Support BikePortland

County’s Burnside Bridge project plans put bicycle riders on sidewalk for two years

Posted by on March 21st, 2017 at 2:33 pm

(Graphics: HDR/Multnomah County)

Next month Multnomah County and private contractor will kick off a major rehabilitation project for the Burnside Bridge. The project will nip and tuck the historic span in hopes of getting another 15-20 years of service out of it.

According to construction plans released by HDR (the contractor hired to perform the work), there will be significant changes to bridge operations for two years while the project is completed. From November of this year through November 2019, the plan is to have bicycle users share a sidewalk/sidepath with people walking. The plan will also reduce the number of standard vehicle lanes from five the three.

Here’s a close-up of the cross-section that was distributed by HDR last week:

Notice in the graphic above that during the project one of the bridge’s sidewalks will remain open while the other is worked on. Bicycle users and walkers will share the existing, six-foot wide sidewalks on one side — and on the other side the County will construct a new shared and separated space in the roadway. We haven’t yet heard how wide this temporary sidewalk will be and we don’t know exactly what will be used for the separation from motor vehicle traffic.

The County will spend around $20 million on this project to upgrade and repair the bridge surface, railings, sidewalks, electrical system, steel frame, and so on.

This bridge is in dire need of a bike access upgrade; but County spokesman Mike Pullen says this repair project will only work on “basic fixes,” and, “does not materially change the facilities.” It’s unclear whether this project will include re-striping the lanes; but with a $20 million that seems likely. If new striping happens, this could be an opportunity to reconfigure them in a way that better reflects current needs and adopted city goals. The existing bike lanes on the bridge were installed in 1995. Since then there has been tremendous residential and office development on both sides of the river. According to PBOT bicycle counts, the number of bicycle users on the Burnside Bridge has also grown seven-fold in that timeframe (from 620 to 2,345 trips per day).

Advertisement

In an interview today Pullen said the County will likely embark on a planning project in the “next couple of years” that will look specifically at bicycling and walking upgrades. When asked about the shared sidewalk plans during the upcoming construction project, Pullen said the decision was made by the project manager in coordination with the consultant.

This two-year construction project and temporary lane configuration will have a major impact on bridge users. Cargo trike operators from B-Line Urban Delivery rely on the Burnside to go from destinations in Old Town/Chinatown to their new hub in the Central Eastside. Their trikes do not fit on the sidewalk so they’ll have share the lane with auto users.

We’re still awaiting further comment from the County and HDR about the traffic plan.

In the meantime, you can learn more about the project on the official website and at an open house this Thursday night (3/23) from 5:00 to 7:00 pm in the Multnomah Building (1st Floor Boardroom, 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd).

UPDATE, 3/22 at 1:30 pm: We are still working to get more details and updates on this story. For now, we’ve heard a few new things about the bicycle traffic plan from Multnomah County. They say the temporary sidepath they’ll build to handle biking and walking traffic during the project will be eight feet wide (the existing sidewalk is seven feet wide). The barrier between the temporary path will be made out of concrete.

County spokesman Mike Pullen also added that, “We will look to see what more we can do to improve the experience for bicyclists and pedestrians during construction.”

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

138
Leave a Reply

avatar
42 Comment threads
96 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
51 Comment authors
alexBelyndaLarsLoranChamps Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Champs
Guest
Champs

Anyone else having flashbacks to the Broadway Bridge painting project? There have always been salmon, but two-way bike traffic has been much heavier ever since.

Champs
Guest
Champs

Theory meets practice when you’re riding against the flow of a path that isn’t comfortably two lanes wide.

Alex
Guest
Alex

So if someone is riding Easbound on the North sidewalk, how will they be able to merge towards the right (South) onto the existing E Burnside bike lane?

What about vice-versa?

Often these things are not considered or explained, yet this will likely be one of the biggest pain points experienced by users.

shirtsoff
Guest
shirtsoff

It’s good to hear that I’m not the only one who sees the validity in this option. I did the same during the Broadway repainting as well.

MadKnowledge
Guest
MadKnowledge

Me three!

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

“…that is unless motor traffic is so backed up…” lascurettes

Does motor vehicle traffic on Burnside get backed up in the normal course of the day? Or is this something you feel will happen particularly due to coming construction?

People biking, opting to take a main lane, should be the simplest, easiest and logical thing for the county to provide for.

Since this will be a construction project, I’ll presume adjusting the posted speed limit across the bridge is something the county could easily do to have people biking and taking the lane, find a safer, easier and more comfortable way to travel across the bridge. 20 mph or even 15 mph during rush hour, could do the job; possibly set by way of digital info boards.

