New path link will open in time to greet Sellwood Bridge, County says

New path link will open in time to greet Sellwood Bridge, County says

sellwood path

An edited overhead map of the new path (highlighted in orange) along the west side of the Willamette River, with east up and Macadam Avenue along the bottom.
(Map: November 2011 Multnomah County open house, edited by BikePortland)

Noting that the current detour along a narrow Macadam Avenue sidewalk “has some challenges,” Multnomah County says it’ll open its much-improved path along the Willamette River by the time the new Sellwood Bridge is ready next year.

“The conditions there are not great, but it is not our road. Better facilities are coming soon… “
— Mike Pullen, Multnomah County

“We definitely do not want to rely on [the detour] after the new bridge opens, because the new bridge will attract a lot more bicyclists and pedestrians,” county spokesman Mike Pullen wrote in an email Friday.

Pullen noted that once the path is open, it’ll create a vastly improved alternative to biking on the current sidewalk along Macadam, which (as a state highway) is beyond the county’s control. We wrote last week about the many problems with that sidewalk, which for the last year has added quite a bit of bike traffic between the driveway to the Macadam Bay Club floating home community and SW Nevada Street as people are diverted during construction.

narrow sidewalk

Bike users are halfway through a two-year detour from the riverside trail to this sidewalk.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

“The conditions there are not great, but it is not our road,” Pullen wrote. “Better facilities are coming soon in an area that has long needed them.”

The new Sellwood Bridge, which will have two 12-foot-wide shared-use sidewalks and also use green pavement to mark two 6.5-foot on-street bike lanes, is expected to open “probably in late 2015,” Pullen said.

bridge cross-section

The Bicycle Transportation Alliance and the county’s Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Committee have been urging the county to open the new off-road path in time for the new bridge rather than in late 2016, as the county estimated this spring when it decided to save an estimated $70,000 by not building a temporary bridge for biking and walking.

Early this month, the county said there was a chance to open the path along the haul road by the time the new bridge opens rather than continuing to divert people toward the sidewalk. Pullen’s email confirmed this change of plans.

work path

Part of the current haul road for construction
vehicles will become the new shared riverside path.

“We appreciate the patience of everyone who has been using the detour,” Pullen wrote. “We’ve made safety improvements along the detour and we have some more changes coming this summer (mostly signage and striping).”

As for the new path, Pullen wrote, “the trail will be adjacent to a construction haul road, so we will need to have a good traffic plan in place to keep everyone safe.”

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