Saturday, February 13, 2016

Portland, You're Allright

This morning, I crossed the river six times, over four bridges, during a seven mile run. All of these bridges have ample pedestrian (and bicycle) accommodations, which reminds me that such things are possible if the will is there.

I'm in Portland for the New Partners for Smart Growth Conference, which brings me (almost) annually to places with varying degrees of livability, multi-modal accommodations, and awesomeness, tending toward the more side of the scale. I've looked forward to this trip, both because I love beer and the west coast, but also for the opportunity to run in a city I haven't run in before.

I've been to Portland twice, but never run here until this week. As a planner, I've read about the transformation that has made the city bike-friendly, and it was pretty great to run across several bridges I've previously read about. 

The first, an old rail bridge, had a bike/pedestrian path attached to the lower (rail) deck about 15 years ago. Today, it also accommodates light rail and pedestrians on the upper (auto) deck. 

I tried out both the Morrison and Hawthorne bridges also, which have very wide and well-signed bike/pedestrian paths. 

The icing on the cake for me was Tilikum Crossing, a brand new pedestrian, bicycle, and transit bridge. Not only does it feel safe without the cars, it is sleek and beautiful. Once you get to the downtown side, green bike lanes, bike signals, and other rare (to me) accommodations await. It is amazing.

Being in Portland this week gave me an opportunity to have a few nice mid-distance runs, on my drop-down week for marathon trainings. It also showed me what is possible for multi-modal transportation if we work hard, and the will is there. I have a lot of work to do!

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