Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on February 1st, 2011 at 10:32 am
(looking north from SW Moody).
Residents of the The Strand, a three-tower condominium complex on the Willamette riverfront south of the Hawthorne Bridge, want people on bikes to avoid riding through their private property. Their condo towers face an open courtyard that makes for a tempting cut-through for bicycle traffic. Signs say "Do Not Enter," but residents of The Strand say people on bikes frequently ride through the plaza, often at high speeds and without consideration for others.
Strand resident Barbara Brady contacted us with hopes that people on bikes would avoid riding through their property and take adjacent city streets instead.
Riding through The Strand's courtyard is tempting because it's a straight shot if you're headed north on SW Moody or if you're heading south via SW Montgomery or the riverfront trail (see map diagram below). Brady suggests that people on bikes use SW River Parkway and SW River Drive to avoid The Strand altogether. "Given that minor change," she says, "cyclists will be on legal cycling roads and can go the speed of the traffic, with less risk of hitting a resident."
(Graphic by BikePortland)
Brady says the Strand Board of Directors is not happy with how people are "racing through" their private common area on bicycles. "They aren’t even happy about cyclists cycling through there in any way, shape or form," she adds.
Brady's hope is that people on bikes respect their property because they would rather not have to resort to added signage or other measures, such as erecting physical barriers to deter bicycle traffic.
This situation sounds similar to the River View Cemetery bike access issues. That private location is also a popular cut-through for bicycle traffic, but many people rode through without consideration for cemetery-goers. The management reached out to the public urging more considerate riding, but when that didn't solve the problem, they erected speed bumps and other signage. Thankfully, the cemetery didn't just decide to close the route completely — even though they had some legal right to do so.
And who can forget the issue of riding through the Riverplace (just a few yards from The Strand)?
Given the fact that an easy alternative route exists, and judging by their level of anger about the situation already, I doubt The Strand Board of Directors will be as forgiving as the River View Cemetery management was.
Brady is a former bike racer and "avid cyclist" herself and she's hoping to prove her Board wrong by showing that, once aware of the issue, people on bicycles will comply with the "Do Not Enter" signs and with her suggestions.
"One board member suggested that I will make it worse by angering cyclists, but I don't think this is the case. I think awareness may work."
UPDATE: A big question with this issue is whether or not The Strand has the legal right to exclude public access through this corridor. I expect to hear official word from the City soon, but in the mean time, a tipster sent in some official plat maps from the Multnomah County GIS system that seem to show no easement provided for public access (and please keep in mind folks, I'm only raising the easement technicality for background on the issue, I am not trying to fight the condo owner's wishes):
UPDATE 2: City of Portland spokesperson Dan Anderson has confirmed: "A review of the Strand's condo plat did not reveal any public easements in the area in question." So, let it be known that The Strand has every right to prohibit bike access through this area.