PORTLAND – Bike commuters may now cross the Morrison Bridge into SE Portland without battling joggers, skateboarders or power walkers. A new bike lane, valued at $1.9 million, officially opened Tuesday.
The bike path is 15-feet wide, runs along the south side of the bridge and took a year to build.
Multnomah County officials said their goal was to create a path that would ease congestion problems along the nearby Hawthorne Bridge, which an estimated 7,000 bicyclists use every day.
Mike Pullen, a county spokesperson, said it was a "nice alternative" to the Hawthorne route.
“Getting bicyclists safely across this bridge in a way that's good for them and good for other traffic that needs to use the bridge, that was a challenge,” he added.
Signage and markings will improve with time and more input from the riding community, Pullen said.
But Jonathan Maus of Bike Portland said those changes must happen immediately in order for riders to fully embrace the nearly $2 million path.
"It was a little bit confusing in the sense that there's not a lot of markings," he said. "The signage leaves a little bit to be desired."
The Morrison was built in the 1950s, during the nation's freeway-building era, Pullen noted. Designers were challenged to widen a "car-focused" bridge with pedestrian paths.
In fact, putting a path on the north side of the Morrison Bridge wasn't feasible.