Congratulations to the Columbia Land Trust and its partners on the completion of the Rosemont Trail between Lake Oswego and West Linn. This is a regional asset that has been much anticipated by the community and my family.

I am concerned however about the exclusion of bicycles from the Rosemont Trail.  Signs recently posted along the trail list bicycling as a prohibited use on the trail, along with skateboarding and Rollerblading. 

This is a tragedy given how unsuitable the adjacent 40 mile-per-hour shoulderless Rosemont Road is for bicycling, especially for families.

As the CLT’s website states: “Rosemont Road, where the trail is being constructed, is a narrow and busy county road with no room for the pedestrians or cyclists that use it to access local parks and open spaces. Further, the county has no plans or funding to improve or widen this road.” 

Widening the trail from 6 to 8 feet to comfortably accommodate cyclists was cited by the Bicycle Transportation Alliance and Columbia Land Trust as a reason to support the project’s fundraising efforts prior to construction. Due to the exceptional efforts of the CLT and other project supporters, the trail has in fact been constructed to an 8-foot width.

The scale of the Rosemont Trail is ideally suited for family cycling excursions. A round-trip between the West Linn and Luscher Farm trailheads is nearly four miles (a long walk), and there is limited parking at the West Linn trailhead for those who want to “park and walk.” However, there is an existing network of multi-use trails and bike lanes that offer convenient biking access for thousands of West Linn residents.

The Rosemont Trail provides an important regional trail connection and the most favorable grades between hilltop West Linn neighborhoods and cycling destinations further afield, such as downtown Lake Oswego, the Highway 43 corridor, the Willamette River and Tryon Creek State Park. This is one reason that the Rosemont Trail is highlighted as a “primary trail” in the West Linn Trails Plan.

Examples throughout the region show that bicyclists and walkers can safely and considerately share multi-use trails. Any safety risks are greatly outweighed by the risk to cyclists of competing with high-speed automobiles and trucks on narrow Rosemont Road.

I urge the Columbia Land Trust and its project partners to consider the safety, recreational and health benefits of opening the Rosemont Trail to bicyclists.

The kids and I look forward to pedaling the trail.

Randy J. Knapick is a West Linn resident.

Contract Publishing

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