Lahar
Guest
Lahar

Burnside drivers are ridiculously fast. Even if they floor it to go half way accross the bridge something about that open space causes Burnside Bridge drivers to speed.

Belynda
Guest
Belynda

Yes, and so are some cyclists. Nothing like having a wannabe racer up your butt when dodging turning cars at the eastbound approach to Burnside.

Lahar
Guest
Lahar

This is a horrible, terrible, rotten plan. Oh well, a longer bike ride is not the end of the world.

Keviniano
Subscriber
Keviniano

I understand the need to work with limited resources during the construction, but it’s a bitter pill to have effort put into re-striping that brings us back to the current awful lane configuration.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

This construction is going to be ugly for everyone: drivers, riders, walkers, and bus riders. The backups are going to be epic during commuting hours. There are decent parallel options for cyclists, and it seems that avoiding the bridge would be the best bet.

Adam
Subscriber

The Burnside Bridge is worth avoiding while cycling all the time, not just during construction.

Art Fuldodger
Guest
Art Fuldodger

and yet, 2,435 people seem to think otherwise every day.

Adam
Subscriber

Plenty of people use shitty bike infrastructure every day. It doesn’t make the infra any less shitty.

soren
Guest
soren

the status quo is the enemy of active transport progress.

longgone
Guest
longgone

Why?

soren
Guest
soren

unprotected bike lane with a merge across traffic next to people driving 50 miles an hour while sipping soda.

longgone
Guest
longgone

I’ve traversed this bridge for 15 years. Not one issue. In fact it is safer to ride than than most local highways because the lane is so wide. So many times I’ve taken the lane all the way to the Park blocks. Going east sometimes slightly more concerning to continue up B-side, but that’s no fun in general. Easy to take alternates. The scenario that will be created during construction will certainly mess all users up. I expect to see cyclists doing stupid stuff here, just as I witnessed them during the Broadway bridge fiasco. I chose to ride around it. Don’t try to tell me people on bicycles didn’t act a fool on the Broadway bridge… I got nothin but laughs if you try.

soren
Guest
soren

i’m going to guess that, like me, you consider yourself to be relatively experienced, skilled, fast, and comfortable riding near primate-piloted vehicles.

meh.

due to close calls here my partner categorically refuses to ride the burnside bridge:

https://www.google.com/maps/@45.5229406,-122.6631273,3a,75y,129.5h,60.84t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sC1YE5teSdmgiTRYfQmLL9g!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1

Adam
Subscriber

I too, refuse to ride this bridge. It’s like riding on the shoulder of a busy highway.

longgone
Guest
longgone

Soren…. I am a lifelong cyclist. This is true. Have been at it on roadways since 1968. I am comfortable in traffic. I do not consider my self invincible, and I have had more than my fair share of horror stories over the years. I used to be fast…racing helped that. Along with 45 years of motorcycling as well. Speed isn’t a factor in this situation. In fact riding within ones skill set and common sense are. I guess my indifference with the majority of what I here from people on BP is the persistent pipe dream of some fanciful cycling utopia. I believe it important to not mislead others into thinking that anything along that line is remotely possible. Dodging potholes the past 3 years as they worsen is proof that grand schemes are a myth. Just my sad outlook. Better to employ a mindset that educates how to survive and enjoy your bike daily. Beyond that, even when it arrives the Portland cycling utopia will still be substandard for so many, and I’m sure we will read about it right here first. In defense of the opposite opinion, I have two serious riding buds who are “done riding in this town”. They are defeated. I also worry much about teaching my child to commute, despite us riding for the past 9 years. I fret when he pedals off on his own.

Adam
Subscriber

Unfortunately I fear you may be right about Portland never becoming a cycling utopia. Our current administration has no interest in funding any transportation project that doesn’t line the pockets of their cronies. Throwing money at fixing cycling infra is no longer an option. The only thing that can help at this point is some sort of event that forces people to drive far less.

Adam
Subscriber

Ah, the classic “I ride this and it’s fine” fallacy. BP commenters love this one.

longgone
Guest
longgone

I consider you to be the new generation of BP commenters. I only recently came back to join in out of sheer unemployed boredom.

Belynda
Guest
Belynda

What alternates? The Morrison is insane, Hawthorne is often like a bike freeway, plus a very steep hill to climb eastbound.

longgone
Guest
longgone

…and I am aware of the horrible accident/collision/incident involving the auto driver drinking soda…. Could happen anywhere.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Actually, there are a bunch of places in Portland where it can’t happen, because we have safe, separated infrastructure and/or shared spaced with low-speed vehicles. We want more places like this, and fewer places like the Burnside Bridge.

longgone
Guest
longgone

Where are there fanciful dreamy pleasures you speak of? I am unaware of them.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Every MUP trail, Tillicum/Morrison/Broadway/Steel bridges.

soren
Guest
soren

also the moody bikeway and broadway and SW 1st cycle tracks.

soren
Guest
soren

doh. sw 2nd.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Is there anything that is good enough for you?

