Update: PBOT has reopened Steel Bridge bike path after camera malfunction

(2010 photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

UPDATE: as of 6/18 at 12:45 pm, the path is now open!

The path on the lower deck of the Steel Bridge has been closed for a week now. It’s a crucial connection between the central city and many neighborhoods and destinations in north and northeast Portland.

According to reports from readers, the path has been closed since at least last Monday — not to mention intermittent closures and other obstructions in the area due to Fleet Week and Rose Festival activities (which began June 5th).

A spokesperson from the Portland Bureau of Transportation told BikePortland the reason for the closure is a technical malfunction. Here’s the full statement PBOT Communications Director Hannah Schafer:

“The cameras on the bridge were not functioning properly earlier this week due to a communications issue.  When the cameras are disabled the Bridge Tender does not have the visual confirmation they need to confidently open/close the walkway, so they leave it closed for safety. A contractor has been called by the Bureau of Technology Services to fix the cameras and we hope they will be operational again soon so people walking, biking, and rolling can use the walkway. We hope the cameras will repaired and the path reopened ASAP. I don’t have a date for reopening at this time.” 

In the interim, people can use the upper deck of the Steel Bridge (though the sidewalk there is more narrow, bikes can take the lane of course) or use an alternate bridge to get to their destination.”

Hopefully this gets sorted out right away, because the upper deck of the Steel Bridge is not a feasible option. The sidewalk is very narrow and not adequate for sharing between bicycle users and walkers. I worry if folks bike up there, it could lead to interactions that go badly. And taking the lane on the road is equally fraught. If PBOT wants people to even consider it, they should install temporary traffic calming and/or signage to make it safer.

Hang in there, and please let me know if you notice the gates open back up.

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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SD
SD
1 month ago

The very confusing signage and barricades on the south side of the Hawthorne bridge aren’t helping either.

PdxPhoenix
PdxPhoenix
1 month ago
Reply to  SD

do they have signage up at the top of the peace memorial park to let people know not to bother going down there if they can’t cross there?

Let's Active
Let's Active
1 month ago
Reply to  PdxPhoenix

The flashing lights to indicate when the path is closed don’t appear to be working. At least they weren’t this morning at about 7 am, which is incredibly frustrating on top of the deck closure itself.

SD
SD
1 month ago
Reply to  Let's Active

I haven’t seen the flashing lights on this entire closure.

When I am traveling North on the Naito bike lane, I have noticed a blinking yellow light that indicates whether the steel bridge is passable. I don’t think it has been blinking, but I don’t know if it is for lower deck or upper deck. Unfortunately, it is north of the Hawthorne bridge, which makes it quite unhelpful for bike riders that would need to use Hawthorne as a detour.

maxD
maxD
1 month ago
Reply to  PdxPhoenix

no

Jay Cee
Jay Cee
1 month ago

if you want more proof that pbot considers biking just an optional recreational activity, look at how they treat this closer of a main cycling route.

Imagine if they closed a main road to all cars indefinitely – but first waited for a whole week after it’s closed before even saying anything about it… yeah right there would be people fired, at the top. If this impacted drivers they would damn well have a date by which it would be open again, press releases, and that fix would come in a matter of hours.

They treat this like it’s just some building escalators that are out of service or something, “oh just take the stairs or the elevator, no biggie, we called someone it will be fixed eventually.”

Chris I
Chris I
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay Cee

All you need is a guy with a radio down there to inform the bridge operator that the path is clear prior to a lift. One flagger for a morning shift, and one for an evening shift, and this could be open 16 hours of the day. About $500 a day to keep this route open, but it isn’t a priority for PBOT, I guess.

Has anyone suggested something like this to PBOT?

Watts
Watts
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris I

I sure wouldn’t want to be alone in that area for hours after dark (especially if I were female). You should probably add in the cost of a security detail.

qqq
qqq
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

Why?

Watts
Watts
1 month ago
Reply to  qqq

Why?

At night, the crocs crawl out of the river to feed. Crikey!

