‘This is outrageous!’: Oregon City commissioners oppose carfree bridge plans

The historic Arch Bridge is the only way to bike between Oregon City and West Linn.

“It’s not what plan is the best, it’s which one sucks the least… It’s absolutely outrageous.”
— Rocky Smith, Oregon City Commissioner

A carfree Willamette River bridge project in its early planning stages is already getting sharp rebukes from a key group of stakeholders.

As we shared back in January, the Oregon Department of Transportation wants to build a new biking and walking link between downtown Oregon City and West Linn. Given the myriad new tourism, transportation, and real estate developments happening on both sides of the Willamette in the area, providing a high-quality bridge crossing for non-drivers is a high priority for the region. Currently the only way to get across the river without a car is the historic Arch Bridge, which has narrow sidewalks and no dedicated cycling space.

Members of the Oregon City Commission however, are not having it. At a work session on February 9th, they eviscerated ODOT and made it clear they don’t support a new bridge.

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Oregon City Commissioners (L to R): Rocky Smith, Rachel Lyles Smith, Denyse McGriff, Frank O’Donnell.

After watching a presentation from an ODOT consultant who went over several potential alignment options (above), Commissioner Rocky Smith said, “The fact that ODOT basically sold you out by having you come in here and present to us with no representative from ODOT is telling because they know it’s not what plan is the best, it’s which one sucks the least.”

(ODOT consultant slides)

Smith feels a new bridge isn’t needed. He thinks room should be found for bikers and walkers on the existing I-205 Abernethy Bridge or the Arch Bridge. “[ODOT has] spent so much money on plans for these bridges and never thought about this problem,” Smith said in frustration. He’s also against a new bridge because of how it would “block” existing views of the Willamette Falls or the Arch Bridge.

“You’re going to be able to drive across this historic bridge that the state spent millions of dollars on, and you’re going to look, and guess what, you won’t see the falls. This is outrageous. I mean it’s absolutely outrageous,” Smith said, growing more heated with each word. “The last thing that I wanted to see was us closing the [Arch] bridge*, but the truth is that makes the most sense. That’s how ridiculous all these other concepts are. I have no way to support any of them. I’m just flabbergasted at the stupidity of ODOT.” (*Based on previous feedback from the commission, ODOT has already ruled out making the Arch Bridge carfree.)

Smith said he’d rather see bikers and walkers routed onto a path on the I-205 freeway bridge; but that’s an idea ODOT discarded in a 2016 study. (According to the ODOT consultant: “The assessment determined that suspending or cantilevering a path from the Abernethy Bridge is more expensive than a stand-alone structure and would result in a sub-optimal user experience due to the proximity of fast traffic, noise, and air concerns.”)

Commissioner Frank O’Donnell was also very critical of the project and ODOT. He doesn’t think a bridge is necessary because there’s no demand. “What is the existing problem? Or the future problem we’re trying to solve? What are the studies on our foot traffic? What’s our bicycle traffic?… You don’t see them.”

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Two commissioners think this path on the I-205 Glenn Jackson Bridge is a reasonable cycling and walking facility that should be replicated between Oregon City and West Linn.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

O’Donnell says biking and walking work great on the I-205 Glenn Jackson Bridge over the Columbia River, so he feels the same should be done on the Abernethy. “Are you telling me we can’t do something like that?… It makes no sense to me, with my engineering background, to build a new structure… when you can incorporate a walkway or bikeway in the changes in the Abernathy Bridge.”

O’Donnell said he doesn’t support any of the alignment options currently on the table. And he went further in sharing his distaste for how ODOT has carried out the process thus far. “I think we’re gonna eventually find ourselves in a lawsuit with local communities suing ODOT and suing the State of Oregon because the way they conduct business.”

Commissioner Denyse McGriff also said ODOT should take another look at the I-205/Abernethy Bridge. Speaking to O’Donnell’s comparison to the Glenn Jackson Bridge, McGriff said, “I have not walked all of it myself but I’ve walked part of it. And yeah, it’s a little bit noisy, but that may work… there’s pedestrians and bicyclists on both sides.”

