Portland’s bridge to the future


Portland, Oregon continues to demonstrate their dedication to multi-modal transportation options with the September 12, 2015 opening of the Tilikum Crossing over the Willamette River. No worries about how cars and bicycles will interact on this bridge – cars aren’t allowed. This bridge is all about transit, shoes and pedals.

jmitchell-tilikum-1At 1,720 feet, Tilikum Crossing is reported to be the longest transit-only bridge in the United States. The bridge took just over 4 years to construct, and is estimated to have cost $134.6 million.

Electrified rail power the MAX Orange Line light rail across the river in the middle of the bridge structure, with access shared by local cable cars and TriMet bus routes. Two 14 foot wide bicycle and pedestrian paths travel on both sides of the transit route, and are separated by physical barriers and the structure of the cable-stayed bridge. Pedestrians and cyclists each have marked lanes on these paths. The bicycle routes have been well connected to existing infrastructure, with many locations separated by physical dividers.

Before I even got on the bridge, I was impressed at how many bike-related changes have been made

— Bike Portland, “Touring Tilikum” by Jonathan Maus


jmitchell-tilikum-3These sorts of infrastructure investments so a growing trend among US cities to change the common transportation paradigm. Mixed use and transit-only infrastructure can often face opposition, especially in heavily congested areas. However, the need for a more balanced approach to transportation is gaining more and more support.

What once were simply advertisement campaigns to encourage occasional bicycle rides have become official policies at the state and local level. Increasing adoption of these policies will lead to more people experiencing the benefits, and a greater quality of life and living experience for all.