RJ
RJ
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

It is already a connection with such safety issues that friends and family are unwilling to use the route. I’ve personally witnessed unsafe criminal activity and unpredictable behavior from those facing drug or mental health challenges and will not ride here myself anymore. I will never take my kid on the bike into town on this route anymore and I’m saddened that some level of direct city ambassadorship or light presence of law enforcement is not providing a barrier between a few individuals hijacking this critical connection into downtown for so many. Perhaps this closure should be elevated to address the wider problems with safety along our critical bike corridors.

maxD
maxD
1 month ago
Reply to  RJ

I will second this, RJ. I ride through here daily- it is super sketchy in the winter/dark months especially. The bike lanes on Naito that go under Steel viaduct are one of onlya handful of places in Portland I will no longer go- I have been menaced adn threatened and even had sticks and bats swung at me just for riding through there. It is common to see people taking light poles apart, and starting fires using hand sanitizer gel in the roack and landscape areas. People are openly drinking and smoking drugs and passing out or fighting. It is a total mess. You can access Naito at the Steel bridge, but there are frequent closures of that park for homeless meal events and saturday market. It is another thing PBOT and PP&R simply ignore.

John V
John V
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

Somebody already works there after dark! They have to get to and from places. The city doesn’t go to sleep entirely (although mostly), and people don’t walk around with bodyguards everywhere they go. This is a radio person watching the bridge, and furthermore the suggestion was 16 hours a day, not all night.

maxD
maxD
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay Cee

OMG, this is EXACTLY what I came here to say! PBOT pretends to wonder why biking numbers are down- here is one one example out of a hundred- they don’t care one little bit about maintaining transportation for anyone who is not driving a car. Bridge gets closed without a detour or even a simple warning sign. They fenced off the sidewalk along Naito also without a warning or detour. I let them know, thinking what an easy to shift the fence in 20 feet to keep the sidewalk open. PBOT responds: people can use they bike lanes to walk in, that is an MUP now. (except, good luck navigating that while blind! Also, your MUP is also a loading zone at random times throughout every week, so don’t plan on using it with your kids. PBOT maintains zero level of service for bikes or peds and it really sucks

Eddy Armstrong
Eddy Armstrong
1 month ago
Reply to  maxD

Once the photo and newspaper headlines of a capital project , the operation and maintenance budget is not important. Nobody got a job from maintenance, except wartime soldiers

Chris
Chris
1 month ago
Reply to  Jay Cee

In the before times, legend has it that a brave group of cyclists brought about change by forming something called a ‘Critical Mass’. This NONVIOLENT group would impact traffic downtown, making their presence known by legally taking the lanes. They prevailed in their battle and thus Portland’s bike infrastructure was born.

Alas, they disbanded back to their homes and families, as any honorable warrior would do then their foe capitulated.

Could it be time for those legendary warriors to return to our fine city in it’s time of need?

Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
1 month ago

The path on the lower deck of the Steel Bridge has been closed for a week now I don’t have a date for reopening at this time.” In the interim, people can use the upper deck…

PBOT is ODOT with different initials.
.
Also… Platinum!!!

Aaron
Aaron
1 month ago

If this closed off the car lanes instead it would have been fixed within the week.

I had some more opinions written out but I deleted the rest because I think that really says it all.

maxD
maxD
1 month ago
Reply to  Aaron

When PBOT closes a lane on Naito, they put up multiple signs warning of the future closure a week in advance, and then they provide a signed detour, even though it is just driving a block over on a city grid!

Kyle Banerjee
Kyle Banerjee
1 month ago

I’m curious why it takes so long to fix a camera, but this extended closure hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be — everyone seems to be playing particularly nice, and it seems like more people are choosing alternate routes rather than taking the sidewalk.

While neither the upper deck nor the walkway are particularly enjoyable, I always take one those options (the precise choice depends on which looks better in the moment) to the lower path simply because it’s faster.

I’ve never had a negative interaction on either the walkway nor the deck. On the walkway, all you need to do is pass whoever you encounter in a way that is appropriate to them (which may mean you need to put a foot on the ground or chill for a bit if you need to get by multiple people, especially when there is two way flow). The deck is not as gnarly as it looks, but you can get stuck in traffic too — every now and then I lift my bike over the guardrail so I can continue on the walkway.

As an observation, there’s a sign alerting to the presence of cyclists and sharrows on the deck (though I hardly ever see cyclists on the deck). Despite the markings and the sign, it’s not a bike friendly section, but it’s also not awful.

In my experience, nothing improves riding like the presence of cyclists as it raises awareness that they exist while dispelling the narrative that they don’t belong. Fairmont is a fun and popular place to ride despite being a narrow road with no shoulder and blind curves everywhere. Skyline has relatively fast traffic in addition to blind curves and no shoulders, but you can still find as many cyclists there as on showcase infrastructure.

