Rose Garden goes LEED Gold: 30% get there by bike or public transit

Bikes at the Obama Rally-1.jpg

The main bike racks at the Rose Garden.
(Photos © J. Maus)

The Portland Business Journal reports that the Rose Garden Arena (home of the Portland Trail Blazers) has been awarded a “Gold” level LEED certification. Among the reasons is the large percentage of attendees get there by something else besides a car.

Here’s the blurb about their transportation green-ness:

More than 30 percent of Rose Garden attendees use public or alternative transportation, such as bicycle commuting. The team subsidizes transit passes for staff and uses bikes and electric vehicles for on-site operations.


On recent trips to the Rose Garden (go Blazers!), it’s been exciting to see how crowded the bike parking is. The main bike racks (behind the box office) usually have about 30-40 bikes in them. I realize that’s not a lot in an arena that seats around 20,000, but it’s a start. The bulk of the 30% come by MAX light rail and bus, which drop off right in front of the arena.

Blazers and bikes -1

Street graffiti spotted
near the Rose Garden.

We’ve been working with some folks in the Blazers organization to try and do more to promote bikes, but it’s been slow going (not anyone’s fault, it just hasn’t progressed much). They’ve made it clear that they want to be known as the most “green” team in the NBA; and this is Bike City USA, so it’s a great fit.

Back in June, I pointed out how bikes and Blazers “go great together”, but it will take more than one eager advocate to make a lot of noise for bikes at the Rose Garden. The messages inside the arena during games are dominated by cars. A remote-controlled, Ford SUV blimp floats around during timeouts (seriously) and players can be seen on the jumbotron touting Chevy trucks.

I know it’s all business and those companies are paying honest dollars for that exposure, but it would be great to have some bike-related messages up on that big screen. Or better yet, show a player or two enjoying a bike ride.

Back in October, team leader Brandon Roy made headlines for biking to practice — and it wasn’t even a one-time deal. In July 2008, he told The Oregonian that “biking is my funnest time of the day”. If more of the Blazer faithful heard that from their hardcourt hero, maybe a few more of them would consider riding to the arena.

Congrats to the Rose Garden for getting Gold.

On a related note, Mayor Sam Adams’ office will be hosting a big presentation for all the concept proposals on the Rose Quarter Redevelopment Project. The Blazers will be there with their “Jumptown” proposal. More details at RQDev.org.

(Stay tuned for details and an announcement of our Bike to Blazers event. It’s coming up on April 14th!)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

Subscribe
Notify of
guest

20 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
PioVik
PioVik
14 years ago

Blazer bike at Fresh Pot Mississippi – http://www.flickr.com/photos/benjamingolliver/4304379724/in/photostream/

We need more of this!

Phil Goff
Phil Goff
14 years ago

This is a demographic issue as well. I hate to say it, but a large % of Blazer fans come in from the ‘burbs and are not your typical inner-east-side cycling crowd. When Ralph Nader spoke at the Rose Garden in 2000, I counted nearly 500 bikes parked in every place imaginable.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Reply to  Phil Goff

I realize that Phil. And I know there are limits to how many people might bike to the Rose Garden… but unless it’s actually promoted every once in a while, some people aren’t likely to even consider biking.

I assure you there are plenty of people that live within 4 miles of the arena that currently drive (and are subsequently a part of the traffic jam that ensues after every game). I think if the Blazers had a coordinated promotional program and made a few facility upgrades — like lighting up the bike racks asap! — they would see a nice bump in bike usage.

Elliot
Elliot
14 years ago

This is an accomplishment worthy of praise, but it should also be a call to action. Johnathan, you observe about 30-40 bikes parked at the average game, out of 20,000 people. That’s about 0.18%. Since the basketball season runs mostly though the winter and games happen mostly at night, let’s use 3% mode share (half of most summer esitmates) as a comparison point… that means people are about 17 times LESS likely to bike to a Blazer game than they are to bike to work!

Let’s work on that. Replacing wave racks (not recommended in the current bike master plan) would be a start, and shelter would be even better.

Allan Rudwick
Allan
14 years ago

their bike parking has been very close to full a few times i was there this season (esp on nice weather nights). Perhaps next year they’ll need more bike parking?

The reason for all of this is blaringly obvious. Parking at the RG is awful or expensive or both. I remember biking home with a friend and then biking back past the RG and still seeing lines of cars trying to move.

Go Bikes!

Anne Hawley
14 years ago

As a bike commuter whose twice-daily ride goes right through the Rose Quarter Transit Center, I’d give just about ANYTHING if more people would go by bike to attend events at the Clamshell.

Riding through there when MAX trains are disgorging their thousands and annoyed drivers are blindly aiming for any open parking lot is way more excitement than is good for a woman my age.

Steve B.
Steve B.
14 years ago

@Phil #2 – Interesting observation!

buzz
buzz
14 years ago

I think plenty of people get there by car. Heck, I admit one time when my Mom was in town visiting, we drove to the Lloyd Center, parked on the street and took the MAX to see a concert. If you consider that it is going to cost up to $15 to park in the lot, this gets taken advantage of often, I think.

Still, it is good to see how many people are getting there by bike or public transit. I have often wondered if we could get even higher numbers taking tri-met if there was some kind of built-in discount when you bought the ticket for the event.

Jackattak
Jackattak
14 years ago

@ Phil # 2 –

As one of the poor saps who lives in Downtown Portland and commutes via MAX to BeaverTron every M-F for work, I can attest that I absolutely detest Blazer game nights at home. My MAX commute home to Downtown Portland is PACKED on Blazer home game nights with suburbanites going to the game, and roughly 50% of them are loaded out of their gourds all ready at 5PM, loud and raucous.

