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Work begins on new Oregon Coast Bike Route plan, map update


It’s a world famous route that deserves more attention and resources.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Oregon Department of Transportation is about to launch a new planning effort that will be the first significant update to the Oregon Coast Bike Route in over ten years.

According to an ODOT spokesperson, the official map will also get an update for the first time since 2010.

An iconic, 370-mile route known by bike tourers worldwide, Oregon’s coastal bikeway is a very mixed bag. It’s a world famous route that should be world class. As I detailed after riding it in 2013, there are sections that warm your heart — and others that make it skip a beat.

After hearing a rumor about a major update, I contacted ODOT spokesman Lou Torres. Torres confirmed the news and said the agency has hired consultant firm CH2M to do the work.

Torres said the route has not kept up with current design standards or with demand from its many admirers in Oregon and beyond.

“With the changes in bicycle infrastructure standards, and the growth of bike tourism destinations and travel options both nationally and along U.S. 101, the time was right to closely examine and identify opportunities to increase safety, accessibility and enjoyment for both local community members and travelers on the Oregon Coast Bike Route,” he shared via email this morning.

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The idea is to develop a plan that identifies needs and potential fixes to trouble spots. At this point there isn’t money for any new infrastructure and the plan won’t come up with detailed conceptual designs.

Here’s what you can expect this update process to focus on:

— Identifying high priority improvement locations
— Defining the route — where does it leave U.S. 101
— Defining project and supportive program investments, and
— Determining how ODOT and local governments will make future investments in the route.

To get feedback from riders and other interested parties, ODOT will hold a series of “sounding board” meetings beginning this April or May. Since they’ll be held on the Coast, all materials will be made available online and people will be able to offer feedback electronically.

Torres says there will also be a survey targeted specifically at people who have ridden multi-day trips on the route.

CH2M will spend about 2-3 years on the project with a deliverable of a new Oregon Coast Bike Route Plan and an update to the map of the route. Once completed, the plan will be adopted by the Oregon Transportation Commission.

If you’ve ever ridden the Coast Route, or ever dreamed of doing it, this is very welcome news! We’ll watch this project closely so stay tuned for a link to the new project website and other updates.

UPDATE, 3/11: ODOT has just released a survey as part of this project. If you’ve ridden the coast — or have wanted to but are too afraid — please take the survey!

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

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