A Shortcut to Lawn Refuse Bags

June 3rd, 2007  |  Published in etc  |  5 Comments

More of a long cut, really.

Two weeks ago we dug the bikes out of the garage, hooked Ben’s trailer back up to my bike and got to riding around a little.

Last weekend I took him to Oaks Park, which isn’t a bad ride heading out, but suddenly becomes horrible coming back, when you realize Woodstock is up on a plateau of sorts that stretches from around Flavel on its southern side and wraps up around to Woodstock and 39th on its west side. I knew about elevation to the south because Cherie’s house is due south of us and getting back up from there on bike is a struggle if you’re not … if you’re not good at going up very steep hills with a bike trailer attached. I am not. I didn’t think about it to the west, because I hadn’t been very far in that direction on a bike. So I pushed Ben up the hill on Woodstock coming back, which caused him to ask me why I was broken and why we weren’t going faster.

Since Tom and Gretchen are coming out this week to watch Ben while Al & I go on a fifth anniversary trip of sorts (Crater Lake, then Bend, where we’re going to do the Paulina Plunge) we’re saving another trip to Oaks Park for them to manage.

So yesterday’s big ride was for a more practical purpose than going on the Lewis and Clark ride at Oaks Park three times: I needed lawn refuse bags and have been meaning to figure out a way to get to the Johnson Creek Fred Meyer with less pain than the two alternatives I knew of:

  1. Shooting down 52nd, winding across Harney to Johnson Creek Blvd., and following the Springwater Corridor for as long as I could until being forced to follow JCB for a mile or so.

  2. Following Woodstock out to 82nd and traveling south from there, hoping to not get run over, smashed flat, or get my tires shredded from all the broken glass and chunks of automobiles.

ByCycle’s Trip Planner coughed up a route for me that I hadn’t thought of because, well, it wasn’t very direct. But we’re riding as much for fun as to accomplish the task of getting refuse bags (because I could easily score some at the Woodstock Ace Hardware) so I went with it.

I took Woodstock to 67th, followed 67th down to Duke, then headed east on Duke until I hit 92nd. During those parts of the ride, the only parts with no bike lanes were the leg from Woodstock to Duke, which was wide and very quiet, and the 10 block span from 82nd to 92nd, which was also pretty quiet.

From 92nd I headed south to the 205 bike bath, which provides a connector to Johnson Creek Blvd. a few blocks east of 82nd. Some construction through there means bike traffic is routed off the path and onto Fuller Rd., but that’s a pretty quiet patch, too. Once on Johnson Creek Boulevard, we had a few blocks to go with a “bicycle lane” that’s pretty neglected and dirty (in the bad sense of there being lots of built-up grit that could hide bits of glass or metal), but it was an easy crossing across 82nd and into the Fred Meyer Parking lot.

About halfway between Duke and 205 on 92nd, we passed the Springwater Corridor, which jogged my brain enough to wonder at what point, exactly, the severe elevation drop-off between Woodstock and Johnson Creek stops being so severe to the east.

Once we got back home, we ran into neighbor Suzanne out in her front yard, and she told me Luther and the Springwater intersect at a pretty decent elevation. I loaded up Google Earth and turned the elevation exaggeration up to its highest setting and started moving along the Springwater.

It turns out that the corner of SE Luther Rd. and 72nd is about where elevations become “not that bad,” with a likely entry point for the Springwater on 73rd, and a definite intersection with it around Luther and 77th.

So the normal route I’d take to get to Cherie’s without using the Springwater, with the horrible hills at 52nd, Flavel or Bell is about 2.1 miles. Going a bit out of my way to the east then using a Luther Rd. entrance for the Springwater is 3.6 miles, and no hills to speak of. Plus it’s much safer: Johnson Creek and the intersection around Johnson Creek and Harney is sort of nutty in the afternoons.

So, glad I figured all that out. I’ve been hoping to be able to bike Ben back and forth to Cherie’s for the next few weeks (before he starts at the new place), and now I know how to do it safely.

This afternoon, though, we’re probably going in the opposite direction from all that, and head for Waterfront Park so Ben can play in the fountain.

A few other things I found while playing around with all the map stuff:

  • Metro’s Google Earth kmz overlay of Portland’s bike routes is pretty nifty.

  • Google recently made it possible to show kml files from Google Earth on Maps by just putting a URL to a kml in the Maps search box. I put the one I’ve been working on up on puddingbowl. (Mike’s “My Places” for Google Maps)

  • The recent My Maps additions to Google Maps are nice, too, even if you don’t have Google Earth. You can create routes and points, annotate them, then export the whole mess as a kml.


  1. gl. says:

    June 3rd, 2007 at 10:18 pm (#)

    great post, though i’m -hating- the images loading in a flash overlay. in order to load it in other window so i could resd the post & compare the routes, i had to view the source code & copy/paste the IMG SRC. :P

    the red path looks like a moderate diversion, but the blue path looks way, way out of the way.

  2. mph says:

    June 3rd, 2007 at 10:57 pm (#)

    great post, though i’m -hating- the images loading in a flash overlay. in order to load it in other window so i could resd the post & compare the routes, i had to view the source code & copy/paste the IMG SRC. :P

    No Flash. Javascript and CSS. In Safari you can load the image in another tab with a control-click and selecting “Open Link in New Window” (or tab) Firefox responds with a middle click to do the same thing.

    The blue route was just me drawing a line to noodle. For getting back and forth to Cherie’s, the best route seems to involve going down to Luther Rd. and 73rd and picking up the Springwater there. That only takes us a mile out of our way, and going the “normal” way with its horrible hills still involves going a half mile further west because the creek pretty much collapses the grid down there. I’ll put that route up in a separate post so it’s more clear.

  3. dot unplanned » Route Validation says:

    June 3rd, 2007 at 11:52 pm (#)

    […] earlier today I was thinking about exploring the possibilities Luther Rd. and the Springwater would provide for […]

  4. heather andrews says:

    June 22nd, 2007 at 8:27 am (#)

    I live less than a mile away from Johnson Creek Fred Meyer, and I find it near impossible to get there safely by bike to get groceries.

    One route from my house would have me turning left from JCB to get there, which as you’re aware is a difficult arterial street. The other way (from Luther) includes squeezing past Kendall Market, which has approximately 18 inches of sidewalk and air space between the brick building and 82nd. Barely enough room for my handlebars to squeeze through, let alone two panniers full of groceries.

    Seriously, I’m considering starting to shop at Woodstock Safeway because it’s so much easier to get to, but it’s further away from my house, and I don’t really like Safeway all that much.

    Also, I’m trying to make some noise about this issue to the right people, in hopes that maybe something can be done about it in the future.

  5. dot unplanned » Web Developer as Puppy says:

    July 16th, 2007 at 11:06 am (#)

    […] also: The quiet addition then removal of the lightbox code on this site. gl. was right to complain about it because it introduced a behavior that thwarted a few reasonable expectations about clicking on an […]

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