Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Riverfront condo owners urge bike traffic to avoid their property – UPDATED

Posted by on February 1st, 2011 at 10:32 am

Entrance to The Strand’s private property
(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.”

Diagram shows The Strand towers in red, the cut-through route in yellow, and suggested alternative routes in green.
(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.

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  • Will February 1, 2011 at 10:47 am

    I can certainly understand the board’s concerns, and I hope that everyone reading this abides by The Strand’s request.

    However, this doesn’t exactly send a friendly message to anyone who rides a bike and is considering moving to The Strand.

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  • BURR February 1, 2011 at 10:57 am

    good luck, that’s a very useful and tempting shortcut and cyclists will probably continue to use it.

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    • are February 1, 2011 at 11:14 am

      actually, i can’t see why anyone would prefer the cut-through to either of the other routes

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      • eli bishop February 1, 2011 at 4:16 pm

        because it’s lovely, has less traffic and leads directly onto moody.

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  • thefuture February 1, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Seems like a reasonable concern especially with a plethora of other routes around it. It does look tempting to ride through there based on the image though.

    The cemetery issue would have been a much bigger deal if that had been cut off to bikes. Is there any recent word from the cemetery owner if the changes have worked?

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  • OuterToob February 1, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Critical mass in 5…4…3…2…

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    • Jeff February 1, 2011 at 12:23 pm

      critical mass? are you kidding me?
      this is private property…they can do whatever they want to eliminate the problem as they see fit. this is not a public road or thoroughfare…
      Most of the problem probably stems from OHSU employees that make up the large majority of traffic coming north off Moody Avenue.

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      • OuterToob February 1, 2011 at 4:20 pm

        yes Jeff, I actually was kidding. =) gotcha.

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  • Bob_M February 1, 2011 at 11:02 am

    I work close to this development and frequently ride through this corridor. It has been my assumption that there is an easement for pass through bikes and peds. It would be good to find out if this is the case. It is easy to imagine that if the Home Owners Association (HOA) don’t like cyclists that they would not be forthcoming with information about easements.

    They HOA is however correct that cyclists do blast through this corridor with little regard to others.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 1, 2011 at 11:10 am

      I’m looking into the easement issue (as in, do they have the legal right to exclude bicycle traffic) and I’ll update the story when I find out.

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      • q`Tzal February 1, 2011 at 2:19 pm

        Unless this area is officially condemned for public use then they have every right.
        OTOH: Common Law establishes that if you build an area open to the public and make no effort to restrict access to it it is effectively a public use area but you can still be sue for the actions of people on your property.
        So, naturally, this is an effort to establish a history of restricting access to limit liability.

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    • davemess February 1, 2011 at 11:41 am

      I just ran through this last week (I hadn’t been down there in a long time). It really is a confusing area, I couldn’t figure out if I was on a street or a path or a sidwalk, there are planters randomly here and there. Then I look over some woman is cooking dinner in her kitchen at street level. It is a very weird situation. I didn’t see any signs, it was dark and I just continued straight from the OHSU tram to RiverFront.

      I think the could definitely make it a little less confusing.

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      • Jeff February 1, 2011 at 12:24 pm

        its not confusing whatsoever. there’s a sign that asks you to not ride your bike through it. how is that confusing?

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        • davemess February 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm

          A sing which, is not very easy to see in the dark. It looks like the road or path just continues straight. Are there signs at the oter end?

          It really looks like a road and not a driveway. I don’t usually look for street signs when I’m running, as I”m usually not on the street.

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    • jim February 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm

      Did you see the signs? No easment

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  • Michweek February 1, 2011 at 11:06 am

    When will we all just be a more considerate society? I think people on foot and on bikes have a chance to start showing that life can move slower and kindler. We can start to lead a shift in how we treat each other in this society. All it takes is complete stops for sign-age and people on foot and the use of lights at night. It really isn’t that hard.

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  • Jack February 1, 2011 at 11:06 am

    I’d be interested to hear how many residents have been hit by cyclists, be they racing or just commuting.

    It’s certainly within their rights to tell people they can’t cut through, but the exaggerated risks leave me thinking that they’re motivations are less about safety and more about entitlement. Which again, is entirely fine, but they shouldn’t mask it as safety concerns.

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    • matt picio February 1, 2011 at 2:12 pm

      It’s not just about how many have been hit. Would you consider cycling on Portland streets to be safe enough currently? There were 0 cyclists killed in Portland during 6 of the last 10 years. If we go purely by the number of deaths, Portland roads are extremely safe. If we go by injuries, Portland is still “safe”. These people have a legitimate desire to be able to walk and relax without being buzzed by high-speed cyclists. Regardless of whether cyclists have a right to pass through the area, it’s clearly not designed to be a transportation corridor, but a public space, like a plaza.

      We frequently talk about our rights as cyclists, but rarely if ever about our responsibilities towards other users. Some of those responsibilities include slowing down in public spaces and being courteous towards the locals.

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      • BURR February 1, 2011 at 4:58 pm

        actually, the south 2/3 of that area a a private driveway into the development

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  • Dude February 1, 2011 at 11:12 am

    It is wrong as a matter of law to say that the cemetary had/has the legal right to cut-off access to the public.

    And there may in fact be access rights at the condo as well, but clearly the HOA is not going to tell you that part.

