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A safer and easlier way for pedestrians to cross the MAX and railroad tracks just north of Brooklyn is about to open

RITA A. LEONARD - The north entrance to the newly-completed Gideon Street rail overcrossing boasts a new plaza, seen at left, in addition to the stairway at right. The long-awaited Gideon Street overcrossing – extending from S.E. 14th Avenue to the intersection of 13th and Gideon Street near Brooklyn Fire House 23 on the north side of Powell Boulevard – is complete, and will open to pedestrians and bicyclists in mid-November. The new footbridge crosses over both MAX light rail and Union Pacific Railroad tracks there, at a height of 30 feet. The new pedestrian safety corridor provides a safe north-south link connecting the Hosford-Abernethy neighborhood to the Willamette River, and completes Portland's vision of the "Clinton to the River" project.

The bridge was originally planned for completion by October, but construction on this final piece of the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project was delayed by the COVID-19 crisis. But the final touches are now in place; and, according to TriMet's Public Information Officer Tyler Graf, "The bridge is expected to open to the public in mid-November. "Once open, it will be owned and operated by the City of Portland. The joint project between TriMet and the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) should total $15 million, using funds left over from the FTA budget for the MAX Orange Line."

Graf continues, "During the spring pandemic, TriMet put safeguards in place to prevent spread of COVID-19. Contractors' workers were advised to use personal protective gear, and observe physical distancing. Project contractor Stacy & Witbeck kept it moving along safely, adding elevator equipment and cyclist-friendly stairways featuring bike gutters at both ends of the bridge."

Crews also repaved part of the S.E. 14th Avenue end and created a new plaza there, featuring ADA amenities. Near the plaza, a newly-landscaped area added natural color and blooming flowers. The bridge itself will be fully ADA-compliant, featuring elevators large enough to accommodate mobility devices and even bikes with a trailer or child's tag-along attachment. Riders in need of a bike can take one from one of the three Orange Line stations where BIKETOWN is available, including the Clinton/S.E. 12th Avenue Station.

Completion of the overcrossing hopefully means an end to unsafe pedestrian crossings of the two sets of ground-level tracks at S.E. 12th Avenue and the Clinton-Gideon Street interchange. In spite of railroad crossing arms and flashing red lights, many bikers and pedestrians have ignored those warning signals in order to shortcut their daily crossings through the area. Community advocates feel the new structure will create a valuable and safe connection between the Hosford-Abernethy and Brooklyn neighborhoods.


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