Popular section of NW Cornell Road will be nearly carfree through spring 2022

Posted by on August 17th, 2021 at 11:51 am

(The section of Cornell that will be closed to drivers through spring 2022 is a very popular bike route. Click for captions. Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

A closure of Northwest Cornell Road from 30th to 53rd is bad news if you want to drive it in a car. But if you are one of the many Portlanders who loves to bike this iconic Portland route, you are in luck! That’s because the Portland Bureau of Transportation says a 7-8 month construction project to repair damage to the tunnels on Cornell Road will lead to a closure for drivers from August 23rd 30th through spring of next year.

In a statement today, PBOT said a large crack near the crown of the western tunnel was found during a recent inspection. The closures are necessary to complete the repairs safely and efficiently.

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Map: PBOT

Fortunately there are multi-use paths around each of the tunnels, which will allow people walking and biking to continue to use the road. Local access will be maintained for residents and businesses located along the corridor, including the Audubon Society and Adams Community Garden. Given the relatively small amount of traffic that remains local, the volume of cars on this section of Cornell should be vastly lower than usual during the closure.

Fewer cars means better bicycling conditions! Yay!

During the construction, drivers will be detoured to Skyline Boulevard and West Burnside, so expect more traffic on those streets as a result.

For more on the project visit PBOT’s website.

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

I hope they use this as an opportunity to improve the lighting in that dim tunnel.

The highway 26/Vista Ridge tunnels are dramatically brighter (too bright?) after the 2020 LED upgrades.

Interesting note on the original paint colors of those tunnels:

“To improve tunnel safety for motorists, and decrease the tunnel lighting requirements, the original tunnel entrance faces were sandblasted to remove white paint and repainted a less luminescent tan color to reduce the range of visual light adaptation required by drivers.

The tunnel’s internal lighting was upgraded to LED in July 2020. The LEDs have a color temperature of 4000 K.”

Alex
Guest
Alex

I agree the Cornell tunnel lighting is horrible and badly needs an upgrade. Simply replacing burned out bulbs would be a good minimalist start.

However, those LED lights in the Vista tunnel are terrible. Too bright and far too blue. They ruin you night vision and are even more unsafe than the old, dim situation.

Champs
Guest
Champs

Nice for the ride up to Skyline but less so the other way if you have to use the bypass. Keeping up with downhill traffic hasn’t been much trouble. Mixed blessings.

X
Guest
X

This accidental piece of dedicated biking and walking infrastructure could stimulate demand for safe routes through the West Hills.

rick
Guest
rick

I wish. It is horrible on Scholls east and north of SW 76th Avenue (in both directions on up from there to Burnside)

Charley
Guest
Charley

I was pretty stoked until I though about the detour traffic on Skyline! Maybe it won’t be too bad.

Bike Guy
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Bike Guy

this is cool. I’m sure the birds recovering at Audubon will appreciate the respite from traffic, too. I need to go hit this.

nate G
Guest
nate G

Hey thats me in the photo in the back!

Social Engineer
Guest
Social Engineer

Let us rejoice, for NW 24th gets a brief respite from the barrage of cut-through drivers commuting between Washington County and Fremont Bridge.

AndyK
Subscriber

I think its a Category 2 climb if you start at 25th and Lovejoy and take Cornell until you’re almost to Skyline, then turn left on Greenleaf to the top. A really challenging and beautiful 3.7-mile climb.

Holtz
Subscriber

I rode by the top of Cornell this morning (Friday, 8/20/21). The only sign just says the road is closed. No information relevant to people who walk or bike.
PBOT seems to be regressing… forgetting about anyone except drivers when putting out road closure information. There was no bike/ped signage or alerts when Skyline north of Cornell was closed for a week earlier this year. And the closure of Terwilliger for paving last year also hit without warning… and lots of confusion.
At least they noted the paths around the tunnels in the PBOT release… but how many people ever see those alerts? Complete signage is essential.
I have emailed PBOT twice since the Cornell closure was announced to ask about plans for bike/ped signage. No response yet.

Holtz
Subscriber

I checked the signage again this morning (Monday, 8/30/21). There are road closed signs starting at Lovejoy and 25th. None of them mention that people on bicycles or on foot can use the path to get around the tunnel work area. PBOT needs to do better, especially on a road that is so important to people who use bikes.