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    • matt picio February 1, 2011 at 2:13 pm

      Why do you say that? The cemetery is private property, not public – they have every right to restrict access like any other property owner, unless there is a public easement.

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    • Marcus Griffith February 1, 2011 at 2:24 pm

      You bring up an interesting point. Under ORS 164.270 Closure of premises to motor-propelled vehicles, a property owner can close a property to motor-vehicles while leaving it open to foot traffic. However, there’s not a similar statue for bicycles.

      General trespass laws are listed in ORS 164 and include defining “Enter or remain unlawfully” to include “To enter or remain in or upon premises when the premises, at the time of such entry or remaining, are not open to the public or when the entrant is not otherwise licensed or privileged to do so”.

      Would posted a sign stating not bike riding make cyclists guilty of trespassing?
      ORS 164: http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/164.html

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  • Oliver February 1, 2011 at 11:16 am

    I’m inclined to agree with them, I for one will avoid it from now on. Walk-ability increases livability, I don’t think there’s an argument about that. But….it’s no wonder people ride through there when you see parked cars, a traffic lane and a roundabout.

    I appreciate that many residents property owners down there would like bikes to use Macadam to get to Sellwood so that they could enjoy the riverfront in exclusivity. Perhaps they ought put up gates.

    Besides, (as I’ve said before much like riverplace) given the amount of public subsidy that’s gone into that area, how ‘private’ do they expect it to be?

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  • Nick February 1, 2011 at 11:17 am

    There’s simply no bat signal you can send out to everyone that rides a bike. They certainly don’t all read BP constantly. I’m afraid Ms. Brady will be disappointed with the results of this well meaning attempt… as long as the property contains a wide-open, tempting cut-through, many people are going to use it.

    This is a pitfall you have to sort of expect when you build a large development that spans multiple blocks and has a large, wide-open driveway down the middle. Google Maps even gives it road markings!

    P.S. I don’t mean any of this in a snide, “you can’t stop us” kind of way. I don’t even ride around there. You just have to acknowledge human behavior…

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  • Paul Souders February 1, 2011 at 11:32 am

    I’ll cop to riding through here. I didn’t even know this was all private property. Google Maps shows it like any other street. I wonder why there’s no signage a la Riverplace/Marina.

    Now I know better and I’ll avoid it.

    It’s hard to see how anyone could “race” through here, though. There’s no wind-up and all blind corners. But if they want the bikes out of that space, I can oblige for the sake of civility.

    Worth considering: the westside river commute is dependent on crossing private property in several places (e.g. the cemetery, condos north of Willamette park). If any one of those landowners decided to close the gates, 100s of cyclists would be screwed.

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  • JJJ February 1, 2011 at 11:41 am

    I guess it’s a good thing that every cyclist in the state reads this website every day. It’s not like people independently chose to commute or anything.

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  • Peter O. February 1, 2011 at 11:52 am

    I thought the Do Not Enter signs were for car traffic. Guess Ill go around it from now on.

    its easy to race through there. Plenty of space to get going. (I know, I use it) I always went slow though due to the blind corners and ped traffic. I have seen people just haul through there though.

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    • John Landolfe February 1, 2011 at 1:22 pm

      I actually made the same assumption the one time I biked through there (and haven’t since). From my experience “Do Not Enter” signs in Portland DON’T apply to bikes more often than they do. Example: Williams & Killingsworth (among others). A “Please Walk Bikes” or “Private Drive” sign would clarify things. From my memory, it’s not very obvious that it’s private property.

      I think bike riders ought to respect their request. Whether or not the current layout is totally clear, it’s good when designers incorporate a more walkable design into housing. Biking through a walking space makes that space less walkable and increases peoples’ irritation toward bicyclists.

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  • spare_wheel February 1, 2011 at 11:55 am

    this development was supported by the PDC and i am willing to bet that a public easement was part of the package.

    this cut-through is largely used by ohsu-bound tram riders, the majority of which ride slowly. however, i can see why a grumpy condo owner might fixate on cyclists. its got to be tough “owning” a condo that has plummeted in value.

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  • spare_wheel February 1, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    “I wonder why there’s no signage a la Riverplace/Marina.”

    cyclists are allowed to ride the riverplace boardwalk.

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    • Peter O. February 1, 2011 at 1:42 pm

      There are signs on the pavement at each end asking that faster traffic to yield to slower traffic.

      Its a great shortcut as it means you don’t have to deal with traffic right through there. There are a lot of lost and confused drivers down there and the traffic circle just seems to make it worse.

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  • Michael February 1, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    I ride along the south riverfront everyday as part of my commute. I really see now reason why a cyclist should need to cut through the Strand. The two street routes are fine. If you are continuing south it’s actually better to stay on the street and hook up with the esplanade there, avoiding the congestion along the river in front of the shops.

    Cyclists could go a long way towards generating more good will on the road by chilling out around some of these issues. Even if there is an easment, every piece of pavement does not need to be available for riding especially when equally good routes exist right there.

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    • Andrew Seger February 1, 2011 at 12:32 pm

      Eh considering the amount of public $$ that went into this we should at least get a bike bath through here. For the good of Portland it would have been better to have awesome bike facilities through here that benefit everyone rather than just the (rich) few.

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  • q`Tzal February 1, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    If they are serious about reducing cyclist traffic and speed they could have simply paved the area in rough cobblestones.

