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First look: New path north of Sellwood Bridge is open

Posted by on July 7th, 2016 at 2:12 pm

A very nice new path segment along the west bank of the Willamette River is finally ready to ride.

Created as part of Multnomah County’s Sellwood Bridge project, it connects the bridge to Willamette Park, a bit to the north. The path was supposed to open a few weeks ago, but construction work was delayed. (This is the same delay that led to an unprecedented last-minute route change for this year’s World Naked Bike Ride.)

Thanks to volunteer correspondent and longtime Multnomah County Bicycle Advisory Committee member Andrew Holtz, above is a thorough and nicely annotated video of the new path and its various spurs.

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For folks heading north from the Sellwood Bridge, the connection to Willamette Park leads to the rest of the Willamette Greenway Trail, the South Portland neighborhood, the South Waterfront and eventually downtown. So this path (assuming it remains open) will eliminate a long-lived and unpleasant detour onto SW Macadam.

One note to keep in mind: there’s a short segment that runs on SW Miles Place, a residential street that hasn’t been a major bikeway before, so people there may not be expecting to see bikes. Use it with caution.

You can read about other features of the new route on this two-page PDF created by the county.

Now if only they’d finish up work on that new bridge itself. Bike traffic will continue to use its north sidewalk only until late October. We hear the final bike signalization is going to be sweet.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

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Pat Lowell
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Pat Lowell

I’m stoked to have this connection finally open, but I do feel for residents of SW Miles who might be anxious about having their cozy little enclave opened up to major bike traffic. Let’s please be good neighbors!

ethan
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ethan

Why do all bike switchbacka have 90 degree turns with narrow landings? Wasn’t there plenty of room to put a nice, gentle ramp?

CaptainKarma
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CaptainKarma

Hope for more wayfinding help.

RMHampel
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RMHampel

Pat, I agree. I hope we can make this change stress free for the residents of SW Miles. As to the new path; those tight hairpin turns are tricky to navigate on a standard bike. I imagine they will be very tricky on any extended bike (front or rear cargo bike).

RMHampel
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RMHampel

Actually, upon watching the video, those turns look much easier than the tight radius bends on the ramp to the old bridge. It looks much better!

Spiffy
Subscriber

yikes, those bollards at Macadam Bay driveway! such a narrow passage… how are they still building these hazards into paths? and why do bikes have the stop sign and not cars? that looks like the Willamette Moorage Park road… did wealthy interests oppose a stop sign for cars?

oh, those nasty bollards are at every transition point!

Josh G
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Josh G

#sleepingconstructionworkerFTW

RMHampel
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RMHampel

Those “nasty bollards” are OBVIOUSLY there to keep out cars, trucks, quads, etc and allow bikes and pedestrians.

Eric Leifsdad
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Eric Leifsdad

Good riddance to taking the lane on macadam (“speed 25mph” because this is a park) vs 25in of curb-tight sidewalk for two-way bike+ped traffic. Some people who might have ridden this path last week might have wondered why it wasn’t open yet.

Positive, be positive… yay a path!

roger noehren
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roger noehren

I rode my long wheelbase Tour Easy recumbent across the bridge to check out the new path on Tuesday afternoon. Definitely worth the wait. I also appreciated the new paving in Willamette Park.
There’s no doubt that the loop from downtown will be incredibly popular once the construction is finished.

gretchin
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gretchin

Great video, Andrew, thanks! So glad to see this path is finally open! But I hate that the path is three times longer than it needs to be near the bridge with all those switchbacks. If that had to be done to keep the slope ADA accessible, it would be good to also include a shortcut slope.

rick
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rick

Now on to building the trolley trail !

GlowBoy
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GlowBoy

I don’t agree with the statement that Miles hasn’t been on a major bike path before. Except for the last 2-3 years when bridge reconstruction has closed it, there has been ALWAYS been a path between Willamette Park and the Sellwood Bridge. I was regularly riding through at Miles Place 15 years ago.

Point taken that traffic will probably be higher on the reopened path than before, though.

Also agreed about the stop signs at Macadam Bay. DEFINITELY not best practice, a significant MUTCD violation and one that we need to hold their feet to the fire on. Bike traffic on the path (especially now) will be many times the traffic down their driveway.

And FWIW, why do they have to be STOP signs, regardless of who has them? Aren’t the sightlines good enough to allow YIELD signs?

Mike Sanders
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Mike Sanders

I agree with the lack of guide signs. From the main Willamette Park driveway off Maxadam and at the exit from the park, there should be signs pointing south reading: “SW Miles Pl. SOUTH – Sellwood Br. EAST – Springwater Trail E/W – Oaks Park.” Nice to see the greenway sign northbound as you transition into the park, but there needs to be a “Welcome to Willamette Park” sign there, along with a sign pointing North to S. Waterfront and Tillicum Crossing. A S. Waterfront sign should be at the Willamette Park driveway, too. A sign pointing to the overlook would be nice, too. Watch that access coming off the bridge, looks like still some touch up paving to do along the curb. Nice video, by the way.

pdx2wheeler
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pdx2wheeler

Looks sweet! We need this to extend out to Lake Oswego to the South.