Yesterday evening I found myself heading home from Beaverton. The WES stopped running about an hour before I headed home so I ended up riding on the Fanno Creek Trail.
For those of you not familiar with the trail, it’s a roughly 10 mile route that leads from Beaverton at the north end to Tualatin at the south end. It’s an incredibly useful route for getting around in Washington County, but just like some other areas in Tigard there are some sections that are confusing or unsafe for people on bicycles or on foot.
The City of Tigard tried to get funding for a new section of the trail earlier this year but unfortunately wasn’t successful. Thankfully that hasn’t stopped other smaller improvements that have made a huge impact on the usability of the trail. On my ride yesterday I was happy to find three areas that were much improved from the last time I rode through.
At this point on the trail you have to cross Hall Boulevard. The two connecting sides of the trail are right across Hall from each other but it’s very dangerous to cross Hall right at the trail; there are five motor vehicle lanes with fast moving traffic and the crossing is mid-block. The safest way to cross is to head down the block to a lighted intersection and crosswalk. But to do so on the old trail you needed to double back and then continued through a grocery store parking lot. It was very inconvenient and somewhat dangerous to navigate through the parking lot traffic and the only alternative was to trudge through muddy grass to access to the sidewalk. Now that the new section of the trail is in place you can continue straight to the sidewalk without damaging the grass or mucking up your shoes or bike.
Previously there was no marked crossing (you can see it in the background of this photo) and the lack of curb cuts required people to lift their bikes over the curb and forced others in wheels chairs to travel on the street in certain sections. Now crossing is much easier and much safer for everyone involved. It’s also easier to follow the trail thanks to larger directional signage pointing out where to pick up the trail.
The third and final improvement was also on Tiedeman Avenue down the road from the crosswalk. The other side of the Fanno Creek Trail also had no curb cuts, requiring creative travel over the curb, and signs pointing out the trail were small and hard to locate.
Now there’s a curb cut with the same large, easy to read signs like they installed by the crosswalk. It’s a small change but it greatly improves the ease and safety of travel along the trail.
And that’s an important thing to remember here: these improvements are little more than some paint and concrete. They cost taxpayers a teensy, tiny fraction of a percent of the cost of other proposed projects but they greatly enhance the safety and livability of all the communities around the area of the trail. Sometimes a big impact can be made by small changes if you just connect a few dots.