EEE
EEE
1 month ago
Reply to  Kyle Banerjee

Taking the upper deck would be a lot more palatable if drivers could be troubled to obey the 25 mph speed limit. The city should lower it 20 and put up a few speed cameras, which I doubt would “malfunction” at all (unless shot at) or for as long as the lower deck camera.

maxD
maxD
1 month ago
Reply to  EEE

In my experience, drivers DO NOT expect to see a bike on the upper deck, and the presence of a bike is met with either patient or angry impatience. It is really scary to have someone tailgate and honk repeatedly at you when you are on a bike. The sidewalk is no really viable because lots of people are walking/jogging on it due to the closure. It seems so easy for PBOT just put up some orange signs that say “BIKES ON ROAD’ or similar so cars and bikes know what to expect. It is really disheartening to just to be thrown into conflict with cars again and again

X
X
1 month ago
Reply to  Kyle Banerjee

“I’ve never had a negative interaction on…the deck.”

Never is a long time. I’ve ridden the deck W bound sporadically, E bound maybe once? It’s pretty normal to be tailgated by a motor vehicle driver who wants to exceed the posted speed limit. That’s negative enough for me. This crossing is for medium fast riders with good bike handling skills (you need to be 100% crossing trolley tracks or you could eat it pretty badly).

Rev Ratch
Rev Ratch
1 month ago
Reply to  Kyle Banerjee

This attitude is why things never improve infrastructure wise. I’m happy to hear you have anecdotal evidence saying it’s not bad. I’m not sure how “more exposure to bikes” will make cars safer around cyclists. People have increasingly become worse and more distracted at driving. There are giant iPads as dashboards in cars now…

Glad the closure is fine for you though.

Kyle Banerjee
Kyle Banerjee
1 month ago
Reply to  Rev Ratch

Not sure how long you’ve lived in Portland. The infrastructure has improved consistently and continues to do so. Paint along the likes of Interstate, Willamette, and Lombard are the difference between paths only suitable for the most traffic hardened riders and normal people, and there are a bunch of separated sections that didn’t exist throughout town.

Cars work better with bikes where they expect to see them. If they’re not mentally prepared to see them, you get more conflict. For example, many drivers here look to see if cyclists are passing from behind when making turns. This behavior is nonexistent everywhere else I’ve ever ridden. You can get away with behaviors in Portland that would be suicidal elsewhere.

The Steel Bridge isn’t great, but it gets the job done. And for those who aren’t comfortable with that, Burnside is just two blocks away — literally a minute on a bike at a relaxed pace.

For cycling to be viable, there has to be at least some willingness to work with realistic conditions. Gotta come to terms with rain, darkness, wind, distance, hills, people riding your tail (cars do this to each other), and everything else that’s part of the environment in a crowded area where peoples’ paths constantly intersect. Otherwise paving over more living things for aspirational infrastructure isn’t going to accomplish much.

Matt Villers
Matt Villers
1 month ago
Reply to  Kyle Banerjee

“I’m totally comfortable swimming within a few feet of great white sharks. Unlike tiger sharks, they’re statistically very good at distinguishing humans from seals and attacks are rare. I don’t know what everyone’s so afraid of.”

I think maybe we just have very different ideas of what “realistic conditions” are. I consider myself a confident and experienced rider and I find the merge into traffic after going WB on Burnside bridge exceptionally stressful. There’s a reason so many people are willing to go out of their way to take the Steel bridge lower deck.

maxD
maxD
1 month ago
Reply to  Kyle Banerjee

my commute is from North Portland to the the riverfront on the west side of the river, south of the Hawthorne. The Burnside bridge is more than a 2-block detour and poorly connected to any of my routes. I can take the spanned, but the bumps on the floating walkway are so severe that I scramble my lunch EVERY morning. I have started taking the Broadway Bridge, but it comes with many more conflict points. I have been commuting for decades, so not a huge deal, but it is significantly more stressful and unpleasant. The biggest frustration for me is just how pathetic PBOT is, continuously and repeatedly. They just refuse to do the bare minimum to maintain the bike network as a functional piece of transportation infrastructure. Their are alternative routes, and they are not horrible, but PBOT cannot be bothered to put out some advance warning signs, or provide a detour, or add some advisory signs so people driving know that the lower deck is closed and they should expect more bikes on the upper deck.

blumdrew
1 month ago
Reply to  Kyle Banerjee

Fairmont is a loop road in the west hills with basically no through traffic. Of course it’s nice to ride a bike on. Skyline is definitely not for the faint of heart though – even outside the climbing to get there. I’ve been close passed downhill going 25 to 30 mph around blind corners, even if it is usually fine.

