The new GIBBS STREET BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE is a much-needed connection in Southwest Portland between the Lair Hill Neighborhood and the South Waterfront District. It has an elevator large enough for tandems, cargo bikes and bikes with trailers. The bridge is wide with plenty of room for cyclists and walkers. On the east end the bridge connects with the new Moody Cycle Track. On the west end you can easily connect to Barbur Blvd, Corbett Ave. or downtown. >From the bridge, there is a great view of the river and the Ross Island Bridge. There is a slight problem with the bridge for cyclists. There will be times when the elevator is not available. There is a so-called wheel gutter on one side of the stairs, only. It is just a few inches of concrete and totally inadequate. Plus the stair hand rail sticks out, causing you to have to put your bike at an angle on the gutter. Not a good situation. Let’s hope the elevator is always an option or that they do something to fix the wheel gutter.
Here is an update on the status of NEIGHBORHOOD GREENWAYS (formerly Bike Boulevards) which are found in every section of the city. Also PBOT is planning to install 250-300 new 20 mph speed limit signs to lower the speed limit by 5 mph. This will make these streets much safer and more appealing to cyclists and walkers.
- North 80s– construction is complete, including signal work at SE Division. A North-South bike boulevard is needed in the streets in the 80’s. There is currently a route on SE. 80th St. and NE. 81st St. but it does not go all the way through to give good north-south access. The plan is to use those two streets and others as needed to make a continuous, signed, route that will become a neighborhood greenway with traffic calming, turned stop signs, etc. to make it more bike friendly.
- N Central, NE Holman, SE Bush– construction complete (except for some planting of swales and clean up work) – HAWK signal at 122nd and Bush is on; raised crosswalks on N Central to go in this month
- North Portland Connector– under construction (pathway to connect with the Peninsula Crossing trail is starting)
- SW Maplewood– under construction
- South 80s– under construction. See explanation of North 80s above.
- Going to the River– bumps and sharrows going in (though between Alberta and Killingsworth will need to wait for some street repair)
- SE 19th– outreach complete
- NE 77th/Sacramento – outreach mostly complete
Because of an increase in cost estimates for the SELLWOOD BRIDGE project, one proposal was to cut some of the biking and walking access. After an outcry from walking and cycling advocacy groups and neighborhood activists, it was decided to keep the design as it was proposed and find other ways to cut costs. The key bicycle access components will remain, including green-colored bike lanes (green pavement, not just paint) for the entire length of the bridge. Hopefully the new bridge will be completed by 2016.
SUNDAY PARKWAYS finally made it to Southwest Portland in late July. Southwest poses problems for biking and walking because of lack of street connectivity, major hills, no street grid system, inadequate or no sidewalks and shoulders, etc. But somehow over 10,000 people managed to ride or walk on the 8-mile loop. There was also a mostly separate 4 mile walking route showcasing some of Southwest’s trail system which not too many walkers found.