Awww, Portland

Rush hour on the Hawthorne Bridge. Gotta’ love Portland!


10 Responses to “Awww, Portland”

  • John Lascurettes says:

    ¡Es mi barrio!

  • Jeff Lock says:

    I can only live in hope that this will happen in cities and town around the world.
    Hopefully in my lifetime.

  • Eddie says:

    I think there are several bridges in Portland. I wonder what the bike traffic is like on some of the others? If the Hawthorne is unique among them, then I’m wondering why.

  • Iain says:

    Its a pleasant surprise when I see another cyclist on the road when I’m commuting. It would make me very happy to see a bike “rush hour” here. Good on Portland.

  • dickdavid says:

    Completely awesome! I wish more cities were like that.

  • bongobike says:


    ¡Cómo quisiera que fuese mi barrio también!

  • beth h says:

    @ Eddie:

    It depends on where you live. I would say that the challenge is equal parts geography and demographics.

    In many parts of North and Northeast Portland, the only bridge adequately serving cyclists and pedestrians is the Broadway — and if you live in northernmost North Portland/St.Johns, your only bridge option within reasonable distance (the beautiful St. Johns bridge) was rendered LESS passable for cyclists during a recent seismic upgrade and remodel. Within the SE corridor (running along the Willamette River between Burnside Street and all the way south to the Sellwood area) there are six bridges spanning the river. Of these, four are easily accesible to cyclists and a fifth is also easily passable by pedestrians, with the sixth a dedicated freeway bridge. North of Burnside there are four bridges, and only one is adequately passable for both cyclists and pedestrians. Two of the remaining four are not open to cyclists or pedestrians at all. As a result, distance between passable bridges north are far greater. On top of this, North Portland hooks up directly with two state highways AND Interstate 5, making it fiscally and politically difficult to engineer radical solutions for cyclists and pedestrians in the vicinity.

    Many neighborhoods in N/NE are still underdeveloped (though greater gentrification has come to this area within the last five years and changes are happening). Further, these neighborhoods have long been inhabited by communities of color, for whom a bicycle was culturally accepted as a vehicle for the poor and car ownership was always the goal. Gentrification has brought more white families into N/NE Portland, and while many ride bikes, there are still large numbers of N/NE residents who do not.

    All the “cool” stuff that has happened for cyclists in inner SE Portland was spearheaded by people who lived there, either through creating a natural “critical mass” of cyclists who used the roadways no matter what, or who actively demanded facilities for cyclists and pedestrians until they got them. While some of that change HAS trickled into N/NE Portland, there is not the same level of demand for it by residents in that part of town. As a result, change will come more slowly there.

  • leaf slayer says:

    Awesome. I ride across the Broadway Bridge everyday that I work in rain, snow, sun, whatever. Commuting by bike in Portland is too easy not to do it.

  • Bike Culture in Portland « In The Spin says:

    […] Awww, Portland […]

  • david says:

    beth h said:

    “North of Burnside there are four bridges, and only one is adequately passable for both cyclists and pedestrians.”

    Steele Bridge (bike and pedestrian only on the lower deck) + Broadway Bridge = 2! Both of these bridges are extremely bike and pedestrian friendly, and very accessible (especially now that the Rose Quarter bike improvements are complete) from both North Portland and Northeast Portland.

    Eddie said:

    “I think there are several bridges in Portland. I wonder what the bike traffic is like on some of the others? If the Hawthorne is unique among them, then I’m wondering why.”

    In terms of ridership, the Hawthorne has the most bike use, but it is not all that unique among Portland’s bike-friendly bridges in terms of the trend of growing ridership. Bikes make up 13% of all bridge traffic on the four main bike-friendly bridges (20% on the Hawthorne, 15% on the Steele, 14% on the Broadway, and 5% on the Burnside), which comes out to ~17,000 total trips per day. Better yet, each of those bridges demonstrates a clear trend of increasing ridership over the past decade.

    I can’t really speak too much to the gentrification issue. It’s definitely happening. That said, I live in North Portland and see lots of people riding bikes. Some of them are black, some of them are white, some of them are kids, and some of them are adults. What IS clear is that there’s a pent up demand for biking in North Portland, just as there is in every other area of the city. Ridership in North Portland increased 41% between 2007 and 2008, the largest proportional single-year gain of any district in the city (SE was 2nd with a 35% increase), and has increased 217% since 2000/01 (again, 2nd only to SE Portland, at 263%). Moreover, several of the city’s most popular bike routes (in terms of ridership) run directly along the border between North and Northeast Portland. Change is happening in North (and Northeast) Portland…and it’s happening fast (though probably not fast enough)!

    Oh, and all of this ridership info (and lots, LOTS more, is available on the City of Portland’s website:

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