And the upper deck is definitely inconvenient if you are approaching the Steel Bridge from the Esplanade (which I usually am)

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  blumdrew

Blum, Fairmount is a cut-through route from 26 to OHSU, the city’s largest employer and main medical center. When they closed Gibbs for six weeks to hook up the apartment building to utilities, it caused big traffic jams at Broadway/Terwilliger/26. That cut-through is why they the Talbot/Marquam Hill Rd segment is posted 25 mph, instead of 20 mph, like it should be.

blumdrew
1 month ago

Ah, that makes sense why I see some cars around that intersection occasionally, hadn’t really considered that 🙂

Kyle Banerjee
Kyle Banerjee
1 month ago

Agreed this section should be 20, but I think the riding experience would be the same with a lower speed limit. I rode this section daily for 8 years. My consistent experience is drivers who catch me from behind are much more patient than they would be on sections where cyclists are not so common.

My biggest issue in this area is that there are often really big/dangerous potholes and cracks on Marquam below Fairmont that are hard to spot in the shadows or dark.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  Kyle Banerjee

My husband has commuted it daily for, I don’t know, 15 years? I used to walk it. It’s beautiful. And it’s really nice once you get past Marquam Hill Rd. Between Talbot and Marquam Hill, what happens to my husband, regularly, is that brain-dead drivers pull over into the opposite lane to pass in one of the many blind curves, encounter a driver going the opposite direction, and react by swinging back into him. But it depends on what time of day you are on the road. That’s a rush-hour occurrence.

The pot holes on Greenway and Marquam Hill are really bad. And drivers go way too fast on those roads.

But yeah, compared to other places in the city, it’s really nice. There are more people walking than riding, so that helps too.

Kyle Banerjee
Kyle Banerjee
1 month ago

I see this too (usually not as bad on Fairmont as some of the other roads) and I agree the considerable foot traffic helps. This entire area is decent overall and surprisingly nice given that we’re located in one of the most densely populated areas of the western United States.

One variation I see of the behavior you describe is drivers on the wrong side of the road (i.e. taking the apex so they can take it faster) — I’ve come close to head on collisions despite being only a couple feet from the edge. I’d wonder how drivers avoid crashing into each other, except they sometimes don’t.

Sadly, staying out of trouble requires assuming drivers will do the dumbest and most dangerous thing possible.

Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor
Reply to  Kyle Banerjee

Drivers do fly off the road … but yeah, not too many crashes.

John Sturgill
John Sturgill
1 month ago
Reply to  Kyle Banerjee

As a pedestrian, I find most cyclists to be as bad if not worse than cars. I have been hit by cyclists from behind twice on the top deck of the Steele bridge. One of the riders hit me so hard that it bent the front wheel of her bike when she slammed into my back pack that I carry filled with sand (I ruck for exercise). It knocked the wind out of me and my wrists still bother me from the fall I took. (By the way, I was so far to the right side of the path that I was touching the rail when she plowed into me.) . The worst part other than the scuffs, bruises, and destroyed clothing and $300 pack, was her anger at me for not getting out of her way. Her comment, ”This is a bike town (expletive)”. The second worst part was that I was not surprised by her tone. In my experience, cyclists want all the protections and right away that the pedestrians have and all the access and privileges that drivers have. Rolling stops, blowing through lights, riding on congested walkways, blowing through crosswalks, making insanely fast, blind right turns, all with the confidence, that a hectoring ”On your left” should part the traffic like Moses. Cyclists want the roads, the shoulders, the sidewalks, and the pathways to cater to their desires, traffic to magically adjust to their speed, and pedestrians to scurry out of their way.

As someone who does not drive and does not bike , I find the back and forth between both sides to maddening. Neither side is willing to share. Both sides are oblivious to people on foot until we are an obstacle and when we inadvertently slow them down they are impatient and chiding.

Chris I
Chris I
1 month ago
Reply to  John Sturgill

Only one of the three sides is killing people every day.