    It increases the visual appeal of an area, driving up the prices they can charge but it also has the function of slowing down all wheeled traffic.

    If this is truly private property they could have installed cobblestone pavers with no oversight but they chose to make this a public issue.

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    • rigormrtis February 1, 2011 at 1:33 pm

      OR cyclists could simply not ride on a private way.

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      • matt picio February 1, 2011 at 2:25 pm

        He’s got a point, though – not everyone reads Bike Portland (gasp!), not everyone is respectful of property rights – but most cyclists, and especially those that like high speed do not like cobblestones, and will attempt to avoid them in most cases. The downside is that it also reduces accessibility for those in wheelchairs or mobility devices.

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        • q`Tzal February 1, 2011 at 2:53 pm

          Willing to bet that the ADA issue is why pedestrian only areas are not engineering “enforced” with design features.

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      • q`Tzal February 1, 2011 at 2:50 pm

        Being an optimistic cynic I expect the worst and hope for the best from my fellow man and woman.

        It is nice to expect cyclists not to ride on private property or do other things that might be against the law; as long as no one gets hurt we ignore it.
        Same as with automotive speeders and jaywalkers.

        But if Traffic Calming is acceptable to limit the the hazards of autos among vulnerable road users why should bike traffic calming techniques not be used to restrict action but not access of cyclists?

        Cyclists are not entirely harmless to pedestrians. Certainly in any collision that injures a pedestrian the cyclist will be injured as well. A high velocity cyclist can be a very damaging weapon.

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    • A.K. February 1, 2011 at 6:35 pm

      Ah, cobblestones would be great! I could pretend I was taking part in the Paris–Roubaix for two blocks! 😉

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  • jram February 1, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    would it be a good idea to make this thing look less like a street? I have gone through here before without knowing (until reading this article) that it was anything other than a pathway connecting sw moody to the waterfront MUP.

    That being said, i will definitely go around from now on.

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  • h February 1, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    It looks so public… Couldnt they put a gate in it to keep us cyclists out? Maybe a sign to point where cyclists can go around instead would help?

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  • Fixedale February 1, 2011 at 12:58 pm

    I couldn’t find an easement but this property is in a greenway design overlay zone. The third bullet point in the zoning code is:

    “Increase public access to and along the Willamette River for the purpose of increasing recreational opportunities, providing emergency vehicle access, assisting in flood protection and control, providing connections to other transportation systems, and helping to create a pleasant, aesthetically pleasing urban environment; and”

    I think the residents want the “pleasant, aesthetically pleasing urban environment” to themselves, unfortunately if you want to live this close to the river and hold the great unwashed public at bay you have to buy in West Linn.

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  • Psyfalcon February 1, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    A closer look at the streetview image (image 1) shows the signs on the planters. “Do Not Enter” “One Way.”

    So I guess you shouldn’t go that way if it is a one way thoroughfare.

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  • Lisa G. February 1, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    That is interesting. I have taken the route probably hundreds of times making the left turn at the light and the next right. I didn’t even know there was a cut-through happening on private property. I don’t even see why that should be such a temptation as the route has traffic lights with turn signals that are so easy to navigate. So there’s traffic, but the street narrows and there’s the traffic circle at the next turn, so everyone has to slow down. Why should there be an easement? If the condo owners want their courtyard to be less busy, that should be their prerogative.

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  • JIM R February 1, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Private property, not real hard to understand.

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    • matt picio February 1, 2011 at 2:27 pm

      It’s hard to understand if it looks like a street and it’s not posted private property. Also, state law permits (actually ENCOURAGES) recreational activities on private property if the property owner does not put up signage limiting or prohibiting it.

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      • JIM R February 1, 2011 at 3:02 pm

        Thanks for the information, maybe better signs would help.

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        • BURR February 1, 2011 at 5:01 pm

          there actually used to be signs which appear to have been taken down in the last year or so.

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      • Toby February 1, 2011 at 4:45 pm

        ” Also, state law permits (actually ENCOURAGES) recreational activities on private property if the property owner does not put up signage limiting or prohibiting it.”

        Matt, could you site or give examples please? It sounds like I’m encouraged to set up a naked slip and slide party on my neighbor’s lawn! Maybe horshoes, mud wrestling pit, fire jumping, something like that. Dispite their lack of signage prohibiting it, I doubt they’d appreciate it but hey, if that’s what the city wants…

        Seriously though, I just don’t see what you mean by the city encouraging it.

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      • matt picio February 2, 2011 at 9:09 am

        BTW, that same state law also waives liability for the property owner for said recreational use.
        ORS 105.672 through ORS 105.700

        Note that they can tell you to do whatever they want, but you’re not required by law to do it. What you *are* required to do by law is obey a request to leave the property. So if they post “no bikes” and you ride a bike in there, and they say “leave”, you must leave immediately or you can be prosecuted for trespassing.
        (Note: I am not a lawyer, and this does not constitute legal advice, just a layman’s common interpretation of the meaning of the statute)

        As a side note, it’s complete BS that I even have to make a legal disclaimer – if the average person can’t understand the law as written, how can society in good conscience hold them to it?

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        • Toby February 2, 2011 at 10:19 am

          Thank you for that, lots of interesting stuff in there.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 1, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Just posted a few county parcel maps that seem to show that there is no public easement through The Strand property… I’m still awaiting official word from City, but it seems like they indeed have the right to bar public access if they so choose.

