One year in, Blumenauer Bridge is well-loved and well-used

According to traffic numbers and reviews from Portland bicycle riders, it hasn’t taken long for the Blumenauer Bridge to become a vital part of our cycling network.

Opened just one year ago, the $19 million, carfree bridge over I-84 at Northeast 7th Avenue gets a relatively robust amount of daily bicycle crossings. Despite a steep decline in the number of commuters due to the popularity of working from home, the Blumenauer Bridge has hosted an average of 773 bicycle crossings per day since May 1st.

The current average weekday bike traffic on the Blumenauer is a bit more than half of the volume we see on the Hawthorne Bridge. Not bad for a new bridge between the Lloyd and a low-density industrial area! (See traffic data below)

Days with zero counts due to damaged hose counter. (Source data: PBOT)

All signs point to further growth as Portland’s bicycle traffic continues to rebound post-pandemic and more bicycle-oriented development springs up in the area.

But what do bike riders think of the bridge? I asked folks via Instagram last week to share their thoughts and the response was overwhelmingly positive. A few people had quibbles and some still prefer to use NE 12th (because it’s flat); but overall it’s clear the Blumenauer has earned a space in the hearts of many Portland cyclists. 

Below are some of the responses:

Ben G – While it’s really neat. It’s kind of out of the way and doesn’t really connect me to where I go very often. It is more stressful on Lloyd/7th than just staying on Esplanade or Water to get north/south.

Sam – It’s about the only bike infrastructure this city has done in the last couple years that is actually useful to cyclists, granted they tried to f*** it up with that nasty bump on the south end.

Aaron Brown Big fan of the bridge; I make a point of going a few blocks out of my way to use it most times I’m crossing the gulch anywhere near it. Wish that 7th through the Lloyd didn’t have the streetcar tracks, and hopeful PBOT is ambitious with significantly limiting car access to the blocks south of the bridge as part of the green loop. Also, while it’s disappointing the bridge wasn’t built by union organized labor, the bridge ultimately cost $19 million. We could literally build 100 bike/per bridges of this size over freeways across the region for the price of the rose quarter freeway expansion!

Kendra Goffredo – A true game changer. Can I have another?

Taylor Griggs – I use this bridge constantly. I can’t believe I ever had to use 12th to cross the freeway; that intersection at Lloyd is much trickier to navigate than just taking 7th all the way down. I don’t really think about the bridge itself very often, it just feels like part of the entire 7th Ave corridor to me. And now that the Sandy/7th crossing is improved and there are crosswalks or bike lanes throughout the whole Lloyd area on 7th, it’s much more pleasant to use.

Katie – I love the Blumenauer Bridge, my boyfriend and I use it as a way to get to our favorite breakfast restaurant. I don’t always feel the safest, for obvious reasons, riding with vehicles so it’s nice to have a bridge that focuses on micro mobility!

John A – I was excited about this bridge when I first heard about it as I work at the Portland State Office Building which is across the street. Quite a bummer that I travel east from work to home which makes this bridge fairly useless to then go east since it means having to backtrack to get back up to Irving bike lane (not many options with the school and sports fields blocking going east at 12th.) I did that once, but felt silly to increase my commute, so I still go Lloyd and then use the 12th avenue bridge. Sometimes Lloyd Blvd. does feel dangerous enough to make me think that the long way around would be better. If the insane constant speeding along Lloyd doesn’t improve, maybe it will seem like the better choice.

On a non-bike viewpoint, it did open up the entire south side of the freeway to venture into for lunch time, which wasn’t really walkable in a lunch break when the only options were Grand (which is half blocked from crossing the freeway entrance) or 12th.

Cam – I skip it most days on my commute to work and take the shared bridge on 12th because I don’t wanna bike uphill and skip it on the way home because the path on 7th on the south side of the bridge has so much downhill traffic flying by with a lot of stop signs for bikes on 7th.

Daniel Remer – I don’t venture out to NE Portland often, but when I do I know to get home safely all I need to do is find 7th and head south.

