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County makes improvements to long-term detour on Westside Trail

County makes improvements to long-term detour on Westside Trail

County detour map. – Download PDF

Multnomah County is improving a major bike detour between downtown and the Sellwood Bridge, and wants to thank BikePortland readers for their help making it better.

The detour is needed while county contractors replace a culvert that runs below the trolley tracks. The detour closes the trail between SW Nevada St. and the driveway to Macadam Bay.

Here’s the word from Multnomah County spokesman Mike Pullen, in a comment on this site yesterday:

The trail detour along the east sidewalk of SW Macadam Ave. will be in place until the culvert is replaced and a temporary bridge is installed across Stephens Creek. In 2014 trail users will be able to use the old alignment. The new regional trail between the bridge and SW Miles Street will open by 2016.

The project team will be making the following improvements to the trail detour:

• Remove vegetation growing over the sidewalk between Nevada St. and Macadam Bay (in the next week).
• Add an asphalt patch across the trolley tracks along the detour route between Willamette Park and Nevada St. The consortium of agencies that own the property have agreed in concept to the fix but they need to see the details. This should be completed in July.
• Close bus stop on south side of Miles St. This should be done in July. The nearest bus stop is two blocks north.
• Extend the 25 mph construction zone speed limit from Macadam Bay to Miles St./Taylors Ferry Road. This request is being submitted to ODOT for a decision. As the project limits end here, extending the speed zone north of Taylor’s Ferry is not supportable.

Some users suggested they still prefer using Miles Street. Trail users who prefer Willamette Park and Miles St. to the Nevada St. detour are allowed to use that route, which remains open. To minimize conflicts with the trucks using the haul road entrance at Miles Street, our recommended detour route is Nevada St.

When we published Pullen’s request for advice two weeks ago, several BikePortland readers expressed concern about the detour along a narrow sidewalk. The changes above incorporate a few suggestions and reflect some of those concerns.

Though the detour remains a significant annoyance for north-south traffic near the river, it’s always nice to know the county is listening and looking for ways to make things better.

County makes improvements to long-term detour on Willamette Greenway

County makes improvements to long-term detour on Willamette Greenway

County detour map. – Download PDF

Multnomah County is improving a major bike detour between downtown and the Sellwood Bridge, and wants to thank BikePortland readers for their help making it better.

The detour is needed while county contractors replace a culvert that runs below the trolley tracks. The detour closes the trail between SW Nevada St. and the driveway to Macadam Bay.

Here’s the word from Multnomah County spokesman Mike Pullen, in a comment on this site yesterday:

The trail detour along the east sidewalk of SW Macadam Ave. will be in place until the culvert is replaced and a temporary bridge is installed across Stephens Creek. In 2014 trail users will be able to use the old alignment. The new regional trail between the bridge and SW Miles Street will open by 2016.

The project team will be making the following improvements to the trail detour:

• Remove vegetation growing over the sidewalk between Nevada St. and Macadam Bay (in the next week).
• Add an asphalt patch across the trolley tracks along the detour route between Willamette Park and Nevada St. The consortium of agencies that own the property have agreed in concept to the fix but they need to see the details. This should be completed in July.
• Close bus stop on south side of Miles St. This should be done in July. The nearest bus stop is two blocks north.
• Extend the 25 mph construction zone speed limit from Macadam Bay to Miles St./Taylors Ferry Road. This request is being submitted to ODOT for a decision. As the project limits end here, extending the speed zone north of Taylor’s Ferry is not supportable.

Some users suggested they still prefer using Miles Street. Trail users who prefer Willamette Park and Miles St. to the Nevada St. detour are allowed to use that route, which remains open. To minimize conflicts with the trucks using the haul road entrance at Miles Street, our recommended detour route is Nevada St.

When we published Pullen’s request for advice two weeks ago, several BikePortland readers expressed concern about the detour along a narrow sidewalk. The changes above incorporate a few suggestions and reflect some of those concerns.

Though the detour remains a significant annoyance for north-south traffic near the river, it’s always nice to know the county is listening and looking for ways to make things better.

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly referred to the Willamette Greenway as the “Westside Trail,” a different project currently being planned.

Sellwood Bridge project detour routes riders onto SW Macadam sidewalk

Sellwood Bridge project detour routes riders onto SW Macadam sidewalk

This new culvert will improve wildlife passage;
but it comes with a detour off the Westside Trail.
(Image: Multnomah County)

Multnomah County has announced a major detour that will impact people who ride bicycles between downtown Portland and the Sellwood Bridge on the west side of the Willamette River.

