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  #1  
Old 07-23-2010, 08:42 PM
NA_CA NA_CA is offline
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Default TdP Asks for Variance to Ride Through Park

The Tour de Parks planning committee is asking for your help.

The Hillsboro Parks Commission currently has a ban in effect prevent bicycling riding through Nobel Woods Park.

Nobel Woods Park is one of the parks on the 10 park ride between Frances Street Park and 53rd Street Park located in Hillsboro on Baseline and just west of 231st. A beautiful park.

Last year we petitioned the commission to give a variance to the Tour de Parks for a window of two-three hours to allow bicyclists riding through this park. Course marshalls would have been placed in the park asking riders to ride slowly and to alert pedestrians that there were bicyclists they might encounter.

Without going through Nobel Woods Park, your choices are riding on Brookwood Avenue (which is not even an option-because of how dangerous it is) and going from Frances St Park east almost to Cornelius Pass Rd, over to Baseline and down Baseline to 53rd. This increases the distance by quite a bit and you avoid one of Hillsboro's beautiful parks.

The Parks Commission is meeting Tuesday July 27th at 7am. We are asking that you meet us there for the meeting.

Having numerous interested people could perhaps change their minds.

Parks & Recreation Administration Office
4400 NW 229th Avenue
Hillsboro, OR 97124
Tuesday July 27th
7am

Coffee and rolls on us after-wards.

If you can't make it but want to support this action, send a letter our way at TourdeParks@washcobtc.org

Sincerely,

Nancy
Tour de Parks Organizer
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  #2  
Old 07-23-2010, 09:26 PM
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Walking your bicycle through the park is another option to consider.

I am not in favor for any public park to be restricted to pedestrians only. If any action should be considered is the lifting of a cycling ban all together. Until the 231st. street connection is complete, there are no low traffic alternatives for cyclists.

I would much prefer Washco.btc lobby the city on behalf of all responsible cyclists, not just this one event.
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Old 07-23-2010, 11:13 PM
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Nancy, thanks for bringing this to the attention of people that read the forum. As it turns out, I've never been to this park, so to know what was being talked about, I looked around on the web. Wikipedia has a nice little page on the park.

Noble Woods Park/wikipedia

The park is a nature park, 40 acres, with paved paths running through it. The event is scheduled for September 26th, a Sunday.

As part of deciding whether to support a variance, I imagine people might have various questions about the event, such as how many riders it might be bringing into the park, and during what hours of the day. Speed of travel that would be allowed is important to know; for example, at Tualitan Hills Nature Park, max speed for bikes is posted 7mph.

Does the park's standard rule not allow riding bikes on park trails, or is the variance required simply because an event would bring in a larger than normal influx of people?

All of this seems like an important consideration, given that the day of the event is a Sunday when there's likely to be more than the usual number of regular visitors coming to the park for what it has to offer.
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Old 07-24-2010, 06:13 AM
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Noble Woods Park is the only park in the Hillsboro Park system that prohibits riding a bike.
Last year we had around 50 people with the TdP that walked their bike through the park. This year we expect about the same/possibly a few more- but certainly not hundreds. Last year respect was shown to the park and its visitors-but we did get a lot of feed back that riders would have preferred to ride through it.
The TdP's ride is on a Sunday afternoon, between 1 and 3pm.
The WashCO BTC has talked with the parks and there is a long term solution about using a fire road-already in the park-as a bike path. That won't happen for a while due to $$$$. Our goal is to allow cyclists to ride through this park at all times-but for now a variance is what we are after for the TdP.
Nobel Woods is a beautiful park with parking lots located on the North and South sides. The paved paths create a "Y" and with course marshalls, the cyclists could be directed to take one direction/pedestrians the other. There would be a very short distance that both would share.
Thanks for you comments.
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Old 07-24-2010, 09:34 AM
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Nancy...thanks for further details on the TdP event, and the hope that people would be allowed to ride their bikes through the park for its 2-3 hr duration.

Given what you've said, the request seems reasonable to me, especially considering the anticipated modest number of people participating.

As I noted in the earlier comment, at Tualitan Hills Nature Park, a clearly stated top speed of 7mph seems to be fairly effective. Naturally, further reduction in that speed is called for and usually observed as people riding bikes on the paths encounter people on foot. I'm sure the participants in your event wouldn't abuse such a limit or be insensitive to other visitors to the park.

At a park such as THPRD's nature park though, that does allow people to ride bikes through it all times during opening hours, even with the speed limit, there is abuse to which ongoing efforts have to be made to keep in check. Some people just want to go fast; simple reality of human nature? I don't know, but when it happens, it can really work to degrade the experience I expect parks like this are hoped to offer people.

