21 April 2009

SW 57th and Barnes Rd: New Blades In The Woods

2037.Out on new street-blade patrol today, inspired by a tip from Isaac Laquedem who mentioned there's a new blade set at SW Barnes Rd and 57th Avenue (thanks, Isaac!)

This area, in the section of the city we call Sylvan, is a curious one in geographic terms. Portland grew to the east, mostly, and the flatter part, the part it's easier to draw straight streets over, is there, and you'll find vastly more continued streets. But there are extended streets in the West Hills, you just have to go looking for them. I'd wanted to do that for some time.

To get to SW Barnes and 57th, just find your best route to SW Skyline Blvd and go west on Barnes, which is the first cross street south of West Burnside Road. The KOIN transmitters are up there too, since Sylvan Hill is a traditional area for placing of radio and TV transmission towers, so if you follow the big masts, you'll get there too. A very short jaunt west on Barnes from Skyline will bring you to SW 57th Avenue.

The sign is there to the right. Below you'll find a few tighter shots.

This is the Avenue blade:

And here's the Street (Barnes Road) blade:

What's that now? There's no block index here. I wonder why? I have a feeling they're still trying to get the bugs out, or they just want to see these blades up; they seem to be going up rather more quickly than I'd of assumed they'd be; but there it is.

For what it's worth, if the sign did have a block index, it would be 800 at this point; SW Barnes Rd cuts SW 57th Avenue at the 800s. There's a single house between there and the next street south with a three-digit address beginning with 8, and the next block down is SW Taylor Street, which is the 900 block west of the river.

And that's why I mentioned streets being extended westward. It's an interesting thing to my Address Nerd ears to hear "Southwest 57th and Taylor", since streets are so sparse in that area. But when The Great Renaming happened, one of the tenets was a street name should be extended across the city wherever logical, and, presumably, if Taylor had been built up unbroken from downtown over the hills, it would cut through here (or near enough as makes little difference).

Speaking of new blades, the SW 57th Avenue sign at Taylor Street sign would need rather a bit of help, I think:

The setting of SW 57th Avenue going south from Taylor and Barnes is quite a pleasant place, actually:

If I wasn't already familiar with the diversity of Portland's geography, I wouldn't believe this were within city limits.

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Morgan Wick said...

Is it possible there's no block number on one side of the blade because 57th ends there, so there would be little point to indicating the block number of a section of street that doesn't exist? It looks like it could be considered to on Google Maps...

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

My photo-archiving here may be a little lacking. Actually, it's that way on both sides of the sign, not just the side facing down the cross st.

Regardless of that, while you make a good point, that's not the way PDX blades have seemed to roll. PDX's practice has seemed to be to indicate complete information on both side of the blade; I've lost count of the number of times I've seen street and block info on the side of a blade that only pedestrians will see.

In my personal opinion, even though the street doesn't continue through, it's a good thing to have; in PDX, the block index is the same whether you're entering or leaving the block; if pointed north on SW 57th Avenue at Barnes Rd, the block index would be 800, even though you were leaving the 800 block. If you were entering the block, you'd see the number 800 as well, and even though the street doesn't continue through, it might be useful to someone to know they're at the end of the 800 block.

Thanks for the comment!

John D said...

I just spotted a new blade which is also missing the block index. This one is in the heart of the city, at NE 43rd & Tillamook, at the back corner of the Beverly Condos, another newly constructed corner.
Maybe there were numbers on the other side, I didn't have time to stop and inspect and photograph.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Thanks, John. I'm going to have to get a look at that.

It shouldn'tve ben that hard to get the numbers up on the sign. Tillamook is the 2100 block (I don't even have to look it up to find out).

Isaac Laquedem said...

One other reason for the Barnes Road sign being peculiar is that this section of SW Barnes Road, many years ago, was actually W Barnes Road. It still appeared as W Barnes Road on gas station maps into the 1960s, more or less paralleling W Burnside Road a few hundred feet to the north.

The Burnside tunnel and the western section of Burnside was built during World War II to make it easier for trucks to get from Portland west. Until that time, Burnside Street became Barnes Road, and the route wound, snake-like, over where the tunnel is today. The main intersection on the hill was Skyline and Barnes. Skyline continued to the north, ran through the cemetery, and on to Cornell. When the tunnel was built, so was the section of Burnside from Barnes west to SW Skyline, and the section from NW Skyline to the western intersection with Barnes Road. The result was the delightful dyad of Burnside ending at Barnes, and Barnes ending at Burnside about a mile to the east.

Barnes Road hasn't had a happy life. Its eastern portion became Burnside Street and Burnside Road (the break occurs at NW Macleay). Sunset Highway chopped it into three pieces. The middle piece (south of the highway) was renamed Butner Road about 10 years ago when the two pieces north of the highway were reunited.

Samuel John Klein Portlandiensis said...

Thanks for the additional backstory, Isaac.

I've always enjoyed the strange geography of the West Burnside Road-Barnes Rd corridor. You're right, of course, about Barnes not getting any respect.

But I found it interesting beyond words that you could trace the Barnes Rd route to the Sunset Hwy, then below it, then back up above it. The retronaming of it to another section fo Southwest Butner Road makes logical sense and probably results in far fewer lost souls out in Cedar Hills, but it makes the geography a little less intriguing.

It is so that poor Barnes Road gets no respect. Even, because of the way it meanders, it starts as NW, then is SW, then becomes NW again before it merges into Cornell. It's a side street, a traffic road, a boulevard, and a stub street.

Fascinating road really.