Splendid Cycles Big Sale

New concept drawings show future bikeway on new Burnside Bridge

Posted by on August 5th, 2020 at 10:34 am

Possible design of new Burnside Bridge.

On Monday Multnomah County gave us our best view yet of what the biking might feel like on the new Burnside Bridge.

As we’ve been reporting, the planning process for the “earthquake ready” bridge is slowly but surely marching along. This week the County released a survey to garner public feedback on the bridge design and how to manage traffic during construction.

Along with the survey they released a video with concept drawings that show how the new bikeway might look alongside various design options.

Here are a few more stills I pulled from the video:

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As you can see, the experience of cycling over the new Burnside Bridge will be much different than it is today. Currently the bridge offers only minimal physical separation from other users via small plastic wands. The new bridge would have a much more substantial buffer. And as it stands today, the bridge has no visual obstructions while the new bridge would block views of downtown and the eastside.

For reference, the County has said the bicycling lane and adjacent sidewalk will both be 8-feet wide.

And here’s how the bridge itself might look:

Timing-wise, this project is still in its environmental review phase and the County plans to release a draft Environmental Impact Statement for public review early next year. If all goes according to plan construction would begin in 2024.

Learn more from The Oregonian, view the new video and take the design survey here.

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

I like it, put the cars behind bars. 😀

Ben G
Guest
Ben G

It seems like the Burnside Bridge has been worked on continuously for the past few years. Now to only replace it? Maybe we will have a nice functioning bike lane by the year 2030, hah. Joking aside, glad bikes and pedestrians are being considered up front. I like the extensions with a gap to auto traffic, as crossing the Tilikum or Broadway feels like the lowest stress to me. Hopefully the streets to get to the new bridge begin feel the same.

dan
Guest
dan

Yeah, it blows, but gotta start sometime, right? I remember thinking it would be forever before the MAX tunnel under the West Hills was completed, now I’m glad we built it when we did

Jason
Guest
Jason

Yeah, no, that’s BS. Who is minding the shop? We should have just rebuilt it in the first place. How much money did tax payers lose here?

J_R
Guest
J_R

Right. No sense lubing your bike chain if you know you need to replace it every couple thousand miles. Why waste all that money on lube?

Jason
Guest
Jason

That’s a straw man, J_R. We just finished a project on that bridge and now they want to rebuild it. In the scale of “bridge lifetime” that was a replaced chain one day and replacing the whole bike the very next day.

Alan Love
Guest
Alan Love

“the very next day” being in 5 years. Bridges need maintenance.

Jason
Guest
Jason

In bridge years, 5 years is a wink.

J_R
Guest
J_R

The bridge is almost 100 years old. The seismic vulnerability has been known for years! The county did a modest seismic upgrade in 2002, but that’s not a permanent solution.

Just how long do you think it will take to conduct the environmental studies, engineering design. and construction? Consider the Sellwood Bridge: it took 9 years to go from the County “considering several options” (2007) to opening the new bridge (2016). The Burnside Bridge, a lift-span bridge, is more complicated. Maybe you can do it more quickly?

Are you going to forego maintenance or improvements that benefit bicyclists and pedestrians until then?

Jason
Guest
Jason

So, what I am hearing from you, and correct me if I misread, the bridge is at the end of it’s life and planners knew this as far back as 2002. If the planners had begun the 9 year process at that time to update the bridge, we would have had a new bridge 9 years ago.

As I said before, in the comment you originally replied to, we should have just rebuilt it before. You seem to agree in a very peculiar way.

J_R
Guest
J_R

Multnomah County owns several bridges across the Willamette River. There’s a continuous process of maintaining, repairing and upgrading bridges. The county has to prioritize.

The Sellwood Bridge had a rating of 2 on a scale of 0 to 100. The sidewalk was 30 inches wide and had light standards in it! Replacing the Sellwood Bridge, at a cost of over $300 million, took priority beginning in about 2000.

How many projects can you undertake simultaneously and how much money can you accumulate? There’s a special registration fee for your auto if you live in Multnomah County. Do you think it was easy to get that adopted?

Your “should have been done already” attitude reflects an inadequate appreciation of the complexity of implementing major public works projects.

