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Subscriber Post: First look at ODOT’s new Sunrise Corridor bikeway

Subscriber Post by Adam on July 28th, 2016 at 10:25 am

Part of the new bikeway built by ODOT as part of their Sunrise Corridor project. It opened on July 1st.
(Photos: Adam Herstein)

This post was submitted by BikePortland subscriber Adam Herstein. These posts usually appear on our Subscriber Posts page but we like to share them here on the Front Page when appropriate. — Jonathan

ODOT has completed their Sunrise JTA Project which constructed a new 2.15 mile, four lane expressway at a cost of $130 million. As part of this project, bike improvements were constructed. I rode the new cycleway yesterday evening.

Here’s ODOT’s map of the new biking and walking paths:

The new 2-mile cycleway was constructed to current standards and features complete grade separation at crossings, a large clear zone from the expressway, as well as concrete barriers when it runs along the roadway.

The path is well connected to the existing I-205 path, south of Clackamas Transit Center. Overall, the path is designed for cycling in mind, and lacks any sharp turns, steep climbs, or utility poles blocking the path. The ride is pleasant and passes through some green areas, along small streams, and even has a nice view of Mount Hood. The path ends unceremoniously at the intersection of OR-212 and SE 122nd Ave, but will benefit people who work in the industrial areas surrounding the project and want to cycle to work. It also works well for those who augment their trip using the Green Line, saving a potential bus transfer.

Here are more of my photos:


Overall, it’s a well-designed cycleway from our state transportation agency.

— Adam Herstein, @AdamHerstein

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  • rick July 28, 2016 at 10:43 am

    Nice, but do we need new ODOT highway construction in order to build trails along new highways? Parts of highway 217 could effectively use bikeways.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. July 28, 2016 at 10:58 am

      The bicycle bill requires ODOT to build this cycleway as part of new expressway construction. Though I also wish we didn’t need a highway build-out to trigger this bike path construction, it really quite amazing how nice the cycling facilities are when we actually dedicate the money for it!

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    • matt picio July 28, 2016 at 5:36 pm

      No, but this area lacks a lot of good bike connections. Thanks should go to Del Scharfenberg, the entire Clackamas County Bike Committee, and Clackamas County transportation staff, who have been championing the bike improvements on this stretch since at least 2008. The path and other improvements would not exist without their continued and tireless efforts.

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      • matt picio July 28, 2016 at 5:36 pm

        Also, specifically this project, which was the subject of multiple committee meetings over the years.

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  • Allan Rudwick July 28, 2016 at 10:45 am

    I drove by this last Saturday afternoon- very devoid of traffic. Maybe we didn’t need to build the highway after all? Or maybe future traffic will justify it

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. July 28, 2016 at 10:55 am

      I noticed that too. I was riding around 6:00 pm and there was hardly anyone using the new highway, especially considering how busy I-205 was.

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    • Pat Lowell July 28, 2016 at 11:02 am

      For some reason it’s not recognized by Google Maps yet. I imagine traffic will increase once Google gets up to date.

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    • Tom July 28, 2016 at 12:33 pm

      The induced demand has not set in yet. It takes a while to get the increased VMT needed to fill it up.

      Would be nice to see an analysis of how much they paid per ton to increase green house gases due to the induced demand.

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      • J_R July 28, 2016 at 1:56 pm

        If you actually do want to know about the air quality impacts and the cost of the project, I’m certain you can find it in the FEIS or its technical appendices.

        Here’s a link to get you started:

        Of course, maybe you just wanted to make the comment just to remind all of us that ODOT is wasteful, unconcerned about air quality, the environment, focuses excessively on cars, or some long combination of evisl. And, no, I don’t work for ODOT and was never employed by the state.

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    • Gary B July 29, 2016 at 11:59 am

      Of course it wasn’t needed. The intent of the project was to allow motorists to avoid a congested intersection, saving precious minutes during heavy volume periods. Are you suggesting there is a better way to spend 130 million dollars? Nonsense!

