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Public meeting will address speedy cycling concerns

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 31st, 2007 at 3:00 pm

sign at Mt. Tabor
Sign in Mt. Tabor.
(File photo)

Some neighbors of Mt. Tabor Park continue to have concerns about cyclists going too fast on downhill roads inside the park.

These concerns brought several stakeholders together yesterday for a meeting at the Police Bureau's Southeast Precinct offices.

In the meeting were SE Bike Patrol officer Robert Pickett, Traffic Division Commander Mark Kruger, SE Precinct Commander Derrick Foxworth, PDOT traffic safety guru Greg Raisman, bike lawyer Mark Ginsberg, members of the Friends of Mt. Tabor, and several Parks Department officials.

So far, no collisions or incidents regarding speeding cyclists have been officially reported. Even so, concerned neighbors hope to find a proactive solution to what they feel is an ongoing safety issue.

It's important to note that these concerns are in no way related to the weekly races held at the park.

As a result of these recent discussions, a public meeting has been scheduled for June 14th from 4-8pm. (The date has been changed, stay tuned) The meeting will be held in the park at Picnic Area A.

For a map of the park and more information, view this page on the Parks Department website.

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Comments
  • Fred May 31, 2007 at 8:39 pm

    With Kruger involved you know exactly what the agenda is, getting people off of their bikes around Mt. Tabor. There's no way anybody on a bike is going fast enough to be a danger to anyone else. The real danger around the parks are the cars and the animals (off their leashes) that act in an unpredictable way. This is nothing more than made up anti-bicycle propaganda.

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  • spencer May 31, 2007 at 9:28 pm

    the more pressing problem is dogs off leash and running into everyone. Add to that those stupid leashes that reach across the entire road and block everyone (walkers and bikers included)..
    if bikes are such a problem, lets paint a line down the middle of each road, and bikes on one side and peds with their dogs on the other.

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  • Attornatus_Oregonensis May 31, 2007 at 9:37 pm

    I hope you folks realize that because this is obviously BS and because we make "decisions" as a society by mechanisms such as public meetings, it's extremely important to go to such meetings and make abundantly clear that this a small minority of whiners full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

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  • cecil May 31, 2007 at 9:54 pm

    Last week I was doing intervals on Mt. Tabor and noticed a police officer sitting in a City of Portland white pick-up truck on the side of the road that runs down past the reservoirs watching cyclists as we rode past - there was an interesting mix of cyclists, pedestrians, skateboarders and leashed dogs sharing the road at that point, and we were all indeed sharing the road in harmony. Think he'll report back on that?

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  • sh May 31, 2007 at 11:26 pm

    Seconding AO's thoughts.

    This is a small, cranky minority leveraging the public input process to project a problem that doesn't exist. And it's irritating, yes. (Don't you hate it when small cranky minorities express concern over nothing? I just hate that.)

    However, despite the fact that this feels like a nuisance (okay, okay, it *is* a nuisance, it is!) diligence is required. If you're a cyclist with any love for Tabor (and who hasn't climbed that Mt. a thousand times?), you (meaning you, me and anyone available on 2 wheels) should attend this meeting to express our opinions on the nature of these complaints.

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  • ME June 1, 2007 at 8:17 am

    And all of you Lance Armstrong wannabes who do like to blow by everything in your way...take it to PIR or a stretch of road that's safe. Quit showing off in the park, esplanade and on busy streets. I think we've all seen our fair share of flashy spandex flying by, so you're not impressing anyone but yourselves...you know who you are. Tabor's way too crowded for speeding around anytime you want. Oh yeah... the Tabor neighborhood IS full of lawn sculpting crybabies, so be prepared for a battle.

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  • Jonathan Maus / BikePortland June 1, 2007 at 8:24 am

    "all of you Lance Armstrong wannabes"

    ME,

    I appreciate your input on this issue... But I just want you (and others) to be careful about negatively labeling any groups within the community. Your tone borders on insulting and it will only lend to divisiveness both on this site and in the streets.

    If you have an issue with people in spandex that ride too fast, than that's fine... but please refrain from this taunting tone and name-calling.

    If we want to leverage this site's audience as a tool to solve issues in the community and have constructive exchanges, then we must be very careful how we choose our words.

    Thanks.

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  • Coop June 1, 2007 at 8:30 am

    cecil, I could be wrong but most likely that was a Water Bureau security person in the pickup. They look kind of like police but don't carry guns. They are more concerned with keeping the terrorists out of our water supply than the harmonious nature of the recreators.

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  • Cecil June 1, 2007 at 8:42 am

    Coop (Post 8), that's what I thought at first, but he appeared to be making notes in a notebook as cyclists passed (I was climbing counter-clockwise for a while and so was going slowly enough to see). But you may be right - I'd just never seen anyone like that there before.

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  • ME June 1, 2007 at 8:59 am

    Ok-ok, you're right JM, I sometimes get alittle carried away. I couldn't help but relive the horror of being cut-off and forced into another cyclict by the person I described earlier...on the Esplanade. There is a place for busting out and flying over pavement on a bike, but it's not in crowded or well traveled areas. Happy Friday!

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  • Purple Toes June 1, 2007 at 9:24 am

    I'm a bicyclist who also walks in the park a lot - it's about 15 blocks from my house.

    I've yet to see speeding cyclists, although that's not to say they don't exist, and I don't doubt that the neighbors have their concerns.

    But why single out bikes? What about speeding cars in the park?

    My biggest problem as a walker in the park is the speeding **vehicles** going up to and coming back down from the childrens' play area.

    Moms in SUVs with screaming kids in the back, and a busy ped, bike & dog friendly park, do **not** mix. Truely. Really. Drivers tear down those hills, and around those bends far too fast to feel safe as a pedestrian.

