BikePortland

The bike lane in the middle of a Portland freeway


Did you know Portland has a bike path in the middle of an interstate freeway?

It’s true. The Glenn Jackson Bridge (I-205) over the Columbia River has a center-running, two-way bike path smack-dab in the middle of it, separated by a low concrete wall and metal railings. It opened to the public in 1982 and provides a crucial link between Portland and Vancouver.

I’ve always been fascinated by this path and have never really shared much about it (beyond the news of someone trying to drive on it). When I heard members of the Oregon City Commission suggest that ODOT should build something similar on the I-205 Abernethy Bridge instead of building a bike/walk only bridge, I knew it was time to share more about it.

This is one of those pieces of infrastructure that inspires a strong love/hate vibe. I’ve heard from folks who say riding these two miles between eight lanes of freeway traffic gives them heart palpitations. Then there are others who enjoy the adrenaline rush and think having a protected bike path over a huge river, that connects two states, and with gorgeous views of Mt. Hood is pretty darn fantastic.

One thing everyone agrees on is that it’s loud and it’s something everyone should try at least once.

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But wait! This post is about more than a bike lane on a freeway bridge. This is BikePortland’s first-ever fully-produced video on infrastructure!

BP is on YouTube

Yes, on the 16th anniversary of this site (our first post was April 8th, 2005), I have finally made the “pivot to video“.

So please bear with me! I know it’s not as good as the always-excellent Streetfilms that we’ve all been inspired by for so many years (hi Clarence!); but I hope it’s the start of something new around here.

I had so much fun making that video of Michael Trimble last month, and I’ve always believed in the power of video and audio to tell stories — but I’ve stuck to good, old-fashioned words and pictures because that’s what I know best. It’s hard to try new content production workflows and learn new skills when you’re a one-person newsroom.

You were patient while I learned to write the news over these past 16 years, I hope you’ll be just as patient as I learn to film it and speak it.

You’ll be seeing more video and audio content on BikePortland in the future. And it will get better. You were patient while I learned to write the news over these past 16 years, I hope you’ll be just as patient as I learn to film it and speak it.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback on the video and on the path in general.

Specifically, what do you think we could do to make the path better?

Perhaps we should cover it with solar panels like they just did in South Korea…
https://twitter.com/ValaAfshar/status/1379828014884777989

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