Splendid Cycles Big Sale

First look at freshly paved Bethany Creek Trail

Posted by on August 10th, 2020 at 12:00 pm

Despite it not being officially open yet, these local kids found their way onto the path and were having a great time pedaling and picking blackberries.
(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

New path in yellow. Rock Creek Trail in violet.

A relatively short but important link in Washington County’s regional path system has been paved.

Tualatin Hills Parks and Recreation Department has invested $1.1 million in the Bethany Creek Trail which runs from Springville Road to the existing Rock Creek Trail/Bethany Terrace Trail. The land is owned by Bonneville Power Administration and had been an unpaved, informal route for years. The length of the new path is just under one-half mile and the width is 10 feet wide with a gravel shoulder on each side.


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When I stumbled on the new path yesterday, several groups of kids from adjacent neighborhoods had already discovered it and were making great use of this safe, smooth and carfree bikeway. Paths in this area are so valuable because Washington County has not done a good job building safe on-street bike facilities amid rapid growth in housing. Now more people in the many new developments along Springville and Kaiser roads can connect to existing paths for fun, fitness, and reaching jobs and other destinations.

Northern end of the new path at Springville Road.

Looking south at new path from Springville Road.

On that note, THPRD plans to build a crossing treatment at the northern end of this path so people can get across Springville Road. The project isn’t complete yet and is expected to be done by October. More info on project website.

We can’t build paths like this fast enough. More please!

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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Lynnemark smithVinceDavid HampstenStephen Keller Recent comment authors
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Ben
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Ben

It’s a start… What we really need is Washington county to start taking the safety of ALL road users seriously, and provide them with a space that is safe for ALL ages, while also encouraging the use of alternative modes of travel. In its current state, the county is only concerned with moving cars as fast as possible, with cyclists, pedestrians, and safety in general being left as an afterthought. I am absolutely appalled about how the county has handled expansion, and continues to travel in the opposite direction in terms of safety and mobility other municipalities have gone.

 
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Perhaps I’m in the minority here, but I actually feel safer going for runs in Washington County than I do in Portland. Pretty much all major roads have sidewalks (in sharp contrast to Southwest Portland in particular where most don’t), the off-street trail system is quite good, and drivers seem more attentive there than they do in Portland. Now biking is another story; Washington County really does need to step up their bike infrastructure game, but even still I feel significantly safer cycling in Washington County (including on roads like Walker) than in Southwest Portland.

Ben
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Ben

You are definitely not an outlier when it comes to this. Washington county has a great system of trails, mainly thanks to THPRD and the numerous power line corridors in the area. I have been hassling WashCoRoads to get them to design their infrastructure with cyclists in mind. Maybe others should start doing the same.

Lynne
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Lynne

If you qualify that to “Walker Road WEST of Hwy 217” I’ll agree. EAST of Hwy 217 is awful, for both walking and cycling.

Juston D Manville
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Juston D Manville

I 100% disagree you your assessment, Washinton County is way better for cyclists then Portland / Multnomah County. And… Moving traffic on rural roads is ok.

Jon
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Jon

I’m willing to bet good money that Washington County is not going to allow their multi-use paths become homeless campsites like Portland and Multnomah County does. How do other cities and counties keep their non-motorized infrastructure open to non-motorized users? Every path I ride in Washington County is clear and safe.

Chris I
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Chris I

By hassling campers and forcing them to move to other areas. Some municipalities literally just drive people out to the county line and dump them.

David Hampsten
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David Hampsten

Columbia SC, the state capital, is infamous for doing precisely that, forcible kidnappings of the homeless. And unfortunately, you rarely see any homeless there (if they are there, they hide.)

mark smith
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mark smith

Sounds like a good deal. Except for the few hard core types, nobody wants rampant wild camping with trash and poo. Nobody. That’s the basic job of the police. If you don’t like that as a camper, either get better at it or do it in an invisible way.

rick
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rick

On the side of that coin, some of their paths are very difficult to access on a cargo bike or tandem. Check Fanno Creek Trail at SW 90th Ave which is exactly where the Oregon Electric Trolley once operated so it isn’t like the topography is a tricky spot.

