MMM bike paths. They make me salivate with happiness. I used to live in Seattle, steps from the Burke Gilman trail, which runs for many miles almost from the Puget Sound all the way out to the Redhook brewery in the countryside. Along the way it passes the Gasworks park on Lake Union, UW, Soundgarden’s Soundgarden, and Lake Washington. It’s one of the greatest places and experiences in Seattle.
Portland has the Springwater Corridor running approximately 30 miles along the Willamette river and east toward Mt. Hood and the pathway running several miles along Marine Drive. We also have the 2.5 mile loop of Tom McCall Waterfront park and the Eastbank Esplanade, connected by two bridges, and it is a fantastic way to see the city and get in a ride or a walk. Until these paths went in, Portland’s rivers were mostly taken over by industry or freeways. All these paths are part of the 40 mile loop, envisioned to provide access to green space for city-dwellers almost a century ago and all but forgotten until recently.
Now that we have public non-motorized access to some of the river, people are hungry for more; that’s where npGREENWAY comes in.
From their website:
“npGREENWAY envisions a trail system providing access to and along the Willamette River enveloping the north riverfront from the Steel Bridge in downtown Portland to Cathedral Park near the St. Johns Bridge and extending through Baltimore Woods to Kelley Point Park.
Our goal is to link North Portland neighborhoods with the Willamette River for recreation and access to jobs. This expansion of the Willamette River Greenway will include a network of trails used for activities such as walking, running, cycling, skating, skateboarding, fishing, boating and wildlife viewing. The North Portland Greenway trails will connect with the existing Willamette River trail system serving residents and visitors throughout the region.”
It’s already been a long road and probably has years or possibly decades to go, but you have to start somewhere and the citizens of npGREENWAY are in it for the long haul.
It’s great to see Portlanders are continuing to realize the Willamette river’s importance to the overall health of our natural surroundings and by extension to our own health, not to mention the benefits of exercise and the public’s right to access to our common spaces.
I look forward to the day you can ride from the Sellwood bridge to the St. Johns bridge along the river without vying for space with a car. Dare to dream…