For over a decade the city of Cascade Locks in the Columbia River Gorge has wanted to rebuild the entrance to their marquee destination: Marine Park. Now the project is moving forward and they want to hear what you think about the options.
Currently, the only entrance to Marine Park (a place that attracts 350,000 annual visitors) is down a narrow road at the far end of the main commercial area. The road makes a sharp right turn under a set of railroad tracks before emerging on the other side. Besides having height restrictions, the underpass is so narrow that there’s no accomodation for people on foot or on bikes. “The current undercrossing’s narrow width is dangerous to pedestrians, strollers, wheelchair users and cyclists trying to enter or exit the park at the same time as vehicles,” wrote the Port of Cascade Locks to the Oregon Department of Transportation in a project grant application. “It has a steep grade, blind 90-degree corner, and shared lanes. The new overcrossing would protect non-vehicle traffic from potential crashes.”
The Port has decided to build a new bridge that will connect Wa Na Pa Street (Highway 30, the town’s main street) at the busiest part of downtown directly to the park. The project will cost an estimated $3,000,000 and there was a town hall meeting in Cascade Locks last night to view and offer feedback on the proposed designs.
There are three basic alternatives under consideration: a bridge with elevator and stairs (either steel or concrete); a bridge with elevator and a ramp; or a bridge with stairs and a ramp. At the meeting last night attendees were asked to choose their favorite based on the newly released drawings below:
This is an important project not just for Cascade Locks but for everyone who uses (or plans to use) the Historic Columbia River Highway State Trail. Just 50 miles east of Portland (and 25 miles east of Troutdale), Cascade Locks has become a major destination for both casual and serious bicycle explorers. Just last weekend the city was invaded by thousands of bike lovers as it played host to a full weekend of Cross Crusade events. Back in 2014 we shared how the small town was coming together to support bicycle tourism as a way to stimulate their economy. It’s probably no accident that this new overpass will touch down just steps away from Thunder Island Brewing, an officially certified bike-friendly business whose owner told us a few years ago he thinks Cascade Locks is “a bicyclist heaven.”
And did I mention the burgeoning network off-road cycling trails they’ve recently built?
This new overpass (completion scheduled for 2018) would vastly improve the cycling experience in Cascade Locks and would have a multiplier effect on the many great bicycle initiatives already happening. If you want to weigh in with your opinion about what it should look like, take this online survey.
— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – firstname.lastname@example.org
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