015 at 1:52 pm

                When the first version of the Moody bikeway opened only a few were critical and we got a lot of crap about it on bike portland. Several years later every single design feature I and others initially criticized was fixed. Similarly, I and a few others were harshly critical about the Tilikum bridge approaches and we were roundly dismissed on bike portland. IMO, bike portland could stand to be a bit more critical — especially before infrastructure is finalized.

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              • davemess December 19, 2015 at 10:53 am

                Given that Portland has been stagnating in its bike mode share for years (the recent 1% increase/blip notwithstanding, it’s still a plateau) when other cities are rapidly moving forward, the overall picture for biking in Portland *is* negative/not-that-great/not-as-good-as-a-lot-of-people-want/not-in-accordance-with-the-popular-conception-of-Portland-as-biking-Nirvana.

                I have to respectfully disagree. Some might see it as a stagnation, but many of us (esp. those of us who came here from other less-friendly bike places in the last 10-20 years) still recognize that Portland is probably the best big city to bike in the entire country. We still have far and away the best mode share of bike commuting.
                I made a new friend the last month who just moved here from Mississippi (to take a job with ODOT). He has been pretty surprised at the complaints about cycling infrastructure here. He rides to work most days, and is still amazed at how better it is than anywhere else he has lived.

                So I think it is all perspective. In my view a lot of people who have either lived here a while or bought into the Portland hype forget what the rest of the country is like, and think that biking in Portland is negative. Many of us still see it as a great place to ride. This bridge is a perfect example. It’s easily going to be the best biking bridge in the city.

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              • Alex Reed December 21, 2015 at 9:56 am

                One can be thankful that biking in Portland is not as bad as Dallas, etc. and still wish that biking here were nicer than it is. When I’m biking around, I try to stay thankful and mostly succeed (biking itself is so awesome that it takes a lot of rude driving to harsh my buzz). When I’m working on advocacy to make biking better, I’m wishing that biking were a heck of a lot nicer than it is.

                My “baseline” for advocacy is that I would like biking in Portland to have the same level of subjective safety, routefinding ease, and (lack of) road-induced delay that driving in Portland has. I don’t think that’s crazy, I think progress towards that end has been achingly slow lately, and I’m going to keep building up Portland’s bike activist movement until we’re moving quickly in that direction.

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              • davemess December 21, 2015 at 12:25 pm

                Alex, does this bridge meet your “heck of a lot nicer than it was” threshold?

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              • Alex Reed December 21, 2015 at 1:23 pm

                Heck yes it does! This and the Tilikum Crossing itself have been two big bright spots in the past few years. The 50s bikeway north of Division is quite nice, and going back further, I appreciate the other new greenways immensely.

                It’s just the rate of change that’s the issue. If Portland only does a few miles of good infrastructure every year, it’s going to be a LONG time before it feels as straightforward, safe, and direct to get from A to B by bike as it is by car. For example, when will PBOT ever get around to building some greenways (with accompanying City-funded sidewalks or extreme traffic calming in order to help walkers on the road, I’d root for) in Brentwood-Darlington? At the current trajectory, maybe 2035?

                The fact that design and/or installation are third-rate on the other half of the new infrastructure doesn’t help either – E approach to Tilikum Crossing and multiple-inch-recessed storm grates on northbound SE 52nd bike lanes between Woodstock and Foster, I’m talking about you! Portland could do a significantly better job spending the few bike dollars that it currently has if different agencies – and different departments within PBOT, even – talked to each other more.

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              • jeff December 21, 2015 at 1:42 pm

                many Portlanders live in a freaking bubble with very little perspective on either cities both here and abroad. the complaints are a direct reflection of it.

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              • Alex Reed December 21, 2015 at 2:11 pm

                Your “bubble” comment goes both ways. Sure, there are a huge number of places where it’s much worse to ride a bike than in Portland. I grew up in the suburbs of DC and went to college in the suburbs of LA, so I get that. But based on internet research, it appears that are also LOTS of places that are significantly nicer to ride a bike in than in Portland (principally – most of Japan, and lots of cities in Europe; some areas in poorer countries too, but those seem to get degraded as auto ownership spreads).

                Are people who comment here saying how we shouldn’t be complaining and asking for more because we’re lucky to have it as good as we do in Portland also facing a lack of a broader perspective? I think that they are. It’s great that it’s as good as it is in Portland. However, on the whole “how good is it to bike” scale, “as good as Portland is” is only fair to middling compared to how good it COULD be. Imagine a better biking Portland!

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              • davemess December 21, 2015 at 4:14 pm

                Actually with Terry’s hard work I am guessing B-D will have a greenway on 78th within a couple of years.
                We already have pretty decent bike infrastructure (bike lanes on most of our arterials: Flavel, Duke, 52nd), and pretty calm side streets that essentially work as greenways already. Also pretty good access to the Springwater and 205 paths.
                It’s complete sidewalks on the arterials that are needed in B-D (many residents don’t actually want sidewalks on many of the side streets).