X
X
1 month ago
Reply to  John Sturgill

Ouch. I’m really sorry to hear about your fall and the person who hit you sounds pretty bizarre. People walking and biking should have common causes and I would agree with you that bike riders should adjust their speed to that of a walker before passing in a narrow way.

It’s crazy that our transportation infrastructure doesn’t thoroughly support the thing that we all have to do sometimes, which is walk. We need a commissioner of walking and a department of walkways because in American English, unfortunately, ‘transportation’ just means ‘cars’.

maxD
maxD
1 month ago
Reply to  John Sturgill

As a cyclist, I agree! PBOT does a terrible job managing conflict through design and management. Better Naito is a great example- there are lots of built-in conflict points between cyclist and cars and pedestrians. Since the design is terrible and there is not management (signage or paint) or enforcement, cyclists are forced to navigate the conflicts on their own. Of course some get defensive and combative. But is not the fault of selfish cyclists or stupid drivers or even horrible joggers- it is PBOT’s fault. They are sloppy, inattentive designers and negligent managers.

Serenity
Serenity
1 month ago
Reply to  Kyle Banerjee

I’m curious why it takes so long to fix a camera,

Bureaucracy.

blumdrew
1 month ago

I get the safety concerns for bridge operations, but couldn’t they just get someone with a walkie talkie to sit on a chair near the entrance instead? I know the Steel Bridge has a crazy ownership/jurisdictional thing where it’s owned by UPRR, leased to ODOT, and then subleased to TriMet – but the fact that we just close arguably the most important river crossing for bikes/peds without even (publicly) considering a band aid like this is so frustrating.

Can you imagine if they did this for Burnside? A camera breaks making the bridge operator unable to know if cars have cleared the road, so they just close the road with no timeline on reopening? I imagine PBOT would (rightfully) move heaven and earth for that situation – I’d like to know why they think this is different, and I would like them to say it.

dw
dw
1 month ago
Reply to  blumdrew

I highly doubt anyone who is in charge of the bridge has the staffing flexibility to have someone sit there with a walkie talkie 24/7.

You (and others in the comments) are right about how they’d be working overtime to get it fixed if it was an auto route. Kind of crazy how much of our “best” bike infrastructure is never really there all the time. I’m thinking things like this Steel Bridge ped/bikeway closure, the Eastbank Esplanade getting flooded, the floating section closing when the river is too high, or cars parked in the Natio bike lane for Saturday Market.

Chris I
Chris I
1 month ago
Reply to  dw

Hire an outside construction company to provide a flagger with a radio. This is really simple, but our city lacks imagination and doesn’t care enough about the impacts to active transportation.

Matt S.
Matt S.
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris I

Portland is branded as a bike city, but the fact is, the majority don’t ride bikes. PBOT’s lackadaisical response reflects this unfortunate statical reality.

maxD
maxD
1 month ago
Reply to  dw

If the route has to be closed, provide advanced warning signs and signed detour. That is standard operating procedure for a transportation system

Zaza
Zaza
1 month ago

PBOT doesnt give a crap about pedestrians or cyclists. If this was an issue on the main deck it would be fixed within the hour.

Al
Al
1 month ago

I hope they get it fixed soon. If this was a car lane it would be fixed already

Ross
Ross
1 month ago

They’d hire someone to manually stand there while the cameras were broken before even considering closing the car portion of the bridge.

qqq
qqq
1 month ago

As soon as the route was closed, PBOT should have put BIKE DETOUR signs up on the bridge’s upper deck so drivers would be warned, instead of just telling bike riders to go up there and take your changes with drivers who think you shouldn’t be there.

SD
SD
1 month ago

Is it really not possible just to go buy some temporary cameras to put on the bridge? If it seems like a waste of money, just return the cameras for a refund when the regular cameras are fixed.

Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
1 month ago
Reply to  SD

Obviously blocking a major cycling transportation route is considered a good trade-off to spending several hundred dollars for some rechargeable security cameras with LTE sim cards.
.
This reminds me of how the Burnside bridge-adjacent bike lane (on the E-side of river) was removed with no accommodation for almost a year (2022-2023). This anti-cycling bureau expected people cycling to merge into aggressive speeding rush hour traffic for a couple of blocks. I had so many close-calls at the location that I can completely understand why so many commuters have thrown in the towel.

Watts
Watts
1 month ago
Reply to  SD

Who’s going to figure out what kind of camera to get? Who’s going to do the procurement? And from which vendor? Are the cameras available quickly? Who’s going to do the power and data connection? Who’s going to figure out how to mount them? Who’s going to get the networking figured out?

