Weigh in on Clackamas County’s new walking and biking plans

These decades-old plans are due for a refresh! (Photo: Clackamas County)

Clackamas County is updating its bike and pedestrian master plans for the first time in almost 20 years, and the planners want to hear from you about what should be included.

This updated vision for Clackamas County active transportation is called the Walk Bike Clackamas plan, and project leaders want it to account for the major changes that have taken place since the last time the plan was updated, like new mobility options, the need for urgent carbon emissions reductions and more emphasis on improved health and equity. Goals for the plan are to:

  • Establish infrastructure priorities, such as where to build new bike lanes and sidewalks, which will help the county apply for future grants and other funding opportunities. 
  • Identify programs that increase safety and convenience of walking and biking (like Safe Routes to School).
  • Update active transportation polices and adopt performance measures so we can track progress during implementation
  • Serve as the pedestrian and bicycle transportation elements of the county’s updated Transportation System Plan (TSP)

“Clackamas County is updating its pedestrian and bicycle master plans to create a comprehensive, long-term vision and to identify ways to improve walking, bicycling, and rolling for all people who live, work, and recreate in the county,” the Walk Bike Clackamas plan states. “While we are focused on the unincorporated portions of the county, we are also keeping in mind how we link to connections in cities within the county.”

The timeline for the Walk Bike Clackamas plan. (Source: Clackamas County)

Cities in Clackamas County, like Clackamas, Milwaukie, Oregon City and more, are in charge of their own transportation plans within city limits, but the county is responsible for the unincorporated areas between the cities. This has resulted in an incomplete bike network for people traveling throughout the county.

One example of this is the Linwood Avenue path in Milwaukie: an impressive multi-use path in east Milwaukie that would be much more useful if it weren’t only a mile long. (Clackamas County is currently constructing a connecting path on Linwood, but the project timelines were out of sync.)

According to Walk Bike Clackamas’ existing conditions report, the county currently has 167 miles of on-street bikeways, 87 miles of shared-use paths, 1,170 miles of sidewalks and 2,800 total miles of public roadways across cities and unincorporated areas. From public feedback the planners have already received, people believe some active transportation options have improved in the county, but safety, accessibility and network connectivity issues are a big concern stopping people from walking and biking in the area.

You can share your own thoughts and ideas for active transportation in Clackamas County through the Walk Bike Clackamas survey, which will be open for comment through the end of February. County planners want to draft and finalize the plan for implementation by next winter.

Taylor Griggs (Staff Writer)

Taylor Griggs (Staff Writer)

Taylor has been BikePortland's staff writer since November 2021. She has also written for Street Roots and Eugene Weekly. Contact her at taylorgriggswriter@gmail.com

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cMckone
cMckone
7 months ago

Based on the most recent ClackCo walk/bike committee meeting it looks like a lot of the focus will be in the Oak Grove and Jennings Lodge area. Primarily shared streets.

Fred
Fred
7 months ago

Sorry, but I’m having trouble figuring out what there is in the plan to “weigh in on.” I mean, ClackCo should absolutely do what they say in the plan and build some bike infrastructure. But beyond that I’m not sure what to say about it.

My favorite bit of ClackCo cycling infrastructure is the trolley trail between Milwaukie and Gladstone, and also the former trolley bridge over the Clackamas River. More like that, please.

Matt
Matt
7 months ago

This is the perfect time for folks to once again ask the county to include the oak grove/ lake Oswego (aka OGLO) bike/pedestrian bridge in the plan!! I am surprised that Bike Portland didn’t mention that in this story since your previous stories really helped elevate awareness of it in the past. We need to make sure it’s in the plan and that it’s a priority. Thanks

T Hewett
T Hewett
7 months ago

I’m surprised to hear that Clackamas county is focusing on Jennings Lodge and Oak Grove since we already have the trolley trail which is in good condition and well maintained.
A similar path would be great in the Clackamas areas towards Damascus or Molalla.

Michael Mann
Michael Mann
7 months ago

I’ll definitely fill out the survey – I grew up in Clackamas County on a small farm near Boring, and have also lived in Brightwood and Sunnyside, and much of my rural riding for decades has been in the county. And I applaud their commitment to improve infrastructure for active transportation.
And yes, there’s a big “but” to my sentiments. if the county is truly committed to the “need for urgent carbon emissions reductions and more emphasis on improved health and equity.” they’ve got to be willing to rein in the dominant car culture that has a stranglehold on Clackamas County politics. Anyone remember when Clackamas County commissioners refused to pay their share for the Sellwood Bridge rebuild, even when road surveys showed most users were from Clackamas County? And now State Senator Bill Kennemer (Senate District 20 – much of Clackamas County adjoining I-205) has introduced legislation which would give his constituents the power to vote on whether or not they should have to pay tolls to use the freeways. Guess how they’ll vote? Most residents of Clackamas County not on the Max Orange line (Happy Valley, Damascus/Boring, Sandy, Oregon City, Canby) are enslaved by their absolute dependence on their cars to get to jobs that are generally outside their local community. So yes, improve the infrastructure for bikes. But until the car-culture elephant in the room is met head-on, it’s window dressing in terms of emission reduction and improved health.