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I spent a while in the area last night, comparing the various route options created by the new northwest/southeast path that now links Moody Avenue and Sheridan to Harbor Drive and River Parkway. The purple line is now the best bike route to the South Waterfront from most of the city.The red line is the most comfortable current route between the South Waterfront and PSU.

But as of this week, it really makes more sense to obey the wayfinding sign and go straight ahead: Harbor Way dead-ends into a mixed-use path… …and reaches the path built by Tri Met for this purpose and opened this week. Last week, reader Ted Buehler argued that by far the best way to get to Portland State University from Tri Met’s new bridge (and therefore from much of Southeast Portland) would be to bike or walk up the viaduct alongside the rails and busway … “It’s a Grade A Platinum Route from PSU to SE Portland,” Buehler had written in a comment thread about the apparent decline in biking rates among PSU students.Heading down this way, you’ll get a quick signal and straight shot across Sheridan into the Moody cycle track rather than dealing with the long signal and diagonal crossing across streetcar tracks that have been in use for the last few years. “But not open to bikes.” It’s not clear how hard it would have been to actually open that path to bikes. Let’s take the best existing route one step at a time, starting this time at the bottom of the hill, near the South Waterfront and the west landing of Tilikum Crossing.As for biking the viaduct, I would estimate (purely hypothetically) that it might take a similar rider about uphill and downhill, assuming that rider were proceeding carefully to avoid any track conflicts.Here’s the view across Sheridan from the end of Moody’s awesome raised, separated cycle track: There are new signs here urging people to turn left. From there you can proceed up the path, just west of a power station and a vacant lot that seems sure to be a future Midnight Mystery Ride destination……and up to Harbor Drive, the stub of 1950s expressway that remained after Governor Tom Mc Call successfully led an effort to replace most of it with Waterfront Park.

…unless sharing an uphill traffic lane with cars on a divided four-lane boulevard next to the streetcar tracks isn’t your thing.In that case, your best bet for reaching the much more comfortable Lincoln Street bike lane would be to turn left and wait through a long signal cycle to head over this crosswalk and onto the sidewalk here: At the top of this incline, you’ll reach the new bike/walk crossing onto Lincoln. It’s the top of the new MAX viaduct that curves straight up from the bridge landing. It took uphill, much of it waiting for the left turn crossing signal onto Naito from Harrison, and downhill.Thanks to Tri Met’s nearly completed Orange Line, the main bike route to the South Waterfront got smoother this week.But as we discussed in a post last week, there are still significant complications with the bike connections to Portland State University that could have been solved if it had been possible to run a bike/walk/skate path on the new MAX viaduct.The green route is the approximate path (overhead) of the MAX viaduct, to which Tri Met says it was infeasible to add a sufficiently wide bike/walk path.(Image and commentary by Ted Buehler) It cuts the corner between Moody and the Hawthorne Bridge landings and lets you skip two traffic signals, including an awkwardly signaled intersection and a bunch of streetcar tracks.Most people biking to the South Waterfront from downtown or the east side head south through Waterfront Park until they reach this intersection (Harbor Way and Montgomery), then turn left.