Adam
Subscriber

Yes.

Andrea Capp
Subscriber
Andrea Capp

I work and live on opposite ends of Burnside. It would take me an extra 30 to 40 mins to get from home to work and back taking an alternative bridge. Decent parallels would be terribly inefficient for me. Of course, who knows, maybe Burnside would be worse than alt routes during construction.

soren
Guest
soren

please email the county (like i just did):

burnside-bridge-projects@multco.us

Andrea Capp
Subscriber
Andrea Capp

It is now on today’s to-do list! Thank Soren!

Michael Andersen (Contributor)
Editor

You might also cc two politicians:
– The county commissioner for your district … map here https://multco.us/commissioner-vega-pederson/district-maps
– Commissioner Jessica Vega Pedersen, who according to Deborah Kafoury’s February newsletter has recently been assigned to focus on the bridges. Vega Pedersen was previously an ally for transportation reformers in the state legislature. She also happens to represent most of Portland east of Chavez and south of 84, so she already represents a lot of Burnside Bridge commuters (me included). Her email address is District3@multco.us. (I assume the others are similar.)

Ccing Chair Kafoury, mult.chair@multco.us, couldn’t hurt. I understand that she’s sometimes been a bike commuter herself.

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

Uh, ok. Let me understand this. You live within riding or walking distance of the Burnside bridge and I assume drive. You are saying it would take 20 additional minutes at least to take one of the 6 other bridges every day? So one bridge cuts down everyone’s commute into the city by 20 minutes? That’s an incredible claim. I need more data.

Andrea Capp
Subscriber
Andrea Capp

Ride my bike.

q
Guest
q

I waited until you answered to comment, and am glad you did. It’s easy to see that if you can’t use the Burnside Bridge, and are going from near the east end to near the west end, you either have to go north to the Steel Bridge (dealing with the mess of getting from its east end back down to Burnside) or (since you’re not driving–don’t know why the other commenter assumed you were) all the way south to the Hawthorne Bridge and then back north. 30-40 minutes additional sounds believable by bike, and maybe even optimistic for walking for many people. I could even see it taking at least close to that driving if in rush hour.

And I have no idea how he interpreted anything you said as claiming closing “one bridge cuts down everyone’s commute into the city by 20 minutes”.

longgone
Guest
longgone

I’m with q on this as well. Your commute while seeming short would be doubled in a weird way. And not very pleasant trying to snake about in either direction. I’ve avoided the esplanades for years now. What a pain.

Andrea Capp
Subscriber
Andrea Capp

I’ll add, I ride every day with a few exceptions (ice, except that one day…and when I was a week a way from giving birth). I’m also not that fast. My commute home is 10 mins slower because there’s almost always a headwind and I have slightly more hill climbing on the way home, and I’m tired. Need more data?

Adam
Subscriber

But if you listen to most BikePortland commenters, you just need to ride a lighter bike, pedal faster, get stronger, not have to ever transport children, enjoy having cars honk at you, etc…

Andrea Capp
Subscriber
Andrea Capp

Some even like to tell you that your own experiences can’t be right.

q
Guest
q

That hasn’t been my experience here. You’re probably misinterpreting their comments.

Andrea Capp
Subscriber
Andrea Capp

q, I can’t reply to your comment directly because the reply button is removed. That’s meant to be a joke right? If you were worried I was commenting on your reply, I wasn’t. Sorry if you interpreted it that way.

q
Guest
q

Andrea–yes, it was a joke. And don’t worry, it was clear you weren’t referring to my comments. I saw you got some flak about how long a detour would add to your trip.

Andrea Capp
Subscriber
Andrea Capp

Oh good! I hate to make people feel bad – potentially to a fault.

longgone
Guest
longgone

Adam H.,
I’ve gotta call you out on this comment… I believe on numerous occasions you have implied just the same outlook….. that other cyclists must adhere to your perception of what is acceptable, tolerated and enjoyed in regards to road use.
I for one have no intention of forsaking my right to ride anywhere I am allowed by law. I refuse to be relegated to mups, bike lanes and the like.
I also don’t give two hoots how others approach cycling.
While I embrace your right to safety, it’s simple minded to think everyone shares the same mindset in how we get around. I’ve worn many hats so to speak during my 52 years of riding a bike on the road. You rarely speak for my needs.
As one of the most frequent commenters here in the past couple of years, some folks not familiar with, or perhaps showing interest in cycling may read your fears into the equation that impedes their attempt to ride. Just sayin’.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

According to Google bike maps (which I think assumes a fairly slow riding pace), diverting to the Morrison would take an extra 8 minutes, and diverting to the Steel would take an extra 9 minutes. This assumes the Burnside is a direct shot between the start and end of your commute, and you aren’t going either north or so on either end.

rick
Guest
rick

Status quo. Lame.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

Didn’t they just resurface this bridge a few years ago? What does HDR know about cycling infrastructure and detours?