    As a walker, it's scary having to leap into the drainage ditch every time some car comes tearing past. Has there ever been consideration of closing the park entirely to cars?

    Come on Mount Tabor residents - look at the bigger picture!

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  • Eddie Merckx June 1, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Regarding ME’s comments:

    Sorry to hear about your experience with the bicyclist. I was hit by a car while on my bike in August 2004 because the driver was not watching for cyclists – only other vehicles as she pulled out head on into me. Broke both my arms, injured my back, missed work for 6 weeks and spent two years rehabilitating to regain the same fitness level. My point is that I have had a terrible experience as a cyclist, but it will do me no good to become angry at all cars – it makes no sense. In the same manner, it will not do much good to be angry at all cyclists. The answer in my case and for Mt. Tabor, Ladd’s addition, the Springwater, and other cases that may arise is to advocate for mutual awareness of pedestrians and vehicles (cars and bicycles). Cars are not going to disappear, and neither are cyclists, especially here in Portland. Policy that promotes segregation of pedestrians and cyclists will only lesson awareness of bicyclists on the road for those very same pedestrians once they get behind the wheel of a car. And I don’t want to be drilled again by another car…it’s too hard on the body and on the family.

    Oh – and Lance is great, but I prefer to be myself. And lycra feels better when cycling, so it’s not about appearance.

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  • JayS. June 1, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    I spent about three hours at the playground last wednesday. My kids and I rode our tandem up and met a friend. In that time between 1:00 P.M. and 4:00p.m. I think I saw one bike it was traveling at very safe speeds and very aware of the few folks around. I also saw four skate boarders make a few runs from top to bottom. They all seemed well in control. I also saw a park security or some other uniformed badged person go by twice on a segway scooter. It was a beautiful afternoon and everyone got along nicely.... I did see dogs off leash in places that they shouldn't have been including along the roadside and at the playground. That always makes me highten my awarness. My kids and I enjoyed our safe bomb down the hill and five mile ride home.

    I wasn't there after work hours which are probably more active but if my time there was any indication (of car free wednesdays) the only possible persistant problem is off leash dogs.

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  • J Price June 1, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    #2 - Spencer

    Those long retractable leashes? In Multnomah County a leash is limited to 8' in length [Under the definition of "Animals at Large" in the county regs] - anything longer or capable of being longer is illegal. Of course, MCAC, the responsible enforcement party, won't do anything about off leash or long leash issues due to 'funding shortcomings'. SW Portland/Gabriel park has similar issues.

    As for Mt Tabor: as with most places, if ALL people would pay attention, contentious situations would be minimized.

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  • pet cow June 1, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    it's kind of insane that this dude got an interview on kgw based on a pretty much unsubstantiated claim. that said, i think it's fairly reasonable to believe that he actually felt threatened by the proximity of the bikes, whether or not there was any realistic chance of collision, and it's probably a good idea to go to the meeting with that in mind. i walk on tabor every day, and i've had a bike zip by me too fast, or nearly skid into me on a trail, more than a few times but not enough that i would call it a problem. it does happen, though.

    cars (especially cars), leashed and off-leash dogs (that leash rule is for everyone else's dog, apparently...), longboard crews, joggers, segway riding security guards and pedestrians have their own issues too, so singling out bikers is silly. but claiming anti-bike bias, and passing the blame doesn't seem very constructive, either.. let's go to the meeting with the mind that this is not just some anti-bike kook, unless he proves otherwise.

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  • pet cow June 1, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    i should have added... even the worst wednesday, clogged with bikers, dogs, peds, skatemobs, etc is better than the best day with cars on those roads.

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  • Jason June 1, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    So how fast is too fast? 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 mph?? How close is too close (assuming arms length = 2.5 ft? 6 ft, 10 ft?

    Where do the conflicts occur? Are there specific locations in the park?

    It would be helpful for me to understand the scope of the problem before attending a neighborhood meeting.

    Cheers

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  • PeteJacobsen June 1, 2007 at 10:56 pm

    I use Mt. Tabor both by cycle and on foot. The specific place I have had trouble with speeding bikes is on the carless section coming down from the top. As a cyclist, I know it is fun to let go on that section. The problem comes when cyclists see pedestrians but decline to slow down. Because it is a carless area, walkers easily get caught up in the scenery or the birds, and a quiet bike (bells would help!) can come up on them quickly. A step in the wrong direction...

    On my last visit there, before 8 in the morning on a pretty Wednesday, a birdwatcher stepped backward for a better look just as a speeding cyclist tried to squeeze through the group without slowing. The walker wasn't hit, but the cyclist went down. There were some grouchy words.

    I think it is fine to enjoy that descent, but I get on the binders right away when I see walkers ahead. It would be good if all riders did as well.

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  • SKiDmark June 2, 2007 at 12:08 am

    If bombing hills is outlawed, only outlaws will bomb hills.

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  • mommy June 2, 2007 at 8:47 am

    can't everyone just learn to stay on their own side of the road, be respectful when passing and slow down at intersections? Why is this so difficult?

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  • SKiDmark June 2, 2007 at 2:13 pm

    For that matter what makes it so hard to look both ways before entering a roadway?

    Us cyclists get kinda caught up in the effects of sloping pavement and gravity so sometimes it is hard for us to slow down...

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  • Fred June 2, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    If a pedestrian enters the road without looking they deserve to get hit. It's not the cyclist's fault.

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  • rich January 28, 2009 at 1:04 am

    people need leashes for their dogs unless they know how to handle em.
    i saw a unleashed dog jump right in front of a skater, ending in a crash.

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