Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Sixty percent of the new Sellwood Bridge won't be for cars?!

Multnomah County is trying -- trying, I tell you! -- to find ways to save money on the proposed replacement to the Sellwood Bridge.

But try as they might, they can't keep the cost under a third of a billion dollars. The westside intersection is just too complex, I tell you. We've got to make everybody happy -- especially the streetcar enthusiasts who plan a route right down Macadam Avenue.

But somehow, with a straight face, they tell us this:
The two-lane bridge will be replaced with a crossing that has two lanes -- totaling 24 feet wide -- for cars and 37 feet for bicycles and pedestrians.
Did you get that? Twenty-four feet of driving space, and 37 stinkin' feet of space for bikes and walkers. Sixty percent of the new space will not be for cars, even though I'm willing to be 98 percent of the use (and 100 percent of the payments) will come from motor vehicles. According to this graphic, they plan sidewalks for pedestrians and bikes on both sides, plus bike lanes inside that.

Maybe if they eliminated the street-level bike lanes and made the bridge 10 feet narrower, they might find a way to keep the cost under $300 million. But that would mean they were thinking reasonably.