“Pretty much most of us don’t believe there’s a need for a new bridge and I’m really not sure why we’re here tonight.”
— Rocky Smith, commissioner

“We must have a plan to get in line for funding.”
— Rian Windsheimer, ODOT

These commissioners might not be aware of the conditions on the Glenn Jackson Bridge. Contrary to McGriff’s contention, it does not have a path on both sides (perhaps she is confusing it with the I-5 Bridge). The I-205 bridge over the Columbia is horrible for anyone outside of a car. It’s a narrow strip about nine-feet wide for two directions of traffic sandwiched (with no buffer) between many lanes of loud, fast-moving traffic. It can be a harrowing experience to cross, even for courageous and experienced riders. To support another bridge with this design shows an extreme lack of perspective and is disrespectful of people who walk and use bicycles.

ODOT’s consultant did his best to offer more information and explain why the Abernethy and Arch Bridges are not good options.

ODOT slide shown to make the case that future demand will warrant a new bike/walk bridge.

Then yesterday, ODOT began the damage control effort by sending several staff members to the March commission meeting. ODOT Region 1 Director Rian Windsheimer shared a presentation trying to answer the commission’s questions from last month. Commissioner Smith was not impressed.

“There was nothing new here, there’s nothing that we don’t know. It’s just that you watched the meeting last month and realized ‘Wow, we don’t have the support on this and clearly we must be not educating them.’ … pretty much most of us don’t believe there’s a need for a new bridge and I’m really not sure why we’re here tonight.”

At Wednesday’s meeting Smith said he feels sharrows on the existing Arch Bridge should suffice for bike access. “Maybe we already have the solution. And yet we spent all this money and meetings talking about a new solution. The bridge is already there, that’s perfectly acceptable.” He then claimed the sharrows been removed, and after reading an article about them on BikePortland, he questioned why. (The sharrows are still there, they are just worn off and very easy to miss, which sort of makes the point that they are useless.)

While commissioners Smith and O’Donnell continued to push for using the Arch Bridge and I-205 Bridge, ODOT and their consultant pointed out why they aren’t on the table.

ODOT and other regional partners (Clackamas County and Metro) know that in order to be positioned for the future, a new carfree crossing is imperative. They want to get the bridge planned and designed to get in line for potential federal funding and they say it’s a key piece of the millions of dollars being pumped into the area in an exciting mix of upcoming developments. There’s the Willamette Falls Legacy Project, the West Linn Waterfront Project, and new bike paths coming to Willamette Falls Drive and Highway 43 in West Linn.

“We must have a plan to get in line for funding,” ODOT’s Windsheimer said, “Given the additional destinations coming that will generate more demand. If we wait until they are built and demand is visible there may be fewer options available.”

Then ODOT finally heard some support. Oregon City Commissioner Rachel Lyles Smith (who wasn’t in attendance at the last meeting), said, “I do think it would be an amenity for Oregon City.”

And Oregon City’s City Manager Tony Konkol came in to smooth the rifts and share major support for a new bridge because of its potential economic impact. “Having a Tilikum Bridge-type connection — which in and of itself is a tourism draw — that then reduces trips… is a wonderful opportunity to think long term about what this could do for both communities, as well as connecting a regional bike-ped system.”

West Linn City Councilor Mary Baumgardner concurred. “I’m very excited about multimodal transportation myself. I think that it’s an excellent vision,” she said.

After hearing more support for the bridge, commissioners O’Donnell and Smith began to sound a bit more open to compromise. We’ll get to see if their position change as the process wears on.

Stay tuned for an online open house to view alignment options which is slated to launch on March 29th. Learn more on ODOT’s official project website.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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Peter Goodkin
Peter Goodkin
1 year ago

How about reconsidering the OGLO (Oak Grove Lake Oswego) bridge option now that LO has new mayor and counselors?

eawriste
eawriste
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Goodkin

And the Willamette trolly bike path?

Tad
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Goodkin

Absolutely, positively. As someone who lives in Oak Grove and has kid activities in LO & West Linn constantly, I went to a number of the meetings on the OGLO bridge and was profoundly upset when the prior LO government shot this out of the sky for no great reason. I’d hope that with the clear and present need for more active transportation options, that LO would hopefully reconsider. At least they were never as brazenly let-them-eat-sharrows as this outburst from OC.

Chris I
Chris I
1 year ago

Wait until they learn about the car-free elevator in Oregon City. They are going to be pissed!

Jason
Jason
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris I

Not to mention the car free bathrooms.