                And I don’t think we’ll ever agree on the 52nd bike lanes, which I consider a MAJOR achievement (new facilities on an arterial that actually too out on street parking!).

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              • Alex Reed December 21, 2015 at 4:58 pm

                I think the 52nd Ave. bike lanes are a sizeable accomplishment (just like the Foster bike lanes) – but I think their importance is mostly in setting the stage for future road diet projects, not in being that great themselves. It’s a case of “so close, but so far – and soon (Halsey/Weidler and 122nd, I hope!) we’ll get there.” “There” being buffered or protected bike lanes, hopefully with pavement & storm grate retrofits baked in to the project.

                The reason I’m not totally happy with either 52nd or Foster is that I don’t think very many people who aren’t currently biking are going to bike on those bike lanes. They’ll increase convenience, comfort, and/or safety for a subset of current bikers, which is a good thing. But, my metric for a facility that represents substantial forward biking progress on its own is one that will help bring biking to new people.

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              • davemess December 22, 2015 at 7:22 am

                And again here is something I don’t think we’ll ever agree on. I think much of population who is willing/wanting to bike is tapped out. It’s going to take a lot more than just infrastructure to get more of the population riding. They will need more than just a “it’s a little safer” argument to give up the creature comforts of their car.

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          • Jeff Snavely December 17, 2015 at 6:00 pm

            A barrier is what’s being erected at the far edge of the bridge. You know to keep cars out of the river.

            A curb is a curb. Ask Ben Carlson how much protection those offer.

            I’m not really a proponent of separated bike facilities, but some of these contrarian arguments aren’t making any sense.

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. December 18, 2015 at 11:41 pm

            The issue with the design is that people riding bikes are either sharing road space with people driving cars or sharing space with people walking. There is no bicycles-only grade. Granted, there likely won’t be much foot traffic on this bridge, as there really isn’t much to walk to on the west side. So most people riding at a slower pace will ride on the sidewalk.

            The frustration here stems from the fact this is a brand new bridge and the county is still designing for conflict. The painted lanes don’t provide any safety from cars and the shared sidewalk creates conflict between people riding bikes and people walking. A brand new bridge should have proper mode separation. Is it better than the old bridge? Of course. No one is disputing that. However, we can do better.

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            • davemess December 19, 2015 at 11:07 am

              Nick sums it up here: “Shoulders serve dual function as a bikeway and as a breakdown lane. The Sellwood bridge only has two traffic lanes. Without street-level lanes, the bridge would be disabled in the event of a stalled vehicle, and would not allow cars to get out of the way for emergency response vehicles.”

              I think you’re coming at this from a way too bike-centric focus. There are other constraints that you’re not considering (or choosing to ignore).
              I know you’re anti- ever having to share space, but there are constraints to available space on our roads (and funding for bridges like this).
              Not to mention there would be even less flexibility in a design that included a “bikes only” separated lane. What happens when that line of fast commuters wants to pass a parent with a toddler on a push bike?
              People can share space. We live in a city. Sharing space is practically a requirement.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. December 19, 2015 at 11:31 am

                The grade separated bike lane could have been taken out of the shared sidewalk. Instead of painting a stripe on the sidewalk and calling it the bike lane, that area could have been sunken a few inches below the sidewalk but still above the roadway. That way, it’s much more obvious to people walking that it’s not part of the sidewalk. This design takes up no additional right-of-way.

                That “line of fast commuters” could also learn to share space with the parent with the toddler. That and designing for “fast commuters” is not the way to get to an 8-80 network.

                The old Sellwood Bridge, Broadway Bridge, Hawthorne Bridge, and Steel Bridge all function perfectly fine without breakdown lanes. Why are we designing infrastructure to accommodate a fairly infrequent occurance to the detriment of safety for people? If breakdown lanes are required, then stripe them as such. Don’t disguise them as bike lanes. As we’ve seen with the Orange Line MUP, giving people too many options leads to confusion.

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              • J_R December 19, 2015 at 6:20 pm

                The old Sellwood, Hawthorne and Morrison do not function “perfectly fine without breakdown lanes” and lots of people on this form complain, sorry, share opinions about how bad it is to have to share Hawthorne with anyone, including other bicyclists who are riding 2 mph slower or faster than they are riding. I think the new Sellwood Bridge will be great because it offers two options for cyclists.

                The problem with the Orange Line MUP is not that there are too many options, but that the bicyclist is required to shift from street, to sidewalk, to MUP and back numerous times between the Tilicum Crossing and Holgate Boulevard.