Jason
Guest
Jason

You should have led with the intelligent statement instead of straw manning me.

J_R
Guest
J_R

I was going for an analogy using bicycles, bicycle maintenance and bicycle components that I thought people on this forum would relate to and understand. Maybe you should have learned a bit more about implementation of public works projects before hurling accusations about wasting money.

Jason
Guest
Jason

The only qualification I need to be entitled to “hurl accusations about wasting money” is to be a tax payer in the municipality. I am absolutely within my rights to question how the money gets spent. We still live in a Democracy, after all.

My point is, you would have made a better impression if you had spoken intelligently on the matter versus straw manning me with your flimsy parable.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I’m glad we have government organizations that take bridge maintenance seriously.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-35W_Mississippi_River_bridge

Jason
Guest
Jason

I’m not saying we should neglect the bridge. I hope you are not suggesting that I am.

What I am saying is that, in 2015 MultCo identified the need to address the condition of this bridge. They spent three years repairing the bridge. Then, one year later, they announce they will build a new bridge. If they were just going to tear it down anyway, it seems like a waste of money to not have just done that in the first place.

It was costly, not as costly as the new bridge will be, but still $22 million. If that’s pocket change for ya’ll, I’ll have some of that. And it was a constant annoyance for anyone who wanted to use it. Cyclist, pedestrian and motorist alike. The noise alone when crossing the bridge has probably reduced my hearing. Not to mention all the chaos that the construction caused. And now we get to look forward to all of that all over again, but ten times more intense – because there will presumably be no access during the construction.

https://multco.us/bridges/burnside-bridge-maintenance-project

J_R
Guest
J_R

Jason: You need to look up straw man argument, parable, and analogy.

Jason
Guest
Jason

I concede that I was conflating parable and analogy, but I will give no more ground.

And here is why; I said, “we should have just rebuilt the bridge in the first place”. To which you said, “No sense lubing your bike chain if you know you need to replace it every couple thousand miles.”

I did not say that we should not maintain the bridge. Rather, I said, if we knew we needed a new bridge, we should have just built a new bridge.

You therefore straw manned me. As the argument I was making was not equivalent to the argument you alleged that I made. Maybe it was an honest mistake, you are welcome to step forward and say you misunderstood what I said.

was carless
Guest
was carless

You must be new to Portland and bridge maintenance 101. Multnomah County continually does maintenance, inspections and repairs on ALL of the bridges across the river. This includes repainting – they have repainted all of the bridges across the Willamette twice over the past 20 years alone (they just finishes repainting the Ross Island). They are not going to stop doing maintenance even if they are planning on replacing the bridge as 1) you won’t know for sure you can even replace the bridge until you get a funding package approved by the voters, 2) you don’t want the bridge to fall in the water as construction for a bridge replacement will take well over 5 years to complete.

2002 was 18 years ago, of course they had to continue doing maintenance on the bridge. Since they haven’t replaced the bridge, they needed to continue to do maintenance, otherwise the lift mechanism would have failed somewhere around 2008.

Jason
Guest
Jason

The maintenance I speak of was from 2016.. are you even reading what you are replying to? 2002…2008?!!

D2
Guest
D2

The latest project on the Burnside bridge was unfortunately a fix to an earlier project. The bridge decking was failing prematurely after installation. I can only imagine liquidated damages were brought against the contractor and/or designer to recoup some of the costs.

https://multco.us/bridges/morrison-bridge-lift-span-deck

Jason
Guest
Jason

Wrong bridge.

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

I like the cable stay construction. It would be nice if the drawbridge would be like the Morrison bridge though while keeping the bike and ped lanes still behind the barriers.

Champs
Guest
Champs

Images are conceptual designs only and not final

Let’s pray they’re not even close.

Consider the existing bridge. The current design’s open deck doesn’t impede views or look like it’s designed as the gantry for building a cruise ship, and the bascule design fits with many other bridges in PNW port cities. What’s the rationale for hulking towers in the middle of the Willamette?

Pressed to choose between the two concepts, it’s the Hawthorne-ish through truss. Hard pass on the that cable-stayed mullet.

maccoinnich
Subscriber

The towers are required if it’s a vertical lift bridge. The seismic design for a bascule bridge would be really complicated, with massive counterweights and bridge leaves that are unrestrained. It does look like it can be done though and the option for a bascule bridge still appears to be on the table.

