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Business excited for addition of new pedestrian bridge

By Connor McCarthy

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    PORTLAND, Oregon (KPTV) — All weekend, both directions of I-84 have been shutdown to install a new pedestrian bridge over the freeway, causing a headache for drivers, but gearing up the cycling community for a new way to get between the central eastside and the Lloyd District.

Kurt McCanles co-owns Cycle Portland on Southwest 2nd Avenue in downtown Portland. His business offers bike rentals, repair service and guided tours around the city.

He said some of the tours go through the central eastside and the Lloyd District. But getting between the two neighborhoods hasn’t been easy.

“There’s just not a lot of bicycle connections to get from this side of the river over and up to the Lloyd District,” McCanles said.

For his brewery and food tour, he currently has to take groups on Grand Avenue and Martin Luther King Junior Boulevard to get across I-84. A route he said doesn’t give the best experience for his customers and can be dangerous.

“Having all of those people riding together when you’re having a lot of lights and a lot of car congestion, it can really break up the tour and effect the experience for the tourists,” McCanles said.

To help make it easier for cyclists and pedestrians to get across the freeway, the Oregon Department of Transportation and the Portland Bureau of Transportation are installing a 400-foot bridge at a cost of $13.7 million.

Over the weekend main sections of the bridge were put into place. On Saturday, a ceremony was held to dedicate the bridge to Congressman Earl Blumenauer.

“Having a dedicated bridge that the green way leads right up to, would be really great experience for cyclists,” McCanles said.

He also said the bridge is a great addition to the city’s push to make the area more bike and pedestrian friendly.

“We really need robust infrastructure for the 20-30 thousand people riding around per day trying to get to get to their business or wherever they’re going,” McCanles said. ““Portland prides itself on being a very rider, commuter centric city. We got a lot of cycling.”

The Blumenauer Bridge is slated to open in Summer of 2022.

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