For four years the Tilikum Crossing bridge has been under construction across the Willamette and on Sunday afternoon, curious folks were able to follow the cyclist along the Providence Bridge Pedal as a sort of "open house" celebrating the completion of the bridge.
Nearly 50,000 people took advantage of this public open house being some of the first to step across the new River bridge. It was built for the TriMet's MAX Orange Line light rail train, streetcars, buses, bicycles, pedestrians and emergency vehicles. However, the official opening is not until September 12. There will be several events leading up to the official grand opening including fireworks, first lighting and different programs on the bridge.
Nearly 13,000 cyclists took advantage of the access and even though there was a bottleneck of traffic at one point, thousands of people of all ages biked and walked across the bridge. Many people stated that this is now the "people's bridge". Even those with disabilities were given a special invitation only so that they could cross in peace. Many in motorized wheelchairs and those with disabilities were given accessibility throughout the bridge.
Tilikum CrossingHas what's called belvedere's, which are case wide areas in the sidewalk for people can stay out of the path of others at points the jut out from the main structure. These little pullouts are perfect for bicyclists and walkers that either need a break, get out of the flow of traffic or to simply taken the view over the river. This bridge will be accessible at all times making it one of Portland's most unique and accessible bridges.
Will this ease Portland's growing traffic problem? Potentially, because it will allow for more accessible means of transportation not just for traffic but pedestrians, bicyclists and all form of public transportation throughout the Portland area as well. This is one of the only few ridges that allow for this type of diversity when it comes to transportation, either public or private.
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"Tilikum Crossing Jan 2015" by MojaveNC - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tilikum_Crossing_Jan_2015.jpg#/media/File:Tilikum_Crossing_Jan_2015.jpg