Last edited by wsbob; 07-24-2010 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 07-24-2010, 10:08 AM
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Nancy, thank you for the background and insight. I live a 1/2 mile from Noble Woods and have cycled through there many times as a convenient and safe route between Baseline and TV Hwy before the ban. My wife and I have enjoyed riding through this park on a number of occasions. In a sense, this is an alternative transportation shortcut that we, as cyclist, should be allowed to use. I agree that an enforced 7mph limit would go a long way to making cycling acceptable to pedestrians. After all, we also "share the road".

As for the cause, I will see if I can join the hearing in support.
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Old 07-24-2010, 10:17 AM
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Hey, as long as people understand that a special exception was made to allow riding through the park for this event only, why not? Much like Bridge Pedal goes over the Fremont and Markham bridges. I do think that it would be important that riders understand that it is normally prohibited, so that they don't incorporate the route into regular rides.
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Old 07-26-2010, 11:22 AM
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"...The WashCO BTC has talked with the parks and there is a long term solution about using a fire road-already in the park-as a bike path. That won't happen for a while due to $$$$. Our goal is to allow cyclists to ride through this park at all times-but for now a variance is what we are after for the TdP. ..." NA_CA

"...I live a 1/2 mile from Noble Woods and have cycled through there many times as a convenient and safe route between Baseline and TV Hwy before the ban. ..." Simple Nature

In terms of a long term solution that would allow people to ride their bikes through this park, I would be very wary about one that would inadvertently or otherwise, bring the park to a situation where it would become recognized as a commuter route for other than a very small number of people.

I say this based on my limited observation of what I've observed in THPRD's nature park. Also, though it's not a nature park, I'd cite the situation out in Ladd's Addition neighborhood in S.E. Portland. Use of natural areas and nature parks for purposes other than what they're designated, can easily change, in not necessarily beneficial ways, the character of those places, and how people that chance to come upon one another, relate to each other.

I'm inclined to believe that in the nature park, some of the people using the paths are commuters. Part of what leads me to suspect this is who they are, is that I'm seeing people who are in a big hurry...that don't want to ride 7mph or slower through the park to take in the surroundings and patiently allow others on the path to make their way peacefully.

Understandable to some extent; they've worked all day, and they want to get home quick. Still, it's a nature park. If people are given free reign to adapt the use of the park for a need of their own that's markedly different from the purpose the park is designed to serve, the accompanying function of that purpose can be seriously undermined.

I don't have a solid idea of how may people currently use THPRD's nature park for a commuter route. At present, it could be a small number, at least, a manageable one. Hopefully, that number won't grow. Out at Noble Woods park, I would think it very important for the roads surrounding thr park to be sufficiently designed for bike travel so that people riding bikes wouldn't feel obliged to take refuge on paths through the park.

Last edited by wsbob; 07-26-2010 at 11:24 AM.
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  #9  
Old 07-26-2010, 01:21 PM
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Default Meeting Date Changed

I appreciate all of the input on this matter and really looked forward to the meeting tomorrow morning. However, I just received an e-mail from Sue B. with the parks dept. Please see her message below.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We’ve been made aware that there might be some folks showing up at the next Parks and Recreation Commission meeting to talk about riding through Noble Woods for Tour de Parks. The July 27 meeting was cancelled! The next scheduled meeting is August 10.



Sue Boucher

Recreation Services Manager

City of Hillsboro Parks and Recreation

(503) 681-6122

www.ci.hillsboro.or.us/ParksRec

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As August 10th draws closer, I will put out a reminder. Thank you all for even considering to help. Your input was helpful.
nancy
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  #10  
Old 07-26-2010, 05:57 PM
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Bob, I hear what you are saying but the fact is that the west side is, and always has been lacking N-S connections that are alternative transportation friendly. Having said that, things are changing, and changing at a relatively good pace. The 231st street connection will undoubtdly be the most welcome westside N-S connection for a huge number of southside residential neighborhoods to the industrial zone in the north. Right now, there are simply no real alternatives that doesn't put commuters in harms way. Maybe that is why the bike-walk policy has been implemented. I can only hope that the plans are already in the works for making the 231st connection between Baseline and TV Hwy.

Unlike the THPRD Nature Park, which has a parallel wide road nearby, Noble Woods really doesn't have such an option without going several miles out of the way [East; west has no safe alternatives]. Even the fire-road ends in the middle of the park. Somehow I would hope that people using these facilities for mixed uses can get along. The alternatives, for the time being, are simply too limited or extremely dangerous.
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