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The westbound path of the Broadway Bridge will be closed for a month

Posted by on January 28th, 2016 at 9:27 am

Broadway Bridge detour observations-13

Get used to it.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

There’s more bad news to report about your ride over the Broadway Bridge.

The bridge has been a construction zone since this past summer when Multnomah County embarked on a major repainting project. For months now, people have struggled with intermittent closures, extremely loud blasting noises from the construction work, and a very narrow lane.

Now the County says the path on the north side of the bridge (westbound) will be closed for up to a month so contractors can remove and paint the handrail. The closure started this past Monday (1/25).

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Here’s official word from Multnomah County:

The bridge’s south sidewalk will remain open while the north sidewalk is closed. Signs, traffic control devices, and flaggers will direct sidewalk users to crosswalks at each end of the bridge where the public can access the open sidewalk. Sidewalk users should be alert for two-way traffic on the south sidewalk during the closure. The Steel Bridge and Eastbank Esplanade are nearby alternate routes during the closure.

When the handrail on the north sidewalk has been repainted and reinstalled, the north sidewalk will reopen and the south sidewalk will close for several weeks while its handrail is removed and repainted.

No word yet on whether the County plans to repaint the southern path as well.

This project was initially scheduled to wrap up in March, but the latest news from the County is that it won’t be completed until April.

If you experience hazardous conditions during this project, here’s the County’s contact information.

The good news is that once this project is done, the bridge will look mighty fine. Have you noticed some of the sections that have already been finished? It looks great!

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

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Adam
Subscriber

Why don’t they just ban driving on it so people walking and riding bikes can have enough space to safely traverse the bridge? Drivers can easily divert to the nearby Fremont Bridge. Last time the Broadway Bridge was closed to drivers, there was no carmageddon. If the city wants to take Vision Zero seriously, they wouldn’t squeeze two-way bike and walking traffic onto a narrow sidewalk, and instead opt to take space away from private vehicles.

David
Guest
David

I biked into downtown from the east side earlier this week during evening rush hour (about 5pm) and found that the helpful flaggers weren’t there directing bike/pedestrian traffic. It was an absolute mess! Trying to salmon my way upstream against a steady flow of people came the opposite way without any kind of traffic control felt dangerous. It was particularly bad at the crosswalk on the west side of the bridge where eastbound bikers are supposed to cross into the bike lane. But there really isn’t enough room. Ugh.

fat spandex dude
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fat spandex dude

Adam H.
Why don’t they just ban driving on it so people walking and riding bikes can have enough space to safely traverse the bridge? Drivers can easily divert to the nearby Fremont Bridge. Last time the Broadway Bridge was closed to drivers, there was no carmageddon. If the city wants to take Vision Zero seriously, they wouldn’t squeeze two-way bike and walking traffic onto a narrow sidewalk, and instead opt to take space away from private vehicles.Recommended 0

The Fremont is for highway traffic. Routing surface street traffic to it isn’t tenable. Diverting to the Steel Bridge would create a massive snarl on both sides of the bridge, and the Steel shouldn’t be handling much more traffic than it already is, anyway.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“The Fremont is for highway traffic. Routing surface street traffic to it isn’t tenable.”

What do you mean? It’s perfect. If you’re westbound on Broadway, take a right at Williams and pop over the Fremont, exiting at Glisan on the west side. I think the same route works in reverse: enter 405 at Glisan, then exit onto Vancouver. It’s barely a detour.

RH
Guest
RH

I’m surprised they don’t have flaggers during rush hour. It’s a mess with 2 directions of bikes and peds sharing a 3 foot wide space.

They used flaggers in the past when it wasn’t this crazy?!

Champs
Guest
Champs

Yesterday I was ghost-riding my girlfriend’s bike out downtown and a flagger rode it to the other end for me. Funny how you finally find something positive to say, and then WHAMMO.

Irrespective of whether anybody can or should use the Fremont as an alternative, I know it would be awesome for *me*.