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              • davemess December 21, 2015 at 12:29 pm

                I don’t think throwing every level of cyclist together in a single, enclosed lane on a bridge is a very good way to attract the 8-80 crowd.
                I’m still failing to see how this design doesn’t do a better job than what you are proposing. This provides options, much like bike lane streets vs. neighborhood greenways. Options are what is going to entice an 8-80 crowd.

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              • soren December 21, 2015 at 5:40 pm

                Copenhagen has been adding extra lanes onto their cycletracks precisely for fast commuters. Speed and efficiency are what make cycling attractive in nations with high mode share.

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            • jeff December 21, 2015 at 1:44 pm

              says the person who does a good portion of the complaining here.

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        • Sigma December 17, 2015 at 4:13 pm

          “Some people, for instance, have no idea why there couldn’t be a barrier between dangerous car traffic and all other forms of traffic”

          Other people have no idea why some people don’t consider a 6 inch curb to be a barrier. What do you want? A concrete wall? And you know what they say about opinions.

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        • mran1984 December 17, 2015 at 10:34 pm

          I already miss taking the lane, but I am very pleased that the construction is coming to an end. The loop around to the cemetery light is such a distant memory.

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      • Harvey December 17, 2015 at 3:51 pm

        In all seriousness Sigma, I think what rankles people is that with all of the money being thrown into infrastructure replacement/upgrades like this, there are still basic treatments that could drastically improve the safety of vulnerable users which seem like no-brainers at this point. I’m sure there are a myriad of planning/engineering justifications for why there is no physical protection between auto traffic and bike traffic, but at the end of the day, as a biker going down a path on a piece of brand new infrastructure with no obvious spacial limits, the question really does have to be asked – why is there no physical protection between me and that large bus/truck a few feet to my left? And the reason why these same “complaints” arise so quickly time after time is because the same cruddy planning/design decisions arise time after time.

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        • Sigma December 17, 2015 at 4:15 pm

          There is physical protection!!!! The real problem is that people comment without reading the article.

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          • Harvey December 17, 2015 at 4:22 pm

            Dude – people have read the article. And they are saying they want more than a curb for protection on an expensive new bridge.

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          • peejay December 17, 2015 at 10:49 pm

            I have read the article, and know the design. The problem I have with it (after I say AGAIN how much BETTER it is than before) is that having half the bike space needlessly on the same level as the cars with no separation does not make any sense. The belief that the fast bikes should be separated from the slow bikes and the walking traffic is great, but that those fast bikes need no protection from cars is ludicrous. We are still digging out of out vehicular cycling past, so much so that we don’t even notice when these outdated vestiges carry through into an otherwise modern and safe design.

            Maybe you disagree with me, but don’t you dare accuse me of saying I don’t know what I’m talking about.

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            • Terry D-M December 18, 2015 at 9:48 am

              It is not needless. As it is only a two lane bridge there needs to be room to pull over for emergency vehicles if congested. With two 6.5 foot lanes, there is room.

              This bridge is not all about bikes. Now, adding a barrier at the existing curb might have been a good idea, but the green lanes needed to be at grade.

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              • Mark December 18, 2015 at 10:16 am

                Let’s think about this. The bike lane is now the break down lane for cars to move over. That should be fun! See how insane this gets? Bikes are always seond class.

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              • Scott H December 18, 2015 at 3:23 pm

                That’s how most roads are already. It hasn’t devolved into insanity yet, it’s not likely to here.

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              • Terry D-M December 20, 2015 at 9:47 am

                I’m generally talking about Fire engines and police cars trying to get across the river, not broken down cars at the side of the highway. This is not that HUGE of an overpass. If a bicyclist gets angry because a car is pulled over for a MINUTE or two so an ambulance can get across the bridge….

                Then the bicyclist needs to take a chill pill….or just take the 10 foot sidewalk. Sometimes emergencies occur…which means cars can be guests for a few minutes in the green bike lane.

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            • davemess December 18, 2015 at 10:12 am

              It makes sense because this is NOT a biking only bridge. The road level bike lanes give flexibility to allow for changes to the lanes in the case of an emergency or event, while still allowing for a protected bikeway above. In the same way the wide sidewalk also allows for flexibility.

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              • Nick Falbo December 18, 2015 at 10:27 am

                Dave gets it.

                Shoulders serve dual function as a bikeway and as a breakdown lane. The Sellwood bridge only has two traffic lanes. Without street-level lanes, the bridge would be disabled in the event of a stalled vehicle, and would not allow cars to get out of the way for emergency response vehicles.

                Perhaps they would have been better off not calling the on-street shoulder a bike lane so that it doesn’t lead to the confusion and frustration we are seeing here.

