Construction crews have been building what a service road parallel to the NE Halsey Street overpass and under the I-205 and I-84 freeways for the last month or so. Are we going to finally have a safe and direct option to access Gateway Green from the west side of the 205 freeway?
<Update> After reaching out through official channels, we’ve found that the ongoing construction is actually being performed by Portland Parks & Recreation. (PP&R) as a maintenance entrance for PP&R and TriMet workers as well as emergency vehicle access to the park.
With ongoing construction there currently isn’t an ETA on if/when public access will be granted, which is understandable, considering these projects are often delayed. S
o will access be improving for cyclists in the future?
All signs point to yes. A 2019 post on BikePortland.org specifically covers the details of this project — you can view Jonathan’s post here: PBOT moves forward with I-205 path undercrossing project.
This new route is a much-needed and welcome development, connecting the Tillamook Greenway to an extension on NE Hancock, which will traverse along the west side of I-205, and bypassing the need to ride on NE 92nd Ave altogether.
With Gateway Green becoming a regional destination, according to the route in Jonathan’s post, a potential concern will be the effect on parking in the South Madison neighborhood. Reports of neighbor complaints in Maywood Park and potential user conflicts have been growing more frequent. According to the Sullivan’s Gulch Trail Concept Plan, (page 38 and 40) an access point at NE 92nd Avenue could be a potential location for public parking and access.
Current access: poor
At the moment the sanctioned method of travel to Gateway Green from the west side of I-205 is to use the Halsey Street overpass or travel several miles north to NE Prescott Street.
Living in the South Madison neighborhood, we’re forced to take a giant loop to access the park via the Halsey Street overpass and through the Gateway District. It’s a horribly inefficient route that requires passing through a crowded transit center, which given the pandemic is more undesirable than ever. Riding over the freeway on Halsey is not only loud, but you’re also sharing a wide sidewalk (that’s also be covered in loose gravel, a potential hazard, be careful) with users on foot traveling in both directions.
Then riders have to cross the four lanes of Halsey and travel along to the Gateway Shopping Center (the best way is to travel down the sidewalk to access NE 99th Ave.) until you reach the Gateway Max stop.
You’re forced to dismount to cross the Max tracks and negotiate what can be a crowded area that is often blocked by smoking loiterers to reach the I-205 Multi-use Path. From there, you travel north back the way you came along the path to cross the I-84 and then NE Halsey Street. In previous years, the multi-use path access has been blocked by campers and their tents, which could be construed as unsafe travel conditions.
A Better Red
According to the anticipated project schedule TriMet’s “Better Red” project has construction slated to start in 2021.
It’s likely this is path will be a shared access route by crews for the Better Red Project. We hope cycling access is granted early in the process. We’re reaching out through official channels to see if and or when cyclists may able to utilize the safer access to the park and Gateway District and will update this post when we have an update. The other exciting development is that this could also represent the start of the Sullivan’s Gulch Trail Concept coming to light.
Read more about A Better Red at Trimet.org/betterred