Nathan Berres – I absolutely love this bridge. It’s the connecting point between my home in NE and where I work in SE. Not only is the intersection on the north side amazing bike infrastructure, but the bridge is beautiful and being able to ride across it going home seeing all the traffic I’m skipping makes me selfishly happy lol. I love this bridge, I hope we make more like them in the future where they’re needed.

Erik Smith – It’s a great bridge, but the infrastructure around it just isn’t great. Going south, it just kicks you into such an odd, non-designated bike area where I have seen many cars run stop signs. Once you get to couch, it’s slightly better with the lights, but feels like it needs a lot of work to tie you into where 7th & Sandy meet. North of the bridge, i wish there was slightly better or protected paths on 7th. It can be a bit rowdy til you get Tillamook.

Jana – Love it and I use it all the time. It’s a critical north-south route. I wish the bidirectional bike lane on the north side continued down to the esplanade. That’s a very awkward connection. But otherwise it’s great and I’m excited for the 7th Greenway to be completed.

Don I – Not become part of my routine, I’ve stuck to the esplanade because the intersections on 7th are scary for bikes, especially at Stark, and I’d still could be inconvenienced by a train crossing at 7th in SE to get to work. So I haven’t been over it in about a year

Bridget – I love it! I work two blocks from the bridge and it creates and easy and safe way to get to work. Bike lanes and traffic signals work great and are respected by cars. Plus it’s a great place to walk in the middle of the work day. 10/10!

Becky M – I love the idea behind it and think it’s beautiful! But I’ve found that I usually still end up using the 12th Ave bridge instead. I don’t go in that direction too frequently, so I may just be slow to break the habit of that route. And I appreciate how flat 12th is!

Mike – Use it all the time, and while steep in the return, the descent is the highlight of my route down 7th. Absolutely love it and love having cycling specific infrastructure.

What do you think about the Blumenauer Bridge? Is it an important part of your route?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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John
John
8 months ago

It’s not on any of my regular commute routes, but almost any time I ride south past 84, that’s the way I go. I like it and it’s nicer than taking 12th (for me). Like others mentioned, some work could be done to make 7th nicer on both sides. And damn I wish 7th was a greenway all the way north. That road is terrible to drive a car on, it’s slow and hilly, it would be perfect for a greenway or maybe even one of those advisory bike lanes.

Vans
Vans
8 months ago

All good, love it, fantastic centerpiece of Lloyd bike infra!

And as already stated, “may we have another” 8 or 10 plz? ; }

Fred
Fred
8 months ago

I still have never ridden over this bridge, but then again I don’t live in this part of town. Where I live, we have the “transformational” Red Electric Bridge.

joan
8 months ago

Seems like PBOT did something extra with the signal timing here for folks on bikes. I rarely have to wait at all or very long for the light to turn to cross south to get onto the bridge. Anyone know? In any case, it’s much appreciated!

idlebytes
idlebytes
8 months ago
Reply to  joan

I’ve noticed the same going north. Either it prioritizes cyclists over cars and changes as soon as they detect a bike or there’s sensors along the way so it knows you’re coming and prepares to change as you approach.

Arturo P
Arturo P
8 months ago

“Despite a steep decline in the number of commuters due to the popularity of working from home…”,

Is this the only reason Jonathan? In my circle many are biking less because they don’t feel as safe in Portland as they used to. Both due to the increase in irresponsible drivers/traffic violence and the increase in unsavory characters that seem ever more common around town.

blumdrew
8 months ago
Reply to  Arturo P

It’s certainly still a huge reason. If you consult census table S0801, in 2021 (the most recent year with data available) there were 352,391 workers, 2.8% of which biked to work – which works out to 9,867 people. 34.9% of workers were working from home – which works out to 122,985 people. In 2019, the numbers were 366,463, with 5.2% biking (19,056 people), and 9.1% working from home (33,348 people). If we consider just the share of commuters who bike, we get 4.3% of commuters (9,867 cyclists /229,406 commuters) choosing to cycle in 2021, versus 5.7% in 2019. So there is a significant difference between 4.3% in 2021 and 5.7% in 2019, and maybe that is explained by what you are describing.

But still, the 50% drop in total number of cyclists is more readily explained by the 200% increase in work from home than anything else. Or it’s at least the most obvious thing to point out.