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              • davemess December 18, 2015 at 12:21 pm

                I just don’t really get some of the frustration about the bike lane portion? Would people rather it not be there, and we end up with a similar facility (albeit wider) to the Hawthorne or Tilikum?
                This design is the best of BOTH worlds.

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          • Dave Thomson December 18, 2015 at 12:12 pm

            Yes, because .0001 cyclists are hit every year by vehicles jumping the curb.

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      • Matt Meskill December 18, 2015 at 8:10 pm

        You’re absolutely right. We should be totally happy with sub-standard conditions. What on earth were we thinking?

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    • Bald One December 17, 2015 at 3:10 pm

      And, presumably the new bridge will be open to heavy trucks and Tri-Met buses who have all been restricted from the old one for a long time. I guess the new bridge will also have the goal to move cars/trucks/buses faster than we have seen in this area for a long time since the old bridge got the poor seismic ratings. But, I know they are working to slow traffic near the bridge on Tacoma, so maybe those neighborhood speeds will carry over to the bridge deck, also.

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    • joebobpdx December 17, 2015 at 7:58 pm

      Ok, is BPO community now down with “epic fail”, as was the case with Tillikum?

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  • mark December 17, 2015 at 2:47 pm

    Why not just leave the old bridge up for biking and walking?

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    • Scott H December 17, 2015 at 3:18 pm

      For one, it’s in the way of the new bridge.

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      • jeff December 17, 2015 at 3:35 pm

        Its also structurally unsound…

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        • paikiala December 17, 2015 at 4:14 pm

          Structurally unsound for trucks, buses and cars. Peds and bikes are nowhere near as heavy.

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          • J_R December 17, 2015 at 4:38 pm

            In an earthquake it will likely collapse under its own weight without ANYTHING on it.

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            • meh December 18, 2015 at 10:07 am

              And the new bridge won’t but the approaches will because making the river bank seismically sound was well outside the budget for the project.

              So you’ll survive the big one on the bridge, you just won’t be able to get back to land afterwards.

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          • jeff December 21, 2015 at 1:47 pm

            OK, you sit on it during an earthquake then. I’ll be on the new bridge…

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty December 17, 2015 at 5:29 pm

          It’s not nearly as unsound as the new bridge pictured at the top of the page. It looks like a huge chunk just fell off!

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      • Mark December 18, 2015 at 10:12 am

        Only because their didn’t think the old bridge as an asset. Apparently it is so dangerous they let cars drive across it all day on temporary piers. But leaving it as a biking bridge…too ngerous.

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  • Scott H December 17, 2015 at 4:05 pm

    Some people, for instance, have no idea why there couldn’t be a barrier between dangerous car traffic and all other forms

    *shakes my head* But there IS a barrier, there is a grade-separated pathway, completely separated from the car traffic. This new bridge is amazing and I am so excited to ride it every day! Some people really have nothing better to do than complain.

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    • Spiffy December 17, 2015 at 4:11 pm

      curbs don’t stop cars…

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      • davemess December 18, 2015 at 10:15 am

        No, but they prevent a vast majority from going up onto a sidewalk. You can’t engineer out every possible risk.

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        • Dave Thomson December 18, 2015 at 12:13 pm

          And you shouldn’t. Spend that time and money where there are much higher risks.

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        • mark December 19, 2015 at 11:26 am

          That’s not true. Anything with a tire over 30 inches can mount a curb like it’s a ramp.

          See burnside pop choker.

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          • davemess December 21, 2015 at 12:32 pm

            you’re assuming that all cars WANT to or are trying to mount a curb. Outside of incredibly distracted or incredibly impaired drivers, almost all other drivers will feel a bump on the curb and move back towards their lane.

            This is the most bizarre argument.

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    • Harvey December 17, 2015 at 4:13 pm

      And I wish that slight grade separation the best of luck when it comes time to prevent a vehicle from veering into a biker during an accident.

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    • Mark December 18, 2015 at 10:11 am

      Yes…much like the waterfront mup. Isn’t that grand with the signs that say “get out their and die with traffic”.

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    • paikiala December 18, 2015 at 2:07 pm

      A 6-inch curb is a barrier for auto traffic going 20-25 mph. It is not a barrier for auto traffic going 30 mph or more.

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      • davemess December 21, 2015 at 12:33 pm

        Do you know what the average speeds on the Sellwood have been the last few years?

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  • Social Engineer December 17, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    I, for one, can’t wait until buses are rerouted back onto the bridge. An east-west line connecting the SW and SE suburbs will greatly improve mobility and access in the suburbs for those who can’t or don’t wish to drive. The 99 express bus will also use this bridge and provide direct downtown access for the southern half of Sellwood (in addition to the Tacoma MAX station at the very eastern edge, but that’s across OR 99E).

