Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Rose Festival permit allows restriction, diversion of cyclists

Posted by on June 5th, 2007 at 11:16 am

In doing some research for my story about Casey Martell being thrown out of Waterfront Park for riding his pedicab, I came across the Rental Contract and Facility Usage Permit that the Rose Festival has purchased (for $89,760) from the Parks Department.

The permit — which includes, “Salmon Street Spring Fountain and all Park walkways,” contains a section that grants the Rose Festival the right to restrict bicycle access to the Esplanade.

“The Portland Rose Festival is allowed to restrict such uses as, inclusive but not limited to, persons riding bicycles, persons vending without a Park permit, persons riding skateboards or roller blades and any reasonable restrictions to insure public safety.”

The permit goes on to make a special stipulation for bike commuters,

“Bike commuters during the hours of 5am-11am, Monday through Friday, are to be given full access to the Esplanade for commuting. After 11:00 AM bike commuters may be diverted into a clear protected lane of Naito PKWY free of all other vehicular traffic.”

I found that last sentence interesting. So far, I have received two comments from readers that have witnessed Rose Festival staff golf carts driving the wrong way in the (newly installed) aforementioned Naito Parkway bike lanes. Here’s what reader Cecil wrote in a comment on Friday (6/1),

“…today there was a new and interesting hazard in the northbound Naito bike lane – golf carts!!

The Rose Festival โ€œFun Zoneโ€ people have golf carts that they use to get from one end of the zone to another and they use the NP (Naito Parkway) bike lane as a short cut. Unfortunately, they are headed SOUTH. As in head on…”

It’s not clear to me if the “clear protected lane” stipulation is a legal requirement or just a recommendation. Either way, it’s good to know the Parks Department includes special language for bike commuters in their permits. I just hope no one gets run over by a golf cart.

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  • Matt Picio June 5, 2007 at 11:41 am

    So far, a \”clear, protected lane\” in the afternoon has meant all of Naito Parkway. On my commutes home the last couple days, the whole road has been closed to cars, and pedestrians have had free reign on the road to walk across to the Navy\’s \”Seal Adventure\” or whatever.

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  • Cecil June 5, 2007 at 11:55 am

    Hmm, unlike Matt P (post #1) I have not noticed NP being closed to cars during my evening commute – both Friday evening (at about 5:15) and yesterday (also about 5:15), I was sharing northbound NP with cars. Fortunately, there were no golf carts in the bike lane this time. On the other hand, there would have been no room for golf carts in the lane, because both times it was filled with pedestrians using it as a sidewalk . . .

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  • Dabby June 5, 2007 at 11:58 am

    Why is there always such compromise surrounding normal daily activities, and the influx of Rose Festival?

    We should not have to change our daily habits so that thousands can come in and invade downtown.

    The Rose Festival, it\’s activity\’s, pomp, and circumstance, should be second to standard downtown going\’s on\’s.

    Since when is making money hand over fist for a bunch of carnies and a traveling ferris wheel more important than the commuter\’s that are there every day?

    When they tell me to get off my bike during Rose Festival, I laugh and ride on.

    The best statement is \”I neither recognize, nor respect your authority over me\”. Then ride off, safely of course…….

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  • Anonymous June 5, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    I think WNBR may need to go invade the rose festival. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Marc June 5, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    How about Portland\’s bicyclists get out own spot in the parade as a trade-off for the diversions we have to make to accommodate the festival.

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  • RyNO June 5, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    I think there has been a sign up for years down on waterfront park that says the path is closed to bikes during the Rose Plague.

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  • Dropped June 5, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    Putting aside the Casey Martell-type issues, why would your average rider want to take a bike down there during Rose Festival anyway? Is it really that fun riding through crowds? It\’s not like the Esplanade is a vital through-way. There are about 75 other north/south routes you could take to get through the west side. Is it the end of the world to take a different path for a few weeks?

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  • Donald June 5, 2007 at 4:16 pm


    Interesting post. First thing I thought was: What if he replaced \”Rose Festival\” with \”Last Thursday\” and \”downtown\” with \”Albina neighborhood\”?

