Harvest Century September 22nd

City of Sherwood wants to ban bicycling in and around “public spaces”

Posted by on January 17th, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Sherwood wants to keep bikes away
from their new Cannery Square plaza.

The City of Sherwood (about 17 miles southwest of Portland) is holding a public hearing during their City Council meeting tonight on a new ordinance that would ban “wheeled activities” — including bicycles — near public spaces.

A reader tipped us off to this issue via coverage on OregonLive.com.

Sherwood Police Chief Jeff Groth is spearheading the new ordinance. Here’s how he lays out the issue on page 52 of tonight’s City Council Meeting Packet (PDF here):

City Staff has identified a need to protect significant public investments in the City of Sherwood from damage resulting from improper use and to protect the City of Sherwood from liability that may arise from improper use.

The new code (see it below) would specifically prohibit the use of “bicycles, unicycles, roller-skates, roller-blades, scooters and skateboards” within 30 feet of “public spaces.” The new ordinance defines “public spaces” as any property that is “owned or held by the City of Sherwood for public use, including parks and open squares.” Failure to comply would result in a $50 citation.

Proposed code: 12.12.235 “Public Areas – Use of Bicycles, Unicycles, Roller Skates, Roller Blades, Scooters and Skateboards.”

Impetus for the ordinance comes from “improper use” of the new Cannery Square, a 12,000 square foot plaza on the corner of Pine and Columbia streets in downtown Sherwood. A background statement provided to City Council members explains that, “Public places within the city are designed, built and intended for pedestrian focused activities and are not conducive to use of bicycles/unicycles, roller skates/blades, scooters and/or skateboards.”

As someone who grew up in Orange County, California, I’m well aware of skateboard bans due to the damage they cause to structures; but adding bicycles into that mix is less common.

Our Washington County reporter Will Vanlue will try and attend the meeting tonight to learn more about the issue. Stay tuned for a follow-up.

If you live in or around Sherwood, consider showing up to the hearing at City Council tonight at 7:00 pm in City Hall (22560 Pine Street).

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31 Comments
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    Patrick Croasdaile January 17, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    One of the only reasons I got to Sherwood is to sip coffee (mid-ride) at Black Bird on SW Railroad. This is right next to one of these ‘public spaces’.

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    Chris Daniel January 17, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Bike swarm time.

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    Steve B January 17, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Imagine a public space.. for everyone.

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      shirtsoff January 17, 2012 at 12:33 pm

      Yes! A public space for the public and for everyone. 🙂

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      Mike January 17, 2012 at 12:49 pm

      Exactly the reason I should be able to slowly and carefully ride my motorcycle or scooter through there!

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        Chris I January 17, 2012 at 2:36 pm

        motorized forms of transportation create noise and air quality issues wherever they go. A “motorized transportation” ban would be perfectly reasonable.

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    John Lascurettes January 17, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    I wonder how the Unicycle Bastards feel about this.

    When was the last time you saw a unicycle do damage to structures.

    Still. I’m not so worried about them banning wheeled activities from any space that doesn’t also allow for cars. If cars are allowed, so are the bikes. End of story. To ask for someone to walk their bike through a square is not such a heinous request. But to ban bikes from “all public spaces” seems to have some bad conflicts and precedents built in.

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    John Lascurettes January 17, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    Note that their definition of bicycle excludes all trikes and tadpoles. Have at it 3-wheelers!

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    Brad January 17, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    Since the roads in front of of those public places are also not designed specifically for bikes but are ostensibly owned by the city of Sherwood, I suppose the law forbids riding on Sherwood’s roads as well. I guess somebody could lock up a bike at a rack on the sidewalk but I have to idea how they will have gotten that far without receiving a summons for some prior infraction. Too bad. Why do people go to Sherwood in the first place? Is it near Blackhawk Colorado?

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      El Biciclero January 17, 2012 at 1:19 pm

      Yes, the language here is dangerously vague. I could easily make an argument, based on this text, that bicycling is not allowed on the street unless there is a bike lane painted. I can understand prohibiting bicycling in an area that is meant primarily for pedestrians, similar to Portland’s sidewalk riding ordinance, but the text of section D needs to be amended:

      [D.3. Riding or using a bicycle, unicycle, roller-skates, roller-blades, scooter, or skateboard on any public street or highway subject to existing traffic or vehicle codes.]