As part of the Sellwood Bridge project a County contractor is replacing the culvert that crosses Stephens Creek under the trolley tracks between SW Miles Street/SW Taylors Ferry Road. Crews have put a detour in place (see graphic below) that will impact users of the Westside Trail until at least early 2014.

County spokesman Mike Pullen says users of the Trail who are headed southbound from Portland will be directed off the trail at SW Nevada Street and onto the sidewalk on the eastern side of SW Macadam Avenue. Trail access will begin again at the driveway to the Macadam Bay floating homes.

County detour map. – Download PDF

“We know this detour is not ideal,” says Pullen. He adds that the County plans to improve the detour with a temporary bridge across Stephens Creek in early 2014, “so we can reopen most of the old trail while we complete our project.”

Because riding out of one’s way and against traffic on the sidewalk of a busy arterial, Pullen says the contractor has already reported “problems” with people entering the work zone and trying to follow the existing Trail route. Pullen says it’s unsafe to enter the work zone. “I think the detour signage and fencing are pretty clear.”

Pullen is asking for feedback on the detour and wants to hear your comments if you have ideas on how to improve it. s

County meeting to discuss bike access on SW Miles Place

County meeting to discuss bike access on SW Miles Place

SW Miles Place-1

A sign that reads ‘Bikers! Please Slow Down!’ greets
people at the entrance to SW Miles Place.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Tomorrow night, Multnomah County will hold a public meeting to discuss the future SW Miles Place Regional Trail. As part of the Sellwood Bridge Project, the County has decided to connect the path on the west end of the bridge to the existing Willamette Greenway Trail from the Macadam Bay houseboat community just north of the bridge, to Willamette Park.

Currently, SW Miles Place is a quaint, quiet, potholed and under-developed street that consists of a few dozen single-family homes nestled between Highway 43 and the Willamette River. Back in June, residents successfully stopped the County from routing auto traffic from the houseboat community down the street. Now the big question is: How should the County re-design the road for the increased bicycle traffic expected once the bridge opens?

Miles Place resident Roger Robinson said he and his neighbors are worried that their quiet street might turn into a thoroughfare for bike “commuters”. Robinson sees “commuters” as distinctly different than “pleasure bikers”. He’s worried that if Miles Place gets repaved and has sidewalks and sharrows added to it, people on bikes would zoom through too fast.

future rail trail I wish

A new path alongside the trolley right-of-way could be splendid.

Instead of encouraging all bike traffic to use Miles Place, Robinson says he and a group of residents will urge the County to also build a bike path on the Willamette Shoreline Trolley right-of-way. “We’re going to push for that,” Robinson told me on the phone today. Robinson would like to see the County provide separate paths for “pleasure bikers” and more A-to-B minded bike commuters.

“The neighborhood would like the commuters to slow down just like the pleasure bikers do, as speeding through such a small neighborhood can be extremely dangerous.”

If the County does route all bike traffic through Miles Place, Robinson said they’ll ask that everyone obeys the 5 mph speed limit the neighborhood urges all auto users to observe. “Everybody in our neighborhood is concerned about safety,” he says, “… at times commuter bikes try to come through the neighborhood with no respect for the slow speeds necessary to navigate the neighborhood safely. We want to insure that any increase in commuter traffic must slow down to the 5mph that all cars now observe.”

So far, exactly how Miles Place is redesigned is up in the air. Will it get minor repaving to smooth out a few rough spots? Or will it get a full re-do, with new sidewalks, lighting, paving, stormwater collection features, and so on? If a significant redesign happens, will residents maintain the existing on-street parking they enjoy? Will trees have to be removed? Should different modes be separated or would a more mixed environment (like a “woonerf“) be more appropriate?

Here’s Miles Place today, looking south:

SW Miles Place-3

And here’s a draft mock-up from the County showing what new features would look like:

And here’s Miles Place today, looking north:

SW Miles Place-2

And the draft mock-up:

Not mentioned much officially (at least so far), is Robinson’s idea of pushing for the Willamette Shoreline Trail. That project was once considered by Metro as part of the Lake Oswego Streetcar project. Ultimately Metro “punted” on the project due to cost and right-of-way acquisition concerns (read more at PortlandTransport.com). Is now the time to resurrect that idea and push it forward?

Come to tomorrow’s meeting to learn more about this project and share your input.

    SW Miles Place Regional Trail Public Meeting
    October 17th from 5:30 to 8:00 pm
    Easter Seals Building (5757 SW Macadam Ave)
    More info contact Mike Pullen at mike.j.pullen@multco.us