A popular bicycle route through River View Cemetery is set to close on August 12th and not re-open until September 27th. Multnomah County officials sent out the traffic alert today, saying the closure is necessary so construction crews can build the new entrance to the Cemetery along Highway 43 that’s coming with the Sellwood Bridge project.
To make room for this work, the road just above the funeral home will be closed. “Unfortunately,” writes County spokesman Mike Pullen, “this work in a very steep area will also close the trail that bicyclists and pedestrians use in the cemetery.”
As alternate routes during the closure, Pullen recommends the West Side Trail and Taylors Ferry Road, which will lead users to the north entrance of the cemetery. To the south, Highway 43 (SW Macadam) can connect users to SW Palatine Hill Road and destinations such as Lewis & Clark College. Unfortunately, neither of these detours is all that great (which is why the cemetery is so popular to begin with).
In an email to BikePortland today, Pullen wrote, “We realize these alternate routes are far from ideal in this very steep area. Taylors Ferry is steep and traffic can be heavy.” Unfortunately, he added, “The grade differential in the work zone prevents us from creating an alternate route within the cemetery.”
The County doesn’t plan to produce an official detour map (“because of the various directions riders may be traveling”), but Pullen did share a Google Earth image with us showing where to expect the closure signs (click to enlarge):
(Graphic: Multnomah County)
–Click to enlarge–
The Executive Director of River View Cemetery David Noble, who has worked to keep the roads open to bicycling for the past several years, says he’s concerned about people bicycling up Taylors Ferry Road because of the lack of a shoulder. He is working with the County to try and get temporary “Bikes on Roadway” warning signs during the upcoming closure.
Hundreds of people use the roads in River View every day to avoid the hair-raising riding conditions on nearby roads. Pullen says the County is well aware of how important these roads are for bicycling and added via email today, “We are asking the contractor to do what they can to shorten the closure as much as possible for bicyclists.”
We’ll keep you posted.
This is just the latest in a series of inconvenient detours in the Portland area this summer. Check our “Detours” page for more info and advisories.