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ODOT identifies 35 ‘critical need’ locations on Oregon Coast Bike Route

Posted by on March 4th, 2020 at 1:04 pm

ODOT says a bypass around the dreaded Arch Cape Tunnel is a possibility. Let them know how much you’d like that!
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

All the “critical needs” projects on the map.

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.

Potential solutions for Arch Cape tunnel.


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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.

Road diet through Reedsport is on the table.

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 jonathan@bikeportland.org
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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. 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

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Todd Boulanger
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Todd Boulanger

Wow – this is great news…long time in coming! [I remember my first time struggling as a long distance bike tourer along the Oregon Coast in 1990…after the nice pleasant Washington State section.]

As part of this planning process – I would strongly recommend everyone to comment that – until these fixes are complete that ODoT + Oregon’s tourism marketing agencies only recommend that RVers drive northbound along this section…to give more room for touring cyclists going predominantly southbound …it will be a more relaxing ride for all PLUS a better view for the RV driver too!

I wear many hats
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I wear many hats

Couldn’t a raised sidewalk in the tunnel be constructed for far cheaper than another asphalt path? I hate to see us pave over our remaining green spaces if other cheaper and safe solutions are to be had.

B. Carfree
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B. Carfree

It’s hard to get excited about anything ODOT handles. The representative they sent to Eugene to discuss this insulted everyone in the room and then noted that riding is stupid unless one drives to a trailhead for some off-roading.

Goodness, look at their depiction of existing conditions. Granted they are proposing to change this, but they show a 13′ travel lane with a motorist and cyclist side-by-side. The motorist is violating the law (no bike lane and speed limit over 35 mph means he must give the cyclist room to fall over when passing). The cyclist is also being depicted inviting this illegally close pass by riding in the gutter. It’s hard to think that anyone at ODOT knows enough about cycling and the law to actually design, put out for bids, and get built anything that is state of the art, or even acceptable.

one
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Hey Friends. I’ve brought my kids on the Banks Vernonia, and they’ve ridden to Oxbow (Mostly on the Springwater) and they’ve ridden on trails in Bend and on trails at the state park near Astoria.

What is the SAFEST (Preferably separated) stretch on the WA or OR coast? How far is this safer stretch?

PATRICK
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PATRICK

Years ago I rode a section of this “bike route” and found it so frightening that I never attempted it again. The highway is full of RVs driven by people who have no concept of where their vehicle’s right-side is. Close passes on narrow shoulders are common and traffic volume is HIGH. Also as a side note the second most dangerous driver I encountered were “young adults on holiday:” absolutely no consideration to safety for any inconvenience of slowing down.

Charles Ross
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Charles Ross

I’ve cycled the coast three times. Re: the two problem bridges, the Yaquina and the Bay bridge leading into North Bend. The solution to the danger and stress is easy: walk your bike. There’s really no need to spend 6 figures building extensive detours
The most dangerous element of riding on the coast route is the sun. On a bright, sunny day cars are moving in and out of shadows, drivers are wearing sunglasses. Bicyclists are invisible to the driver under those conditions. You will be under their wheels as they are realizing you are there!
What helps? Light your bike up! I run three rear lights on my bike when I’m on tour. One of the best complements I’ve gotten from a driver was that he saw me up ahead of him and he thought I was a police car with the variable blinking lights.

David Cary
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David Cary

Until these dangerous parts of the “Oregon Coast Bike Route” are satisfactorily addressed, I think it is immoral for the State to in any way promote this route to local and out-of-state visitors. It makes Oregon look bad and exposes innocent people to dangerous biking conditions. How are they to know we are promoting a route that people die on every year? Surely we can do better!

mark smith
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mark smith

Love the photo of the “van lifer” who is practically crowding the bike into the curb. It cracks me up people can’t figure out to cross the yellow to give slower users space. Hey, I am in a car….I can be a jerk!

mark miller
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mark miller

multi day bike ride = tourist dollars. people want a meal and shower along the way and its green tourism. invest a few dollars on asphalt bikeway sideage and it will pay dividends.