    Aren\’t gatherings such as Rose Festival (and indeed Last Thursday) part of the tacit agreement we have with each other living in a larger community? As Jonathan noted in the initial thread, \”…congestion is just a way of life in a city.\”

    Shouldn\’t be able to grant some consideration to our historical fetes as we would want it to be granted to our newer gatherings?

    (That said, if I find myself head-on with a golf cart coming the wrong way in a marked bike lane, I can guarantee that the cart will yield. That just sounds freaking wrong…)


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  • Matthew June 5, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    Donald, I actually had the opposite question: What if, instead of the Rose Festival Fun Zone being in Waterfront Park, closing that area to bicycles, it was held in the CEID on I-5, therefore closing that section of I-5? Not a problem, (I\’d say,) cars could go around it via 405, it would only add a few miles to their trips at most. And indeed that is how I feel about them closing Waterfront Park to bikes: I can find a different route for a few weeks, it won\’t kill me.

    But I highly doubt that the average person [driver] would happily let the city close the freeway for weeks at a time, although the only way to find out for sure is to do it. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Todd B June 5, 2007 at 9:52 pm

    And there likley is a local or state law against driving against traffic in a bike lane with (or without) an electric golf cart…perhaps the LADDs Addition Mod Traffic Squad team will stake out this block too.

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  • Matt Picio June 5, 2007 at 10:01 pm

    Hmm… maybe I should have said \”evening\”. I forgot – the last few days I\’ve been going home somewhat later in the day than usual.

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  • ME June 6, 2007 at 8:27 am

    The golf cart thing sounds a bit illegal to me. What is the wording in the permit really saying?…\”After 11:00am bike commuters may be diverted into a clear protected lane of Naito Pkwy. free of all vehicular traffic.\” It doesn\’t seem as if this is the case. Doesn\’t that include carts as well as cars?

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  • Kristen June 6, 2007 at 8:45 am

    The phrase, \”vehicular traffic\”, seems to me to imply motorized vehicles, which would include golf carts.

    Unless they are only trying to make a distinction between bikes and cars/trucks…

    Regardless, I would think the golf carts would need to \”take the lane\” (car lane, that is) and stay out of the bike lane.

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  • JE June 6, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    The key item in all this is $89,760. Traffic and commuting through the city comes second to cold hard cash.

    On closing NB Naito, yes they have been. I go home at midnight and all of NB Naito has been closed from the Hawthorne Bridge on up.

    And there\’s more; don\’t forget the ships causing all kinds of backup on the bridges. Especially the Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftian, which are docked on the northside of the Hawthorne but cruise around daily, south of the Hawthorne. Why not dock them on the southside?

    The Rose Festival is a good idea, but like so many other good ideas in PDX, it\’s poorly executed. I\’ve never been to the Rose Festival in the 14 years I\’ve live here. By the time it starts I\’m already disguted with it.

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  • Dustin June 6, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    i find it distresing that we pay taxes to upkeep these nice areas for PUBLIC use or bicycle use, and then they sell these \”use permits\” on them thereby restricting me from public property that I paid for. As an Oregon taxpayer myself, and along with the other taxpayers of portland, who has the right to kick us off our own property that we paid for?

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  • Upset at the Rose Festival June 6, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    I\’ve been pushed off my bike by a security guard during commuter hours on the Waterfront; it was horrible. They were chasing me and eventually shoved me off my bike. Admittedly, this was two years ago. I am glad to see a provision for bike commuters-hopefully they will train security to not be so aggro.

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  • Racer X June 6, 2007 at 11:12 pm

    How about a PP07 Rose Festival \’critical mass\’ + \’ take back the promised Niaito lane\’ event?

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  • ME June 7, 2007 at 7:38 am

    This whole festival thing has been played way out. Even the kiddy parade has gone way over the top. I\’m no party pooper by any means…but pleeeaze! Take the dog and pony show out to the expo center where there\’s plenty of room for the masses. Even bike lanes, light rail and freeway off-ramps. And if the ships are really necessary, or dingy\’s for that matter, the Columbia is a stones throw away.

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