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  • Anne Hawley
    Anne Hawley December 17, 2015 at 4:36 pm

    The shared-use path PLUS a separate dedicated bike lane would seem to send the message “bikes belong on the roadway.” If I were walking across this bridge regularly, I think I’d begin to feel pretty put out by bike riders using the “sidewalk” when there’s an obvious “bike lane” right there.

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    • Bjorn December 17, 2015 at 4:50 pm

      I think the signage will make it pretty clear.

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      • Bjorn December 17, 2015 at 4:51 pm

        You can actually see the bicycle symbol on the part of the MUP dedicated to cyclists in the first photo.

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        • Bjorn December 17, 2015 at 4:52 pm

          Also from the project image gallery: http://www.sellwoodbridge.org/files/renderings/belvedere–bench-plan-view.jpg

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        • Anne Hawley
          Anne Hawley December 17, 2015 at 4:59 pm

          Yes, I can see it. Pedestrians can see it. We’ll all be able to see the signs. I just think the additional unprotected, painted bike line on the car level creates ambiguity and is likely to lead to some problems (perception, patience, entitlement) between people on foot and people on bikes.

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          • Charlie December 18, 2015 at 9:52 am

            We are talking about the Sellwood Bridge here not the Hawthorne. Not that many people walk across this bridge. The wailing about how this done is ridiculous. It is going to be fantastic!

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            • Mark December 18, 2015 at 10:10 am

              Today. Not that many waln across because it’s currently the alley of death.

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              • J_R December 18, 2015 at 12:09 pm

                “Alley of death?” Really? I admit it’s pretty awful, but I see pedestrians, joggers and cyclists using the existing, substandard walkway every day. I’m definitely looking forward to the new improved facility and I think it’s going to be great. Just how many fatalities have there been in this “alley of death” in recent years?

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    • Dave Thomson December 18, 2015 at 12:17 pm

      I am so happy I won’t have to ride next to unpredictable pedestrians. I’ll take the bike lane over the MUP any day. But it sounds like even though you can choose the MUP you are unhappy that others can choose differently. Really?

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  • J_R December 17, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    Did any of you complaining about the design of the new bridge attend ANY of the public events to talk about design features? I did.

    Do any of you complainers actually ride across the existing bridge? I do.

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    • Harvey December 17, 2015 at 4:56 pm

      Complaining, otherwise known as commenting, otherwise known as sharing ideas, is the point of this website, and people should feel free to do so within reasonable boundaries without being accused of complaining. Additionally, there is almost no chance that you have attended public events regarding/been a frequent user of every lane/piece of infrastructure you have commented about.

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      • J_R December 17, 2015 at 5:08 pm

        OK. Let me rephrase: “Did any of you commenting or sharing ideas attend ANY OF THE PUBLIC MEETINGS on this project?” Did any of you commenting or sharing ideas fill out any of the on-line surveys? Did any of you commenting and sharing ideas participate in any way?

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty December 17, 2015 at 5:38 pm

          I don’t know what YOU did, but I submitted a sternly worded comment to bikeportland.org.

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          • J_R December 17, 2015 at 6:01 pm

            I attended at least three of the open house events, spoke one-on-one with several County staff and project engineers, filled out public comment forms at each event, responded to the on-line surveys, was on the project mailing list, and viewed the project website on numerous occasions. I was involved because I used the facility for commuting and recreation.

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            • fourknees December 18, 2015 at 9:05 am

              I agree with your thought process as I do believe if you don’t participate in the process it’s hard to value complaints. Same thing with complaining about public representatives, but not voting. But I also see this needs to be balanced with our elected officials base principals, such as adopting VisionZero, so intense oversight isn’t needed as greatly. We’re very slowly getting there. I assume most everyone here cares about transportation issues and dedicates time to them, but shouldn’t be penalized because they aren’t contributing to the process. I will rarely ever use this bridge by bike, and only occasionally by car, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want it safer. I spend way more time in a car probably than most on BP and may be looked down upon for that here, but it doesn’t mean I’m not on their team and don’t want the same thing. I know many of my co-workers who don’t bike at all care the same way and don’t even know about many projects going on. Other causes are important too, such as mental illness for example, but I hope I can add to the conversation with constructive feedback even though I don’t have enough time in the day to help with that too. I hope to have fellow citizens contributing to the process like you on my behalf as well to champion those causes I cannot and also individual efforts I do care about but am not as close to like this bridge.

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            • Eric Leifsdad December 19, 2015 at 12:08 am

              Thanks. How many drivers went to that much trouble?

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    • Anne Hawley
      Anne Hawley December 17, 2015 at 5:04 pm

      I hope I don’t need to have attended public design meetings or even use a piece of infrastructure every day before I’m entitled to evaluate (and yes, criticize) it. I was way too young to participate in design meetings for the hideous freeway running through the middle of our city, and also, I don’t use it because I don’t own a car, but do I criticize it? Every. Single. Day.