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    • Dude February 1, 2011 at 4:14 pm

      An easement is unlikely to be found on a county map. And easements by prescription are not recorded land records.

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      • are February 2, 2011 at 12:16 am

        easement by prescription takes ten years. ORS 12.050, etc. plus, i don’t think random trespassers are using the “easement” under a claim or right anyway.

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        • are February 2, 2011 at 12:17 am

          “claim of right,” sorry

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  • Nick V February 1, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    There’s really no room for cyclists to complain about this. Two other excellent options/routes are just yards away.

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  • cyclist February 1, 2011 at 1:49 pm

    “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.”

    I wonder what she’ll think after reading the comments here.

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    • Kt February 2, 2011 at 9:53 am

      I haven’t finished reading through all the comments, but I don’t think anyone sounds angry or upset or frustrated here. It sounds to me like people are having a courteous discussion about the topic and are making suggestions in a courteous way.

      I haven’t been down in this area of Portland for a while now, but maybe the signs could be changed to read “No motorized or bicycle traffic”? Or whatever if legally required to restrict this area to pedestrians only.

      Or…. a couple of signs reading “private property” at the entrances? At least then people won’t be as confused about it as they seem to be right now.

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  • Marcus Griffith February 1, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    It’s easy to read the “Do Not Enter” signs as prohibiting motor-vehicle traffic only. It might be worth posting a sign informing cyclists to walk their bikes past that point (foot pedestrians only past this point?).

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  • David February 1, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    It seems like the only benefit is avoiding having to wait at two traffic signals, which can be accomplished just as easily by using a combination of SW River Square and SW Moody Ave.

    What’s the problem?

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    • Peter O. February 1, 2011 at 2:30 pm

      No real problem. There are plenty of alternate routes. Just didn’t really know what they meant with the signs.

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  • eli bishop February 1, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    ah, bummer. i really like biking through that area (politely, of course!). i didn’t know it was private property or that the “do not enter” sign applied to bicycles. i just thought it was a charming way to access the riverfront, and the most direct way from moody. 🙁

    maybe someday soon they’ll extend the riverfront path all the way to the tram. that would probably naturally divert much of the bike traffic.

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  • Sal February 1, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    If they are serious about reducing cyclist traffic and speed they could have simply paved the area in rough cobblestones.
    It increases the visual appeal of an area, driving up the prices they can charge but it also has the function of slowing down all wheeled traffic.
    If this is truly private property they could have installed cobblestone pavers with no oversight but they chose to make this a public issue.

    because everyone wants to walk on rough cobblestone pavers…and the first time someone faceplants on them, there”s a lawsuit.

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  • Spiffy February 1, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    looking at those northbound signs any cyclist would be an idiot to continue through both a “do not enter” and a “wrong way” sign and deserves a ticket…

    eastbound from River Dr there are no signs at all so it looks like a public access street and they would expect bicycles…

    southbound on the path I don’t know if there are any signs, but it sounds like there are not…

    the thing I would suggest is to add “private property” to the “do not enter” signs on each side of all the entrances…

    I agree that they have every right to restrict access to their private property… but I also agree that when it looks like public space and it not marked as private then they have no right to complain…

    property owners: put up some signs…

    cyclist: quit driving the wrong way, and obey the signs when they put them up…

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    • matt picio February 2, 2011 at 9:14 am

      “Private property” does not mean the public can’t access the land – it only means the landowner has publicly established that the area is private property and not a public right-of-way. (i.e. that access can be revoked at any time) ORS105 has clear instructions on what the landowner must post to prohibit access.

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  • Jerry_W February 1, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    I can’t imagine a nicer way to request that the private property rights be respected. Thanks to Barbara for starting with this approach. It sounds like this is an outdoor space where seniors and other residents can walk or just enjoy the outdoors, the thought that cyclist wouldn’t respect this and use the public streets nearby is hard to believe. I’m pretty sure that they will have to put up a big fence to keep them out at this point, and they should.

    It’s also cute that Barbara thinks that Bike Portland will reach all (even most) riders…Ha ha! That is really a cute notion.

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  • Slammy February 1, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    i don’t understand architects who make such appealing plazas to skate, bike, blade on or through. do they not teach these guys and gals in school that if you build a two foot high planter box with smooth edges it will inevitably be skated, rollerbladed, BMX biked to death? if you build it, they will come.

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    • Opus the Poet February 1, 2011 at 5:05 pm

      The ability to use a public space as an obstacle or gymnastic apparatus for extreme sports is only covered in a (very) few courses in skatepark design. That the space they are designing is ideal for such activities is something that 99% of architects have no inkling about.

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  • Chris Shaffer February 1, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    I ride this route on my daily commute. Going northbound, it’s a straight shot from Moody through the property to the river walk. It’s not at all clear that the signs apply to bikes. People drive cars right into the cut through, which looks for all intents and purposes like a road for about half the distance, and part of the river walk on the other side.

    If they want people to walk bikes or not be on their property, they need better signage.

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  • q`Tzal February 1, 2011 at 3:31 pm

    because everyone wants to walk on rough cobblestone pavers

    The first part was sarcasm … right?

    About 5 min of googling turned up a dilemma: there does not seem to be an engineering solution to slow bicycles that does not impact ADA mobility.

