First look: Sharrows installed on historic Oregon City/West Linn Arch Bridge

First look: Sharrows installed on historic Oregon City/West Linn Arch Bridge

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Freshly laid sharrow on the (still closed for repairs) Oregon City/West Linn Arch Bridge.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)


The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) has listened — and reacted to — community feedback calling for improved bicycle access on the Oregon City Arch Bridge. Today, while in Oregon City for an unrelated story, I happened to notice that crews have installed sharrows on the newly-renovated bridge that connects the city with West Linn.

The bridge has been closed for repairs for two years and is set to open with a carfree grand celebration this weekend. Back in August, we wondered whether ODOT should consider sharrows on the deck of the bridge. After all, they recently installed sharrows on the St. Johns Bridge, and there are similar conditions on the Oregon City Arch Bridge. However, unlike the St. Johns Bridge, the Arch Bridge is much narrower (just one lane in each direction with no shoulder) and the sidewalk is even less hospitable to bicycling (making sharrows even more necessary).

It turned out that ODOT and others were thinking the same thing. I hadn’t heard from ODOT in a few weeks and I assumed they were working to get final sign-off from stakeholders on both sides of the river before making a final decision; but after seeing it with my own eyes yesterday, I no longer have to wait for that decision.

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One thing of note is that the sharrow marking they’ve used on the bridge is non-standard. Instead of the FHWA-approved symbol of a bicycle and two chevrons, they’ve used the bicycle rider symbol with two chevrons. I’m not sure why they did that (and I’m not sure if it’s significant), but it’s worth noting.

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These sharrows — combined with a recently completed downtown transportation revitalization plan that has brought smooth streets, sharrows, and new bicycle wayfinding signage — has improved riding conditions in downtown Oregon City. Another major bright spot in the area is the new Trolley Trail. If you’d like to get out there and check these new bikeways out for yourself, Portlander Matt Picio is leading a ride on the Trolley Trail this Saturday that will end at the Willamette Falls Festival.

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