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      • Anne Hawley
        Anne Hawley December 17, 2015 at 5:43 pm

        In other words, I think equating criticizing with complaining is a mistake. I’ve learned a lot about infrastructure from the critiques of infrastructure that come up in BikePortland comments. Do I get around safely every day on neighborhood greenways? Yes I do. Do I prefer a painted bike lane to sharrows? Yes I do. But only by reading other people’s criticisms (here and elsewhere) of these forms of infrastructure compared to world-class installations do I learn how I might get around better, more safely, more comfortably.

        Good enough is good enough, but that’s all it is. We’ll settle for it forever if we’re polite and grateful all the time.

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  • Jonathan December 17, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    Those people in the picture are about to fall to their deaths!! Somebody stop them!

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty December 17, 2015 at 5:40 pm

      No kidding… where’s the swing gates when you need them?

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      • alankessler December 17, 2015 at 7:05 pm

        2 for 2, you’re on fire on this thread 🙂

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  • Trebor December 17, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    I’m pretty excited about this project. I commute daily from Hollywood to Far Southwest. The new bridge will allow me to add variety to my commute and will give me an easier option on the days that I don’t want to climb SW Corbett. That said, I find myself in the rather odd position of wondering if the cycling infrastructure on the bridge is . . . a bit too much. Portland most certainly has plenty of places such as the Hawthorne Bridge that have the heavy cycling traffic to merit substantial, high-quality infrastructure. I have a hard time, however, envisioning the Sellwood Bridge ever having the ridership to justify both bike lanes and a separate path.

    Who will use it? The westside path is decidedly inferior to the eastside path–I know, I ride it daily!–so the largest potential contingent of users, those traveling between Sellwood and points east and downtown, will all-but-certainly remain on the eastside and cross the river further north at the Tillikum or Hawthorne Bridges. People such as myself who travel between NE and those parts of SW that are proximate to the cemetery will, of course, benefit from the option of taking the eastside rather than westside path; the five of us will be delighted.

    The one category of people who will receive an unalloyed benefit from the new bridge are those who ride between the southern parts of SE and SW. There is, obviously, no reasonable alternative for people going between Sellwood-Moreland and other far-southeast neighborhoods and SW (detouring via the Tillikum Bridge tacks on an extra 7.5 miles). Anyone who has a daily commute between SE and SW over the existing–and frightening–bridge will see a manifest improvement in the quality of their ride. But therein lies the rub: the number of people who ride between SE and SW over the Sellwood Bridge is vanishingly small.

    Do those people merit high quality cycling improvements to the Sellwood Bridge? Of course! It would be folly to build a new bridge without including top-shelf cycling and pedestrian facilities. but are there enough people riding between SE and SW to justify both a shared path and bike lanes? I strongly doubt it. I wonder, in fact, if those who commute between SE to SW across the Sellwood Bridge wouldn’t have been better off if the bridge’s cycling facilities were limited to the shared path. The money that was spent adding the width needed for the bike lanes could then have been used to pay for improved facilities in less cycling-friendly parts of the city–particularly in SW Portland.

    Such will be on my mind as I cheerfully commute across the Sellwood Bridge–on the shared path, thanks!–beginning in February.

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    • eddie December 17, 2015 at 8:52 pm

      Maybe with a better design more people will choose to bike over the bridge. I know I have traditionally chosen routes which avoid it cause it has been so sketchy, and if the new design has good flow I’ll be more likely to use it. If a bike route is ever opened up to Lake Oswego that would bring more cycle commuters over the bridge as well. And we can all be optimistic and hope that the growing population of Portland isn’t going to just be polluting life endangering car commuters.

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    • Chris I December 17, 2015 at 9:27 pm

      The bridge is about $100 million more than it needs to be. The decision to keep the existing bridge open to traffic and the huge interchange at the west end were costs that could have been avoided. As for the deck bike lanes, it seems pretty obvious that they are there for breakdowns and emergency access. Of course, people would have been upset with just these lanes, hence the sidewalk bike lanes.

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      • Trebor December 18, 2015 at 7:50 am

        Touche.

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    • Tom Hardy December 17, 2015 at 11:48 pm

      I had 13 years commuting from Washington Square to Clackamas via the Sellwood bridge.Only problem I had was being right hooked on Multnomah and clipped on the expressway passing Madison in Milwaukie. I never took the sidewalk as it was too dangerous. Always the traffic lane.

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    • Charlie December 18, 2015 at 10:03 am

      You should get the comment of week award for this. Totally spot on.

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    • Captain Karma December 18, 2015 at 2:12 pm

      Perhaps, but if this bridge lasts as long as the previous one, we’ll need the width for the real hoverboards that surely will come our way one day.

