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County project will mean more traffic on Newberry, Skyline (again) this summer

Posted by on July 6th, 2020 at 3:04 pm

(Graphic: Multnomah County)

Remember last summer when Multnomah County closed NW Cornelius Pass Road for a major project and the detour sent thousands of drivers onto popular and usually quiet roads like Newberry?

Unfortunately they weren’t able to finish the project as planned and it’s about to start up again for round two. Fortunately, the County says things might not be as bad this time around.

From July 19th through the end of September, the County plans to close Cornelius Pass Road between Highway 30 and Skyline in order to complete a road safety project. No one rides Cornelius Pass Road because it’s such a busy highway and there are much better options nearby. Unfortunately, all the car and truck drivers need to find options too — which means rural roads in the general area are likely to see extra motorized traffic the closure. (Last year the detoured traffic on Newberry was especially hard to swallow because it came right after it was carfree for many months due to a landslide repair.)

The good news is this project shouldn’t create as many hazards and headaches for bicycle riders as last year.

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For starters, the presence of the pandemic means there are a lot fewer people driving on the pass into Washington County for work every day. The closure is also smaller in scope: Last year it went all the way south to Germantown Road, this year it only goes to Skyline. Also new this year is that the County will “close” the upper section of Logie Trail Road (another popular road between Highway 30 and Skyline) to all but local residents. This is due to safety concerns with the narrow, windy, and deteriorated road. The County says they’ll have “Local Traffic Only” signs and barricades on the upper section, but I’ve been assured that bicycle riders can continue to use Logie Trail Road as normal.

Logie Trail is a wonderful climb and while Newberry might get busy for a while, this could be a great time to (re)discover it!

This project also means that the traffic signal on Highway 30 at Newberry will be turned on again for the duration of the 10 week (or so) project and the intersection of Cornelius Pass and Skyline will become a four-way stop. These temporary changes will make both these intersections safer to cross on a bike.

Keep this project in mind as you ride in the area and be ready to use even more caution and expect more traffic than usual. The project should be done by October. More info on the County’s website.

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

Lighter traffic was making US30 almost bearable, but left turns to string together certain climbs and descents can still be tricky. Shame that the signal at Newberry is only temporary.

Todd Boulanger
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Silly question, but I will ask…has anyone tried to get Multnomah County to study / consider an alternative striping layout for this substandard / outdated arterial? …to better serve pedestrians and cyclists and traffic safety of adjoining landuses?

 
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From what I know it’s already one lane each way with no center turn lane and no extra space to add new lanes. So short of widening the road (which would be hugely expensive considering the terrain it runs through) I don’t see any other possible alternatives.

rick
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rick

Walk / bike improvements are in Multnomah County’s distant plans, but it would be very expensive. There do seem to be Metro / regional ideas for an addition of a trail alongside the existing railroad tracks that go from North Plains to Highway 30 through the tunnel.

rick
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rick

Actually, when people drive a tractor on Cornelius Pass Road between Skyline and Highway 30, I sometimes ride my bicycle in a quick sprint from the convenience store at Skyline/Cornelius Pass and quickly ride in front of that 20 mph tractor on the downhill ride to Highway 30.

Teddy
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Teddy

Wow, taking a tractor up and down Cornelius Pass must be a stressful occurence between the impatient commuters and steep slopes.

Glad you are able to have some fun.

miss_me_with_that
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miss_me_with_that

Last year, I saw quite a lot of detour traffic on Logie Trail on a ride, making it a very uncomfortable climb. It is the first road up before Cornelius Pass for southbound motorists on Hwy 30.