Consider this a friendly reminder to get on your bike, lace up your shoes, click open your e-scooter or Biketown app, and get up to Northwest Cornell Road in the West Hills. This beautiful road has always been a favorite for Portlanders seeking a quick escape from the city, and now the City of Portland has made a big chunk of it carfree.
As we shared back in August, repairs to the two tunnels on the section of Cornell between the Portland Audubon Society and NW 30th (where the houses end) mean that work crews need full access to the main road. But in a serendipitous cycling twist, the paved paths that go around the tunnels mean the road can remain open for non-drivers.
I finally got a chance to head up there on Thursday and it was wonderful. The lush forests around Macleay Park are have been renewed with recent rains and leaves are beginning to turn. I didn’t fully appreciate the carfree closure until I got off my bike on the section between the tunnels and just sat in the road and soaked in the silence. Here are a few pics…
It’s silly that weeks after the closure began, PBOT still hasn’t put up “Except Bicycles” signs at the main access point of NW 25th and Lovejoy. This is the point where some people will assume it’s impossible to get through even if you want to walk or ride:
I highly recommend going up there and feel free to linger and loiter. Take your time! Bring a picnic and a speaker and enjoy this space.
Be mindful that the work zones near the tunnels have created a pretty narrow path that’s shared by all users — people going up and down — so be nice and go slow. To access this area from downtown, get yourself to NW Lovejoy and 25th (I prefer the bikeway streets of Flanders, Johnson, and 24th), then start heading up the hill. Just ignore the “Road Closed” sign that doesn’t mention bikers and walkers are still allowed (come on PBOT!).
According to the city, the work and the closures will be happening through spring 2022.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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