This is lead, not platinum.

maccoinnich
Guest

Are you thinking of the Morrison Bridge?

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

No, the Burnside Bridge got fancy new supposedly studded-tire-resistant concrete pavement not that long ago.

was carless
Guest
was carless

Its not the pavement thats the problem, its the bridge structure itself that is aging and will fail.

maccoinnich
Subscriber

10 years ago?

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

It should last 5X that long….

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Yeah…perhaps 6 years ago…I remember when they did it that I saw the old streetcar tracks and transit stop islands in the “median” from the 1920s…

Sigma
Guest
Sigma

That was only on the lift span portion of the bridge deck. It was part of a project to fix damage caused in the 1996 flood that caused water intrusion/rust in the lift mechanism on one side. Before they fixed it, it barely opened. Presumably this will take care of the rest of the bridge surface.

dave
Guest
dave

Whatever happened to plans to replace this bridge?

Cruising in Clackamas
Guest
Cruising in Clackamas

Feedback from the County regarding closing an additional traffic lane to provide separate space for people walking and biking:

“During the project, there will be one 7-foot shared sidewalk open and one 8-foot wide temporary shared path separated from the traffic lane by a concrete barrier.

The traffic plan during construction takes space from all modes of traffic (motor vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians) so the contractor has space in the work zone to repair the sidewalks, bike lane and traffic lanes).

So the 40,000+ motor vehicles will be squeezed into 3 lanes from 5 lanes, similar to what is happening to bicyclists and pedestrians. Having just one eastbound traffic lane available in the afternoon would add a lot to traffic congestion for two years and would not be supported by the City.

We will be looking at bicycle and pedestrian improvements on the bridge in a planning project that we are seeking funding for currently.”

Based on this response, is PBOT requiring the prioritization of people driving over people walking and biking during the project?

If you’re interested in telling the County they need to provide better options for people walking and biking during the project and moving forward, e-mail burnside-bridge-projects@multco.us

q
Guest
q

Remember, this is the same County that took forever to open up the Greenway Trail north of the Sellwood Bridge, then closed it a few hours after it opened it, then took almost a month to reopen it.

Gary B
Guest
Gary B

Honestly this seems pretty reasonable to me. Not ideal, but it’s not ideal for anyone. I think it’s pretty well done, considering the constraints.

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

Cars get three lanes, peds get two and bikes get zero? Ok.

wsbob
Guest
wsbob

Motor vehicles consist of some 80 percent of traffic on the road, bikes maybe 20 percent. Motor vehicles aren’t allowed to use bike lanes where they exist…people riding bikes are allowed to use all lanes of the road, if they need them. Pedestrians are the people really getting the short end of things with the planned repair…now they’ve got to share the none too spacious 6′ sidewalks with bike traffic.

I’ve written elsewhere in this discussion thread, that use of the main lanes for bike travel, would be the thing to do. Slow the traffic down with a lower posted speed limit…easy thing to do with the bridge becoming a construction zone.

What’s the slowest speed someone on a bike, unobstructed by slower traffic, is likely to be traveling across this bridge? 7mph? 5mph? I’m wondering. Normal walking speed is about 3.5mph. Often, that’s faster than stop and go traffic on traffic on the freeways. Is the bridge even a mile across?

It’s not a major compromise in traffic flow to have motor vehicle traffic across the bridge be slower than usual for the duration of the construction. It tends to be too fast anyway…people shooting across the bridge so they can wait at the traffic signal at MLK on the east, or 3rd on the west, has always been kind of dumb.

Despite being low profile in scale, the Burnside is kind of a beautiful bridge whose beauty is diminished by overdoing motor vehicle traffic across it. If traffic were generally slower across the bridge, more people might be able to actually enjoy crossing the thing whether on foot, bike, or motor vehicle.

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

Congestion is a factor no matter how many lanes. If Burnside were 10 lanes each direction, traffic would move off of 26 onto Burnside. The cost is zero and the benefit is 1 to 100. The point is, they could close Burnside except for bikes and it wouldn’t matter after a month. People would adjust to another route.

maccoinnich
Guest

When the bridge fully reopens I hope it’s with transit only lanes.

cabbol
Guest
cabbol

2 years. Chinese company would have it done in 2 months. We suck at infrastructure.

