Metro releases plan for $50 million Hillsboro-to-Banks biking and walking path

Metro releases plan for $50 million Hillsboro-to-Banks biking and walking path

council creek route

Red: short-term. Green: mid-term.
Blue: long-term.
(Image: Metro)

An arrow-straight railside trail between Hillsboro and Forest Grove would be one of the first phases of a planned bikeway through the heart of Washington County.

The Council Creek Regional Trail is a vision for a mostly off-road connection between Hillsboro, Forest Grove and Banks — which will also connect the westernmost stop in the MAX system with some of Oregon’s best rural bike routes, including the beloved Banks-Vernonia Trail and a possible future connection to the Pacific Coast.

When we last checked in on the planning process, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance was urging planners to choose the shorter, straighter “Rail 1” route between Hillsboro and Banks rather than a winding creekside alternative to the north.

According to the master plan published last month, the straight railside route was chosen, meaning that this is also likely to become, someday, a popular transportation connection west of Hillsboro.

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hillsborothing1

Cross-section concept for the Forest Grove section of the path.
(Grahic: Metro)

There are many more details in the new plan (PDF), including some preliminary cost estimates, lots of details about the likely and possible alignments and how bike traffic will be separated from auto traffic. (Most segments are multi-use paths but a few stretches include bike lanes or wide sidewalks.)

Like other plans, this one is just a starting gun for fundraising to begin. But nobody is going to fund an idea that hasn’t been planned yet, and thanks to Washington County’s tradition of funding paths with property tax revenue and its strong support for bike recreation, getting this bikeway on the ground is very likely to happen eventually.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org


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