Arturo P
Arturo P
8 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

It’s seems crime and dysfunction apologists are a dime a dozen in Portland. Of course less work in downtown is part of the decease in cycle share but is it the only one worth mentioning? And why is Portland’s downtown doing so much worse than other cities?

“Yet another study confirms that downtown Portland is recovering much slower from the COVID-19 pandemic than almost every other major city.”

https://www.portlandtribune.com/business/study-confirms-portland-downtown-recovery-lagging/article_0727b78c-dd48-11ed-aa7f-b3cd40fb20a5.html

Karl Dickman
Karl Dickman
8 months ago
Reply to  Arturo P

That’s not a study of downtown Portland. It’s a study of the 97204 zip code, which is somewhere between a third and a quarter of downtown. It excludes major destination such as the art museum, the park blocks, PSU, Director Park, the west end, and (at least according to some maps) Pioneer square. It seems pretty weird to talk about the health of downtown when those landmarks are excluded from the analysis.

blumdrew
8 months ago
Reply to  Arturo P

In general, I think Portland’s downtown has struggled more than other cities because it was far too focused on downtown office space to the detriment of other uses. In my experience, the parts of downtown doing the best are generally the ones with more diverse uses – places like Broadway between Oak and PSU (lots of hotels, shops, bars, and restaurants), or Harvey Milk/11th. Which as Karl said already are excluded from that study area!

But you’re also misrepresenting my point there. I’m not a “crime and dysfunction apologist” for pointing out that work from home has been by far the largest driver in reducing the number of cyclists commuting. That is a fairly obvious point, especially in Portland where so many of the convenient cycling commutes were historically focused on the white collar inner eastside neighborhoods to downtown (think Clinton, Ankeny, Williams) that have more or less exclusively driven work from home.

Stephen Scarich
Stephen Scarich
8 months ago
Reply to  Arturo P

It always bothers me when ‘journalists’ throw in gratuitous, unsubstantiated comments like that. For me, it pretty much destroys any credibility the writer begins with. I see this all over the media nowadays, and it undermines the profession significantly. It is a not so subtle attempt to substitute their opinion/bias for the reader’s ability to make his/her own judgements.

Arturo P
Arturo P
8 months ago

This is a response to blumdrew: (not Stephen)

You seem to be forgetting the 100 days of rioting, the large homeless population and the continuing vandalism and massive increase in crime. But you say the “work from home” move is the main cause of the downturn downtown. Sorry, but I don’t buy that.

Ray
Ray
8 months ago
Reply to  Arturo P

So…is your assertion that if there weren’t “100 days of rioting,” cycling mode share into Downtown would be comparable to “pre-riot” levels?

Arturo P
Arturo P
8 months ago
Reply to  Ray

Nope but it would be better. Of course it’s a bit hard to tease out as the continued crime, garbage, vandalism and camps everywhere are a continued drag on cycle share locally.

John
John
8 months ago
Reply to  Arturo P

Who cares if you buy it or not, the numbers bear it out. If journalists were pushing your narrative instead, they’d be even more biased and full of unsubstantiated claims than what you’re whining about. The reason downtown is struggling (insomuch as it is) is because of the focus on office jobs as has been repeatedly explained (and ignored by you). There’s just not much going on downtown on week days and there never was besides commuting. With work from home, that is taking a major toll.

blumdrew
8 months ago
Reply to  Arturo P

No, I’m not forgetting any of that. You’re just throwing in typical anti-Portland talking points and not even addressing what I’m saying. I’m not even saying that “work from home” is the main cause of the downturn downtown! Just that the parts of downtown that are doing the best (in my own experience) are the ones that aren’t hyper-focused on office space. Which was probably an issue pre-Covid/riots/whatever too, though I didn’t live in Portland then so take that with a grain of salt I guess. But Portland as a city has sacrificed a lot to concentrate so much office space in the downtown core, and I think places like that tend to be boring as the lack of diverse uses make for some times of day feeling unsafe (due to lack of foot traffic) and others feeling suffocating with dudes in suits (also bad!).