J_R
Guest
J_R

The project might be completed faster, but you can bet there would have been no advance notice; construction debris would have been disposed of in the river; noise and air quality impacts would have been ignored; worker safety would have been ignored, etc.

Captain Karma
Guest
Captain Karma

That is pretty much our future now anyway, isn’t it, under the new govt zeitgeist.

Mike 2
Guest
Mike 2

And we would have Chinese quality too. Have you spent much time in new China?

dan
Guest
dan

I haven’t spent “much” time in China, but I have been there a few times recently and their new infrastructure puts ours to shame. They’re operating 14,000 miles of high-speed rail, more than the rest of the world put together. They opened their first line in 2007, so have been knocking out more than 1,000 miles a year…how long has CA been dithering over their LA to Bay Area high speed rail link, with not a mile of track laid? There may have been a time when construction in China was shoddy, and your comments about the environment are still on target, but their new infrastructure is nicer than most of what we have here. Don’t even get me started on airports.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

It seems odd to me to consider only one aspect of a society, without considering other aspects with it.
The political oppression of the current Chinese government cannot be separated from the work that government accomplishes.

On a side note, the US pre-civil war was ok, as long as you ignore that one thing in the southern states, that still affects us today.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Or the lax environmental laws that make big projects so much cheaper and easier.

Adam
Subscriber

The Netherlands seems to complete projects quicker than we do as well, and they have a good human rights track record.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

They speak Dutch. It’s been well established that it is a more efficient language compared to the slower, more languid English.

q
Guest
q

They have to be more efficient talking to make up for taking so long at restaurants due to everyone paying individually.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

The other things influencing this is the easier sandy soil to work in and the related higher frequency of road rebuilding that such requires…in my 20 years of visiting some Amsterdam arterials, I have seen some go through 3 different reconstructions…10 years seems to be the cycle.

Plus their widest highways are more similar in width to our county arterials and not 10+ lane highways…so narrow = faster. No salmon restrictions on construction work too.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Unsubstantiated claim is unsubstantiated.

buildwithjoe
Guest

The sidewalk is very deadly on the bridge. A pedestrian was killed. Ben Carlson. And his friend Bridget Larabee was severely injured. No ticket was ever given to the driver Doug Douglas James Walker.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1br_9fmxJpQ4z9tDEB4cdAYJTe-hIzE7R8qBLRizCTJI/edit?usp=sharing

The current design is deadly. It would be nice to lower the speed limit but our city puts trip times before safety. Call Dan Saltzman (503) 823-4151

osmill
Guest
osmill

The bridge and the project are Multnomah County’s, not the city’s. While PBOT may need to be pushed towards greater coordination with this project, they ultimately don’t have any direct control over the project or the ultimate configuration of the lanes.

Cruising in Clackamas
Guest
Cruising in Clackamas

I’m not sure that’s correct. According to Multnomah County, “Having just one eastbound traffic lane available in the afternoon would add a lot to traffic congestion for two years and would not be supported by the City.”

So it appears that PBOT does control the lane configuration. I’m trying to find the correct contact at PBOT, who is in charge of this decision.

q
Guest
q

Article states, “According to PBOT bicycle counts, the number of bicycle users on the Burnside Bridge has also grown seven-fold in that timeframe (from 620 to 2,345 trips per day).”

I think that’s 3.7-fold.

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

Seems to me they could run one lane each direction and put in a larger access for people on foot and on bikes.

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

buildwithjoe
The sidewalk is very deadly on the bridge. A pedestrian was killed. Ben Carlson. And his friend Bridget Larabee was severely injured. No ticket was ever given to the driver Doug Douglas James Walker.
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1br_9fmxJpQ4z9tDEB4cdAYJTe-hIzE7R8qBLRizCTJI/edit?usp=sharing
The current design is deadly. It would be nice to lower the speed limit but our city puts trip times before safety. Call Dan Saltzman (503) 823-4151
Recommended 1

I think about that situation often. Seems to me one should travel with a pop in their cupholder. In the event of a a crash. Simply claim you choked on it.

Get out of jail free.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Yeah, that choking to unconsciousness on soda excuse was total BS. If the driver had truly had a medical emergency, as he claimed, he should have been taken straight to the emergency room for evaluation. Instead, he was free to go on his way that afternoon. Distracted driving much?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Hell, he probably choked himself, just so he could kill some people!

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

All we want is prosecution for criminal negligence. No one believes he did this on purpose, but for some reason, motor carnage apologists always act like it is either a freak accident or intentional murder. Most motor vehicles deaths are due to negligence of some kind.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

To prosecute, you need evidence that this particular incident was not a freak accident. I’m not saying such evidence doesn’t exist, but I do know I haven’t seen it.

