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Portland Parks & Rec touts new pedestrian bridge along Red Electric Trail in Southwest Portland

(Image is Clickable Link) COURTESY PHOTO: PORTLAND PARKS & RECREATION - A new pedestrian and bicycle bridge opened in Southwest Portland along the Red Electric Trail. The bridge spans Southwest Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway and Southwest Capitol Highway.Trains may not traverse the route anymore, but now, bikes and pedestrians can. The city of Portland recently unveiled a new Red Electric Bridge in Southwest Portland.

The bridge spans a ravine on a portion of the Red Electric Trail between Southwest Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway and Southwest Capitol Highway. The new path includes a trail at the intersection of Southwest Bertha Boulevard and Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway.

It gets its name from the former Red Electric train line, which operated in Portland from 1914 to 1929. The line was said to have bright red trolley cars when it operated, according to local historians.

The new pedestrian bridge adds to the existing trail that connects Fanno Creek Trail in west Portland near Metzger and Tigard, west of the former Alpenrose Dairy site, to the Willamette Greenway Trail at South Waterfront.

Portland Bureau of Transportation designed and built the 12-foot wide trail bridge on behalf of Portland Parks & Recreation. The project, which got underway in spring 2021, includes new lighting, improved guardrails along Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway, ADA sidewalk curb ramps, crosswalk striping for bikes and walkers, improved drainage and stormwater features and new trees and landscaping around the bridge.

"This beautiful bridge will create safer connections for our neighbors in Southwest Portland," said City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who oversees the city's transportation bureau. "As we emerge and recover from the pandemic, it is exciting to see a new safe space open through such a gorgeous nature area. I'm proud of the work done by the staff at PBOT to design and construct another car-free bridge as we continue to build a more climate-resilient Portland."

The project cost $4.7 million to install, paid for with a $2.1 million U.S. Department of Transportation grant, $1.5 million in system development charges from PBOT and another $1.1 million in parks system development charges, according to the city.

The Red Electric Trail is among 220 miles of trails in the Portland region. Portland's parks department said once the trail is complete, it will offer 16 miles of mostly off-road trail between the Tualatin and Willamette Rivers.

It's a project Doug Rogers and his group have awaited for years.

Rogers is president of SW Trails, a Southwest-Portland based walking and cycling group that gathers regularly to explore natural areas by foot. The group has been actively lobbying the city for pedestrian and bicycle improvements.

"This new bike and pedestrian bridge is a dream come true for the many SW Trails volunteers who have been working together with the City for nearly 25 years to make this new bridge become a reality," Rogers said in a news release. "This will be a safe, family-friendly, active transportation route for the residents of our community. This is just the beginning of the realization of our really big dream to see the entire Red Electric Trail completed."

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