I-205 multi-use path grows up: Now a transportation corridor

On Saturday amid heavy rains and flash flood warnings, the BTA, Oregon Department of Transportation, TriMet, and a handful of dedicated East County residents turned out to celebrate the official reopening of the I-205 multi-use path.

Clackamas County Commission Chair Lynn Peterson, ODOT Region 1 Director Jason Tell, and BTA Executive Director Scott Bricker cut the ribbon as a rainbow broke through the clouds. Photo by Elliot Scott, Alta Planning + Design.

The I-205 path is one of the region’s most well-used bike trails, and planners recognized it as an important north-south trail connecting the Columbia River with Clackamas County. However, while it was suitable for recreational use there were serious barriers for commuters. Trail users faced long crossing distances and high-speed traffic at several major arterials without any facilities to aid crossing. Some sections were unlit and others visually unappealing, causing many users to feel uncomfortable riding or walking after dark and in the winter months.

When TriMet began construction on the new Green Line, transportation planners, public agencies and neighbors saw an opportunity to improve biking and walking connections to nearby businesses, neighborhoods, and public services. These improvements represent a step forward in bringing transportation options to underserved communities.

In comments before the ride, elected officials emphasized the significance of new ARRA-funded lights and landscaping improvements in making the path feel safe, comfortable, and attractive to users. East County resident Jim Chasse spoke on behalf of everyone who lives, works or rides near Lents and Clackamas County when he expressed his excitement about finally having access to a real transportation corridor.

Volunteer opportunity: help plant trees on the new path
Local nonprofit Friends of Trees, in partnership with Metro and ODOT, will be planting trees along the new path as part of a regional program to increase habitat connectivity, cut down on stormwater runoff, and enhance trails to encourage walking and biking. To learn more about volunteer opportunities, visit the website or contact Greg Tudor at 503-282-8846 ext. 12.


Comments (6)

  1. bob Permalink  | Nov 10, 2009 10:26am

    “while it was suitable for recreational use there were serious barriers for commuters.” Is anything being done to remedy this? Also in my opinion commuters are better able to deal with dangerous crossings than recreational cyclists just cause they have more experience.

  2. Linda Permalink  | Nov 10, 2009 12:36pm

    It didn’t offer much fir the recreational user either! Difficult crossings, little shade, no place to stop and rest, nothing very interesting to look at, few if any restrooms near the path. The improvements made recently — and the addition of trees — is a step in the right direction.

  3. Elaine Permalink  | Nov 10, 2009 06:38pm

    I think the path was nicely paved but the connection on SE Flavel St is quite awkward and I love the underground part on Johnsons Creek which makes it very safe.

    So far, I love it even it’d be nice to have bathrooms, it makes it a lot safer to go to Clackamas from Portland 🙂

    I’ve been planed to join the bike ride celebration on the 7th, but didn’t have the proper rain gear… and I’m sure a lot of people could have showed up if it didn’t rain.

    Thanks everyone for the good work done on the 205 bike path!

  4. Brighton Permalink  | Nov 11, 2009 12:30pm

    As for the trees – some parts of the trail are pretty far from neighborhood streets. So Friends of Trees will need lots of people with utility bikes and trailers to move trees and tools! We did 3 bike-only planting crews in Woodlawn, Sunnyside and Mt Tabor last winter – great practice for I-205!

  5. a Bob Permalink  | Nov 17, 2009 09:18am

    Elaine wrote, “it’d be nice to have bathrooms”.

    Isn’t that why they’re planting trees? 🙂

  6. Peter Goodkin Permalink  | Nov 17, 2009 10:13am

    Trees are beautiful, hold the soil, absorb water, provide shade and visually break up the path. Unfortunately, trees were the problem with the old I-205 path, with roots raising and cracking the pavement. At the right time of day, the same trees cast shadows over the disrupted pavement. On a bright day, the unwary, will not see the hazard and take a fall like I did.

    Choose trees with root systems known not to likely raise and disrupt the pavement a few years down the road.