Saturday, April 12, 2014

Build It, and They Will Come!

sections of the Waterhouse Trail pass through green space between backyards of homes (trail seen in upper right)

That phrase, "build it, and they will come" around here usually refers to new roadways, and people use it to justify why a new route should not be built, because we all know that new roads fuel urban sprawl.  In a delightfully positive way, that phrase today refers to a magnificent conglomeration of walking / biking trails that have been and continue to be developed right here in Washington County Oregon.  And if you build a new walking / cycling trail around here, people will come.  In droves!

new bridge over Bronson Creek; it's actually 3x as long as it looks because it bends to the right

The section nearest our house opened a few weeks ago.  I was delighted to see a spankin' new 200-foot long bridge now crossing Bronson Creek.  When my children were small, we sometimes explored that area.  Even in summer we got wet, muddy feet.  The other night at dusk I could hear the trill of red-wing blackbirds as I leaned over the bridge rail.  A great blue heron, some mallards, and a flock of Canada geese flew overhead.

This trail is heavily used.  I passed strolling families, lovey couples, dudes wearing headphones, and runners and cyclists passed me.  These photos are not the greatest because I was out exploring at sunset.

several small playgrounds are integrated into the trail system

a large community garden uses space underneath the power lines

the trail skirts the Avamere care home

two photos of the pedestrian crossing over West Union Road; pedestrians push a button to activate a flashing light, stopping cars--yay!**  love this feature--no more death-wish-dashing across high-speed roads!

in this photo I'm standing at the junction of  the main trail (north-south), and this one above that heads west; when you head west, you formerly had to walk on narrow West Union Road to pass the Mad Greek Deli--so dangerous; now the trail goes behind the Mad Greek and crosses 185th (with a stoplight) to Bethany Pond

another bridge across an unnamed creek

the trail-builders cut through this huge berm behind Bethany Meadows apartments, to extend the trail north to meet the Pirate Park trail; once you hit Pirate Park you can continue to North Bethany, or you can go east to the Multnomah County line, or west to Sunset Hwy

**I had an amusing experience pertaining to these lighted pedestrian crossings.  The feasibility of installing more of these crossings was discussed at a county meeting I attended.  The majority of our 5 County Commissioners are all for facilitating non-motorized transportation across the county.  But one is most definitely not on board.  His comment (paraphrased here), "We can't have these crossings popping up all over--they slow down traffic!"   You should have heard the clapping and the "yeahs!!!" that ensued from the public in attendance.  He is under the mistaken impression that improving transportation means "moving cars,"  when it actually means, "moving people."