Reader Story: A pleasant way around SW Barbur Blvd

Reader Story: A pleasant way around SW Barbur Blvd

Reader Kevin Wagoner created this map to help explain his favorite new way to avoid SW Barbur Blvd on his daily commute.

Today’s Reader Story comes from southwest Portland resident Kevin Wagoner. He has a route to share that avoids treacherous and unpleasant SW Barbur Blvd. He also drew some cool graphics to go with it….


I’ve been cycling to downtown from South Burlingame for the last decade. Barbur is a fast way to get downtown on a bike. Unfortunately the ride includes merging into traffic going much faster when the bike lane suddenly ends at multiple spots. Places like the bridges and the ‘y’ intersection at Natio Parkway need improvements and lower speeds to improve safety.

Recently I’ve started riding along the river to SW trails to get home. Following the SW trail along the river out of downtown is a much more fun and safe experience. I personally enjoy the daily wildlife encounters; highlights include the occasional beaver, seal or eagle.

(Graphic by Kevin Wagoner)

Here’s my route:

At Willamette Park turn right on Nebraska. Continue two blocks to Virginia. From here go forward to SW Corbett (very steep) or turn left toward Laview (less steep one block up Taylors Ferry). Once at the top of Corbett continue south and turn right on Custer. Take Custer until it turns into a short gravel section to a set of steep stairs. Climbing up the stairs will take you into South Burlingame.

The section at the end of Custer is part of the SW Trails. It runs under I-5, doesn’t have the safest feel, and due to gravel and steep hill it won’t be an alternative for everyone. Creating a paved bike trail here would increase the number of bikes (and people) in this area, which could help make it feel much safer. I know some of the neighbors in this area take personal responsibility in keeping the area clean. They paint over graffiti, chase off people doing drugs, and pick up trash along the area. Routing more cyclists through this area would help create a more positive experience and help the efforts to make the area awesome.

This route likely adds 25 minutes combined both directions to my commute each day. Sometimes those minutes feel very valuable as I race home to pick up my child from daycare. Other times those minutes are pure enjoyable cycling leisure. Let me know if you ride this route and what you think.


Thanks for sharing your story Kevin! You can find more Reader Stories in our archives. If anyone else has a story they’d like to share with the community, please send it in via email or use our online submission form.

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