D2
D2
1 year ago

O’Donnell says biking and walking work great on the I-205 Glenn Jackson Bridge over the Columbia River

Okay, challenge time Mr. O’Donnell. Live stream yourself and your reaction walking that bridge. I’ll wait.

eawriste
eawriste
1 year ago
Reply to  D2

Earlier in the day: Those kids look like they’re having fun honey. We should get the bikes out of the garage when we get home!

Champs
Champs
1 year ago
Reply to  D2

To be fair, I probably needed a couple trips to recognize the issue. One’s initial thoughts are about the view, and then how it manages to be uphill into a headwind both ways.

Julian Dunn
1 year ago

I don’t understand the issue. None of the commissioners seem to have offered any substantive facts to justify their vehement objections, other than a bunch of personal opinions that seem grounded in “we don’t like any transportation mode other than cars”. Happy to hear them out if they can land an actual argument but right now this is in “ok, boomer” territory for me.

Tad
1 year ago

I’d imagine though that they have kids or grandkids though. It wouldn’t take much more than “let’s take your young kids/grandkids for a little bike ride across the Arch Bridge to go have lunch across the river” to see how profoundly dangerous that whole stretch is. It’s terrifying.

I bike my youngest daughter to preschool in West Linn on nice days. Because I’ve got a bike trailer, I can’t use the narrow sidewalk on the arch bridge (not enough clearance around the arch supports) so I HAVE to ride in the sharrows. Taking the lane while biking a trailer uphill with a 4×4 breathing down your neck, and then roaring around you is absolutely harrowing. Never mind the deathtrap configuration of bike lanes on OR-43 once you get across.

If any of these city councilpeople were to take some people they care about on a quick bike ride over the bridge, it wouldn’t take long to make the point.

Ryan
Ryan
1 year ago
Reply to  Tad

The problem is, even if they got to experience that, most would just respond with “well that’s why I drive, biking is dangerous” and possibly even make a statement implying that biking with kids makes you an irresponsible parent.

Tad Reeves
1 year ago
Reply to  Ryan

I won’t disagree there, as I’ve definitely been thusly accused.

Chris I
Chris I
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Dunn

In short: change bad.

Change that doesn’t benefit them personally: Extra bad.

CaptainKarma
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Dunn

It seems ageism or generationism is the last -ism allowed here. I’ll be much more likely to be involved in a productive way when I don’t expect myself or others to be categorized in an irrelevant, condescending way, regardless of class, race, generation, skin-tone, blah, blah, blah.

John Weemhoff
John Weemhoff
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Dunn

Unless you’re a marathon bike rider you don’t have energy to Bike 2 miles you don’t have any energy to walk 2 miles across the river. Most people look at a bridge across forever and say I can’t do that because I’m a couch potato. Only very athletic people even attempt such a thing which is a minority of the population so why should we have to pay for the athletic people’s gym?

Caleb
Caleb
1 year ago
Reply to  John Weemhoff

You’re out of touch with what effort cycling requires if you really believe that, John. Today I sold a bicycle to an overweight (5′ 2″, I’d guess around 300 lbs) woman in her late 40s or 50s who sought a bicycle she would use for a two-mile-each-way ride. Riding two miles does not require anyone to be very athletic.

Murf
Murf
1 year ago
Reply to  John Weemhoff

That’s what I see.. a minority of athletes and most of the time they are on the streets cause the bike paths are covered with homeless tents on or next to the pathways making the pathways unsafe to use ..

Chris Smith
Chris Smith
1 year ago

Commissioner McGriff is a former employee of PDC and a former board member of 1000 Friends of Oregon. I would have hoped for a more enlightened perspective.

Roberta
Roberta
1 year ago
Reply to  Chris Smith

1000 Friends of Oregon aren’t as friendly as they make themselves out to be. They are the standing guard to maintaining the existing status quo. Nobody on their board wants to admit the fundamental issues with Oregon Land Use Laws is based on racism and redlining. Maybe we can all stop quoting them until they get their talking points aligned and actually hire changemakers.

1000 Friends tend to cow tow to whatever the farmers says, all the board members are farmers. Their urban changemakers are non-existent, with a mostly white board. Their stranglehold on Oregon LU planning is suffocating with political insiders. No one of color at the helm who is concerned about race and urban issues. Most Oregonians don’t see Oregon as urban so these urban areas have always been neglected from a statewide policy perspective, which is what 1000 Friends is, statewide policy maker. Their last decade of policy is around protecting farmland. Friend’s are more concerned about protecting their farm land then protecting people.