The contractor.

None of these are insurmountable for PBOT staff, but installing new cameras is more complex than it sounds, especially in an organization like the city where there are rules for who does what, who tasks whom, who can put stuff on the network, and where you buy what sort of equipment.

PBOT could cultivate and maintain all the knowledge and skills in-house, but it’s far easier and cheaper to rent it when you need it.

SD
SD
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

So, have a back up plan with these minor details sorted out for the next time the cameras fail.

Watts
Watts
1 month ago
Reply to  SD

You could do that by having a contract that requires equipment to be replaced within (say) 24 hours. That would mean the contractor would have a backup of everything ready to go, with trained folks able to drop whatever they were doing to address this problem. It’s all possible, but probably expensive. And if that’s the standard, we’d probably want it applied to all sorts of equipment around the city, such as the elevators cyclists depend on.

SD
SD
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

There could easily be back up systems that don’t require this exaggerated approach.
For the Steele Bridge:

How many times is there a lift each day?
Can these be batched by the hour?
Or can the bridge lifts be stopped for specific times?
Why not bring an extra person in?

Without a clear explanation from PBOT, the most likely explanation is that bike and pedestrian travel across the lower deck is not a priority. There is no urgency or even a desire to find a solution.

Watts
Watts
1 month ago
Reply to  SD

Can these be batched by the hour? Or can the bridge lifts be stopped for specific times?

Probably not; lift operation is regulated (by the Coast Guard?)

Why not bring an extra person in?

Where would this extra person come from? Pulled from some other duty that would not get done. There may be union rules that restrict who can be assigned to this job and under what circumstances.

The two most feasible solutions I’ve heard are hire a flagger or tell bridge users to use the detour. PBOT has demonstrated their willingness to leave other crossings in a state of brokenness for many months at a time (think of all the elevator outages we’ve had), and this one seems less onerous.

What’s got people here all fired up is the symbolic aspect*. On a practical level, the current situation isn’t really that bad, at least not for people on a bike.

*People are asking “would they do this for cars?” and the answer is that if something happened that made a bridge unsafe for cars, of course they’d close it for as long as it took to fix, and if that fix required a specific part that was readily available, that closure might be indefinite. If that bridge were used by a few hundred people a day (as opposed to tens of thousands), and there were a detour route nearby, I doubt PBOT would assign anyone to flag that either.

Watts
Watts
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

errr…. was NOT readily available

Female Jo
Female Jo
1 month ago
Reply to  Watts

I5 north is a great example of this coment today. No warning and no flaggers on all the clogged city streets. Just deal with it is the name of the game.
The sudden closure on the lower deck was probably frustrating but geez with all of the complaints in this comment section.

Hunnybee
Hunnybee
1 month ago
Reply to  SD

This being the United Litigious States of America, there is simply no chance of that happening. If something were to go wrong with the temporary cameras and someone ended up injured or dead, the city would be sued and city employees having anything to do with the temporary cameras might end up being fired. No one in the city government will take that chance.

Tegan
Tegan
1 month ago

Couldn’t they just mount a cell phone with a livestream somewhere pointed at the deck and achieve the same purpose within a matter of hours?

Watts
Watts
1 month ago
Reply to  Tegan

Until the battery dies.

Gary
Gary
1 month ago

hmm, wouldnt a bay moniter work, even as a temp fix…or let me ride over at my own risk? Baffling to me how little consideration the people who use this bridge DAILY get??!!

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
1 month ago

Who owns the bridge? PBOT, Multnomah County, or Union Pacific Railroad? Whose responsibility is it to maintain it? Who owns and runs the cameras in question?

Jim xx
Jim xx
1 month ago

The article is mistaken as this isn’t a ‘permanent’ closure. Why would it be?

Chris I
Chris I
1 month ago
Reply to  Jim xx

in·def·i·nite
/inˈdef(ə)nət/

adjective
adjective: indefinite

  1. lasting for an unknown or unstated length of time.
  2. “they may face indefinite detention”
  3. h
  4. Similar:
  5. unknown
FauxPorteur
FauxPorteur
1 month ago

Maybe we should all contact PBOT and tell them we are very wealthy hoteliers with properties downtown and our guests and employees are complaining that they cannot access our properties safely during this interminable route closure. Maybe it will get fixed tonight with no announcements!

maxD
maxD
1 month ago
Reply to  FauxPorteur

cotw

Mark smith
Mark smith
1 month ago

I read all the comments. Let’s be honest. People with influence and money and access to the mayor/council critters drive so they get the platinum experience. People who bike , well, they Are just voters.