    Perhaps they could install a zig-zag path with some of those large concrete planters they use to protect buildings from car bombs.
    At both ends of this path 2 planters could be positioned perpendicularly to the path and connected opposite walls. The planters would extend from 2/3 to 3/4 of the width of the path with a 6′ path between them. All users could maneuver through one set planter chicanes at one end and then again at the other.
    It is a mere 250 feet from one end to the other so a cyclist building up speed is possible but inefficient due to the almost immediate slow down.

    A G street view shows some pre-existing planters that seem merely to be decorative so this could be integrated with a minimum of design compromise.

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  • Noelle February 1, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Ma’am, your HOA is gonna have to but up signs or barriers. If a cyclist wishes to commute to ohsu with minimal motor vehicle interaction, taking riverwalk thru the strand to moody is the obvious route. While the roads nearby are sharrowed, they’re through a hotel and restaurant district- the motorists are often clueless about bikes and lost, with a high rate of unsignalled last minute turns and such. With the construction at moody & river making that area a mess, i’d lay money on MORE folks cutting thru. I don’t ride thru there as i don’t like the crummy sightlines, but i can see why people do, and it sure looks (and should be ,but that’s another discussion) public.

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  • CaptainKarma February 1, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    This probbly never would’ve been an issue if it weren’t for those “racing” through. I’d say don’t restrict access but try a sign for a 4 mph limit or walk your bike. Seems reasonable.

    What’s going to happen if Segways ever get cheap?

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  • Dude February 1, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    Jonathan, once again: It’s not correct to say that the property owner “has every right to prohibit … access” because there is not a recorded easement. There may be a prescriptive easement. There almost certainly is not a prescriptive easement here, but there could have been at the Cemetary — and you said the same thing there.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 1, 2011 at 4:32 pm


      Thanks for your concern about the legal details of my statements. I appreciate your feedback.

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      • cyclists February 1, 2011 at 5:28 pm

        I’ve noticed that when you receive criticism you sometimes say, “I appreciate your feedback” without actually addressing the substance of the comment. If you actually appreciated the feedback wouldn’t you directly speak to the issue being presented?

        Dude is presenting a pretty straightforward argument, if you don’t believe you were in error then you should say so, if you do believe you made a mistake you should cop to it. Your response to me reads as, “I don’t care,” which I’m sure is not what you intended.

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        • Paul Cone February 1, 2011 at 7:16 pm

          cyclists, take a chill pill, man… I think what Jonathan is getting at is he’s not an expert in property law and easements and so to the best of knowledge, which is what the City said, there is no ped easement.

          That being said, I don’t know much about prescriptive easements, but I do know something about pedestrian easements, because, and I’m speaking unofficially here, I work for the City of Portland, Bureau of Transportation, Mapping
          Section, and I map said pedestrian easements. And I’ve never heard anyone in our group or the adjacent Right-of-Way section (that handles the legal stuff here) speak of “prescriptive easements”. It’s either public, or private, and it might have a ped easement, in which case, it’ll be on the plat.

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          • are February 2, 2011 at 1:59 pm

            earlier in the thread, also in response to “dude,” i posted a reference to the relevant oregon statute, which basically says you can establish a prescriptive easement only after ten years of continuous adverse use “under claim of right.” this usually applies to adjoining landowners, not to casual trespassers, and we certainly are not looking at ten years here.

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    • matt picio February 2, 2011 at 9:29 am

      I don’t think a prescriptive easement is possible in this case, because Oregon requires 10 years of continuous use: http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/oregon-law-of-prescriptive-easement

      The criticism re: the cemetery is correct, though – since the use pattern is greater than 10 years. It’s very unlikely a prescriptive easement exists in that case, however, because someone has to bring the case to court requesting the easement to be granted. I think it’s unlikely that any pedestrian or cyclist has gone through the expense and trouble to establish said easement.

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      • Dude February 2, 2011 at 2:17 pm

        If the Cemetary had tried to cut-off access, however, someone might have sought a declaration of a prescriptive easement. And won.

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      • are February 2, 2011 at 3:26 pm

        how a prescriptive easement comes into existence is that the landowner fails to take action within the ten year limitation to prevent the use

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  • Brian February 1, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    I think it’s a perfectly acceptable request to ask cyclists to slow down on sidewalks in a high-density area such as this. I hope this article has raised awareness on this issue, not just at this location, but at sidewalks/multi-use paths across the city.

    That said, I have to say, the somewhat entitled, whiny, braying, yuppie tone the condo owners seem to have taken regarding this issue has done very little to endear them to me, as a cyclist. They could have taken a more friendly & conciliatory approach to this issue, initially at the very least, which I think would have had a better effect on their desired outcome.

    As it stands, they have basically lumped all cyclists together as trespassing, speeding hoodlums, putting people on the defensive to try and solve a problem rarely works.

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  • peejay February 1, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    What’s going to happen if Segways ever get cheap?

    Not on my top ten list of concerns. Orders from mall security companies will keep prices high for decades 😉

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  • Bob_M February 1, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    OK so cyclists are likely prohibited from using this throughway. Traveling southbound, a thoughtful and courteous rider will cut off the riverfront greenway at the amphitheater and follow the bike route on Harbor Way. A cyclist can carry pretty good momentum through the curb ramp onto the roadway. BAM…. a pedestrian who is too lazy to stay on the sidewalk is walking diagonally through the road and positions his/her self directly in the path of this right thinking and well intentioned cyclist.