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  • Spiffy July 28, 2016 at 10:55 am

    I’ve been through this area driving and wondering what all the construction was causing me navigation issues…

    now I see it’s a wasted $130 million project just so suburbanites have a shorter queue getting onto the freeway because they chose to live so far away from their jobs…

    I just can’t be happy about the bicycling part of it…

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    • Eric July 29, 2016 at 8:38 am

      I live and work in the immediate area of this expressway. Westbound HWY 212/224 has been congested EVERY weekday from 8AM to 6pm. Backing up from the traffic light at 82nd drive all the way down the hill and beyond. Mostly due to the high amount of truck traffic, a lot of it form the Fred Meyer distribution center. This would make a 5 minute trip along 212/224 to I205 a 20 minute ordeal sitting in traffic.
      Companies that deliver to my business were forced to sit in the traffic coming/going from the area, and I know they were never happy about that.
      Since the opening of the expressway, this backup is no longer an issue. Freight moves in/out of the area quicker and local businesses are going to benefit now that the log jam has been lifted and traffic is no longer a impediment to people entering/exiting the Clackamas industrial area.
      Your snarky attack on “suburbanites CHOOSING to live so far away from their jobs” is ***This portion of your comment has been deleted. — Jonathan. *** You know what, yes there are people that live out here and drive into town. I used to do it. NOT BY CHOICE! The only job I could find during the economic downturn was in N. Portland. And no way could I sell my house when values plummeted, and It was not a job I wanted to move for anyway. People do what they have to do to survive and provide for their families.

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  • ethan July 28, 2016 at 11:21 am

    I have a question about this entire project. It’s basically an express route between two highways that were already connected, right? So instead of staying on the highway and exiting to another highway, now there is a more direct route.

    But they built the bikeway to have the same kind of route as the original highways, right? Meaning that if you bike on this trail, you need to get off of it and onto a local street to continue.

    So what was the point of the highway in the first place? If a short trail to local streets is deemed good enough for bikes, shouldn’t that deem the previous highway as good enough for freight and cars?

    I just don’t understand this project.

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    • rainbike July 28, 2016 at 12:26 pm

      I’m sure you can find a justification statement on the ODOT website, but I’ll give it a crack.

      The existing highways (Milwaukee Expressway and 212) were connected, just like PSU is connected to the Moda Center. You can get there, it just isn’t direct. This is a major E-W axis auto commute route south of Portland. Before it was built, drivers had three options to get across 205. 1) through a residential area, 2) follow 82nd through a warehouse district, or 3) hop on 205 for a mile or so and add to the N-S axis commute traffic. The junction of 212 and 205 is often very congested. This Sunrise expressway may reduce that congestion at that junction, by keeping E-W commuters out of the mix.

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      • Sarah July 28, 2016 at 7:02 pm

        Spot on- I live right in this area and I’ve already noticed some improvement in traffic at the intersection of 224/205(at least congestion in the residential areas). I do agree the interchange with the stop light onto 82nd ave is just clunky… it was alot of money but if this area is the de facto distribution/trucking center for many businesses in the metro area-its got to be functional… the bike lanes will be a extra benefit.

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        • Sarah July 28, 2016 at 7:05 pm

          Sorry I guess the road is now considered 212 not 212/224…

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    • nuovorecord July 28, 2016 at 12:51 pm

      The eastern end of it is right across the street from the Fred Meyer distribution center. Now Freddie’s trucks have a much faster, easier connection to the Interstate system than previously. It’s basically a glorified on-ramp to I-205. With a bike path!!!

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      • GlowBoy July 29, 2016 at 8:39 am

        Ding ding ding! We have a winner!

        This reminds me of a decade or so ago when ODOT paved Millican Road, a previously gravel track between Prineville and … well, Millican, more a settlement than a town … on the edge of the Oregon desert. Mostly because Les Schwab wanted it paved.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) July 28, 2016 at 5:03 pm

      there really isn’t a great justification for the project. it was highly controversial and funding came from the 2009 Jobs and Transportation Act which was basically a $800M highway spending binge giveaway from democrats in salem so republicans would accept a small gas tax increase… ODOT sources resented JTA bcuz it was first time in history that politicians in the legislature put specific projects as line items with dollar amounts in a law — meaning they HAD to be built regardless of what a transportation planning professional might think.

      but.. you know… Jobs! Freight! The Economy! Speed!… Expressway! Yay! everything else be damned.

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      • matt picio August 8, 2016 at 3:45 pm

        Which is oddly funny, because the final result is a vast improvement for bikes, pedestrians, cars, and freight. Hwy 224 is now basically continuous instead of requiring a diversion onto either I-205 or 82nd Avenue. Freight gets a better route from 205 to the industrial area without having to leave the limited-access highway. Connectivity on a bike is far better, and the hazardous crossing of SE 97th & Lawnfield is now permanently fixed. As a former resident of the area and someone who drove the area for several years and biked it daily for a year and a half, I can say categorically and without reservation that this is a VAST improvement on all levels. Yes, it *was* a contentious project, and when I used to attend transportation meetings during its design, it was expected never to be funded. Honestly though, after riding it this weekend and driving it the weekend prior I have to say that it turned out far better than I expected it to, and it’s had an immediate benefit to the area. I wish other ODOT projects were as conscientious about Active Transportation improvements as this one was.

