September 06, 2007

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While I'm Thinking About It


While I'm Thinking About It

Things look a bit different around here, don't they?

Portland has a bit of a reputation for, among other less pleasant things, being a rather bike-friendly sort of town. People here love their bikes, and the fact that their bikes aren't subject to the same sorts of fees and taxes that cars are, and the ability to use their bikes to ignore all traffic controls. That's not what I'm talking about here.

See, a big part of Portland's bike-friendliness has historically been a dedicated bike path along I-205, from north of the Columbia River all the way down to Clackamas Town Center. Relatively safe, fairly isolated from traffic, a fairly pleasant way to spend a sunny afternoon. There are also a lot of bike lanes out on the roads, going places the freeway doesn't, but the path itself is the crown jewel of the system.

Or, at least, it used to be.

The thing is, Portland also likes to be known as a mass-transit type of town, with a heavy emphasis on light rail. For years now, the residents of Vancouver (just across the river in Washington state), have been voting down a light rail line that would connect their fair city with the sales-tax free shopping of the Clackamas area. It used to be that those votes would put the kibosh on Portland government's plans for a north-south light rail line on the east side of town. Until now. The line under construction as we speak, right parallel to I-205.

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And yes, oddly enough, the old bike path got pulled out to make way.



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