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  • redtech116 December 17, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    I still liked the option of placing all car/truck taffic on one side and a barrier and all bikes and ped traffic on the other…

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  • Mark December 17, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    Sigma
    13 minutes. That’s how long it took before someone started complaining that a 6.5 foot bike lane AND a grade-separated multi use path aren’t good enough. Of course, after reading dozens of people whining today because OHSU is literally curing cancer, I don’t know why I expected anything else.Recommended 23

    Well, vehicles get jersey barriers between them on highways. Why would have it been impossible to put jersey barriers between the cars and the bike lane? It’s not sexy, but it works exceedingly well. You see, planners look at it from the point if acceptable risk and loss. So what if a few bikers die or are maimed over the years.

    People who ride with their loved ones thibk about how to keep their family safe. Riding next to traffic sucks with your kids in tow or otherwise.

    Putting a jersey barrier or even raising the bike lane up two inches like they do in Copenhagen, makes the lane now accessible to everyone. A jersey makes it then safe for everyone.

    If that makes me a complainer..I am OK with that. I want fewer dead and maimed people. So far…that’s not happening. I am glad the fearless rider such as myself will be good with some fancy colored asphalt.

    It could.have been great… But it’s just good.

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    • Tom Hardy December 17, 2015 at 11:42 pm

      I taught both of my kids and my grandson how to cross the Sellwood bridge both directions IN THE TRAFFIC LANES!!! It gets the adrenaline pumping and taught them to ride responsibly. They never slowed the traffic down.

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      • Mark December 18, 2015 at 3:53 am

        I prefer not to use my kids as decoys in the name of social science.

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      • Trebor December 18, 2015 at 7:49 am

        I have a co-worker who regularly crosses in the traffic lane. He goes VERY slowly as an FU to Clackistanians for their reticence to pay for the bridge.

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        • Terry D-M December 18, 2015 at 9:52 am

          I also have very hard feelings on this issue….it should be tolled for all non Multnomah County residents driving over.

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    • Dave Thomson December 18, 2015 at 12:21 pm

      Our schools are clearly failing to teach the practical use of statistics in evaluating risk/reward scenarios.

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  • eddie December 17, 2015 at 8:43 pm

    I’ve been crossing that thing for twenty years now. The new design looks incredible relative to the death trap it used to be. We’ll see if it works now. Get out on it, give it a try, then come back on and complain. I say, give it a shot.

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  • rick December 17, 2015 at 11:00 pm

    A Portland city employee talked at today’s SW Trails meeting about how the multi-use path on the westside of the river will be rebuilt from Willamette Park due to the cracks in the asphalt.

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    • Trebor December 18, 2015 at 7:48 am

      That would be great. I had a minor-but-painful crash on the path in September when I hit a heaved root. Even if it had the smoothest pavement on Earth, however, the Westside path would be still be decidedly inferior to the Eastside one. It is much, much less direct and has a number of blind corners. It is also impassable for 2-4 weeks every spring due to flooding a bit north of Willamette Park. Even if the path were completed past the Old Spaghetti Factory and in front of the South Waterfront it would not be as quick, direct, or pleasant as the eastside path.

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  • Tom Hardy December 17, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    I think a 4 inch rumble strip would ideal to help warn the cyclist is being targeted by a motorist.

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  • Mark December 18, 2015 at 10:09 am

    Tom Hardy
    I had 13 years commuting from Washington Square to Clackamas via the Sellwood bridge.Only problem I had was being right hooked on Multnomah and clipped on the expressway passing Madison in Milwaukie. I never took the sidewalk as it was too dangerous. Always the traffic lane.Recommended 0

    Just hit twice? Sounds like the sidewalk (basically a grade separated protected lane) is a dangerous place.

    Personally…never hit…use the sidewalk often when it gets too dicey.

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    • J_R December 18, 2015 at 12:13 pm

      Tom’s experience being hit was NOT on the bridge or the sidewalk. He gives the locations of his being hit: once on Multnomah Blvd and once in Milwaukie.

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  • Mark December 18, 2015 at 10:18 am

    Terry D-M
    I also have very hard feelings on this issue….it should be tolled for all non Multnomah County residents driving over.Recommended 0

    I agree that the bridge should be rolled for anything over 3 wheels. That said, if you don’t have the tolling infustrusture, it’s an expensive startup and it takes on a life of it’s own.

    But yes, $1 at rush hour should be fine.

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  • GlowBoy December 18, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    OMG I have been eagerly awaiting this for soooo many years: specifically, since I first moved to Portland in 1996, back when it was non-ironically festooned with the old “MEN BELOW DO NOT THROW” signs.