Michael
Michael
1 year ago

I’ll let you guess which person on the council is married to a cyclist.

cmh89
cmh89
1 year ago

I love that my part of Portland desperately needs investment from ODOT and they wont give us the time of day and here they are begging OC to accept high quality infrastructure they don’t want.

Charley
Charley
1 year ago
Reply to  cmh89

YES! On the other hand, this is more about making sure that the new development in that area does not physically prevent the possibility of putting in a bike/ped bridge later. There’s currently no funding for such a bridge, but I got the impression that, if there were to be funding, ODOT believes it would come from the Feds.

Personally, I wish they’d repave 82nd, but that’s a different pot of money, and I think it’s good that ODOT is thinking ahead about good bikey development somewhere else.

egberto
egberto
1 year ago
Reply to  cmh89

Oregon City COULD BE a perfect destination for cyclists from the region who want to spend money on breakfast, lunch, etc. BUT NO, Clackamas County is stuck in 1973 and hates cyclists, so I’ll spend my recreation dollars up North in PDX.

eawriste
eawriste
1 year ago

“Drive across this historic bridge that the state spent millions of dollars on, and you’re going to look, and guess what, [crash] you won’t see the falls. [airbag] This is outrageous. [standing in underwear in center of bridge] I mean it’s absolutely outrageous!”

drs
drs
1 year ago
Reply to  eawriste

My sentiments, exactly. The idea that distant views should be preserved for the benefit of people that are looking through the windshield of a car would be laughable if it wasn’t such a terrifying concept.

Robert
Robert
1 year ago

The issue is that ODOT is not offering to pay for the bridge. ODOT expects the local governments to pay for it. ODOT is the only agency with access to the resources needed to build a bridge like this. If I were an Oregon City councilor and ODOT came along and said they would build, own and maintain the bridge, I’d say “great, thank you!” But if ODOT came along and said “we’re planning a really expensive bridge for you to pay for and own/maintain”, I would be offended, regardless of how nice the bridge would be for the bike/ped network.

rick
rick
1 year ago
Reply to  Robert

What if the new bridge brought more business and tourism to Oregon City? Not every Portland suburb has car parking meters in at least part of their downtown. Oregon City also has the only Amtrak station outside of NW Portland and the southwest edge of downtown Vancouver, WA.

JT
JT
1 year ago
Reply to  Robert

Local entities rarely pay more than 10% or thereabouts for local bridges. ODOT and or federal dollars will pay for the vast majority of virtually all major infrastructure projects, local or state.

If you have evidence for your statement, I’d love to see it.

Neil
Neil
1 year ago

Is it possible that ODOT only wants to shut down the bridge so that their planned tolling for the Abernathy on 205 is more profitable?

Riversiderider
Riversiderider
1 year ago
Reply to  Neil

Bingo!

Bethany
Bethany
1 year ago
Reply to  Neil

Why would they build a new bridge for the cars if that was the case?

Chris
Chris
1 year ago

I love that Rocky Smith is concerned that the view of the falls will be blocked from the existing bridge. Aren’t drivers supposed to be looking at the road and not the view 90 degrees to the side?

Matt
Matt
1 year ago

“What’s our bicycle traffic?… You don’t see them.” CLASSIC!

Christopher of Portland
Christopher of Portland
1 year ago

I haven’t measured it but I’m confident in saying that the I-205 bridge car traffic is loud enough to damage your hearing. I highly recommend reusable earplugs to anyone who uses that path. The amount of dust you’ll huff while making the long, loud trip to or from Washington on a dry day is probably also not healthy.

DR
DR
1 year ago

The I-205 bike route is indeed deafening. However, being deathly afraid of heights, I’ll take that over the I-5 bridge any day. My gripe on the route is the amount of trash and debris on it. ODOT and WDOT (or whatever it’s called over there) can’t sweep that path once a month?

Sally Ward
Sally Ward
1 year ago

Leave the bridge as-is. It works, it’s charming. and a bridge over the freeway is an insane notion…goes against everything Oregon stands for.

erick
erick
1 year ago

Why not just attach a foot/path to the current Arch Bridge? The boy scouts could build it in a weekend.

Fred
Fred
1 year ago
Reply to  erick

Sorry, erick, but the article says ODOT priced this option and it’s not viable (though it’s fair to wonder if they can be trusted).

