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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 18, 2006 2:19 PM. The previous post in this blog was Welcome, Port of Portland readers. The next post in this blog is He's for the skools. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, September 18, 2006

Any year now...

How long have we known that the Sellwood Bridge is falling down? At least two years. Maybe three? More?

So it's good to know that now the county is starting a study group on how to replace it. Come to the open house in six weeks as we begin the conversation!

Geez, don't hurt yourself jumping right on it. (Via Portland Transport.)

Comments (11)

Maybe they'll put up a tram instead!

The Corbett/Terwilliger/Lair Hill Neighborhood Assn. (recently renamed South Portland with Lair Hill, South Waterfront, Corbett, Terwilliger and Fulton underneath in the title block) has been dealing with the fact of Sellwood Bridge failures as presented by Multnomah Co. officials well before the Macadam Ave. Improvement Study back in the early 1980s. It has been a long time, but no action, not even much planning. I thought we were considered the uber-planners of the world. Of course, we know where we stand in the action department.

Of course, given all the players involved, there's absolutely no chance in he|| that they'd ever even consider a four-lane bridge. Oh no, gotta protect dear delicate Sellwood!

I pass by the west end of the bridge every day in my commute, and the lineup to cross the bridge (coming from both south and north on 43) is ridiculous. But no-ooo, we gotta protect the quaint little street known as SE Tacoma from the big bad cars.

Message to Sellwood: Quit yer whining. Because it leads to/from a bridge, Tacoma Street has been a major thoroughfare for decades, and all the "traffic calming" ain't gonna change that. Yeah, you have slower traffic going up and down your street, but now it's bumper to bumper and lasts a heck of a lot longer during each rush hour.

As long as we're spending federal dollars in Porkland, why not a Big Dig style tunnel that goes beneath the river and Tacoma Street.

Come to think of it, I don't see much reason for it rise above ground until just before it gets to my next house in Happy Valley or Vancouver.

Then Tacoma Street can return to bicycles, horses, and hemp-drawn wagons like the good ol' days.

My initial reaction is "It's about time!" too... but seriously, there are some serious traffic considerations and they need to consider how the new bridge will be useful in 50 years. Sorry, Tacoma St isn't wide enough (no, I don't live in Sellwood) to handle a massive 4 lane bridge.

Mr Tee:
I think it's pretty obvious that Tacoma St isn't the reason it's backed up on the West side of the bridge. It's a function of the way traffic is handled on that side... plus the narrow bridge requires a low speed limit. When you get to the east end (surprise!) there's no backup.

Also, what the hell is a "hemp-drawn wagon"? Plants were able to pull wagons in the good ol' days? Sign me up...

It's funny how the big talkers come out when it's time to ruin somebody else's neighborhood with a new auto thoroughfare or freeway, but owuld scream bloody murder if the road were put through their leafy bit of paradise.

By the way, I don't live in Sellwood either.

On a more serious note, in the late 1990's Metro had a study group to look at alternatives for a new Sellwood bridge or a replacement bridge elsehwere on the river.

The route from Dunthorpe to Milwaukie actually worked best traffic-wise, directly connecting Highway 43 on the west with Highway 224 on the east, but Milwaukie quickly approved a condo project on the route, and I can only imagine how the Dunthorpe swells would have reacted.

The next best route was from downtown Lake Oswego to Oak Grove, but Lake Oswego wouldn't put up with that. The traffic projections made "A" Avenue in downtown Lake Oswego pure gridlock, for one thing.

The route from Marylhurst College to Oak Grove was too far south to help out much, plus Lake Oswego and West Linn didn't want it.

There was talk of expanding the Ross Island Bridge, but that was too far north.

The Sellwood people didn't want a four lane bridge.

So Metro threw up its hands. A lack of leadership? Yes. But there's plenty of blame and evasion and procrastination to go around.

And now I'll propose pure blasphemy. Why not extend the Portland Streetcar across to Sellwood on a rail and bus-only bridge?

If they took out the "CALMING islands" that were recently installed on Tacoma (thereby eliminating a lane), and closed it to on street parking, then a 4 lane bridge (two in each direction) would certainly alleviate the Sellwood bottleneck.

I do live in the SW neighborhood, overlooking a WHOLE BUNCH OF TRAFFIC ON TAYLORS FERRY that is just inching down the hill BECAUSE OF THE SELLWOOD BOTTLENECK. The right lane of Macadam (to Oswego is rarely a problem: it's all the folks having to merge left, and then compete with the opposite lane of traffic that is turning right onto Sellwood (from Oswego).

Better yet, why not condemn all the houses along the first couple of blocks and then you'd have sufficient space for bikes, pedestrians, rick-shaws, and (GASP!) even 4 lanes of automobiles.

It's called TRANSPORTATION PLANNING, not pandering to the loudest NIMBY factions.

While we're at it, we should widen Taylor's Ferry from 35th Street all the way through Southwest Portland and down the hill to four lanes. That's called transportation planning too.

And also Boone's Ferry from Taylor's Ferry all the way through the Tryon Creek area to Oswego - that should be at least four lanes too.

And Terwilliger by OHSU gets awful jam-packed - I suggest four or six lanes from downtown all the way past Lewis & Clark, where the traffic finally dies down.

Someone's being a smart mouth!

Gordon: the fact remains THERE ARE TWO LANES LEADING TO SELLWOOD (four if you include through traffic on Macadam) and two lanes on the Tacoma side (ignoring the "traffic calming" islands), going in each direction.

Sadly, the old Sellwood Bridge only had one lane in each direction. It would be a mistake of generational magnitude if we didn't increase the capacity to four lanes (two in each direction) of vehicular traffic.

Or we'll simply have to expedite the construction date of the next bridge.


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