Cycling could be key to preventing soccer stadium traffic snarl

Bike Parking at a Timbers game last year.
(Photo: Jeff Castro/BikeRacker)

Cycling soccer fans could hold the key to whether or not the upcoming Portland Timbers match at Jeld-Wen Field (formerly PGE Park) ends up in a traffic snarl in downtown Portland

On April 14th, the Timbers, hold their first home match as a Major League Soccer franchise. The newly renovated arena has a capacity of 20,000 fans (up from 16,000) and it’s located in a dense part of downtown Portland. With auto parking at a premium, the City of Portland and the Timbers are doing everything they can to encourage folks to get to the stadium without a car.

Whether or not a traffic snarl results could come down to how many people arrive by bike. To make sure there’s enough room for all of them, 400 bicycle parking spaces will be provided.

In addition to a parking meter rate increase passed by City Council last month and words of encouragement to leave the car at home from Mayor Sam Adams and Commissioner Randy Leonard, TriMet buses and MAX trains (which stop across the street from the stadium) will be running at full capacity.

Whether or not a traffic snarl results could come down to how many people arrive by bike. To make sure there’s enough room for all of them, 400 bicycle parking spaces will be provided.

Blue lines show bike parking locations.
(Graphic: Fat Pencil Studio for BikePortland)

Sarah Figliozzi, who manages the bike parking program at the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), says the 400 spaces will be divided among two convenient locations: along SW Morrison Street (which will be closed between SW 18th and 20th on gameday) and along SW 18th (between SW Taylor and Yamhill).

The Portland Timbers are providing 300 of the bike parking spaces. 250 of those spaces are reserved for season ticket holders. The bike parking option, which comes with staffed security, was offered by the Timbers as a perk and it quickly sold out.

PBOT is adding 100 more “just to ensure there is an adequate amount,” says Figliozzi.

Figliozzi says bicycle parking will be set up approximately three hours prior to the game start and will be broken down about an hour after it’s over. One final note from Figliozzi: “Remember that the MAX trains will be at capacity on game days and they should not be planning on being able to find room on the trains for their bikes.”

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.

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A.K.
A.K.
13 years ago

You know what surprises me that they have never offered? The ability for anyone with a ticket to that day’s game to ride max or a bus to the game, for free.

Just show your ticket to the bus driver or MAX transit officer. I can’t think of a simpler way to get people to use mass transit to get to the game, especially with so many major lines running right by the stadium.

Jeremy
Jeremy
13 years ago
Reply to  A.K.

Many of the ticket packages included Trimet day passes for game days.

A.K.
A.K.
13 years ago
Reply to  Jeremy

Ah, I wasn’t aware of that – better than nothing! However, I still think it still should be expanded to anyone, even with a single-game ticket. Timbers tickets should be valid as Trimet fare for 2 hours before a game/2 hours after on game day, if the city is truly serious about getting people not not use cars to get down there…

cyclist
cyclist
13 years ago
Reply to  A.K.

They offered that in the mid-2000s, I assume that promotion ended because it was too expensive. Season ticket holders get an all day pass on TriMet for every game day.

Brian E.
Brian E.
13 years ago
Reply to  A.K.

The Minor league Baseball Beavers did that for baseball games. I used it a few times.

Actually, Baseball and Basketball games are the only time I have used Max.

AJL
AJL
13 years ago

Light years beyond the City of Seattle game planning. It’s difficult to find the ‘regular’ bike parking let alone for the stadium to promote getting there by bike.

Steve
Steve
13 years ago

It’s great that so much dedicate bike parking exists at Jeld-Wen Field. Yet the idea that bikes might avert a traffic snarl seems somewhat of a stretch.

The stadium is in the city (a good thing) and cities have traffic. Traffic congestion is a sign of a healthy urban economy.

Enjoy the crowds, they will be part of the atmosphere.

cyclist
cyclist
13 years ago

The official capacity of the stadium is 18,600, not 20,000.

David
David
13 years ago

Bike parking capacity for roughly 2% of game attendees doesn’t seem like nearly enough to me…

cyclist
cyclist
13 years ago
Reply to  David

OTOH that’s well over what’s being made available for cars.

cold worker
cold worker
13 years ago

you can also not go see a soccer game. there’s no reason to do that to yourself.

zappafrank
zappafrank
13 years ago

David
Bike parking capacity for roughly 2% of game attendees doesn’t seem like nearly enough to me…

So true.