Let's Active
Let's Active
1 year ago
Reply to  Fred

The historic status of the Arch Bridge makes it very difficult to alter it in any way.

John Weemhoff
John Weemhoff
1 year ago

I enjoy biking for leisure. However anyone who is not a marathon biker knows that biking more than two miles in one direction is strenuous. It takes me about 12 minutes per mile to bike. Seriously, unless you’re a marathon Iron Man bike rider used to riding 20 miles a day to work, and there are a few people like that but Very Few per thousand, a bridge that is 2 miles or longer is too long to even bike across for most people who would be tired by the time they get across it. Not to mention walkers! If you’re a normal Walker, at two miles per hour, it’s going to take you an hour of walking to get across a two mile bridge assuming you don’t stop to rest or enjoy the view at all.

Again a 2-mile walking bridge across a river takes an excessive amount of time and it’s going to tire out the average person who is not going to feel like going to work or anything else after an ordeal like that. I would say the average person doesn’t even think about crossing a 2-mile bridge because I know it’s too long to walk for them. So the whole idea of crossing a 2-mile river with a bridge for biking or walking is Ludacris to the average person who can’t even attempt such a thing. And if you think I’m lying, I challenge each one of the commissioners to try walking or biking across the River. The only people this type of bridge would serve is the most athletic 1% of the population. The other 99% of us are couch potatoes and would never even attempt to try such a thing because we don’t have the energy for it so why should we have to pay for someone else exercise gym?

Nic
Nic
1 year ago
Reply to  John Weemhoff

Two words that negate the entire premise of this comment: electric bicycles

rick
rick
1 year ago
Reply to  Nic

Plus, about seventeen years after electric or hybrid automobiles started getting thousands of dollars in discounts from the U.S. government, electric bicycles and electric cargo bikes and electric mountain bikes of a certain price might start getting discounts from the U.S. government if legislation is passed in Congress.

bjorn
bjorn
1 year ago
Reply to  Nic

Yep it takes me between 6 and 10 minutes to cross the bridge depending on which direction I am going, but combined it is the worst 15 minutes of my day if I ride to work. The bridge is awful, and then when you get to the washington side they force you to ride a half mile out of your way to the west if you want to go east because the path forces you off the bridge before you cross the 14 even though virtually all destinations are north of the 14.

Ian
Ian
1 year ago
Reply to  John Weemhoff

The only people this type of bridge would serve is the most athletic 1% of the population. The other 99% of us are couch potatoes and would never even attempt to try such a thing because we don’t have the energy for it so why should we have to pay for someone else exercise gym?

Perhaps that is the problem? The idea that biking 2 miles requires some sort of herculean effort is a very American attitude.

I’m guessing you’ve never visited China…I guess things have changed, but ten years ago, you’d see positively ancient people tooling around on bikes no problem. I’m sure they were biking more than two miles.

Not trying personally attack you, but realistically if find biking more than two miles on a reasonably flat grade to be “too strenuous” you might want to consider getting in better shape.

Fred
Fred
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian

John, you have no idea what you are actually capable of. Get out there and bike to the end of your block and back. Tomorrow try it again, and go a little further. Within a week or two, you’ll be able to ride two miles with no problem. The idea that 99% of Americans can’t bike two miles is just wrong: they can, and you can.

Caleb
Caleb
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian

Perhaps John is so out of shape. Another possibility could be that John is riding a bicycle not fit for the task, whether due to design and/or condition.

The Dude
The Dude
1 year ago
Reply to  John Weemhoff

As someone who is old, not in great shape, and not a marathon biker, I find it preposterous to say that “biking more than two miles in one direction is strenuous.”

I recognize it is a true statement for some, but as a blanket statement it is ludicrous.

qqq
qqq
1 year ago
Reply to  John Weemhoff

In my neighborhood park, I see kids every day riding bikes faster than 12 minutes per mile who are barely old enough to count to 12.

bjorn
bjorn
1 year ago
Reply to  John Weemhoff

Doing the math and 12 minutes per mile on flat ground is pretty slow for bicycling. 5 mph is a speed which most people would describe as jogging not running. It is pretty easy to coast to over 20 mph when going south on the glenn jackson, but even up the hill it doesn’t take an ironman to maintain 5mph.

