County re-thinks cemetery detour: Bikers will be flagged through work zone

County re-thinks cemetery detour: Bikers will be flagged through work zone

Multnomah County has revised their detour plans for a construction project that was going to close the popular bicycle route through River View Cemetery near the Sellwood Bridge. After our story on Monday, County spokesman says he heard from many people concerned about the safety of the proposed detours (which included a gauntlet-running uphill on SW Taylors Ferry Rd.). Here’s more from Pullen via the official County statement:

“After we announced an upcoming construction closure of a road in Riverview Cemetery last week, we heard from bicyclists concerned about the safety of alternate east/west routes. This week the project team worked with Riverview Cemetery staff to revise the traffic plan so that bicyclists and pedestrians will be able to use the road during construction of the new cemetery entrance from August 12 through September.”

This is welcome news for the many people who rely on the bike-friendly paths through the cemetery on their daily rides. But it comes with a stern warning and a threat about going back to the original plan if people do not use caution while going through the work area.

“Typically, public access would not be permitted inside a work zone,” reads the statement, “The cemetery and project team are willing to maintain public access to trail users as long as users comply with these safety rules and follow the direction of flaggers and traffic control devices. If users do not comply, the trail will need to be closed for public safety.”

Here are the details of the plan, followed by a map provided by the County:

  • The construction zone includes about 100 yards of the road in a steep, curving section above the funeral home near the entrance from Hwy. 43 (see red line in attached graphic).
  • A narrow path (3 – 4 feet wide) will be maintained along the edge of the work zone. The path surface will shift from pavement to gravel, surface conditions will change daily, and heavy construction traffic will be nearby.
  • During work hours (typically from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays), flaggers will direct traffic at each end of the work zone. Bicyclists will need to dismount and walk their bike through the work zone for safety.
  • The trail will be open during some non-work hours. Trail users should use caution when passing through the area at non-work times, especially at night. The cemetery closes the road in the late evening.
  • The cemetery road remains closed to all motorized traffic above the funeral home from August 12 until late September. The funeral home can be accessed from Hwy. 43 during construction.

– Click to enlarge –

It’s great to see Multnomah County reverse course with this plan. Thanks to everyone who emailed the County with concerns. It reminds us of what ODOT did last month on the St. Johns Bridge, where an initial detour plan was particularly onerous for bicycle riders, so they worked with the construction crews to maintain access during the closure. What these examples show is that large agencies listen to your feedback. It also underscores how little redundancy and how few safe and direct connections there are for bicycling in our road network.

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