As one of the final steps in a two-year planning effort for the Oregon Coast Bike Route, the Oregon Department of Transportation just released an important online open house.
The open house consists of a map highlighting 35 “critical needs” projects they’ve identified (with help of your previous feedback) as the highest priority locations for investment and updates. The projects stretch from Astoria to Brookings and are the scariest places to bike along 340-mile stretch. Many of them have very narrow or non-existing space to ride a bike and/or a history of crashes and documented risk factors.
One of the projects proposes a bypass of the Arch Cape Tunnel (which I highlighted as an “ugly” point of my ride on the route in 2013) in the form of a new bike path that would wind through Oswald West State Park.
Changes to make the Yaquina Bay Bridge safer for cycling also made the cut. Among the possible upgrades ODOT proposes include: lower speed limits when new flashing lights are activated, sharrow lane markings; caution signs warning of bicycle riders; and even a possible ferry or shuttle service to avoid riding it altogether.
When it comes to locations where the route goes through busy towns, ODOT lists adding wider bike lanes and narrowing general purpose lanes as possible changes.
The Oregon Coast Bike Route has never had a comprehensive plan backing it up and it’s been decades since it was last updated. With growth in population in cities along the route and the ever-increasing popularity of the route (an estimated 6,000 to 10,000 people use it each year), ODOT says “the time is right” for this plan.
While the plan won’t set aside any funding, and none of the project proposals released in the online open house are binding, the idea is that this process will help refine and prioritize what’s needed and set the stage for future funding opportunities.
To take part in the open house, check out the online map and click the section you’re interested in. A window will open up where you can view the proposals and then leave comments specific to that section.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and email@example.com
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