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Pilot project to create Iron Mountain Bikeway

Route will be marked with new signs and 'sharrows'
by: VERN UYETAKE  A “sharrow,” the symbol painted here, provides a reminder to those on the road that bicycles and cars share the pavement. In addition to new signage, sharrows will aim to increase safety and mark the path for cyclists traveling the new Iron Mountain Bikeway planned in Lake Oswego.

A section of Lake Oswego's street system will soon become more bicycle-friendly.

The city council last week approved the installation of new signage and lane markings for a 3.7-mile Iron Mountain Bikeway route, which will run between Millennium Plaza Park downtown and East Waluga Park in Lake Grove.

Cyclists will mainly travel along Evergreen Road, Iron Mountain Boulevard, Lake Grove Avenue and Oakridge Road. Signs will help direct them, and 'sharrows' painted in the roadway will indicate the lanes should be shared by bikes and automobiles.

Pitching the project to the city council, transportation advisory board chairman Gregg Mindt said the bike route is in line with community efforts to encourage using alternative means of transportation and to link the city's two core business districts.

'Iron Mountain is the obvious choice' to connect the east and west sides of town, Mindt said. The starting and ending points are 'well-established: There are restrooms, and there are bike racks. These are places people go to frequently.

'We feel like if this project is successful, there are perhaps other routes, other pathways, that could spin off of this.'

Tom Fahey, vice chairman of the advisory board, said a new bikeway could draw more out-of-town visitors by highlighting a safe way to bike between Lake Oswego's community centers.

'We haven't had many of those types of things to offer to people,' he said.

The project will cost about $17,000, including the signs, sharrows and a special inaugural ride to promote the route when it's finished. It wasn't included in the 2011-12 budget, but city staff members believe the project is relatively small and can be completed in lieu of things like maintenance work on other signs. Councilor Mike Kehoe, liaison to the transportation advisory board, requested it be brought to the council for consideration.

The council voted 5-2 in favor of the proposal, with a majority lauding the bikeway as a cost-effective tool to promote a healthy way of getting around and to enhance bike safety without laying down new asphalt.

'I think it's a great start to wean Lake Oswego off totally automobile-dependent transportation,' Mayor Jack Hoffman sad.

Mary Olson and Jeff Gudman voted against the proposal, although both said they felt the project was a good one. Olson said the issue had more to do with the process than the proposal.

'Even though it's a great project, it's not in the budget and it's not in the (capital improvement plan),' she said. 'I'm wondering why this project rises above all else.'