Pbot management works 7.5 hours a day at most. 7.25 of that is working for car drivers. Like themselves.

Paige
Paige
1 month ago

The lower deck of the Steel Bridge is how I’ve gotten to work since I started working downtown a couple years ago. I’m lucky that I’ve always enjoyed Better Naito on my commute!

Having switched to the Broadway Bridge during this weird closure, and then taking Broadway into downtown, I find myself a little radicalized about separated, or at least protected, bike infrastructure! I usually take the Broadway bridge on the weekends when traffic is much less intense. But on weekdays Broadway is choked with cars, and that section between Benton and Larrabee where the bike lane crosses over the right lane so cars turning right at Larrabee don’t have to wait for bikes gets so congested that you have to dangerously cut between stopped cars to cross over because they haven’t left the crossover section clear.

At least the Broadway bike lane is pretty good. Compared to Naito, on which you can cruise without stopping for many lights unless there are people crossing on foot, Broadway is a game of catching lights at just the right time or else you stop at every light. It makes for a more stressful commute.

What has radicalized me is the amount of interaction I have to have with people driving on this route. There’s nowhere for me to escape it. Broadway on the eastside relies on a paint-only bike lane right next to traffic. Historically, this hasn’t bothered me, probably because I knew I’d be able to get away eventually. Being stuck in such a situation my whole commute makes it much less appealing. And that’s a problem. I’m a committed bicyclist, but this experience has given me the first sense of hesitation I’ve had regarding my commute in a long time. If I had a kid on my bike with me, if I was riding a baakfiets, or if I was riding with a less-experienced bicyclist, I would definitely choose a different, longer route (probably the Eastbank Esplanade to Hawthorne). And even that is a downside, because my main reason for choosing my bike vs transit most days is that my bike is faster than transit. So if my commute becomes just as long as it would take on the bus, that’s a disincentive to take the bike.

PBOT’s lack of urgency here is irritating and feels a bit like sabotage. As has been stated above multiple times, it would be a BFD if a car lane had to deal with this camera issue. For all the attention paid to working class people who simply must drive their cars to work, the city (PBOT, elected officials, bureaucrats) more often than not disregards, denigrates, and mistreats the working class people who ride their bikes.

I hope the camera issue gets fixed soon.

maxD
maxD
1 month ago
Reply to  Paige

Thanks for this articulate post, Paige! I agree. And thanks for this post Jonathan, this closure has been driving me crazy and it is helpful (but frustrating) to know hat is happening. I hope someone from PBOT sees these comments and figures out that this a BFD (thanks for that {Paige) to a lot of citizens.

Scott Batchelar
Scott Batchelar
1 month ago

Thanks for looking into this Jonathan, I use this path around 10 times each week it’s my primary route to work.

Losing this route has been very frustrating and not having any warning or signs is completely unacceptable.

Until this camera gets fixed I plan to use the Burnside as my temporary route to get to work and into downtown.

Bill Berry
Bill Berry
1 month ago

I like to imagine the response to this kind of malfunction if automobile traffic were impacted rather than cyclists and foot traffic. Would it take several weeks to fix then? Thanks again, Jonathan for your excellent reporting and imploring the city to at least offer traffic calming on the upper deck. It’s scary up there on the roadway I learned a few days ago while cycling home.

Anonymous user
Anonymous user
1 month ago

The title of this article is a false statement

qqq
qqq
1 month ago
Reply to  Anonymous user

Why?

Chris I
Chris I
1 month ago
Reply to  Anonymous user

in·def·i·nite
/inˈdef(ə)nət/
adjective
adjective: indefinite

  1. lasting for an unknown or unstated length of time.
  2. “they may face indefinite detention”
  3. h
  4. Similar:
  5. unknown
Bob Baks
Bob Baks
1 month ago

You should correct the headline to this story.

Bob Baks
Bob Baks
1 month ago

I suppose because people on Reddit continue to reference this headline to malign the city. No worries, you are right the headline was correct at the time and people are probably smart enough to refer to the correction. Better information is always good. Maybe, “City responds to cyclists plea to reopen Steel Bridge pedestrian pathway”. Thank you by the way for everything you do!