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New scenic bikeway rolls out in style

After about three years of planning and effort, the new Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway is now officially open for business.

The bike-friendly corridor stretches for nearly 51 miles, from Rood Bridge Park to the end of the Banks-Vernonia State Trail at Vernonia.

On Monday morning, a group of about 40 people — a mix of dignitaries and bicycle enthusiasts — gathered at the park for a brief dedication under skies threatening rain. They were there to unveil the new green and white “scenic bikeway” signs that mark the route and be among the first to ride in the newly-designated bikeway.

“The signs have been up, and today they were uncovered,” said Allison George, stakeholder development manager for the Washington County Visitors Association (WCVA).by: NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: DOUG BURKHARDT - After about three years of planning and effort, the new, 51-mile Tualatin Valley Scenic Bikeway is now officially open for business. On Monday morning, a group of about 40 people,  a mix of dignitaries and bicycle enthusiasts, gathered at the park for a brief dedication under skies threatening rain. They unveiled new scenic bikeway signs that mark the route, and were among the first to ride the newly-designated bikeway, which meanders along back roads out of Rood Bridge Park in Hillsboro on its way to Forest Grove and Banks, where it connects with the Banks-Vernonia Trail--and might one day hook up with a trail to the coast. Gisela Piercy, one of the riders going out on the new scenic corridor for the first time, said she appreciated having a designated place to ride. Its fantastic, said Piercy, who lives in Hillsboro. I like that they pick low-impact roads where you can see the countryside.

The WCVA paid for the roadside signs that line the route, which follows lightly-trafficked roads through scenic areas. The route meanders along a series of back roads out of Rood Bridge Park, carrying riders along Johnson School Road and Golf Course Road, past the Fernhill Wetlands and into Forest Grove. From there, it traverses rural lanes such as Kansas City Road and Porter Road, allowing bicyclists on their way to Banks to avoid busy highways. At Banks, the bikeway connects with the Banks-Vernonia Trail. From there, it is 20 miles to Vernonia.

George said the scenic bikeway designation is the first in the Portland metropolitan area.

“It’s very exciting,” George said. “Oregon is well known for cycling. There has been a huge increase in cycling in the state. People believe in sustainability. They want to shop in small towns and get a sense of the communities they are riding through.”

Alex Phillips, bicycle recreation specialist for the Oregon State Parks & Recreation Department in Salem, traveled to Hillsboro for Monday’s event.

“We want to bring bicycle tourism into this area even more than it is now, because bicycle tourism is an incredible benefit to the community,” said Phillips.

Phillips added that scenic bikeways are advertised nationally and internationally, and are considered “the best of the best bikeways.”

Hillsboro Mayor Jerry Willey was among those on hand to celebrate the corridor by riding a portion of it on two wheels.

“This is one of the great assets for our respective arsenals to attract everyone to Washington County,” Willey said.

Washington County Commission Chairman Andy Duyck said the trail puts the area in a positive light.

“Washington County is a great place to be, and I’m very proud to have the scenic bikeway here,” Duyck said. “It highlights the best of what Washington County has to offer.”

Gisela Piercy, one of the riders going out on the scenic corridor for the first time, said she appreciated having a designated place to ride.

“It’s fantastic,” said Piercy, a Hillsboro resident. “I like that they pick low-impact roads where you can see the countryside.”

“It’s so nice,” added Randy Dickinson, also of Hillsboro. “This bikeway is right in the Hillsboro area, and we love it.”




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