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Work has begun on new section of Marine Drive bike path

Posted by on August 9th, 2019 at 10:26 am

Coming along nicely. This view is looking west at Marine Drive near 185th.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The City of Portland has embarked on a project that will give bicycle riders more separation from auto and truck drivers on Northeast Marine Drive.

Marine Drive straddles the Columbia River, is part of the fabled 40-Mile Loop and is a crucial east-west cycling connection to east Multnomah County and the Gorge. Unfortunately it’s also one of the city’s most dangerous roads. A designated “High Crash Corridor,” the Portland Bureau of Transportation has struggled for many years to reduce crashes, fatalities, and injuries to people who use it. Through Vision Zero and other programs, PBOT has reduced speed limits and installed automated speed cameras in an effort to slow drivers down and help them make better decisions.

The walking and rolling path on Marine Drive has nerve-wracking gaps east of I-205 that force bicycle riders to share this notorious roadway with other road users.

As we reported last year, PBOT has cobbled together about $1.8 million dollars to add better bike lanes (they’ll be buffered from 112nd to 185th), a traffic signal (at 122nd), flashing beacons (where the path crosses the road near 138th and 185th), and a new section of path. Earlier this week I checked out the progress on the new path.

View east as path climbs back up to what will soon be wider, buffered bike lanes on Marine Drive just before 18th.

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View looking west at end of new path segment at 185th.

The new path starts west of 185th. As you can see in our expertly prepared graphic (LOL), PBOT will add one of the new flashing beacons to better connect two existing segments of the path. The new segment will connect back to the main road at 185th. Unfortunately this project won’t close the remaining 0.6 mile gap east of 185th that remains before you get to the path at Interlachen Lane/Blue Lake Park. (Note that 185th is the Portland city limit.)

I look forward to seeing other parts of this project completed soon.

You can learn more about the gaps that remain on Marine Drive (and progress that has been made to close them) between Kelley Point Park and the Sandy River in this excellent presentation (PDF) by 40-Mile Loop advocate Jim Sjulin.

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

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12 Comments
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    Chris I August 9, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    This is great. I work near 185th, and taking that left turn onto Marine Drive is terrible. Closing the gap between 185th and Interlaken will be huge when that eventually happens.

    The gap between I-205 and 122nd is still the biggest issue, though. The traffic counts are so much higher in that section.

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    Todd Boulanger August 9, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    Nice…it will make it more of a restful ride.

    [Though the level of the path may reduce the “Territorial Views” that the top of the dike shoulder area had provided cyclists…when they were not having to scan for rear approaching traffic…]

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    Josh G August 9, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    How about the plans for just west of NE 33rd?

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      Adam Lazenby August 13, 2019 at 8:11 am

      Amen to that!

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    EP August 9, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Hopefully this turns out better than the south side stretch from 122-140. It gets mossy-slick in the winter, and is a pain to use. Funny, page 59 of that linked PDF presentation shows 2 foot+ tall grass growing out of a crack in the middle of the path from the lack of use of that stretch. Having to slow down and then ride down, then back up, with some turns and no views makes that stretch worth skipping.

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      Chris I August 9, 2019 at 3:40 pm

      The lowest section of this trail has been paved for years, but was isolated, so cyclists never used it. I actually run on it quite often, and I’ve never noticed issues with wet moss. We have had a lot of issues with campers, though, and random people dumping truckloads of garbage down there. At one point last year, we came across a group of people unloading an entire box truck full of stuff in broad daylight. I flagged down a Fairview Police cruiser and he drove over and busted them right away. It was pretty great.

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        Todd Boulanger August 9, 2019 at 7:25 pm

        Wow…crazy that folks still dump truck loads of junk in broad daylight in public AND in Oregon!

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          Buzz August 9, 2019 at 9:40 pm

          Not really…and wet moss is prob worse for skinny bike tires / 2-whl vehicles than for foot traffic…

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        Barbara August 12, 2019 at 8:59 am

        As a woman who rides alone I never would in the past nor future ride that section. I never felt safe where out of view long before the issues with the homeless. Getting onto & off of it at 122 & the other end isn’t very safe either with cars turning. I think 185 may be the same in that regard. Just easier on the road where can be seen.
        If drivers were just just forced to drive the speed limit things would be so much better.

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    Stephen J Sanow August 12, 2019 at 1:29 pm

    Is the path open during this work?

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      Chris I August 12, 2019 at 3:47 pm

      There really isn’t much of a path in the section they are working on now. Just stay on Marine Drive in this section, as you did before. Everything to the west is still open.

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    Mark smith August 18, 2019 at 12:09 pm

    The city/state knows this road is highway 84 v2.0. they know people speed and yet, they make it wide and fast. They could drop jersey barriers down the middle and then drop them on the shoulders between bikes and cars. People would slow down. People only slow when there is risk to their life and limb.

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