Lone Heckler
Lone Heckler
1 year ago
Reply to  John Weemhoff

I’m not sure where this two-mile reference comes from. The distance across the Willamette, even at its widest points, is less than a half-mile. Walking two miles from the West Linn side of the bridge puts you almost to the southern edge of Oregon City. I’m not sure what your point is here; help me understand your concern.

BradWagon
1 year ago
Reply to  John Weemhoff

This seems like a very out of touch point of view when it comes to the physical capabilities of the human body and mechanical advantages of the bicycle. In fairness though, it’s a spot on summary of what will be the downfall of humanity, “we can’t do anything, why even try?!”.

Mark Linehan
Mark Linehan
1 year ago

It sounds like the Oregon City Commissioners don’t want bicyclists to visit. I guess their vision of their city is a place that people go through without stopping. With that point of view, they should encourage ODOT to improve I-205 even more so that cars and trucks also have no reason to stop in Oregon City.

Fred
Fred
1 year ago

Last time I rode from OR City to West Linn, climbing up that 5-6% grade on the Arch Bridge at 4mph, that must have been Rocky Smith behind me in his car – honking his horn. I appreciated his encouragement!

eawriste
eawriste
1 year ago
Reply to  Fred

Lotta repressed Tour de France fans/wanna be service drivers out there.

Fred
Fred
1 year ago

Comment of the week. Well said, squareman!

The Dude
The Dude
1 year ago
Reply to  Fred

Seconded!

Evan
Evan
1 year ago

100 years ago there were hardly any cars, so why would we build any roads? If there was no demand for roads before we had a lot of cars, why should we expect there to be a demand for roads from people who would drive if there were roads connecting places like home and work?

eawriste
eawriste
1 year ago
Reply to  Evan

YES

bjorn
bjorn
1 year ago

I would like to invite commissioner O’Donnell to join me for a walk across the I-205 bridge and back. We can discuss the pros and cons of placing a narrow path that is forced to share space with light posts that alternate sides in the middle of an 8 lane freeway after we are back off the bridge since it is really too loud to have a conversation while on the path.

Ed
Ed
1 year ago

Important context is that this bridge is only being discussed because ODOT is planning to spend hundreds of millions widening I-205, replacing the Abernethy Bridge, and tolling. This serves as a performative “mitigation” against the environmental impacts. The obvious clue is that the have money for planning but not for constructing. They won’t even commit to using future toll revenue to pay for bike/ped infrastructure.

BradWagon
1 year ago

The best part of this is when Smith admits that just making the existing Arch bridge closed to cars is the best option! You can almost read it clicking in his brain despite the fact that he blankets it as “closing the bridge”. His perspective is so corrupted that the idea of going somewhere without a car does not even register as a valid state of existence in his mind.

Todd/Boulanger
1 year ago

Vistas of local features are an important marketing / sense of place especially for many who do not get out of their cars much…like the complaints I heard from drivers before the elevated Alaska Viaduct (or Embarcadero freeway) was taken down for surface boulevards.

ODOT has two options to double down on…make the new bridge structure as iconic or invisible (tunnel or perhaps a “see through structure”) as possible.

Todd/Boulanger
1 year ago

Oh, and as someone who has walked and cycled across the (I-5/ I-205 bridge pathways) 1000+ times over 20 years…they suck, especially as a walker due to the time exposure to noise, vehicle exhaust and vehicle aerosol debris mixed with rainwater and bird poop. I-205 is the worse since your are in a ‘noise sandwich’…at least the Interstate Bridge you are only assaulted physically from one side.

Eric in Seattle
Eric in Seattle
1 year ago

Shouldn’t people driving over the bridge be looking at the road?

Eric in Seattle
Eric in Seattle
1 year ago

…and not at the falls

Mark
Mark
1 year ago

If in fact they feel they need for some sort of a new bridge, it’s about time that the bicycle riders should START paying there fair share as riding fees to help maintain roads as well as bike paths! It’s only the fair thing tt do. The cars that cannot use these bridges or paths should NOT keep having to flip the damn bills for these sort of protects. Lets not have the taxpayers keep paying for these projects through the gas taxes and other road taxes that many drivers of cars that are currently paying for of and for these type of projects. Besides, I see very few people walking on these paths and bridges rather,just bike riders. Lets shart charging them there fair share in regards to license bike riders or some other form of tax on them to help keep building these sort of projects.