Toby Keith
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Toby Keith

That’s why it’s pointless to spend another cent on any kind of MUP in the Portland metro area. Lawlessness is tolerated and seemingly even encouraged. Open air bike chop shops, drug use, and lots more going on out there and there doesn’t seem to be anyone in our “leadership” that wants to do anything about it.

 
Guest
 

I’d agree with this in Portland proper, but even the urban areas of Washington County have done quite a nice job of keeping the paths in good shape and I’d love to see more trails there like the one in this article. I’ve run and cycled on trails there many times and not once have I had a shady encounter. It seems to just be a Portland problem, not a metro area problem. Were something like the Westside Trail in Portland proper I doubt it would be as nice as it is now.

Alan 1.0
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Alan 1.0

<3 those precocious kids!

GlowBoy
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GlowBoy

Nice, but that section of trail already existed as handpicked dirt and gravel. What I’m really looking forward to is extending it the next 3/4 mile or so north to Old Germantown. Now THAT will be a great safety improvement, and allow people riding between the Westside and Portland to avoid some dicey riding on Kaiser and (regular) Germantown.

John D.
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John D.

Overall, I think that THPRD and Washington County should be applauded for the new trail segments that have been constructed post-2008… BUT, the system still falls short in many significant ways. There are still critical gaps in the trail segments where they cross the largest streets and highways (where cars are driving faster, and vulnerable road users need more protection). Crossings at 26, Cornell, TV Hwy, Farmington, Scholls Ferry, 217 and Allen all need major improvements, just to name a few.

Additionally, despite what most maps show as bike friendly trails, some of the older trail segments are anything but. Some of them even lack ADA accessibility. For example, the Waterhouse trail south of West Union to Jocelyn is made up of narrow sidewalk pavers, and lacks curb-cuts at three of the streets that cross it.

I hope that they will be able to address these gaps in the overall network in addition to the new segments they are adding near new development. It’s unfortunate that things are looking so dire for THPRD financially. While most of their maintenance staff haven’t been let go, I’ve heard from friends they’ve laid off close to 90% of their staff (mostly people who work at the various Rec Centers and Pools), so I’m not holding my breath on new capital projects except for those directly funded by SDC.

Not all the responsibility lies with THPRD however. I think that Washington County and Beaverton really need to step up their game for on street bike facilities as well.

bikeninja
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bikeninja

I think people don’t realize how quickly Washington County is changing. The old guard is on the way out and a more future oriented cadre is moving in. The chair of the county commisioners came from Metro, and the incoming Washington County Executive is from Boulder Colorado. THPRD is a Gem if they can get through Covid. The water and wastewater utility ,CWS ,that manages the sewers and treatment plants plus all the rivers creeks and riparian areas is perhaps the most progressive and highest performing utility of its kind in the U.S.and is poised to be the catalyst for a new generation of creek side trails and infrastructure. Yes, Washington County has been car centric, but it’s future may surprise you.

B. Carfree
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B. Carfree

I know this sounds ungrateful, but didn’t Oregon adopt the AASHTO guidelines as a standard long ago? IIRC, the current guideline calls for 14′ minimum for bike paths, not 10′.

Can 10′ work? In non-pandemic times and with low use, sure. However, why build as though we are going to never get the population out of their cars?

mark smith
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mark smith

If the trail ever gets busy, it’s easy to add on. It’s cheap asphalt.

Stephen Keller
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Stephen Keller

I wish they’d continue it north of Springville along the power-line access and connect it up to Old Germantown Road. It’d be spectacular to be able to get to OGR without having to get on Germantown itself.

Vince
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Vince

Glad for another trail, but what I find odd and a bit disturbing is that WaCo, Beaverton, and other cities have seemingly passed off responsibility for bike transportation to a recreational agency. THPRD’s expertise is not in this area. It shows from the design of this latest trail, from the crossings of major streets that other writers mentioned, to the section of the Fanno Creek trail that is chronically flooded, to sections of that trail that have dangerous drop offs. Additionally, THPRD has spent a lot of money in newly developed areas but seems to be letting older facilities slide into disrepair.
Really, the county should take the lead. Otherwise, it keeps the myth of the bike as a toy alive.