    It happens all the time. We can’t use their’s but they use ours.

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  • Freeman February 1, 2011 at 5:18 pm

    Before the ‘strand’ development there was a wasteland down there with a bumpy root infested old asphalt path dead ending under the double decker…classic undeveloped toxic dump type site….nearby the homeless camp protest squat of x-mas 1999 took place…money talks…the rest, walk. Public places turned to private spaces…glad the roads down there are still open to bike traffic.

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  • soggy February 1, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Look, i’m an jerk and i’m rude and I love shortcuts. I ride fast and, you slow, entitled bikers get on my nerves.

    BUT! please just take River Drive. I’ve made that short cut a few times coming from appts at OHSU (mid day with no other traffic, I guess), even having seen the sign coming from the south. But now that i know it is an issue and is private property, I’ll go slighty further up.

    Not only that but someone had the decency to politely request us to not use it. River drive isn’t really even out of the way – it’s really more just nice to go straight.

    I can’t wait til i’m old and can sit outside and throw stuff at people cutting through my private property.

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  • sam February 1, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Well, it took me forever (and google street view) to figure out exactly where this is… Yep, I’ve gone through it many times, mostly on canoodly, having a look-see kind of trips, but it never even occurred to me I shouldn’t be there. I figured such a dead area could only benefit from some life passing through.

    Shrug. I’ll certainly keep out of their concrete faux village now, no problem.

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    • PDXCyclist February 2, 2011 at 6:31 am

      Yeah, besides the grapes are probably sour anyway.

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  • Doug Klotz February 1, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    As q’Tzal hints at, if a pathway through private property is used by the public for a certain amount of time (5 years? 10 years?) without the private property owner preventing said use, then there is a legal principle that the public has established a right and can continue to use it. Not sure if this is called “adverse possession”, but it’s a similar thing. (Might apply to the cemetery as well).

    Regarding “they can pave it with cobblestones, put up a fence, etc.”. This is a Design Review area, so any changes go through a city process. I’m sure their permit to build this included the roadway/walkway as it is built, and there might have been a guideline they were following to break up the site with through pathways. (Were they required to be public?) Any changes would need to go through Design Review, balances the objectives, including that listed by fixedale.

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  • Hart Noecker February 1, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    The Strand has always been wary of outsiders. They flatly denied me permission to shoot a short film on their property even though I was insured. Conversely, the Yards at Union Station was delighted to let me shoot, and refused to accept the location fee I offered them.

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  • Tom February 1, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Gicen the number of reckless cyclists I see, who routinely do not yield to pedestrians when legally required to do so, this does not surprise me one bit. Call it karma or what goes around comes around.

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    • Hart Noecker February 2, 2011 at 7:50 pm

      I’ve never seen a reckless cyclist so my anecdotal evidence cancels out yours.

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      • middle of the road guy February 3, 2011 at 11:09 am

        Please sit at the corner of Shaver and Mississippi for 5 minutes.

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  • Bill February 1, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    I use to live in the Riverplace Square condos just behind the Strand. I dont see why anyone would see the need or desire to cut through this section. as you head south going around Tom McCall Waterfront Park and take the streets to go around the hotels on the waterfront there you rejoin Moody by two short connections of roadway. To hit this area in question you would need to exit the more efficient and easier navigated roadway to go on sidewalk, get onto to driveway and then re-enter the roadway. I cant even see where anyone would get the idea that its a good connector with the low-traveled roadway at their disposal…

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  • Joe Rowe February 1, 2011 at 9:09 pm

    Any development needs a permit. That process is to ensure the project matches the neighborhood “character”. No match, no project start. For this reason many developers will say anything in meetings to not delay their project.

    A large group of condos on MLK near Dekum told their neighbors one thing, then once the project started, up came the gated community.

    If they really “want to start a dialog” I know the bike community will exceed any polite request for help. If they want to play hardball, we should dig up the permits prior to construction and any meetings with the neighborhood. If people spoke against the project it’s easy to contact them to hear the real story. Easements are not the only skeleton in this closet.

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    • matt picio February 2, 2011 at 9:39 am

      “if they want to play hardball”? Joe, aren’t you putting the cart before the horse here? They’ve taken a step to engage the community in dialogue rather than blindly reacting, and you’re already questioning their motivations and assuming an agenda, a strategy, and a 28-page Powerpoint. If we were talking about the development company, and this were before construction started, I’d agree with you – but we’re not. We’re talking about the homeowner’s association, who had nothing to do with the permits, the planning or the construction. They’re trying to preserve the character of their community according to what they bought. They have a right to do so, it’s their property, and they bought and paid for it. If the city proscribed an easement, then they need to honor it. If they fail to post “no entry” signs, then the public can access it unless asked to leave. In 6 more years of continued use, the public could push for a prescriptive easement. But these folks aren’t the enemy, and their Board of Directors haven’t placed any restrictions as yet. There’s no reason not to engage in dialogue in good faith.

      The real issue is what is their board going to do if part of the community respects their wishes and part does not?

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  • Drew February 1, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    A prohibition on riding thru there would affect the Strand condo owners as well as the public.
    The reality is that inconsiderate cyclists exist everywhere. They walk and drive cars in an inconsiderate manner as well. And most do not read this website.