When was the last time you went downtown? I was there yesterday from about 5 to 6:30, and it was fine. I walk down there somewhat often, though maybe not in the 97204 zip much (since there are some obvious issues that I am not trying to deny or downplay!) but there are nice spots. I like Broadway, and I like the park blocks near PSU and the Art Museum too. There are genuinely plenty of good places to go, maybe you should get out more.

Arturo P
Arturo P
8 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

Oh now it’s me? I don’t get out much? I was downtown last week x 2. Why do the Portland defenders (“everything is fine” or “it’s like this everywhere”) frequently resort to personal attacks instead of sticking to the issues?

And “anti-Portland talking points”? LOL. It’s just reality. Something many here seem to want to downplay instead of fixing. Are there nice things in Portland. Of course! But that doesn’t mean we should ignore our problems. Can’t fix your cancer until you accept the diagnosis.

blumdrew
8 months ago
Reply to  Arturo P

Am I expecting people to ignore our collective problems? No! I’m even talking about the the general issues with downtown likely predate 2020. And yes, when I see someone bring up “the riots” from three years ago as some reason that downtown is in shambles, I get a little skeptical that they get out and see downtown as it is now. There are very few visible signs of that to my eye. but again I didn’t live here until 2021.

Again, all of this is only tangentially relevant to my original points that you keep not replying to. If you want to live in a world where downtown Portland sucks because of antifa and homeless people, I guess I can’t stop you. But I’m going to live in a world where it’s meh for a myriad of reasons, most of which have something to do with an over concentration of office space and a lack of foot traffic – along with an over concentration of homeless services at the regional level.

Ken
Ken
8 months ago
Reply to  Arturo P

So protests that happened three years ago, almost always at night, and at predictable locations, is affecting bike traffic in 2023? How does that make sense?

Damien
Damien
8 months ago
Reply to  Arturo P

In my circle many are biking less because they don’t feel as safe in Portland as they used to.

“How could Nixon have won? Nobody I know voted for him!”

Tom
Tom
8 months ago

This bridge almost immediately replaced the Esplanade as my preferred north/south route, as I can safely maintain higher speeds without having to carefully yield to joggers, homeless, and OMSI tourists. And this route will hopefully continue to get better as they make improvements to 7th on both sides of the bridge.

Phil
Phil
8 months ago

We could literally build 100 bike/per bridges of this size over freeways across the region for the price of the rose quarter freeway expansion!

Wow, that really puts things in perspective!

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
8 months ago
Reply to  Phil

We could have improved the NE 12th bridge and built 10 miles of protected bike lane for the cost of the Blumenauer Lloyd-Burnside real-estate “activation” and urban development subsidy.

dw
dw
8 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

I highly doubt that. The whole point of the Blumenauer bridge is that it can serve as a route for emergency vehicles post-earthquake. The bridge at 12th would have to be entirely rebuilt anyway. As mich of a soggy waffle as 7th is for bike routing, 12th is even worse. You’d have to rebuild the entire intersection at Burnside/Sandy/12th to bring it close to even the comfort level of 7th in its current state.

Just say you don’t like new things.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
8 months ago
Reply to  dw

post-earthquake.

This is the same evidence-light argument ODOT uses for the IBR. Earthquake doomerism-aside, 12th would need relatively cheap fixes to make it a decent ped/bike bridge (e.g. an LPI/bike-signal and a protected bike lane on each side).

Burnside/Sandy/12th to bring it close to even the comfort level of 7th in its current state.

Describing the 7th and Burnside as some sort of high-comfort intersection is weird. Burnside and 7th has a signal as does Burnside and 12th. Both of these intersections kind of suck and should be improved, IMO.

I think what you also miss is that many who use 12th come from Irving which has connections via 16th to the South and via 24th/Ankeney to the East. 7th just does not have a similar level of connectivity.

Just say you don’t like new things.

I would very much like to see protected bike lanes on Sandy. We could have paid for these bike lanes with the $15 million+ spent on the Lloyd-Burnside real-estate “activation” bridge.

