portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article commentary portland metro

bikes/transportation

Bicycling the Borth Willamette Train Bridges?

There are two train bridges in north Portland across the Willamette, one decommissioned I believe. Are either accessible to bicycles? Anyone tried crossing them and have experiences to share?
There are two train bridges in north Portland across the Willamette, one decommissioned I believe. Are either accessible to bicycles? Anyone tried crossing them and have experiences to share?

We're looking to see if either bridge can be used by a bicycle to get back & forth from the east to west side for Sauvie
Island bike rides. We'd prefer to use the decommissioned bridge, obviously. While our main goal is personal, a long term idea would be to get the decomissioned bridge open and adapted to foot/bicycle traffic to make the St. Helens area of
North Portland more accessible.

Anyone with any ideas or experience with this? I could be wrong about the number of bridges and so on, I've been trying to research it via Google but without luck.

Some people we know might do a stealth excursion to try it out, but if someone already has, we'd love to hear of the possible ways and pitfalls.

Replies or email appreciated. Thanks! Rob

address: address: Northeast Portland

Not advisable. 30.Jul.2003 22:55

some bum

There is one railroad bridge across the WIllamette in North Portland, and it carries the BNSF mainline (70 mph Amtrak and container trains etc., which occasionally are doing about 50 at that point on the line) north through St. Johns. It is HIGHLY active, patrolled by railroad bulls and VERY UNSAFE to cross with a bike. Trains will maim you worse than just about anything, so don't mess around with active rail lines.

Is the St. John's Bridge open to bike/ped traffic? It's within sight of that rail bridge... and a much better view/ride anyway.

To my knowledge, sadly there is no abandoned rail bridge across the Willamette in North Portland (maybe one towards Lake Oswego though).

St. John's Bridge is fairly bike-friendly 01.Aug.2003 16:39

CaptainPlanet

I haven't biked the St. John's Br. in years, but I remember it having a wide sidewalk and a bike map I just looked at rates it a "Multi-Use Path".

st. johns bridge 12.Aug.2003 10:24

n.

the st. john's bridge is closed right now to all traffic, through the end of the month i believe. i've ridden over it a couple times, and the sidewalk is pretty narrow in places. i actually ended up walking my bike rather than riding because personally i didn't feel safe riding. besides the narrow sidewalk, there's also fast traffic and large trucks and it can be really windy. but i know that train bridge too and i definitely wouldn't recommend trying to go over that. i hang out at a secret location near there and every single time i'm there i see at least one train go over it.