    Forget about making all bike riders considerate.
    Many motorists are inconsiderate, but somehow, that does not reflect on motorists as a group.

    I get buzzed by impatient riders on the Hawthorne bridge too frequently. They somehow have to go 18mph ( while I go 10). A speed limit sign would help, but I think that requires an Act of Congress.

    The Riverside cemetery did a great job reigning in those jerks on 2 wheels. As it is private land, it did not require an Act of Congess. I would suggest Barbara ride thru there sometime to see how they did it. It’s all about infrastructure (sign, bumps, etc).

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    • spare_wheel February 2, 2011 at 9:52 am

      I’ve come to believe that most primates dislike being passed and consequently will often perceive a safe ~3 foot passing distance as being “buzzed”.

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  • shirtsoff February 1, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    As someone who used to do bicycle deliveries in the downtown core, these shortcuts are convenient and would be used by me if a destination was nearby or even on the site. In my opinion it would be in everyone’s interest to work to provide a solution that accommodates residents and passerbys.

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  • Rol February 2, 2011 at 1:12 am

    I knew the comments on this one were gonna be entertaining as soon as I read the headline. Thanks guys! I have two cryptic, cranky, and contradictory opinions on this:
    1) If you don’t want city stuff going on around you, don’t move to the city.
    2) If you want to live in East Berlin, put up a proper wall.

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    • beth h February 2, 2011 at 7:54 am

      **portion of comment deleted**

      Seriously. Private property is private property. Without an easement written into the plans, the owner can do whatever s/he wants to.

      Do I have to install an electronic security fence to keep people from picking my vegetables out of my yard? Must I get an attack dog to keep the kids from running onto my yard to fetch a stray basketball? Am I expected to post a barricade across my driveway to keep bicyclists from riding up it to my front door?

      What happened to the idea of a CIVIL SOCIETY, folks? Once upon a time we understood the difference between public space and private property and we respected it. Has respect gone out of fashion?

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      • middle of the road guy February 3, 2011 at 11:11 am

        I can’t believe I finally agree with Beth for once. She’s taken a turn to the right!

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  • Grandpa February 2, 2011 at 6:05 am

    “Hey you kids, Get off of my lawn”

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  • Al from PA February 2, 2011 at 6:09 am

    This is a design issue first and foremost. The designers/architects of the complex should have been aware that this was the most direct way through the property, and laid out the buildings in a different way–say having the walkway run east to west rather than north/south.

    A typical situation–cyclists made guilty/”responsible” for what is essentially a design problem.

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    • beth h February 2, 2011 at 7:58 am

      Asking the designers of a condo where most of the inhabitants own and drive cars to design the space to be more bike-friendly seems a bit of a reach at this point in our transportation history. It could also be seen as presumptious, particularly by those who would have bicycles relegated to “toy” status without any legal rights on the roadways.

      We live in a landscape where car is still king. Retrofitting whole blocks — especially those recently built — isn’t a likely solution.

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      • matt picio February 2, 2011 at 9:47 am

        That’s a little disingenuous. If this development were in Gresham, you’d be right – but it’s not, it’s less than a 5 minute walk from the Hawthorne Bridge, and in an area that’s specifically zoned for ped and bike-friendly development.

        It’s reasonable to ask for public access. It’s also reasonable for the HOA to ask those who access the property to respect the property and the residents and slow to walking speed. It’s not reasonable to restrict access, but it’s well within their rights.

        To answer your rhetorical question above, part of the reason why no one has respect for others anymore is because we gave organizations all of the rights of people but none of the responsibilities. once any entity can effectively do what they will without consequences, it encourages a “I’m getting mine first” mentality. (not referring to the Strand in this case – organizational “personhood” is endemic and omnipresent)

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        • Mabsf February 2, 2011 at 10:04 am

          But matt, people/cyclist assumed public access and now the Strand says “No”… We might not like the reasons, but I think we should respect it.

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    • middle of the road guy February 3, 2011 at 11:13 am

      Drivers and right hooks. Essentially a design problem that the driver is held accountible for.

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  • DK February 2, 2011 at 8:09 am

    Public right of way, design issue, village elitism…

    I’d surely be pointing at more than ten other people if I had more than 10 fingers.

    It’s never my fault.

    I love riding my bike and I’m all for advocating but I don’t necessarily want people riding their bike through my back yard. Now that it’s been made clear, why can’t we just stay off of these folks’ land? We have no reason to be whining about entitlement. It’s their land that they’ve paid good money for. Let’s show a little R_E_S_P_E_C_T for our neighbors and their private property.

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    • matt picio February 2, 2011 at 9:55 am

      Excellently put, but that’s not the whole issue. Even if 90% of us do the right thing, 10% won’t. There are so many cyclists that 10% is enough to have a real effect on things. It’s why property owners want to restrict access, it’s why many motorists hate bicycles and all that they represent. The core issue is that some people do not treat others with consideration and respect. There are 3 responses to that: brush it off and move on, wall yourself off from the offender (avoidance), or retaliate (attack). Option 1 is the best option, and the hardest one to choose. Option 2 results in the alienation we have in today’s society, and Option 3 perpetuates and exacerbates the problem. Personally, now that I’m aware of it, I’ll take another route. (I’m not sure I’ve actually ever ridden it – I usually take the river path) But ultimately, we only have control over ourselves.