Just say you don’t like things that do not subsidize real estate development.

dw
dw
8 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

Where’s your evidence that the Blumenauer bridge is a subsidy for real estate development? Doesn’t any improvement to the right-of-way bring higher property values for existing owners and real estate developers?

Stephen Scarich
Stephen Scarich
8 months ago
Reply to  Phil

Yes, a shocking expenditure for a ‘marginal gain’. Every government project must have a cost/benefit analysis, regardless of the merit of the proposal.

Let's Active
Let's Active
8 months ago

I love this bridge and wish more people were using it. 773 crossings a day is about 65 per hour of daylight (6am-6pm) or 1 single rider every minute. Sadly, what I take away from this article is that I can’t believe how far off from the peak years riding volumes are in the city. Wow.

Max S (Wren)
Max S (Wren)
8 months ago

I need to get out on the road more often; maybe I should do an excursion up to check it out.

Surly Ogre
Surly Ogre
8 months ago

I ride over Blumenauer bridge almost every day. It’s great! Thanks PBOT !
7th Ave south of the bridge needs more work especially at NE Davis where cars are prioritized over bikes, SE Ankeny which should be an all-way stop; SE Stark and Sandy need more attention also.

qqq
qqq
8 months ago

I’m curious how many people walk across it also. After all, it’s a bike/pedestrian bridge. My main design complaint is that the steps at the north approach don’t have handrails, and the rail along the entire length of the bridge’s west side is so wide that it can’t be used as a handrail–something that would be useful for some people, given the bridge is so long and fairly steep, and especially in bad weather.

The design team leader told me ADA-compliant handrails weren’t legally required in either location. But (if true) so what? It would have been easy to include them at the stairs. On the bridge, the rail is a wide custom one that probably costs 10x or more what a simple handrail would (like the Flanders Crossing has). Alternatively, the custom one could have had a graspable profile for no change in cost.

These aren’t things that affect usability for most people, but it’s sad that a flagship, $$$$$ public project didn’t try harder to accommodate a wider range of users.

John
John
8 months ago
Reply to  qqq

Are these not handrails on the north approach? Or do you mean something else for handrails (like, specifically the kind that are like a metal pipe)?

Screenshot 2023-08-23 at 13-35-47 Google Maps.png
qqq
qqq
8 months ago
Reply to  John

I mean ADA compliant handrails, which typically are metal pipes. The guardrail in the photo is better than nothing, but it would have been so easy to have graspable handrails on each side.

On the positive side, when I asked the project about these, I got a good, non-defensive response from the project manager, and overall I think it was designed quite thoughtfully and successfully.

Watts
Watts
8 months ago
Reply to  qqq

What was the response?

qqq
qqq
8 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Response was that codes didn’t require them at either location. And that at the stair, there was no room. When I told him there was only no room because of how they designed and located the stairs, and that there is room anyway, I don’t recall him really objecting.

He said the project wanted a substantial rail on the bridge, that could be leaned on, and that gave a sense of protection. I’d say that’s a defensible argument, and appreciate that they were thinking of making the user experience better. But they could have created a profile that could be grasped, while still achieving their other goals.

A graspable rail there is needed for some people to use the bridge, and could benefit anyone walking across in icy weather.

The stair handrails could be added easily, but I’ve never pursued that given it’s pretty minor in the world of things needing fixing in Portland.

Will
Will
8 months ago
Reply to  qqq

I’m surprised they weren’t required. And I’m a little surprised they didn’t include them, since I believe the ones on the Flanders crossing are compliant.

qqq
qqq
8 months ago
Reply to  Will

Yes, Flanders Crossing has standard, compliant ones. Blumenauer has a huge-profile custom one that can’t be grasped well. And Flanders is fairly short and level, but Blumenauer is long and fairly steep, so would really benefit from a functional one.

