Biking and Walking in Cedar Mill
By Bill Hagerup
For experienced bike riders,
Cedar Mill is a very attractive area. In fact, that was a major factor
in choosing this area when my wife and I moved here in 1996 (before
our kids were born). It is a short ride to Skyline and other traditional
road-biking routes. For hard-core mountain bikers, Forest Park trails
can be accessed only a couple of miles to the north. For bike commuters,
Beaverton is accessible to the south via bike lanes on Murray and Cedar Hills
Blvd. (although getting under the Cedar Hills Blvd. overpass of the
Sunset Highway is dangerous for bikes, and needs improvement). For the hardy,
commuting to inner Northwest Portland via Cornell is manageable, likewise
for Intel and other high tech sites in Hillsboro. For the less ambitious,
the Sunset Transit Center is close by, and MAX is very bike-friendly.
paradise, right? Unfortunately, the situation is rather different
for less experienced riders such as school age children and adults who haven’t
been on a bicycle in awhile and want to get back in the saddle. For
pedestrians, it is even worse. Our area has very few off-road trails.
In general, the abundance of dead ends and cul-de-sacs force bikers and pedestrians
out on to the main roads, which are largely devoid of bike lanes.
There are a few noteworthy exceptions, such as the trail that connects 131st
to Saltzman, allowing Terra Linda residents to use the north-south route
which was closed to drivers some years back. Kearney, Marshall, Burton, Filbert,
and Westlawn Terrace provide reasonably safe east-west alternatives. The
Cedar Hills Blvd. extension has a nice new lighted bike path. And of course,
the beautiful new Main Street taking shape on Cornell will make walking and
biking on Cornell a pleasant and safe experience for the first time in decades.
far the biggest problem for walkers in Cedar Mill is the lack of
sidewalks on the local connectors such as Saltzman, Leahy, 119th,
113th, 111th, McDaniel, Thompson, and portions of Cornell. Instead of sidewalks,
many of these roads feature narrow or non-existent shoulders and
deep ditches. It is a sad fact that many of our schoolchildren (even middle-school
age or older) cannot safely walk to their classmate’s houses, even
if their friends are only a couple of blocks away. Obesity is now the single
largest health problem among our children, and is second only to smoking
among adults. If we walk or bike instead of drive, we and our children get
exercise, while at the same time reducing pollution and traffic congestion.
great, but how do we make it happen? Unfortunately, there seem
to be few easy options. Major new road projects, such as Cornell,
Barnes, or the Cedar Hills Blvd. extension usually include new bike lanes.
This is good, but many of our local roads (such as those mentioned above)
are not scheduled for widening in the foreseeable future.
Ed. Note: This
article will be continued in the Spring. Bill would like to hear
from area residents who have an interest in this topic, whether you simply
agree with his comments, have ideas to share, or would like to get involved
in the solution. Contact him at email@example.com or by phone at 503-643-4823