Malinda
Malinda
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark

There is already a tax on buying bicycles that goes to infrastructure,,, https://www.oregon.gov/dor/programs/businesses/Pages/Bicycle-excise-tax.aspx
But I am sure that if you build a bike/ped bridge and charge a toll those people would willingly pay to have a safe way to get across the river.

eawriste
eawriste
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark

“Besides, I see very few people walking on these paths and bridges rather,just bike riders. Lets shart charging them there fair share in regards to license bike riders or some other form of tax on them to help keep building these sort of projects.”

Why do you think you see very few people walking and biking on these paths and bridges?

Carol
Carol
1 year ago
Reply to  Mark

Then, by all means, let’s have the automobile drivers pay for ‘all’ their real costs for driving a personal car. I think you’ll be astounded at what driving a car really costs everyone. We can start with environmental costs of the gravel mining industry, the concrete and asphalt industry. costs to water quality, costs to fisheries, costs to air quality and accompanying health effects, costs of accidents and their accompanying costs.

Angelo Dolce
Angelo Dolce
1 year ago

It’s always informative if depressing to hear these officials say they need to expand highways and bridges for future automotive demand, but that there is no need for bridges with pedestrian or bicycle access because there is nobody swimming across the river now,

I found both I-5 and I-205 had significant issues (crazy road crossings to get to I-5 bridge and narrow sidewalks, deafening noise and debris for I-205), but these are actually much better than the bridges between PA and NJ (basically no bridges with 24 hour pedestrian access, but I’ve read there is 1 bridge with 24 hour train service).

This sounds like the MD Highway administration. In the 90’s the legislature let them remove bicycle access to a road if it did not disrupt significant bicycle traffic. When the legislators asked them for bicycle traffic measures, the SHA said bicycle traffic was by definition not significant, so they never measured it. About 5 years ago the governor forced them to allow bicycle access to the Hatem bridge, but SHA revoked it after 4 weeks because motorists didn’t like bicycles on a multilane bridge.

eawriste
eawriste
1 year ago
Reply to  Angelo Dolce

There is a person who lives in Jersey and Bromptons with a foldable boat to cross the Hudson on his daily commute. I have considered this many times to avoid the awful conditions of the freeway bridges across the Columbia.

You have an excellent point. It is much easier for DOTs (both politically and practically) to count existing car traffic and base their decisions on this than to surmise the vast numbers of people who would be crossing were there some safe and direct form of transportation other than via cars. This holds for every road, not just bridges. The answer is fairly apparent.

Maren Souders
1 year ago
Reply to  eawriste

WHOA, that boat guy is incredible!! (And the Utrecht rush hour, too.)

Dog-in-tow
Dog-in-tow
1 year ago

Riding the OC arch bridge is still more enjoyable than the St Johns bridge. Both suck, but I’d rather ride the OC bridge any day. A pedestrian bridge from the pedestrian lookout that crosses 99e at the top of Willamette falls could be cool too.

Zac
Zac
1 year ago

The Arches Bridge should be closed to car traffic for a day or weekend in the summer in conjunction with a street fair in downtown Oregon City for the commissioners to see how much foot and bike traffic the bridge gets under these conditions. What better way to take in the views than on foot?!?

My small town in W KY would open our bridge to foot traffic only across the Ohio River to S IN once a summer, and that weekend would rival the 4th of July for people visiting and walking through downtown.

Jesse Reade
Jesse Reade
1 year ago

Personal experience, I drive the arch bridge every day and I have never seen the falls. 2 reasons: 1 – It’s exceedingly narrow and there always seems to be a truck who is about to put a mirror into my windshield so I’m threading a needle. 2 – The guardrail is in the way.

Toben wallace
Toben wallace
1 year ago

Good to know we have city commissioners fighting to deny us infrastructure improvements and trying to hold us in the past. Are they all boomers?

Brendon
Brendon
2 months ago

Me as a bike ride disagree with most. The aspect of a new bridge, is… well- not needed! Less than practical, or priority even~ Oregon city, needs to focus its attention more so, on the safety of all those whom are affected by the influx of transient individuals, whom could pose a real threat to our community~ predators, users, and abusers are just a much a threat to our safety, as much as a non existent bike line, that could -and for sure, does- have an alternative route for such…. Instead of bike lanes , how about a little back bone_