Whenever a carfree bridge over the Willamette River is being built in our region, it’s worth knowing about — especially when that bridge is the lynchpin that will someday connect 1,000 miles of paths and trails in the Portland region with the 134-mile Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway.
The open streets movement is spreading into the suburbs. Today the City of Wilsonville (about 18 miles south of Portland) announced they will hold their first-ever “Sunday Streets” event on August 19th.
Here’s more from South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART):
“This free event will focus on connecting neighborhoods, parks, and people: bicyclists, walkers, runners, seniors, adults and children will enjoy traffic-free streets filled with fun and interactive entertainment, music, physical activities, and food.”
Wilsonville Mayor Tim Knapp says the event will give residents a chance to, “explore our community from a different view.”
(Words and photos by Patrick Croasdaile)
At their work session last night, the Wilsonville City Council voted to accept a $1.25 million federal grant to perform a feasibility study on the French Prairie Bike-Ped Emergency Bridge over the Willamette River. As we shared last week, this was a crucial step in this project’s evolution and it wasn’t a sure thing. In the end, it seems like the potential bike tourism this bridge would make possible is what made councilors comfortable with voting yes.
When the topic of tourism came up at the meeting, Councilor Richard Goddard said that it had changed the conversation about the bridge and allowed him to think about the bridge as a different kind of asset. Council President Celia Nuñez was also supportive of the grant. “[This bridge] gives us an economic development opportunity,” she said, “and allows tourism dollars to pour into the community”. She continued, “if we can be visionary enough to expand transportation options for the city, then that is right on spot.”
Bridge Briefing Booklet (PDF).
This coming Monday, the Wilsonville City Council will convene an important work session that could determine the future of the French Prairie Bike-Ped Emergency Bridge over the Willamette River.
The City of Wilsonville was awarded a $1.25 million federal grant in 2009 to develop a feasibility study and design alternatives for the bridge. At Monday’s meeting, the Council is expected to vote on whether to formally accept the grant and invest the required 10% local match ($125,000) to keep the project moving forward. Or, they could choose to hit the pause button.
(Photos: Patrick Croasdaile for BikePortland)