By Garlynn Woodsong, Chair, CNA LUTC
I recently took a ride with my 5-year-old son, Noamie, on the back of my Dutch bicycle. We rode for about 20 minutes – to the beach!
That’s right, just north of the Concordia neighborhood is a good-sized beach on the south bank of the Columbia River, just north of the airport.
Just like at the Pacific Ocean beach, he loved the sand and building castles, finding (freshwater) mussel shells and other bits of flotsam and jetsam, exploring dunes, and just being there.
The best way to get there by bicycle is to ride north on 33rd Avenue, and take a left when the bicycle lane ends just before Marine Drive. That leads to an underpass entrance on the right, which leads to the Marine Drive bike path. Follow this path across Marine Drive to the river side of the levy, then look for the well-worn dirt paths leading down to the river. We found a large driftwood log to lean our bike against and locked it to itself.
How is this relevant to my work with the Concordia Neighborhood Association (CNA) Land Use & Transportation Committee (LUTC)?
Well, access to green space for all citizens is a goal stated in many state and city planning documents, including the current Portland 2035 Comprehensive Plan. To the extent people find their desire for a trip to the beach can be satisfied by riding a bicycle to the river – rather than driving a car to the ocean – having such a beach so close can help reduce auto miles traveled.
Plus it’s a great opportunity to get some fun exercise. All of this can contribute to our better health, both individually and collectively.
However, this bicycle connection to the beach could be safer. In particular, the southbound crossing of Columbia Boulevard needs improving. Currently bicyclists have only a painted bicycle sharrow marker to tell fast-moving traffic the road is shared with bicycles. The bicyclists are navigating the southbound 33rd Drive ramp along Columbia Boulevard to the 33rd Avenue overpass to cross the railroad tracks and Lombard Street.
The LUTC is recommending the city plan to incorporate safety improvements – and better bicycle and pedestrian connections – on a redesign of this route.
We Concordia residents are lucky to have our very own beach within such easy bicycling distance. I’d like to see it safer!