Tomorrow night ODOT will be hosting an open house to share construction timelines and explain anticipated traffic disruptions associated with the recently-started $45 million Brookwood-Helvetia Interchange Project.
ODOT staff need to hear from those who bike in the area that if some changes aren’t made, though, this project could be a serious missed-opportunity.
As part of our outreach for The Blueprint for World Class Biking, Washington County residents told us loud and clear: Crossing Highway 26 on a bike is far more difficult and dangerous than it should be. ”Fix it!” they said. Here’s BTA Board Member and Washington County business owner Susan Otcenas explaining the Highway 26 issue for KATU news earlier this year (skip to 3:47).
The crossing of 26 with Brookwood Parkway to the south and Helvetia Road to the north is no exception. Thankfully, this project makes some basic improvements for those traveling north-south across Highway 26 on Brookwood/Helvetia. Unfortunately, by focusing on that axis, ODOT has neglected an important east-west route — a route very important for people on bikes who, understandably, do not feel comfortable riding on Highway 26. Meek and Jacobsen are quiet, bike-friendly roads but the connection between the two, at the Brookwood/Helvetia/26 interchange, is terrifying. The left turns at unsignalized intersections across multiple lanes of fast-moving traffic onto Brookwood/Helvetia degrade the quality of the entire otherwise-peaceful route. This project does nothing to improve the safety and ease of those left turns essential to the Meek/Jacobsen connection.
If you value safe connections across Highway 26, there are two opportunities for input:
1) Send a short email to ODOT.CLICK HERE to get started.
2) Attend tomorrow night’s meeting. Wednesday, September 11th, 5-7pm at Hillsboro Main Library, 2850 N.E. Brookwood Parkway
Crossings of Highway 26 don’t get rebuilt every day. For $45 million, this project should do a better job keeping all users safe. It might be too late for this project, but ODOT, Washington County, and Hillsboro need to hear your voice.