I was surprised they weren’t required, according to the project manager. They would have been required by the code for buildings, but I don’t know what codes apply to this project. Projects often don’t know the rules that apply, so I don’t trust that they weren’t required. And in a way it’s irrelevant–they should have done ADA-complaint handrails regardless.

maxD
maxD
8 months ago
Reply to  qqq

It is very disappointing yet consistent with PBOT to ignore accessibility unless they are forced to include. If there is a way to avoid it, they will. Our City should seeking every opportunity to support universal accessibility. Thank you for highlighting this handrail issue, it is shameful negligence for PBOT

Foot Patrol
Foot Patrol
8 months ago

Tangent. Does the current design facilitate or impede the proposed Sullivan’s Gulch alignment options? https://www.portlandoregon.gov/Transportation/article/665918

blumdrew
8 months ago
Reply to  Foot Patrol

It was designed to not impede a future Sulivan’s Gulch trail, though it seems pretty unlikely to me that that trail will ever actually happen (unfortunately)

Stephan
Stephan
8 months ago

I like the bridge, it is a great bike infrastructure addition in that area. For me, living in NE, it makes shops in inner SE much more accessible via bike.

One question about the overall great design: does anyone know why there is no plexiglass or something similar on the sides to reduce the traffic noise?

Stephen Scarich
Stephen Scarich
8 months ago
Reply to  Stephan

Imagine the graffiti.

Wayne
Wayne
8 months ago

800 per day, 20 mil, time for licensing bikes and bridge tax for use. Even over 10 months, comes to 2k per bike use.. what a waste..

blumdrew
8 months ago
Reply to  Wayne

No one in their right mind would amortize the cost of a piece of infrastructure over 10 months. The most aggressive schedule for debt repayment is usually 15 years, and on that scale it’s something like $2/cyclist. And that’s assuming there will be no long term increase in cycling in the area, which I think it’s reasonable to expect there will be. If we believe that the CRC 2.0/IBR project will stay on budget, over 15 years a $7 billion price tag would be $1.2 million/day. Let’s say there are 200,000 users/day (which would be a significant increase over today), that’s still like $6/user.

Bike infrastructure is cheap, and even if it’s only lightly used it’s still a far better investment than increased car infrastructure.

qqq
qqq
8 months ago
Reply to  Wayne

It is a huge cost per trip. On the other hand, it doesn’t count pedestrians, which might cut the cost per trip in half or so.

If you took any highway bridge project, and calculated the cost per trip over only the first trip, it would be high also.

The main issue to me with bike/pedestrian projects like this is that they wouldn’t be needed if it hadn’t been for earlier vehicle projects. This bridge was triggered by I-84, Flanders Crossing in NW and the Gibbs St. Bridge in SW were triggered by 405. All were areas that people could have crossed easily at numerous locations prior to those projects, but those projects didn’t include good ways to cross them in their own budgets.

So you could actually say that that fact shows that VEHICLES were not taxed enough, because the projects built for them didn’t budget properly to mitigate their impacts. If they had, there’d be no need for any of those three pedestrian/bike bridges to be built today.

John
John
8 months ago
Reply to  qqq

So you could actually say that that fact shows that VEHICLES were not taxed enough,

Haha, awesome. I’ve never thought of it that way but makes perfect sense. This is stuff that the original project should have paid for. Same goes for bike lanes. You make a road that can no longer be biked or safely walked on? That means drivers were not taxed enough to build it right and need to fix the problem now. Good bike infrastructure should be considered part of the baseline cost of any transportation project, and places that don’t have good bike infrastructure owe that.

JR
JR
8 months ago
Reply to  Wayne

Thankfully, the bridge should last more than 10 months. These things tend to last about 60-80 years.

qqq
qqq
8 months ago
Reply to  Wayne

800 per day, 20 mil, time for licensing bikes and bridge tax for use. Even over 10 months, comes to 2k per bike use.. what a waste..

Your math is way off. It’s not $2k per bike trip, it’s $83.

10 months = 300 days
800 trips per day times 300 days = 240,000 trips
$20,000,000 divided by 240,000 trips = $83 per trip

That’s in addition to your 10 months being arbitrary, and the whole thing being irrelevant given that the need for the bridge was created by the freeway project which should have included a bike and pedestrian crossing in its own budget.

