Five-week Aerial Tram closure starts tomorrow: Here’s what you need to know

Look for these signs to guide you through the bike detour.
(Photo: @madeyerish on Twitter)

If you are one of the 2,500 or so OHSU employees who bike to campus and use the Portland Aerial Tram to get that free lift up to Marquam Hill, remember that you’ll have to change your plans for the next five weeks.

As we shared last fall, a routine maintenance project will close the tram tomorrow through the end of next month (July 30th). The bad news is that people will have to figure out other ways to get up the hill — none of which will be as easy or convenient. But the good news is that the Portland Aerial Tram, OHSU and other agencies are pulling out all the stops to make sure things go as smoothly as possible during the closure.

The GoByTram.com website has all the information you need to plan your trip by transit, biking, or walking. There’s even a frequent daily shuttle service they’ve set up just for the closure.

When it comes to biking, here’s what you need to know:

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The Aerial Tram will close for 38 days next summer

Go By Bike shop in South Waterfront-9

The Tram reflected in an OHSU building as seen from the Go By Bike valet lot.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

I know it’s eight months away, but I thought you might want to start saving up for an e-bike…

The Portland Aerial Tram will close for track maintenance from June 23rd through July 30th, 2018. That’s 38 days where you’ll have to find a different way up the hill. If you need or want to bike up to Marquam Hill for the campus and facilities of Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), your ride will go from 180 seconds to about 30 minutes. Or maybe not (keep reading).

The Tram is a crucial link between South Waterfront and Marquam Hill for 7,000 daily commuters. OHSU data shows that of the 10,000 employees who work on the hill, about one-fourth of those who take the tram use a bike to get to campus. The Go By Bike valet at the base of the Tram averages over 328 bikes in its parking lot every day.

If a bunch of people decide to hop in a car during the closure this summer, it could be a mess. Not only are the roads leading to Marquam Hill relatively narrow, parking is extremely limited (Metro has reported an eight-year waiting list and an average monthly fee of $128) and spots must be maintained for patients and their visitors. Hopefully a large percentage of people will continue to bike. But it won’t be easy…

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City has sketched up plans for a Better Naito all the way to Harrison

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
 

This stretch of Naito has never had a bikeway. One could become a crucial connection if it were added, but it’d mean making at least part of “Better Naito,” the temporarily improved stretch of road immediately to the north, permanent.
(Image: Google Maps)

As Portland prepares to remove a temporary protected bike lane on Monday and biking advocates prepare to call for permanent improvements with a human-protected bike lane demonstration tonight, a separate discussion has been going on.

As part of last year’s voter-approved Fixing Our Streets program, the city has promised to reconstruct and repave Naito Boulevard between the Hawthorne Bridge and Interstate 405. But state law requires reconstructed roads to add bike facilities — and that stretch of Naito has never had bike lanes.

The result: The city has worked up a rough engineering concept that includes a bike path and protected two-way bike lanes between Salmon Street and Harrison Street, including on-street protected bike lanes beneath the Hawthorne Bridge onramp that would permanently repurpose one of Naito’s four auto traffic lanes for biking, at least at this crucial pinchpoint.

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First look: The Willamette riverfront path that Tesla built

Willamette Greenway path-1.jpg

A section of paved path built adjacent to the (in-progress) Tesla showroom on the Willamette River with South Waterfront’s residential towers in the background.
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

When Tesla Motors revealed plans for a showroom in Portland last May we feared the worst. The location of the showroom (4330 SW Macadam Avenue) on the west side of the Willamette River just south of Portland’s burgeoning South Waterfront district, was smack-dab in the middle of an annoying gap in a key multi-use path.

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Concepts come into focus for ‘North Reach’ of South Waterfront Greenway path

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Artist’s rendition of how biking and walking paths could intersect with a public plaza on the Willamette riverfront as part of the South Waterfront Greenway’s North Reach.
(Graphics: Sasaki via Portland Parks & Recreation)

The City of Portland is in the latter stages of a master plan update process that will decide the fate of the northernmost section of the South Waterfront Greenway path. Last week Portland Parks & Recreation released three of the design concepts in a presentation given by project consultants and now they want to hear your feedback.

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Biking and Safe Routes to School programs come up big in $2.5 million worth of regional grants

Bike to School Day in NoPo-17

About a quarter of the grants went to Safe Routes to School programs.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Here’s some good news: Metro just announced grants to 17 agencies and organizations throughout the region that will make it easier to get around without driving alone. The grants are worth a total of $2.5 million — money that comes from the federal government and is doled out by Metro via their Regional Travel Options (RTO) program.

Metro spokesman Craig Beebe said, “This cycle’s awardees continue the program’s trend of focusing on youth and underserved communities.”

On that note, a $178,000 grant to the Community Cycling Center will allow the nonprofit to implement a “community centered” Safe Routes to School program at Title I schools (where students come from low-income families). And the Bicycle Transportation Alliance won $203,000 for an “Access to Bicycling initiative” that will include a continuation of their Women Bike program and hands-on bike repair and riding clinics at workplaces and in communities around the region. In Washington County, the Westside Transportation Alliance will use its $196,000 grant to encourage biking, walking and transit use in areas with a high percentage of low-wage and shift workers.

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Willamette Greenway path closed for two weeks – UPDATED

Willamette Greenway path closure through December 14th.(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)
Willamette Greenway path closure through December 14th.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

A construction project on the west side of the Willamette River just south of the South Waterfront district has closed the Greenway path and the City of Portland has offered no official detour.

Crews from Fore Construction are building the Sanctuary Apartments at 4800 SW Landing Drive. A notice distributed by the company last week said work on the apartments will include the rebuilding and resurfacing of the Willamette Greenway path and the path will be closed through December 14th.

Fore’s statement said, “We will endeavor to keep as much of the trail open as possible during this period.” There was no specific timeline for when the path would be fully closed or open during construction and no detour map was provided with the company statement. We asked Fore and the Portland Parks & Recreation bureau what bicycle riders should do when the path is closed.

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