After a week long closure and an epic engineering feat that pushed the current span of the Sellwood bridge approximately 60 feet north of its current location, the transitional bridge had its grand reopening this past wednesday. (check the time lapse footage of the bridge move here)
I was curious how bikes had figured into the transitional Sellwood bridge plan, and headed down on Saturday to check things out. For those unfamiliar, the Sellwood Bridge has long been a hot button issue with cyclists who ride over it – built to barely accomodate pedestrians, there is hardly room for opposing lanes of traffic, let alone any sort of substantial bicycle infrastructure. Signs before the bridge directed cyclists to ride on the road however that usually left a whole string of miffed motorists who didn’t have room to pass, and similarly riding on the narrow sidewalk requires constant weaving around lampposts and stopping to let other cyclists and pedestrians pass. In short, the Sellwood Bridge since its inception has never been ideal for bike users or pedestrians for that matter.
Upon riding over the bridge on Saturday I was surprised to find that the approaches on both sides of the bridge had a divided bike / pedestrian lane with a guard rail and everything – a hands down improvement from the old span. The interface with the underpass that directs cyclists to the River View Cemetery on the west side of the bridge is also a bit cleaner, with a divided lane that interfaces seamlessly with the bike lane. The middle of the bridge is still the same old – but the new wider approaches make the bridge a bit more comfortable, and certainly ridable as crews begin work on the new span set to deploy in 2015.
So for now I suggest enjoying the small things – wider and protected approaches, all the while dreaming of the greatness that will be the new Sellwood Bridge.