Graham
Graham
8 months ago
Reply to  Wayne

10 months? What, do they blow it up in month 11?
Who measures infrastructure efficacy over such a short period?

maxD
maxD
8 months ago

When this bridge was being designed, there was a lot of discussion and investigation into what streets it should connect to, and how that connection would be made. The decision was to have a direct connection from 7th to 7th over I-84 and across LLoyd. When you approach the bridge, you can see that it is directly aligned with 7th on the north side, but PBOT totally ruined the connection across LLoyd to add turn lanes for cars. The design forces bikes to weave across the pedestrian space with a series of sharp 90-degree turns. The only reason this design works is because there is such incredibly low use. When the Lloyd development picks back up and people start walking biking here, this is going to a very uncomfortable and unsafe design.

The bridge design is fine though very sterile and with no connection or reference to anything in Portland’s history or the landscape/site- it is just a random, trendy bridge that could be anywhere- fine but not special. There are planters at either end but they seem to be unplanted or seriously underplanted. Beside the design fail at the north end, the greenway south is substandard and poorly executed with no diverters and lots of stop signs for bikes. This bike route is very necessary, and I closely followed the design for years. It may seem to work fine, but it falls so far short of what is needed and what it could be for no extra money hat I really think it cannot be considered a success. The fact that PBOT compromised the north end so much to accommodate cars just shows how little commitment they have to creating a serious bike network. If a brand bridge costing millions isn’t enough reason for PBOT to stand up to car and freight interests and insist that a safe and direct crossing of LLoyd is worth it, or that bike should should be prioritized on the Greenway leading to the bridge, then nothing will ever be enough for PBOT to get serious about a bike network.

blumdrew
8 months ago
Reply to  maxD

I think the general issue on the north side is the insistence of a 90 degree intersection with Lloyd more than anything else since that is the reason for the jog – and this also predates the bridge. The general road layout at the intersection of 7th and Lloyd hasn’t changed since 2016, when the turn lanes were striped. That said, I think it’s a fixable problem in the future at least, though of course I would have preferred that PBOT already made those changes (of straightening the path for cyclists).

maxD
maxD
8 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

blumdrew, I am almost sure that you are about the reason PBOT made the change to the intersection that it did: to make it safer and more convenient to drive. I also agree that is is technically fixable, but with PBOT’s budget woes, I fear that we are stuck with this for 20 years. What I really, really want PBOT called out on, is making those series of horrible decisions in the first place. I hop Jonathan can get some inside info and write a story about it. At some point, the design team had to decide to alter the curb on 7th to create a perpendicular T-intersection. They surely noticed the bike crossing conflict at this time and reached into their engineering bag of tools to find a fix. However, when someone proposed to add separate turn lanes for cars which require shifting the bike lane of travel some 20 feet, I cannot believe no one stood up and said that is unacceptable to compromise the bike safety and comfort on a bike-specific project to accommodate cars that are barely present. They should have kept the original curb line and made it right-turn only for cars. If anything, they should have expanded the curbline on the east side of 7th to further slow cars or even prevent turn from Lloyd on to 7th and give bike a straight shot off the bridge. This issue should have been picked up on when the design contract was awarded but PBOT handed it to the team who created the concept and they were loathe to tweak the alignment to fix this issue. Anyway, I think it is colossal fuck-up and I am super disappointed with PBOT

blumdrew
8 months ago
Reply to  maxD

Yes – I just think that it’s worth considering the timeline on when PBOT made that intersection more convenient for drivers, because it long predates the Blumenauer Bridge. If you consult street view, that T intersection exists in the earliest version of it (2007), and given the time period when Lloyd Blvd was constructed (sometime in the 50s) it’s possible that this was the original intersection. I would say that they could have (and probably should have) changed it during the construction of the bridge, but it probably was outside the budget of the project.

Interestingly, there was a bridge at 7th (and 6th, 8th, 10th, and 11th) before the Banfield Freeway was constructed. I wish PBOT would have re-framed this project as recreating a natural link in the street grid. [Edit] Okay, turns out those weren’t all bridges (here’s an older map), but it’s still interesting that there were at-grade crossings – reaching all the way to 17th!