You seem rather confident this was not what is was purported to be. Have you seen any evidence?

Full Size map
Guest

PDF of the main graphic:
https://multco.us/file/60531/download

q
Guest
q

“When asked about the shared sidewalk plans during the upcoming construction project, Pullen said the decision was made by the project manager in coordination with the consultant.”

I’m curious, was there any opportunity for public input on the decision, even by any sort of small user group? This is a long-term detour, and I’m getting flashbacks to the detour the County set up along Macadam for the Sellwood Bridge project, which had to have been one of the worst-designed detours of all time.

During that project, my neighbors and I questioned at least a dozen “decisions made by the project manager in coordination with the consultant” (and/or contractor) and we got all or almost all of them overturned–not because the project was accommodating, but because the original decisions were so bad, expensive, impractical or illegal.

tabitat
Guest
tabitat

The site is indeed a bit funky, but I found the images on the Construction Impacts page https://multco.us/burnside-bridge-projects/construction-impacts (or here to go direct to the construction plan graphic: https://multco.us/file/60531/download).

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Anyone know the proposed widths of the vehicle lanes? If more than 10′, they need to be further cut down to provide more space for bikes and pedestrians. Expecting that many people to share such a narrow sidewalk is insanity.

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

It seems like Vision Zero would dictate fewer/narrower lanes to slow traffic and wider/buffered bike lanes. During construction, VZ should prioritize safety when deciding how to allocate lanes. A shred 6′ raised sidewalk seems pretty sketchy. Does Vision Zero not come under consideration for this project for some reason?

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Ask the County.

soren
Guest
soren

This is completely unacceptable. Some concrete alternatives:

*Creating additional room for a temporary protected bike facility by closing one general lane.
*Calming traffic with rubber speed tables, temporarily lowering speed limits, installing signs, and sharrowing the roadway.

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

So, the Burnside will go back to being to the highway it is with barely a real bike lane? Wow. Could have been two protected lanes (with Jersey barriers) and two lanes each direction. Sad….Loss for the future.

Lance P
Guest
Lance P

I just sent this to both burnside-bridge-projects@multco.us and to
MayorWheeler@portlandoregon.gov

——

Hello,
I ride my son to school every day in our bakfiets. This is our minivan. Our bike is 4 feet wide. I’m one of many parents that make the same trek across the burnside bridge every single day. The sidewalks on the burnside bridge are only 6′ wide and should never be ridden on with a bike.

I’m very alarmed by the plan to have both people walking and cycling sharing a sidewalk on the burnside bridge during construction. Over the past 2 years both people biking and walking over the bridge has exploded. I have mentioned this to other coworkers and neighbors that during evening rush hour you can often see someone walking every 10 feet all the way across the bridge. I haven’t crossed the bridge without having someone bike both directly behind and in front of me during in months. There needs to be a safe place to ride between Downtown and the newly ‘hip’ east burnside. With all of the new construction and proximity to downtown, the current plan to force all non motorized traffic on to one sidewalk is completely unexceptable. There needs to be a safe dedicated place for people to cross throughout this project.

Regards,
Lance X, Ignored citizen

Bike Portland: https://bikeportland.org/2017/03/21/countys-burnside-bridge-project-plans-put-bicycle-riders-on-sidewalk-for-two-years-222218

Project link: https://multco.us/burnside-bridge-projects/burnside-bridge-maintenance-project

Michael Andersen (Contributor)
Editor

Thanks Lance! Here’s my email, sent to burnside-bridge-projects@multco.us, District3@multco.us, mult.chair@multco.us.

As one of the thousands of people who bikes across the Burnside almost every weekday, I’m writing to express dismay about the county’s dangerous and unpleasant plan to push people biking and walking onto the Burnside Bridge sidewalks for two years, and urging the county to consider alternatives.

One possibility: Providing bike lanes and/or a wider bike/walk pathway during part of the construction period but not all of it. Would it be possible to change the phasing of the work in such a way that the bike lane closure could shorten from two years to one? To 18 months? How about just on one side of the narrowed roadway?

Another: using a single auto lane in each direction. I read in the BikePortland comments that the county feels the city would find the traffic backup unacceptable in this situation. If so, the county and city owe their constituents exact figures to support this claim.

Finally, I hope the county won’t waste this chance to rethink the use of space across the bridge after construction. If two-lane eastbound auto traffic is necessary, it’s also a test case (and a political reset) to keep eastbound auto traffic permanently at two lanes, dedicating more bridge space to incentivizing the most space-efficient trips across the bridge: 7,000 daily bus trips and 2,700 daily bike trips. Here’s one exploration of the possibilities.