DISCLAIMER:
I’m a huge Blazer Maniac and hold no ill-will towards the boys. I take the MAX to get to the games I am able to afford, or my wife and I ride our bikes. Be on the lookout for the ’55 Schwinn Fairlady with ’77 StingRay parts. 🙂

Todd Boulanger
14 years ago

Congrats to the Rose Garden Arena for LEED Gold!

A few of the new ‘Bikestation Modules’ would be an easy first step at improving their secure bike parking needs. 😉

[The new Covina Bikestation Module parks 36 bikes …or more – it is a scaleable type structure – for those with a prescreened membership access FOB.]

http://www.bikestation.com/covinaca/index.asp

…Perhaps it is time to restart their initial discussion (2006?) with a satellite Bikestation on setting up a larger valet bike parking facility for the Rose Garden? Call (877) 572-BIKE

jv
jv
14 years ago

I think #2 Phil is right on about the demographic split and Blazer games attracting a much wider audience than just from the “bikeable communities”. Everyone should acknowledge that the Blazers are a regional team, and as Jonathan mentions, expecting a similar mode split for games as for PDX commuters is unreasonable.

When I go to Blazers games I usually leave my bike at work in the Pearl and walk over the Broadway Bridge with my (non-bikey) friends. Which brings up another issue : the hordes of Blazers fans walking 4 abreast on the Broadway bridge during peak commute time…I try to use my bell judiciously when on bike and try to keep out of the way when I am on foot.

All that said, I think there could be much more bike-related fun at Blazers games. Perhaps the Sprockettes could show the Blazers Dancers a move or two, there could be flatland BMXers (sorry – no fixie skids on the court…) performing stunts during halftime, and the Blazer mascot could shoot out “limited edition collabo” bike/Blazers themed shirts from the T-shirt cannon.

Covered bike parking with proper staple racks would be a great gesture. Even better would be some discount on Blazer merch or some other goods if you say, bring a bike helmet with you or are wearing bike cleats… Congrats on LEED Gold for the Rose Garden!

Bladerunner
Bladerunner
14 years ago

My husband and I always take the Max from Gateway. Its amazing how many people park at Llyod Center and still won’t walk a few blocks. As for Bikes. Valet Bike parking I like the idea! I always worry about a secure parking for my bike that late at night.

jv
jv
14 years ago

In reading the Oregonian article that just came out about the Rose Quarter LEED certification, I came across this little nugget :

“The arena has plans to improve is bike parking facilities, both in parking garages and in outdoor covered areas. ”

It sounds like some plans are in the works! Let’s hope some of the bike facility design folks have a role to play so that they are fully functional – not like the racks on the transit mall…

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
14 years ago

It’s time the Rose Garden rip out the existing pain-in-the-ass, bicycle-destroying MUNI racks and replace them with easy-to-use staple racks. Then it might be worth parking in the rose quarter.

Erik B.
Erik B.
14 years ago

My wife and I rode to a Blazer game this fall on a Saturday night. We had a parking pass that came with our ticket, and I showed it to a Blazer employee to see if we could use it park in the garage. He blinked at me, utterly uncomprehending. He finally stammered something like “uh…that ticket is for CARS” and pointed me toward the bike parking. OK, whatever.

There were only about a dozen bikes in the (uncovered) parking. When we filed in the turnstile, you shoulda seen the look my wife got from the woman checking her bag when she saw her helmet. It was beyond surprise – she gave her a look of scornful incredulous-ness. Like she’d never seen a well-dressed woman with a bike helmet before.

I follow the Blazers and I love basketball, but it felt like a weird disconnect between what was going on in the Rose Garden and things about this town that I love.

It was dry when we came, but it was pouring when the game was over. Covered parking woulda been nice, but the ride home along the deserted Esplanade was memorable!

Ben Foote
14 years ago

I find Pedestrian issues around the rose quarter to be of particular concern after Blazer games get out. This is especially true near the I-5 south on ramp on the NE side of the arena.

If I understand correctly PBOT (and ODOT?) “monitor” the game to see when it ends and then enable a particular stop lighting program while the crowd dissipates from the Rose Quarter. I suspect that this program is geared to get cars out, and doesn’t really consider pedestrians walking to their vehicles or to transit. Mind you that’s conjecture based on seeing crowds of folks pushing their way across Williams against traffic.

That area is hairy at any time but there have been a few times now that I’ve seen things that looked precarious.

(Yay! Batum is back! Miller is playing pretty good not to mention Webster’s contributions and omg Juwan Howard. All things considered you’ve gotta appreciate what’s going on this season)

Joe Adamski
Joe Adamski
14 years ago

The RQ is situated to be a even greater transportation hub than it already is. Imagine if npgreenway and sullivans gulch trails were built today, how many more folks would be likely to ride there, especially with better connections from the extended Esplanade.Properly designed, the RQ could be the gateway to much of inner Portland, esp the lower eastside.

hilsy
hilsy
14 years ago

I recently had the opportunity to work for the Blazers at one of their home games and decided to ride my bike rather than deal with traffic and parking. I was pleasantly surprised to find a decent sized rack located near the employee entrance/loading dock area and that the rack was under a roof (it was raining that night). When I left the Rose Garden immediately after the game I came out to find that the rack was completely full (i had arrived rather early for the game). So not only are fans riding to the Garden, but many of the folks working at the games are also riding to the Garden.

jim
jim
14 years ago

if they add more venues with the rq redo i’m sure there will be more bike activity.I would assume there would be more bike parking in the plans as well as bike paths

dk
dk
14 years ago

The bike racks need to be more conspicuous.