A new bit of hope for fixing the ‘Naito Gap’

A new bit of hope for fixing the ‘Naito Gap’

Curving paths would help cross
the Steel Bridge railroad tracks.

After six years of promising to fix a persistent rift in downtown’s bike lane grid, city planners have a new plan to link the bike lanes north and south of the Steel Bridge on the Naito Parkway.

As you can see from the city’s tentative sketch, lots of hardware changes are required — tasks that will have to be completed by Union Pacific Railroad are marked in red — but project manager Rich Newlands tells us that the city is springing for its own analysis of the situation in order to avoid further delays from partner organizations.

The plan relies on adding soft curves to the bike lanes in each direction so they can intersect the cross-cutting railroad tracks at close to a right angle.

“The railroad will not give us a cost estimate … until we have an approved rail crossing order from the state (can take up to 6 months after completion of 90% plans) and they have done design engineering (up to another 6 months),” Newlands writes. “So, instead of waiting that long to see if it really is still a feasible project, we have hired a consultanting firm (D[avid] E[vans and A[ssociates]) with railroad design expertise to come up with a cost estimate for the railroad work. We met with them earlier this week and should have the estimate by early August.”

We’ve been covering this annoying disconnect for a long time — Jonathan named it as one of “five languishing bike projects” citywide in 2010, the rest of which are now complete — and once a solution is finally found, this’ll be a great help in linking the waterfront housing north of downtown with Portland’s richest job and commercial district.

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