The hundreds of new jobs and homes about to open at the east-side bridgehead create an opportunity to shape the lives and travel habits of hundreds or thousands of Portlanders, many of whom will be new to town. A Burnside Bridge that’s unnecessarily car-oriented, during construction and afterward, will undermine our efforts to reduce emissions and run a cost-efficient, healthy, equitable transportation system.

I understand that sacrifices are necessary during construction. But please don’t let this two-year bike lane removal happen because you didn’t look hard enough at the other options.

Michael Andersen
XXXX, Portland
Multnomah County District 3

news coverage:
https://bikeportland.org/2017/03/21/countys-burnside-bridge-project-plans-put-bicycle-riders-on-sidewalk-for-two-years-222218

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Did the County BPAC / ADA advocates have a chance to review this and comment? Did they review and comment on the work zone plan?

[Better protected ped and bike facilities should also be seen by HDR/ County as a safety enhancement (buffer space from motorized traffic) for their construction workers in the work zone.]

Michael Andersen (Contributor)
Editor

I’d add that as of 2015, the bridge also carries about 7,000 people on bus trips every weekday, who currently get zero dedicated space. Some of the possibilities for the long-term lane redesign are here:
https://bikeportland.org/2015/06/15/better-burnside-bridge-look-like-three-possibilities-144426

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

Transit lanes seem so feasible on this it is a marvel to me that they haven’t been implemented already. For the 2-year construction window, I would love to see a single lane for vehicle (westbound in the am, eastbound in the pm) and a transit lane in each direction. I can live with the shared 8-foot lanes for bikes/peds as long as that 8-feet is on the same grade.

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

(posted too soon). In other words, enshrine the transit lanes now, as part of the disruption. When the structural upgrades are finished, keep the transit lanes, add a motor vehicle lane (one lane in each direction) and use the remaining width to buffer some wider bike lanes. This construction is going to create back-ups and fundamentally change traffic paterns, might as well make it count for something!

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I was under the assumption that they were going to have a dedicated eastbound bus lane after this project is complete. Is this not the case?

As for the construction, this sounds like a fantastic opportunity to have a bi-directional BUS/HOV lane. Have the middle of the 3 vehicle lanes with westbound Bus/HOV in the mornings, and eastbound in the evenings.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

Perhaps a reversible transit lane?

chris
Guest
chris

I fully expect to see a cyclist shoved over the side of the bridge for the hell of it by a mentally ill person during those two years. Or into a lane of traffic.

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

Most reasonable people can look at Burnside from the north end split to MLK and see pretty easily a dedicated bike lane would be an easy add. Instead, it’s a meat grinder through town.

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

Woops, not north, west end split.

rick
Guest
rick

Attaboy !

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

So..how wide is the existing sidewalk….to get an idea of usage today. Imagine fitting everyone on the walk.
comment image?itok=-a_3CLTX

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

nice find!

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

I was just thinking that this project would have been sooo much less intrusive on bicycling (and walking) BEFORE the intensity of the bike friendly development on the east bridgehead/ east burn/eastside industrial that has made this bike link so critical.

Sigma
Guest
Sigma

That was only on the lift span portion of the bridge deck. It was part of a project to fix damage caused in the 1996 flood that caused water intrusion/rust in the lift mechanism on one side. Before they fixed it, it barely opened. Presumably this will take care of the rest of the bridge surface.

Sigma
Guest
Sigma

That was supposed to be a response to buzz from yesterday.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Just got a reply to the comment I submitted to the project yesterday:

“This is a friendly reminder to visit us tomorrow night at a project open house for upcoming downtown bridge work, including maintenance repairs on the Burnside Bridge – Thursday, March 23 from 5 – 7 p.m. (Multnomah Building, 1st Floor Boardroom, 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd).”

I’ll be at work until 7pm, so I’m hoping others of you can attend and express our concerns about the shared bike/ped space during construction.

Kittens
Subscriber
Kittens

It seems like they JUST rehabbed the bridge. Maybe in 2005 or 2007? Eliminating the steel grid deck.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

The county is working on three bridges in 2017: Morrison, Burnside, Broadway.

It looks like some lanes will be closed on the Morrison and Broadway bridges from spring 2017 through fall 2017. During that period, traffic on the Burnside, Hawthorne, and Steel bridges will probably be heavy, especially during commute hours.

Then the Burnside lane closures will start. I agree with most here: the current plans for shared bike/ped lanes are not good. Perhaps one sidewalk could be exclusively for pedestrians and the other side exclusively for bikes. This means bi-directional bike traffic, but during commute hours the bike traffic is mostly going the same way.

I certainly hope that, should work on the other bridges be delayed into winter 2017/18, the county will delay the Burnside lane closures. Having closures on all three bridges at the same time would be a real problem.

