HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

A blast — and much less risky

Written September 11th, 2015 by Hasso Hering
The Highway 34 bikeway may not yet be open, but it's great fun to ride anyway.

The Highway 34 bikeway may not yet be open, but the smooth new asphalt beckons anyway.

Riding a bike from West Albany to Corvallis and back is going to be a blast — and a much safer blast at that — once the bikeway along Highway 34 is completed this fall. The route is still closed, according to all the signs. But on Friday, with nothing but time on my hands, I tried it out anyway.

An ODOT contractor has paved almost all of the bikeway’s new segment, which runs well off the north side of the highway between Wolcott Road and Riverside Drive. The asphalt is about 12 feet wide and, of course, perfectly flat except where it crosses numerous driveways.

Only two sections remain unpaved: a short segment just west of Riverside and, farther west, the approaches to the Owl Creek bridge, which itself still needs a deck and maybe some paint.

The Owl Creek bridge still needs a deck to ride and walk on.

The Owl Creek bridge still needs a deck to ride and walk on.

West of Wolcott, the new $1.1 million segment links up with an existing off-highway path. The old segment loops underneath and then across the Van Buren Street Bridge and delivers the cyclist in Riverside Park and downtown Corvallis.

The beauty of this bikeway, when completed, is that it provides for two-way traffic so that on the way east from Corvallis to Albany there’s no need to cross the four traffic lanes and median of Highway 34.

The 5.8-mile leg of this route on Riverside, from the highway to Oakville Road, is supposed to be improved for bike traffic when Linn County does its scheduled pavement overlays over several years. This is supposed to start in 2016 on the stretch from Oakville Road to the old Riverside School.

Riverside doesn’t feel unsafe even now. With a few exceptions the shoulders are of a decent width, and traffic is relatively light. Still, the completion of the grand Highway 34 bikeway by the Oct. 31 contractual deadline poses a challenge to Linn County: Follow through quickly with the work on Riverside so this entire bike route between Albany and Corvallis will be complete. (hh)

This Eugene company has built the path as part of a larger, $3.38 million contract to improve Highway 34 traffic in Corvallis.

This Eugene company has built the bikeway as part of a larger, $3.38 million contract to improve Highway 34 traffic in Corvallis.



6 responses to “A blast — and much less risky”

  1. HowlingCicada says:

    Thank you for the update. I also plan on trying it early so I can see the goats at Takena Landing (another 2 weeks? story in the G-T) and Talking Water Gardens, which I probably learned about on this site. Those photos of yout bike everywhere make me very happy.

    I retired to Corvallis partly because of its bicycle-friendly reputation, but discovered that I liked riding off-road much better than on highways and busy urban streets.

  2. tom cordier says:

    We auto drivers could only hope all bikers would like off-road riding better than highways and busy urban city streets

    • Bill Kapaun says:

      Many of us cyclists are more concerned with getting from point A to point B uninjured, than with “pleasure” riding.

  3. Mary says:

    So where are all the horse trails from Albany to Corvallis? Oh my, there they are! So nicely paved. Thank you tax payers!

  4. James Carrick says:

    I’ve driven by that bridge and from the photo…I must wonder if that bridge would support one, two or three TANKS, fully equipped. Talk about overbuilt and overpriced given the distance it spans.

  5. Shawn Dawson says:

    I’m a taxpayer as well, who will never use this path, but fully support it. I also sent my kids to Catholic school grades 1-8, and still support public schools. This is what makes a community. I’ll likely make use of some other taxpayer paid resource, such as the library, that is paid for by others who don’t utilize. I hope they don’t begrudge me as I don’t begrudge others.

 

 
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