A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Why the path would be better

Written January 27th, 2017 by Hasso Hering

Cycling west on Highway 20 toward Scenic Drive: This is where it gets hairy.

A day after the Albany City Council narrowly confirmed its longstanding commitment to an off-highway bikeway from Spring Hill to Scenic Drive, I got on my bike and took another look at how things are now.

The proposed Albany leg of the Albany-Corvallis Bikeway follows Hickory Street from Spring Hill to the end of Hickory about a quarter-mile west of North Albany Road. From there, the proposed alignment, though not totally nailed down, would go west along the south side of the Portland & Western track, then duck under a trestle to the north side of the track and follow West Thornton Lake Drive to Scenic.

Cyclists and pedestrians can cover the same 6,000-foot distance now, either on West Thornton Lake Drive, which winds up and down and sideways and has no shoulders to speak of, or on the highway itself, where the motor traffic comes in high-speed bursts. On 20, as the photo above shows, west of Rainwater Lane the shoulder narrows to three or four feet before a right-hand curve. It takes nerve to ride through there, hoping that all the drivers are keeping rigorously to the left of the fog line.

The proposed path would come through somewhere along here near the north end of Juniper Lane.

Then the path would cross to the north side of the track under a trestle west of this one.

Assuming that the remaining right of way can be acquired and no other obstacles arise, the Oregon Department of Transportation intends to construct the Albany path in 2018 at an estimated cost of $2.7 million.

After looking at what’s there now and what’s proposed, I’m more convinced than before that the path is a good idea for both transportation and exercise, especially if it connects to a route covering the rest of the way to Corvallis. It would encourage more people to move along under their own power. On this route, they would not have to worry about being mowed down from behind by somebody checking his phone at 50 mph. (hh)


6 responses to “Why the path would be better”

  1. John Hartman says:

    For the Conspiracists out there, we quote the crucial sentence in Hering’s screed regarding rather expensive oxen trails for the Bike-Snoots.

    “…the path is a good idea for both transportation and exercise, especially if it connects to a route covering the rest of the way to Corvallis.”

    The “especially if” is telling. Does HH know something the rest of us do not?

    The City has attempted to fob this trail off as connecting Albany to Corvallis, allowing for those with bicycles nearly singular access. One can make the argument that there might indeed be some benefit which might accrue were the two halves of the trail to actually meet.

    Now, in the course of just 48-hours we have heard from Albany Ward III Councilor, Rich Kellum that there is no plan on the table now which insures the two halves will meet. And in Mr. Hering’s own column today, he comments about the conjoinment of the two halves by writing, “…the path is a good idea … especially if it connects to a route covering the rest of the way to Corvallis.”

    Hering appears dedicated to the trail buildout regardless of end point. It rings eerily of that “bridge to nowhere” story a few years back. As much as it gives me bad gas and nausea, I am afraid I’m going to have to come down on Kellum’s side. There should be a rock solid inter-governmental signed contract . Otherwise, it’s just another pig in a poke.

    With Oregon facing a 1.4-billion shortfall and the Clown Show in Washington DC standing by to denude government, now might be a wise time to consider shelving the bike trail.

  2. Disgusted says:

    Maybe the whiny cry baby peddle bikers might step up and pay their share of the building of said off hiway bike paths. Until than shut up and suck it up and quit whining like little kids. You bought the bike knowing the road conditions and now you want us fuel tax payers to make it safe for less than one half of one half a percent of the motoring population. I don’t think so.

    • Shawn Dawson says:

      All the bike riders I know own homes or rent, paying property taxes directly or via their rent. They own cars, paying gas taxes to support roads. They work and pay income taxes.

      I’d say they pay their share for the roads. I, as a non bike rider, support the spending of road funds for better bike roads and paths for those who do bike.


    • Bill Kapaun says:

      Right! We should ALL be able to pick and choose where our tax money goes, so we don’t have to support things we don’t like. Just think how organized life would be.

      BTW, you should learn the difference between pedal & peddle.

  3. Dave says:

    I think we should name the path after that guy :)

  4. Dick Olsen says:

    Thanks Hasso. Every time I drive that section of road I think “Thank God I’m in a full sized car”. I voted yes to keep trying to get a safe trail to walk or bike to Corvallis.


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