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  • MB July 28, 2016 at 11:36 am

    yeah not sure why they did not run the east end of this to an existing light at like 130th instead….

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  • Mike Sanders July 28, 2016 at 11:46 am

    Nice, but based on the pix, there seems to be a lack of guide signs along the Bikeway right now. Maybe ODOT hasn’t installed them yet? At least they posted the east end of the Bikeway. That’s a start! This, hopefully, will be extended to points east someday.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. July 28, 2016 at 11:57 am

      Yeah, signage is not great. It took me a few tries to actually find the path.

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    • Jessica Horning July 28, 2016 at 12:16 pm

      More wayfinding signs are on their way! Sign plan is being presented to Clackamas County Bike/Ped Advisory Committee on Tuesday. We’ll make some tweaks based on their feedback, then get to work on printing and installing them.

      Thanks for the nice article, Adam.

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      • ethan July 28, 2016 at 12:23 pm

        Have the wayfinding signs for OR 224 been installed already? Also, how much did the bike portion of this project cost?

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. July 28, 2016 at 12:52 pm

        Good to hear, thanks!

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  • JJJ July 28, 2016 at 11:49 am

    The placement of the highway cobra lights such as they also illuminate the bike path is a nice touch that many engineers do not do when designing these facilities.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. July 28, 2016 at 11:59 am

      Yep, and on the stretch of path that was far from the roadway, there were dedicated lights just for the bike path!

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  • Middle of the Road Guy July 28, 2016 at 12:33 pm

    It’s a rare day Adam H doesn’t have criticism for something…so this MUST be a nice facility.

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    • Anne Hawley
      Anne Hawley July 28, 2016 at 2:39 pm

      This seems unfair. Adam is often the first commenter on a new post, ready to say thumbs up to some positive new development, however small.

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  • bradwagon July 28, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    A little off topic but I used to work in the building that was in the way of them building the 205 / Sunrise Expy interchange exactly how they wanted too. (Check out the “Full Build”…

    Rather than paying to move the relatively small company and build a new main bridge and interchange they decided to snake it over the existing (old 82nd) bridge and wind it between the buildings.

    I can only assume they will eventually want to build it out as they orginially planned and waste more money on a 2 mile highway extension. That said the bike path does look great… although it is a bummer it couldn’t connect directly to the 205 path (looking at map you need to use 8th and lawnfield to connect the two).

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  • B. Carfree July 28, 2016 at 7:34 pm

    Hmm, looking at the fences/walls in the photos, ODOT didn’t even follow their own low standards for bike path edge obstacles.

    It would be nice if we would raise our game to California’s standards. Then we wouldn’t have walls right on the edge (not allowed in CA) or light poles right up against the edge (again, not allowed by CA standards) and there would be a rideable clear zone on each side.

    If we designed our bike paths for success (read high number of riders), we might actually get that success without all the fighting that is oh so common regarding people’s behavior on our overly-narrow paths with so many edge issues. We’re designing in long-term failure.

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  • Quinn July 30, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    It would be a great loop to ride IF the 212 had a path out to Boring. Could then ride 50 mile lollipop route from downtown portland entirely on path (Springwater to Boring, 212 back to 205 path, 205 path back to Springwater, Springwater back to central Portland). Probably just a dream.
    Also I found that this path is not yet on Google Maps:

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  • Matt- Bike Milwaukie August 3, 2016 at 9:59 pm

    It’s nice that the bike path section of this got built…. however it would have been much nicer if ODOT had instead used that money to connect the missing section of the 205 bike path (between 224 and 212) which would have gotten much more use than this new, disconnected path. Someday perhaps 🙁

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  • matt picio August 8, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    Matt- Bike Milwaukie
    It’s nice that the bike path section of this got built…. however it would have been much nicer if ODOT had instead used that money to connect the missing section of the 205 bike path (between 224 and 212) which would have gotten much more use than this new, disconnected path. Someday perhaps 🙁
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    It would be nice, but connecting that section isn’t practical – there’s no right of way to work with between I-205 and the adjacent homes. Unfortunately the routing to 82nd is necessary, but at least the route there from the SB I-205 path has been greatly improved.

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  • Jeffrey October 21, 2016 at 5:39 pm

    So I want to take my bike to ride this Sunrise Expressway… where do I park my vehicle???

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. October 21, 2016 at 11:47 pm

      Take MAX to Clackamas TC. You can access the path from there.

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