Hakkon
Hakkon
13 years ago
Reply to  zappafrank

They ran at a test last year at a game with a sellout crowd of almost 16,000 – they heavily promoted the availability of bike parking and provided hundreds of spots, yet it was lightly used.

If that trend is reversed this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if they expand capacity to meet demand. Public transportation still appears to be the preferred option for attendees, possibly due to the copious amounts of beer that most have are consuming…

ambrown
13 years ago

Jonathan, you might find it interesting to add to your story:

I’m a timbers season ticket holder (and have been for a while!) and the team actually gave STHs not only the option of a daily trimet pass and a parking deal but also an opportunity to park your bike in a secure, indoor location, presumably under the stadium or something, that I think (?) would have been monitored by timbers staff or something. Anyway, this option expired very quickly, as I think many people found it attractive. Hopefully they’ll expand it in years to come!

Andrew
13 years ago

I am so over having to wait 10-20 minutes to be able to leave the stadium. Here in australia it is very bad. And then once i get to my car, i can’t drive it because the traffic in the parking area is so bad. Cyclying you are right is most likely the answer.

spanky
spanky
13 years ago

Just don’t forget to get your bike immediately after the game. I guess its better than nothing tho.

skodt
13 years ago

Trying to do our part as a stadium neighbor, Rack Attack will have 3 brand new bright yellow racks at the corner of SW 18th & Morrison, bringing our bike parking capacity to 8!

Presto
Presto
13 years ago

I hope tri-met ups its service as well. I waited for half an hour to 45 minutes for a the 15 outside of the stadium several times last season. That’s a little late on a school night.

Skis
Skis
13 years ago

TriMet is providing a lot of extra service.

http://budurl.com/6a7x

Presto
Presto
13 years ago
Reply to  Skis

Thanks, sounds good.

JAT in Seattle
JAT in Seattle
13 years ago

First of all, this is awesome. The Sounders make no accommodation for bikes – in fact they put up their “parking garage open” sandwich board sign directly in a bike lane and leave them there for days (well, until I move them). I haven’t ridden my bike to a Sounders game even once in 2.N years – ugh.

Secondly, I have a hard time believing you couldn’t fit more bikes in that much space.

Lastly, nice job on the trash talking billboard in SoDo – that was impressive. (bastards!)

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
13 years ago

For the soccer stadium to have a traffic snarl, people would actually have to want to watch soccer in the first place: Fact not in evidence.

cyclist
cyclist
13 years ago

Paul Johnson:

Average attendance last year (minor leagues): 10,000+

Number of season tickets sold this year: 12,500 (sold out)

Number of seats available for any game this year: less than 1,000

How’s that for facts?

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
13 years ago
Reply to  cyclist

Reminds me of an old episode of The Simpsons where Homer tries to get tickets to a minor league football game only to have the first person in line buy all 30,000 tickets to make the team look more popular than it was.

JAT in Seattle
JAT in Seattle
13 years ago
Reply to  Paul Johnson

Let me see if i understand this – you dismiss soccer (the most popular sport in the world) by suggesting that there are no facts supporting that the games will be well attended – then someone supplies you with facts and you dismiss them with a reference to a Simpsons episode.

That’s the sort of logical reasoning I usually expect from bike-hating sprawl-embracing ex-urbanite NASCAR fans in the comments section of a mainstream media news website.

I understand you might find soccer boring and low-scoring, but why do you have to take a crap on the rest of us who might like it?

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
13 years ago
Reply to  JAT in Seattle

If the median income of Portland’s soccer fans was below $100,000 per year and the fans weren’t so elitist and pretentious, you might have a point. Otherwise, it’s just rich white people creating problems for the working man.

JAT in Seattle
JAT in Seattle
13 years ago

Ah, the elitist and class warfare arguments, well played!

Looks like Timber tickets are a little more than half the price of Blazers tickets, but since, as you say no one really wants to watch soccer then there won’t actually be any traffic problems and the working man should get on just fine, right?

problem solved.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
13 years ago
Reply to  JAT in Seattle

But you’d still have to deal with the damn WASPs. And who watches the Jailblazers ever since Drexler retired? Go Winterhawks.