Carrie
Carrie
8 months ago

I have a lot to unpack as to why I don’t feel comfortable riding in places I used to ride 10 years ago, but with all of that I LOVE this bridge. Particularly as a route in the late evenings (8pm onward) headed N/S in inner SE. I used to ride the Esplanade OR I’d take the sidewalk along MLK to cross 84, but now I can ride over this nicely lit, open bikeway. I still really don’t like riding on 7th S of the bridge, but I’ll take it over the Esplanade at night.

maxD
maxD
8 months ago

I just went back to the August 11, 2022 article. When the bridge first opened I commented that I was surprised at the convoluted bike routing for a brand new piece of infrastructure whose primary use was supposed to be bikes!

Jonathan said there was a forthcoming critique of project details. Did I miss the critique?

maxD

 1 year ago

PBOT project managers are super lenient with their contractors- this is way out of spec and should have never been accepted. I have design question: why is the access from teh north (southbound) so indirect and convoluted? Are there future changes to Lloyd that have not happened yet? I rode this the other and I could not believe this was the approach to a brand new bridge!

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Author

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

 1 year ago

 Reply to  maxD

hold that thought maxD. I’m working on a story that will critique all the approaches and take a closer look at details like this.

Adam
Adam
8 months ago

The Blumenauer bridge is great but inner northeast is still substantially disconnected by 84. I’d love to see bridges at 16th and 24th as well. A bike/ped bridge at 31st could also unlock redevelopment of the Fred Meyer

Ricky
Ricky
8 months ago
Reply to  Adam

There is a bike and pedestrian crossing at 28th and an overpass with a (narrow) walkway on the eastern side at 33rd. In between 33rd and Fred meyer are a few apartment buildings. Freddy’s isn’t going anywhere afaik- what part of that property would be redeveloped and what are you envisioning?

Adam
Adam
8 months ago
Reply to  Ricky

The frequency of crossings really matters. Compare the connectivity of NW/Goose Hollow to downtown with the connectivity across 84.

Freddies sits on a huge amount of land. In a strong market I don’t think it’s farfetched to think that property might be repurposed. Perhaps even with Freddies as an anchor tennant

Jenna Kenshin
Jenna Kenshin
8 months ago

Love this bridge! I live off of NE 7th and it was my first bridge crossing, and the one I cross most often. 12th is flatter as many have mentioned, but Blumenauer is way more pleasant to get onto. I’m frequently hopping from NE to SE and via Blumenauer is always my preferred way of doing so. I always feel so bad for the people in cars on 84 when I cross it…I find myself remebering how miserable it was to drive a car down a 4-lane, so the Bluenauer also has the effect of instilling me with immense grattitude. I’d love to see NE 7th just ne converted to be 100% car free… there really isn’t much auto traffic on it anyway.

mark
mark
8 months ago

I no longer commute, technically. I’m retired. Too bad that it wasn’t available when I did ride to work. However, I make a point of using it for recreational purposes. I’m eagerly awaiting a time when the connecting northbound route from the 7th Avenue/Sandy split is fixed. That’s a nail biter.

pierre_delecto
pierre_delecto
8 months ago

The Hawthorne Bridge is averaging ~2300 daily trips since May 1st. How, exactly, is 773/2300 more than 50%?

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JR
JR
8 months ago

Given that this bridge will be part of the Green Loop, I can see its use grow. It will also grow once the Lloyd District parking lots and failed suburban mall are replaced with more intense development. Smart cities build the infrastructure before the inevitable development follows. I recall being in Hamburg Germany and taking the subway to development sites that were in various stages of completion. Places like that really have it together. Portland is a far cry from Hamburg, but still, it’s amazing we got this small piece of infrastructure developed in advance given all the other failings of our city and county government.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
8 months ago
Reply to  JR

I fervently hope the green loop never comes into being. Instead of frittering away Portland’s urban development resources on bougie recreational infrastructure designed to enrich developers we should be laser focused on basic needs: deeply-affordable housing, transit, and decarbonization of residential and commercial buildings. The green loops is proposal by and for the 1%.

Graham
Graham
8 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

Affordable housing needs to be priority number one right now, for sure.

Resopmok
Resopmok
8 months ago

Would love to see more stop signs turned to make the bike route aspect of it even better. I think they did turn one or two but especially south of burnside there needs to be more done.