Find us on Facebook

Find Willie Weir’s speaking information

Find Kat Marriner’s design portfolio

Kat Marriner : September 16th, 2009

To the Burbs and Beyond!

Waiting for MAX

Waiting for MAX

We’re exploring Portland’s famed bikeability, so we decided to test the waters outside the city limits. With our all-day TriMet pass, we were free to hop any light rail train and head to the end of the line. I decided to head to Hilsboro. I knew nothing about the area west of Portland proper, and rarely did I hear people talk about the suburbs of Beaverton and beyond. But truth be told, I also chose Hilsboro because my main motivator for just about anything is the promise of tasty food. Some how I got it in my head that a bakery I read about that served exquisite hand pies was located in Hilsboro, so I convinced Willie that this was the stop for us. Only after we boarded the train did I let mention how I came to select this destination.

After 30 minutes and increasing evidence of track housing with wide, winding streets and little amenities grew suspicious. After 45 minutes, with the train seeming to stop every mile or two, I was downright sceptical I would find a culinary delight. At long last, we came to our stop and took our loaded bicycles down from the hanging racks on the Max. Once on the platform I could get into my pack and reconfirm the address … which turned out to be in Hilsdale. Oops.

A "burbalicious" house

A "burbalicious" house

Riding back through the area we just came through on light rail did not seem like the best use of our time to see the best of Portland and environs. We had a lot of ground to cover and few good bicycle-friendly routes. So we cut our journey in half and went back to a Beaverton stop where we could see a route on our map that would take us to a dedicated bike path ending at Washington Park … and a chance to relive the zoo ride in the daylight.

Immediately missing from the roads in outer-Portland suburbs are the bicycle road signs. All over Portland, bike routes with destinations, mileage and time serve as way-finders for those not following a bicycle map like we were. But in Beaverton, we hunted and pecked our way to the beginning of the trail … needing a little help from a motorist who set us straight. Nothing indicated a major bike route was close. No street signs. No marks on the pavement. No welcome to the path sign we had seen on other routes. The bike route was functional, and sometimes even pleasant, but not what we had come to expect from routes inside the city limits. As the route crossed over Hwy 26 we saw our first sign and I suspect that’s when we were back in Portland proper. From there on in, we followed signs posted on light poles all the way to downtown.

1 comment to To the Burbs and Beyond!

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>