Why couldn’t the Broadway bridge work have been done when the bridge was being painted? Wish someone would have asked the county about that apparent oversight.

http://katu.com/news/local/upcoming-repair-on-three-portland-bridges-expected-to-impact-traffic-cyclists

Michael Andersen (Contributor)
Editor

The bidirectional bike lane idea is interesting! My initial thought is that it’d become a de facto walkway, though. Pretty hard to get people to wait through a traffic cycle to walk across the bridge on the assigned side. Sort of like trying to ban bikes from the transit mall.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

I have an idea about how to discourage pedestrians from walking in the bidirectional bike lane, and encourage them to obey the clear signage that one would hope will direct them to use the sidewalk. I think it could work, but Adam H won’t like it.

It is to make the bike lane “look” less protected, so it “feels” more like walking in the roadway. For example, instead of continuous jersey barriers that would make a pedestrian feel secure, use 4″ curbs + plastic wands that leave the pedestrian feeling exposed to the cars and trucks whizzing by.

Obviously, this will make cyclists feel exposed too, but curbs and wands are more buffering than the current painted bike lanes have, and thousands of cyclists ride in those lanes every day without fuss. I’d rather have a bi-directional bike lane with this sort of light buffering, than a heavily buffered path that is only 8′ wide and clogged with bi-directional pedestrians, who cause cyclists to be repeatedly stopping and restarting on the grade of the bridge approach.

By the way, regardless of the pictures and statements, I am skeptical that the county will actually provide the bike/ped lane with continuous buffering via concrete jersey barriers. Because the whole middle of the bridge lifts. Is the county really going risk suspending dozens of three-ton concrete barriers on a vertical roadway 100 feet in the air, with people below? Very unlikely.

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

This initial proposal would likely not meet “best practices”, especially given the slope: Sub standard width bi-directional facilities should not be placed in areas with slopes similar to the bridge ends due to the higher potential speed differential between cyclists and peds, but the mitigation plan seems to not differentiate the design of the “flat” middle from the steeper ends…

(Does anyone have a westbound downhill “top speed” estimate without pedalling to share? (No Strada riders need apply. 😉

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

The devil wears Strada. Oh…. You mean Strava.

Andy K
Guest

Look on the bright side, the delays on the Burnside bridge may actually create and inspire a new wave of cyclists!

Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
Guest
Todd Boulanger

The County is working on 3 bridges this summer…why wait so you have to affect three crossings during 1 summer?

Andrew Kreps
Guest
Andrew Kreps

By the by, that Burnside sidewalk width number is a bit of a lie- there are lightposts and signposts taking up at least two of those 7 feet at several spots on the sidewalk. Much like the waterfront and the moorings.

q
Guest
q

Interesting, and looks true from google views. During the Sellwood Bridge project, the County incessantly drew graphics in a way that misled people, to sell whatever position they were trying to sell. It was called “public outreach” but it was sales.

In one particularly blatant case, I remember pointing out that in a street section diagram similar to the one in this article, if you added up all the individual sidewalk and lane dimensions you got something like 40′, in a r.o.w. that was only about 25′ wide. They’d also scaled down all the cars and people so it looked convincing. They then argued that it didn’t matter because it was “conceptual”. I also got the feeling that the project leaders had never noticed the problem, and didn’t realize until then that their design wouldn’t come even close to fitting.

In another, a business owner noticed they’d eliminated the space for trucks to park at his loading dock, making it unuseable. When he accused the County of eliminating his loading dock, the engineer said something like, “No, that’s not true. Granted, you’ll no longer be able to pull a truck up to it, but we are not touching your loading dock itself”. They didn’t TELL the owner this was an impact (despite it being a meeting to discuss impacts on businesses) and after he noticed, they couldn’t bring themselves to simply agree he was right.

I’m sure in this case, if you pointed out the obstruction issue, they’d say, “Yes, that’s true at those cases, but our section isn’t depicting those cases”. But if nobody points it out, they will not tell anyone. And there’s a good chance the project leaders haven’t even noticed it yet.

Loran
Guest
Loran

Hi Jonathan, Any updates from county on sidewalk plan? Fall approaches! Thanks!

Lars
Guest
Lars

Rode westbound over the bridge today and was redirected onto the sidewalk. Two other cyclists were in front of me. There was an elderly man walking on opposition to us and he seemed quite surprised and scared to find cyclist on the sidewalk. He shirked up against the railing as we passed; afraid of a collision. Not a great set-up.

alex
Guest
alex

Westbound I recommend taking the lane. The combined elevated sidewalk issue is really bad. Monday I saw cyclists backed up behind a B-Line bike doing 5mph. There was no way a pedestrian could get by in that situation.

Eastbound is much better (just got to watch for right hooks).