Champs
Guest
Champs

The seismic design for a bascule bridge would be really complicated

This is why I mentioned that it’s a common design for the region. There are more than a couple of doomed bridges if we don’t have the bandwidth to implement it.

Mark
Guest
Mark

Why can’t it be similar (and open) like the Morrison Bridge?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

The bascule lift design is harder to seismically harden. This approach is more intrusive visually, but it is safer.

qqq
Guest
qqq

I wish they’d released some renderings showing the designs from eye-level of bridge users (walking, biking, and driving). The views from “on” the bridge are all from eye-levels hovering several feet above where anyone will ever experience it, with the last one also hovering several feet out over the water.

Those viewpoints make it feel much more open and spacious than I believe it will actually feel. As one example, the solid guardrails will block views far more from actual eye level than they appear to in the rendering’s hovering eye-levels.

The video doesn’t have any views taken from actual eye level, either. It discusses (starting at 2:55) how the bridge structure will impact views from the bridge, but again illustrates that with eye-levels nobody will ever experience. Ironically, when it discusses the view of the “iconic Portland sign” it illustrates that view from a position hovering above the eastbound lane looking backwards, instead of from a a real viewpoint.

The video seems well done overall, but given that people are basing decisions on a $$$$$ project, the project should be giving people views of it the way it will actually be experienced. Same goes for views from the east and west banks–show some from eye level from actual positions people will see it from.

Terry D-M
Guest
Terry D-M

Hopefully PBOT takes the opportunity while the Bridge is under construction to repave and road diet East Burnside to and through Montavilla. That way when it reopens the new bridge will have a high end commuter protected Bikeway feeding into it.

Allan Rudwick
Subscriber

We need to have good ‘ride left’ signage if we are going to replicate the Tillikum bike path. That way passing bikes can temporarily share the pedestrian space. Otherwise we’ll have the same mess we have down south

Johnny Bye Carter
Subscriber
Johnny Bye Carter

Another bridge to cross off my list of routes I’m able to take with friends that fear heights visible through short railings, or railings so short you can fall over them from a bike. And forget about the person who already fears bridges.

At least it’s only a short walk across. We’ve still got the Morrison and Sellwood to ride over.

I love riding over the Tilikum, Hawthorne, Steel, and Broadway but there are a lot of people who get freaked out by their various designs.

We should be able to make infrastructure appealing to the eye and have it feel safe to all users.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

The design is not chosen, so don’t take the visuals above as anything that will resemble the final barrier.

I don’t know if Portland is the right city to live in if one is afraid of bridges. Not sure how we can accommodate people with a fear of bridges. I think therapy would be a good idea.

qqq
Guest
qqq

You’re right the railings are important for how safe people feel. The renderings would be a lot more helpful if they were done from realistic eye levels (per my comment above) because then you could see how they would really look to a user.

Also, the renderings aren’t accurate. You can scale (proportionally) off the black line across the sidewalk/path on the fourth rendering from the top above. The text says the bike lane and sidewalk are each 8′ wide, but the sidewalk and bike lane are drawn different widths. If the sidewalk is 8′, then the bike lane is more than 9′, but the guardrail on the bike lane side is crazily low at less than 2′ high. So your comments about low railings are exactly right based on the renderings. Luckily I’m sure Chris below is right–the renderings are conceptual, so don’t reflect the railing design except by chance.

was carless
Guest
was carless

Proving time and time again that the United States has teh absolute worst bridge designers.
These are are awful designs. Overly busy and confusing. Apparently someone wants a tall “iconic” bridge element without understanding what makes a bridge iconic. These designs are reminiscent of the damn London Wedding Cake Bridge.

I would prefer a nice clean, flat wide lift bridge with well thought out and crafted details on the bridge.

qqq
Guest
qqq

Do you have a couple examples of ones you like?

Peter W
Guest
Peter W

They all seem so bulky. Like something out of a dystopian Blade Runner future. Maybe that’s just the rendering though.

Slabtownie
Guest
Slabtownie

The truss gets my vote

Lenny
Guest
Lenny

The real question, will this path be covered in broken glass to match the old bridge?