    The old bridge’s sidewalk absolutely sucks (I rode it again last weekend to remind myself of this), so even though I recently moved *away* from Portland I still can’t wait for the new bridge! I was thinking it wouldn’t be open until next fall, so hearing it will be open SOON to bikes just made my day! Looking forward to riding it the next time I’m there.

    No the bridge is not perfect (starting with the funding mechanism!) and may not protect all users from soda-choking incidents, but a raised bike lane plus a wide sidewalk is better than some of the designs that were considered, and better than pretty much any other bridge around. I’ll take it.

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  • Captain Karma December 18, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    What will be the speed limit? 25 mph would be safe and appropriate. But I’ll bet it will be 30, maybe even 35. Which means 40-45 speeds will happen because for some reason people in cars speed up on bridges around here. When dropping their texting device or beer (er, latte), that velocity will easily cause them to mount the curb. This bridge needs a large electronic speed sign both ways, and a realistic limit.

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    • davemess December 21, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      with only two car lanes speeds don’t usually get very high on this bridge in my experience, anyone have any hard data on that?

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  • Alex Reed December 18, 2015 at 2:12 pm

    In my opinion, the on-bridge design is superior to every other bridge in the city for biking. How are the approaches going to be? I hope it won’t be super awkward to get to the cemetery because I’m looking forward to some bike-to-hike trips at Tryon Creek!

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    • davemess December 19, 2015 at 10:54 am

      It’s supposed to be much better than previous. You basically will just have to cross the street (I think there is supposed to be a light).

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      • Alex Reed December 21, 2015 at 9:59 am

        Woot! Maybe Multnomah County and the City of Portland have learned something about the importance of approaches since putting in the Morrison Bridge path (a huge missed opportunity IMO). Thanks for the info Dave!

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  • Andy K December 18, 2015 at 2:31 pm

    I was one of the engineers on the project and I summarized most of the major “biking” decisions in this comment: http://bikeportland.org/2015/10/13/checking-in-on-the-sellwood-bridge-project-165291#comment-6572297

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty December 18, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      I went back and reread your previous comments, and I have a question — why does a raised bike lane require 2ft shy, but an at-grade bike lane doesn’t? I can see why that might be from a driver’s POV, but it seems that as a cyclist, I’d want that shy in either case.

      Why is it ok to drive at the edge of the bike lane if there is no curb?

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      • Andy K December 20, 2015 at 9:57 pm

        The natural tendency of car drivers to stay away from obstructions (curbs, walls, guardrail, edge of pavement) was observed and measured over many years (decades?) to be approximately 2 feet. Now 2 feet is the standard.

        Shy distance is not perfect nor is anything in the engineering & design manuals, but it can be very helpful and/or comforting from a cyclist’s perspective. You can find shy distance on buffered bike lanes, multi-use paths adjacent to a fence, and in rare instances where a longitudinal gutter pan joint exists in a standard bike lane.

        On the new Sellwood Bridge, it was an easy decision to make the bike lanes at-grade. A bike lane raised 6 inches from the street level would require an additional 4 feet of width to account for the shy distance (x2) and more storm inlets because of the spread encroachment into travel lanes during a storm event. This raised lane could even preclude some things like emergency situations, stalled vehicles, or cyclists passing each other. Raised commuter bike lanes were going to cost the project $2-3M and they weren’t even a safety upgrade, in my opinion. If you want to ride on the Sellwood and you must have curb protection, it’s there.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty December 20, 2015 at 10:16 pm

          I guess what I’m saying is that as a cyclist on a facility where vehicles will be traveling pretty fast, I want that 2 foot shy between me and them. I don’t want drivers feeling comfortable when they crowd the bike lane.

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  • mark December 19, 2015 at 11:19 am

    I read Andy K’s comments. It’s always the same with cost cutting. First the bikes, then the peds…then ..wait …never the cars.

    So…this would be too much? A slightly raised bike lane bed?

    http://railzone.nl/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/4735172797_71101bfdaf_b1.jpg

    Think how drivers think. They don’t care about lines. They care about death and they hate bumps.

    Then again, I guess there is always acceptable risk, death and injury.

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  • Mark December 20, 2015 at 8:49 pm
    • soren December 21, 2015 at 12:30 pm

      Curbs are the primary protection method in Copenhagen. That’s good enough for me:

      This year’s Bicycle Account, for example, shows that fully 45% of all journeys to places of work or education in Copenhagen are made by bicycle. This is an increase of 25% as compared to two years ago.

      http://www.cycling-embassy.dk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Copenhagens-Biycle-Account-2014.pdf

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    • Carl December 22, 2015 at 9:52 am

      So rare it made national news.

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      • Ted Timmons (Contributor) December 22, 2015 at 9:06 pm

        That one is an exceptional case. The number of vehicles that jump curbs or crash into houses/storefronts is much higher, of course.

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