14 thoughts on “The Banfield Freeway, 1959

  1. Not really the Banfield freeway at this point in time. Did not become part of the Interstate system till later.

  2. Interesting to see northbound traffic gather in the left lane and southbound in the right. What did this empty out on to back then?

  3. Gavin, at the time the westbound Banfield ended at NE 3rd Ave. which can be seen in this previous VP post.

    Northbound and Burnside Bridge traffic used the left lane to turn left onto NE Couch St. with bridge traffic turning right onto Union and right onto the bridge, while northbound traffic continued straight across Union and then left onto Grand.

    Southbound traffic used the right lane of 3rd Ave. to pass under the Burnside Bridge before turning left on SE Ankeny and right onto SE Union.

    (Note that the description on the photo I linked to above gets this traffic flow wrong by claiming it was northbound traffic that went under the bridge but this is not the case as can be seen in today’s photo with northbound and bridge traffic combined in the left lane. This makes more sense anyway as it kept southbound traffic from having to go through the congested Bunside/Union intersection by passing under the bridge instead).

    That section of NE 3rd was at the time one-way southbound to take the traffic coming off the westbound Banfield. Later that exit would turn around and become an on ramp to the eastbound Banfield which was still there when I was a kid in the 80’s. Not sure when they closed that on ramp, but you used to be able to turn right from Union/MLK onto Couch, then right onto 3rd and that took you straight onto the eastbound Banfield. In the photo I link to above, you can see where they’ve already prepared the right-turn “chute” from Union onto Couch for what will become the route from Union onto the eastbound Banfield.

  4. Also, to add to the highway/traffic nerdiness above, you can still see a remnant of this old traffic pattern in the long curving sidwalk where the curbs were cut back to smooth the left-right S-turn from southbound 3rd onto southbound Union (now MLK) after passing under the Burnside Bridge (i.e. the NE corner of 3rd and Ankeny and the SE corner of Ankeny and Union/MLK). See this Google maps view from above to see what I mean:

    https://goo.gl/maps/JR2zR8tiPap

  5. Thank you for all of this great info! I’m only 29 so I wasn’t around for any/much of this stuff so I’ve been coming here for the past couple of years and getting lost in the pictures and amazing comments/memories. I can’t get enough of it, especially the highway/traffic stuff. Appreciate the response.

  6. Dave,

    You were expecting something other than old news on a site called “Vintage Portland?”

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