If you’re going to ride a bike around Albany for any length of time, sooner or later you’re going to want to cross the Willamette River.
Going to North Albany from downtown is no problem. The northbound Lyon Street Bridge, built in the early 1970s, has a nice bike lane.
Going south, though, on the venerable Ellsworth Street Bridge is more of a challenge. The bridge dates from 1925. And while its two traffic lanes are wide enough for modern traffic, there is of course no bike lane and no practical way to add one.
Luckily for people on bikes, the right lane is slightly wider than the left. This means cars and most trucks can squeeze past safely if there’s a cyclist in the lane.
Take a look at this video I made on Wednesday.
Traffic was light, as you can see. There were no heavy trucks in the right lane coming up from behind. I wonder how that will change now that ODOT has slapped a 12-ton load limit on the Van Buren Street Bridge in Corvallis and intends to reroute heavy trucks to Highway 20 to cross the river at Albany.
If that becomes a problem on Ellsworth, then bike riders might be persuaded to use the narrow footpath on the side of the bridge. That could work as long as there are no awkward conflicts with people on foot. (hh)