Thank you for bringing your concern about the trail intersection of SE Salmon Street with the Eastbank Esplanade to our attention. We agree the intersection has some potential hazards for someone entering the area who is unaware of the cross traffic or at a high rate of speed, but we generally believe that all intersections require both bicyclists and pedestrians to slow down and pay close attention. However, we have taken a closer look at this particular intersection following your raising this concern.
Your concern was that cyclists might go over the stairs that run parallel to the western side of the Eastbank Esplanade after they cross the north/south running trail as they approach from SE Salmon Street. That we are aware of, this has never been a site of an accident, nor until now have we ever had such a concern brought to us in the roughly 10 years since the Eastbank Esplanade has been in use. SE Salmon Street extends under the freeway through a rather large and open covered space with a variety of obstacles that naturally encourage one to slow down and pay attention. The area has a variety of lights, including an overhead street lamp illuminating the stairs that are of concern. Understandably, during events, the congestion and different use patterns are different than everyday use, and could merit signage to prevent confusion or problems.
Still, we’ve given it some thinking, prompted by your voiced concern. Following a site meeting last week with our planner, engineer and operations supervisor, we made an immediate improvement prompted by your concern – we have removed some of the lower limbs of the trees/shrubs in the planter bed to the south of this intersection, to allow for greater visibility of northbound trail traffic.
We are also considering putting in some pavement markings on the eastern side of the Eastbank Esplanade trail that warn cyclists of the coming intersection as they pass under the freeway on the extension of SE Salmon Street toward the Eastbank. First, we want to discuss this with colleagues at PBOT and the original trail designer, who we have been working with for some months to address some different bike/pedestrian safety concerns along the Eastbank Esplanade, Waterfront Park and the RiverPlace Esplanade. As part of that effort, we will soon be putting up larger, more visible signs warning bicyclists to slow down on the esplanade.
Again, we thank you for bringing your concern to our attention.
West Service Zone Coordinator
Portland Parks & Recreation