PORTLAND, Ore. – A plan to cut about $2.5 million in costs for the Sellwood Bridge project has been abandoned after bicycle groups voiced concerns about the proposed changes.
The proposal, presented in the last week by Multnomah County, would have moved all cycling and pedestrian activity to a single side of the bridge. It would have also eliminated a 700-foot long bike ramp on the south side.
The changes were suggested as a way to cut costs after the county recently learned it would have to spend a lot more to stabilize the slipping slope under the bridge, including building a retaining wall along Highway 43.
The changes to the bike lane would have saved about $2.5 million, but raised concerns in the bike community that the changes would impede pedestrian and bicycle access.
“You don't really build a project this size and mess with bike access - it’s a non-starter here in Portland,” said Jonathan Maus of bikeportland.org. “It’s shocking that they even thought they could get away with something like this, to be honest with you.”
On Monday, the county pulled the plans to alter the bike lanes and went back to its original plan to offer bike and pedestrian paths on both sides of the bridge.
“Rather than talk about for two months, we figured let’s just go back to the old plan,” said Mike Pullen, Multnomah County spokesperson. “At this point, time is money – it’s about a million dollars a month to stop and talk about it.”
Instead, the county says it will make other cost-saving changes that will not be so noticeable.
KGW Reporter Keely Chalmers contributed to this report.
Original plan (Bike/ped lanes both ways):
Alternative proposed (Bike/ped lanes only on one side) - rejected: