Bridge over the River 'Why'
I am writing in regards to the pedestrian/bike bridge across the Willamette River from Oak Grove to Lake Oswego (OGLO) currently under study. While I appreciate forward thinking leaders that explore new ideas that are practical and sensible, I have several concerns regarding OGLO.
The study will soon be completed and is to inform us if such a bridge has "feasibility." Yet, the bridge has been presented at various meetings as a fifth Clackamas County "corridor" that might be funded in a potential 2020 Metro Transportation Bond. This seems to be the "cart before the horse" as it hasn't been determined feasible and our City Council hasn't had a chance to weigh in.
Instead of a new bridge we should consider the following corridors:
— Route 43 through West Linn and Lake Oswego is a congested roadway. Lake Oswego needs a plan for this busy roadway.
— Tri-Met's plan to improve bus service to/through Lake Oswego was presented to our Planning Commission four years ago. It would significantly improve access to jobs and reduce traffic. It is unfunded.
— Stafford Road is very congested during rush hours with unsafe intersections at Johnson and Childs Roads. Yet funding initiatives do not address this corridor.
— A water ferry along the Willamette River has recently been discussed. Water taxis in other cities have been successful and should be further explored.
Cost estimates for a river bridge range from $28 to $80 million. Whatever the cost is I have a hard time justifying such a project when we have roads, paths, safe routes to schools, street bridges, Foothills redevelopment, a recreation center, a community/school pool and sports fields that all need funding.
In addition to cost, another OGLO issue is the ramps needed to access a bridge over the River. Ramp structures would impact Oak Grove's Courtney Avenue and Rivervilla Park and Lake Oswego's Tryon Cove and Foothills Parks. We need to see plans/elevations regarding the height and length of the ramps to better understand their potential physical impacts on our open spaces, paths, concerts and events along the river.
I understand from the study's survey and discussions with residents that few support a bridge and few will use it. Most Lake Oswego jobs are located on the west side of town. I don't think many folks living east of the river would ride bikes to Courtney Avenue, then over the river, up steep grades in Foothills, then along busy A Avenue and Country Club Road to those jobs.
The reverse trip would have LO residents traveling through the City down into Foothills, across the bridge to the Trolley Trail and eventually to the Orange Line. This trip would be along steep grades and seems really long for those wanting to take transit into Portland. A bus trip along Route 43 seems a better option.
I suggest we consider the following:
— The Bridge advisory committee votes to complete the feasibility study on Oct. 25.
— We work together to identify more important corridors for consideration.
— Metro funds allocated for further study of OGLO instead be used for a Route 43 assessment that addresses traffic congestion, bus service, pedestrian/bike travel and water transit. These funds should also be used to address Stafford Road/McVey Avenue from I-205 to Route 43.
John LaMotte is a Lake Oswego City Councilor. The views expressed are his own.
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