An elevator on a bridge needed for cycling over light rail and railroad lines in southeast Portland has been closed for nearly seven weeks now. And TriMet, the owner of the facility, still isn’t sure when it will re-open.
On February 20th we reported that the elevator at the Rhine-Lafayette Bridge was broken. TriMet said moisture had gotten into the elevator shaft, causing the brakes the fail.
After posting our story we heard from several readers who were frustrated about losing such an important connection. As you can see in the map below, the railyard splits two neighborhoods and there are very few ways to get across it. While there are stairs with a wheel-gutter, the gutter is hard to use and for many people there are too many stairs to manage carrying their bike safely.
“This bridge being out is a significant impediment for those of us who use it to head North-South — makes my quick 15 minute ride from Sellwood to inner Clinton area twice as long and even longer if I’m headed further north,” wrote reader Carrie. “This whole thing is ridiculous. They tore down the old bridge because, well it was sketchy, but because it wasn’t ADA compliant. Then they build this new one, can’t afford(?) to build one at Harold or Reedway, and yet can’t maintain it and so now anyone who can’t do stairs, or can’t carry their bike up/down stairs (and it’s kind of scary to come down the stairs in the dark rain shouldering your bike) are screwed — there’s no where nearby to get from point a to point b.”
And today, reader Hazel said the fact that the elevator is still closed indefinitely is “absurd”.
We reached out to TriMet for an update this afternoon. Communications Coordinator Kenny Macdonald said the elevator is still shut down due to the braking issue. “It appears exceptionally wet weather may have resulted in moisture affecting the elevator brakes in a way that causes the elevator to shut down,” Macdonald said, “While it appears that moisture intrusion is a factor, how it’s happening is still to be determined.”
Macdonald added that, “We don’t yet have an estimated time for the repairs.”
Once elevator technicians determine how the moisture is reaching the braking mechanism TriMet will be provide an opening date.
Stay tuned. And good luck with your detours.