Clint Culpepper
Guest

As a regular user of the Broadway Bridge I haven’t found it to be an issue. We have a very viable option in the Steel Bridge (upper and lower decks) and three bridges to the south that add a negligible amount of time and hassle to a commute downtown.

The bridge project is an extremely important project with the removal of lead paint being the main reason it has such an impact. I find the fact that bicyclists have been accommodated as well as they have to be a sign that Multnomah County is aware of the impact. Do I wish that they’d close it down for cars and let us ride in roadway, of course. I just don’t see that as a viable option with the streetcar.

For regular commuters it doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, if I rode once or twice a month and encountered it I’d probably be bummed.

Terry D-M
Guest
Terry D-M

I have been avoiding Broadway and taking the Steel instead to get to the middle to end of the Alphabet on 23 RD, but the construction detours in the Pearl have been really annoying……

mikeybikey
Guest
mikeybikey

They definitely need to get the flaggers out there again. The last time they left it without flaggers a person biking too fast in the opposite direction caused my spouse who was biking with our kids to crash her bike into the railing. I understand that some people don’t like having to wait for opposing bike traffic but its really the only way to ensure that those of use that follow a reverse commute pattern get a safe crossing. I gave up on the Broadway the other day and went over to the Steel bridge only to find a PCMS blocking the southbound bike lane on Naito. Platinum.

Alan 1.0
Subscriber

Does BikePortland have clout or what? Jonathan just does a short series on bike route gaps and both private enterprise and the city itself bend over backwards to provide him with fresh material!

Steve
Guest
Steve

West bound commuters, do the right thing and take the Steel into town. It’s only for a month (hopefully), and seriously how much extra time will it take you?

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

Lanes and paths sometimes have to be closed for construction, and that inconveniences users,it’s a fact of life. Taking the two remaining lanes of the Broadway Bridge down to one lane is impossible because there are no tracks for the street car to switch between lanes, and anyway the massive jam up to cars, buses, and street car traffic would cause far, far more distress to those bridge users than cyclists and pedestrians are suffering from having to share one sidepath of the bridge.

However, I question whether the construction is being done in a way that minimizes the inconvenience. First, there absolutely must be flaggers present whenever east and west bound peds/cyclists are sharing one sidepath. Second, the work should be getting done as fast as possible. I frequently ride and drive over the bridge when there doesn’t seem to be much activity going on, and very few workers.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

In the beginning they said that sidewalk closures would only be on a temporary basis during off-peak hours, and that the railings would be painted when the rest of the bridge structure was finished.

Now they are changing their mind.

But all the whining about the extra lanes on the bridge won’t come to anything, since the two outside lanes are in the construction zone, and are needed for the work.

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

Portland: bikeeeee town.

Robert Burchett
Guest
Robert Burchett

Predictable surge of pedestrians on the Broadway Bridge: every Trailblazers home game. Definitely a good time to make adjustments.

I-405 shoulder from NW 15th / Glisan, over the Fremont Bridge, starting to look pretty good. Kinda trashy, but it would not be the sketchiest bike route in Portland.

Sef McCullough
Guest
Sef McCullough

Just for the record, since the North platform closure on the 25th, the danger level around the bridge has shot up intensely. Every time I cross it’s like running the gauntlet. There are occasionally flaggers, but it seems like they are intermittent. Depends on the time you cross. I think their idea of peak hours is 9:15 – 9:45 am. I haven’t seen any for evening commutes. Everybody – bikes, peds, and drivers alike are looking around like “This is F’ing crazy.”

Amy
Guest
Amy

I work in the brick Albers Mills building that is right next to the bridge. The blasting sound has given our entire office migraine for the past 3+ months. We smell fumes from the paint regularly. It’s absolutely horrible. We can not wait for this to be finished. The only peace and quiet we get is when the worker take their lunch hour. We’ve had to start working off site and have wax ear plugs we have to use in order to block the sound. The vibrations alone are enough to trigger migraine in many of us.