      If it weren’t for the accessibility issue, I’d recommend to developers that they add features which discourage cycling. It’s ironic that the same traits of bicycles which liberated women and provide freedom for so many people also cause negative impacts that are not easily mitigated.

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      • spare_wheel February 3, 2011 at 1:08 pm

        this is a ridiculous oversimplification. and to be told that my position is “disrespectful” or inconsiderate is definitely a bit of the pot calling the kettle black.

        let me attempt an analogy:

        beaches are private in some states while in oregon all beaches are public. obviously property rights are more complex than saying: “stay off my #@$%ing beach, you dfhs”.

        in much of europe and large swathes of the usa public right of way across private property is often legally protected. imo private property owners should never be able to obstruct easy access between two heavily trafficked *public* spaces regardless of their (imo dubious) “rights”. the fact that this route has seen heavy use, for me, puts into the category of a space that should be protected for *public* use.

        this area is a short unobstructed lane that links a public park with a public road. it resembles an access road, not a private space. i rode through this area twice in an attempt to find warning signs and on both occasions failed (apparently they are small and only visible from the north).

        if the hoa, as opposed to this particular resident, really cared about this issue they could have put up large signs or some sort of a barrier.

        the vehemence with which other posters attacked “unspecified inconsiderate and disrespectful cyclists” reminds me more of the oregonian than a bike advocacy site.

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        • rigormrtis February 3, 2011 at 4:09 pm

          Your argument falls apart on the fact that there is a very easy alternative to cutting through. With beaches, access is limited. With this bike route there are several viable alternatives with no noticeable hardship to the rider.

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          • spare_wheel February 4, 2011 at 11:53 am

            many beaches have mandated access even though there are more distant points of access.

            this has been a de facto ped/bike route for years. since there are no signs from the south and miniscule (virtually invisible by bike) signs from the north how are cyclists who do not read bikeportland.org supposed to know not to cut through? this entire request is bizarre.

            and imo jonathan’s coverage of this is slanted. this request is entirely different from the cemetery. barbara brady wants to restrict *all* access to cyclists while the riverview cemetary worked with cyclists to preserve and improve access to cyclists.

            also, the quotes from brady are odd:

            “They aren’t even happy about cyclists cycling through there in any way, shape or form,”


            Does brady really speak for the hoa or is this the case of a single disgruntled resident trying to restrict access when there is no clear consensus?

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    • spare_wheel February 2, 2011 at 10:18 am

      Have you ridden through this area or are you just here rant?

      This is not a case of someone riding their BMX bike through someone’s lawn. It looks like a public right of way (more of a street) and I could not find any posted signs when I road through it this am. Until they put up signs the property owners have no right to complain.

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  • Slammy February 2, 2011 at 9:08 am

    let me put it another way… if you had a bmx jump in your front yard, that you could hit from the sidewalk, should you be angry that kids are hitting it when they bike by, even though its private property? this plaza is screaming out to be biked through. it even has a yellow curb funneling you in there. just wait for the skaters to show up is all i’m saying.

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    • Marcus Griffith February 2, 2011 at 2:44 pm

      On that note, I take it you would perfectly okay if I used your front law for nude sunbathing… after all, what yard doesn’t scream to be used?

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      • Slammy February 3, 2011 at 3:32 pm

        My neighbor’s cats crap in my front yard all the time because they think that’s what it’s for. i’ll gladly extend that metaphor to your front yard usage example. Someone nude sunbathing in my front yard is the equivalent to a cat crapping in it because they are not smart enough to know about basic private property use. My front yard looks like a front yard. a front yard with a huge jump in it looks like somehting a BMXer would want to hit. the plaza in the picture looks like a regular street.

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  • davemess February 2, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I went through this area last night. For clarification: There are two signs each on the South-facing planters (so about a foot off the ground), that say “One Way” and “Do not Enter”. There are NO signs coming from the North.

    Notice there is no mention of bicycles, no mention of private property, no mention that this is a driveway and not a road. The signs are also placed ridiculously.

    If they really want people to stop going through there they should at least throw up a Do Not Enter sign at the appropriate 4-5 foot high level. A private property sign would also not hurt.

    In conclusion the HOA has nothing to complain about, as they have done a very poor job of signing this area.

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    • valkraider February 3, 2011 at 1:36 pm

      Also, it is easy to assume the signs refer to the *street* portion and not the sidewalk portion. Since this area is not in downtown, it is legal to ride on sidewalks – and the way this lane is built it LOOKS EXACTLY LIKE EVERY OTHER SIDEWALK AND STREET IN THE AREA so it is virtually impossible to know that it is private property and restricted.

      I say they should put up gates or stop bitching.

      Who the hell moves to a place that has a great big open street/courtyard pass-through near a highly used busy area – but expects people not to use it?

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  • Kevin Wagoner February 2, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    I live in SW Burlingame. Most days I take Barber to work, but I do often drop down Corbet, catch the trail along the river and end up headed through this area. Thanks for posting this. I’ll make sure I take a left to follow the green dotted way you illustrate above.

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  • Over and Doubt February 3, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Agreed with previous commenters: Signage is vague and, for a “courtyard,” the area is pretty deserted and nondescript. I’ll stay out, but I hope the condo residents get together and demand it be made into an authentic, inviting commons worth the big bucks they must be paying.

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