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    Spiffy January 17, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    I say that subsection D paragraph 2 negates the entire ordinance because every city specifically designs their open space to accommodate all those modes of travel just as they should…

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    Matt G January 17, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    Catch me going to Sherwood or spending dollars in their town with silliness like this. Clearly, protecting public spaces from unnecessary damage is warranted, but this sounds like an official who either fundamentally doesn’t understand the concern, knows something about bicycle-initiated damage that we do not, or has a grudge.

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    Harald January 17, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    This sounds like it’s primarily targeting skateboarders and BMXers. “Normal cyclist” are probably just collateral damage. Not that it makes it any better…

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    q`Tzal January 17, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    As far as I can tell this also prohibits Personal Mobility Devices like a Hoveround or similar electric wheelchairs.

    I haven’t seen anything as dangerous on the sidewalk as the woman?(too obese to tell) on a Hoveround-like device booking down the SW Millikan way bike lane and sidewalk at speeds of at least 15MPH. I have to conservatively estimate her weight at least above 350 pounds.
    Would someone like to explain to me why that is safe and a cyclist is not?

    I understand the need for unilateral simple rules that are easy to understand, especially for the most moronic of police that need dirt simple laws so they know who to arrest.

    But laws are designed to protect. To protect sometimes we must exclude but if we are going to waste our time and money arguing over a law and then waste time and money administering that law it should actually protect from the dangerous behavior, not simply exclude only the hazards that myopic politicians can envision.

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      q`Tzal January 17, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      Hoveround = Scooter?

      Sherwood City Council Meeting Packet
      A. Definitions: As used in this section unless the context clearly indicates or requires a
      different meaning:
      e. Scooter: Means a vehicle consisting of a platform mounted between two wheels
      or more with an upright steering handle attached to the front wheel and powered
      by human, gas or electric power.

      Evidence that they’d rather attack a device than the behavior.

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    Brad January 17, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Seems like a blanket law, primarily aimed at skaters and BMX riders, to protect public spaces and parks from damage. Covers the main offenders but also dissuades others from turning public greenspaces into private cyclocross practice courses, underground Segway drag racing strips, impromptu MTB trials sites, etc. No anti-bike conspiracy afoot and you can still ride the roads in and around Sherwood.

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    jeff January 17, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    who wants to ride through it anyway? what would be the point? Anyone not living in Sherwood really doesn’t have much of a say in their city business.

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    Brad January 17, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Brad versus Brad!

    But of course the law will be implemented carefully! And ever officer of the law will dutifully make the important distinction between bmx versus skateboard versus holy commuter and will leave the commuter in peace while taking it to the miscreant bmx’ers who should get some sort of janitorial position because they aren’t doing well enough it school.

    This crazy law can be beat but people have to show up in Sherwood and that is the tricky part.

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    wsbob January 17, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    I’m hoping Vanlue can come back from the meeting with some good information about what specific kinds of issues with skateboards, bikes…and the other things with wheels named in Sherwood’s proposed law, that the city hopes the law will effectively deal with.

    “…As someone who grew up in Orange County, California, I’m well aware of skateboard bans due to the damage they cause to structures; but adding bicycles into that mix is less common. …” maus/bikeportland

    People have also been using certain types of bikes…bmx and off-road bikes…for jumping,sliding and grinding on low walls, benches, steps, planters. Skates have been used this way as well. Downtown Portland has a lot of damage from this kind of use. It’s this kind of damage Sherwood’s probably hoping to avoid.

    Maybe the city can write up its law a little better, making clear that it’s not seeking to eliminate the benefits of the use of bikes, skateboards, skates, etc. in the city, but only the destructive uses.

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    Mike Meade January 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    I’ve been asked to walk my bike through Pioneer Courthouse Square, and I did. It’s a reasonable request to have that in a public square. Parks however? That’s a whole different question.

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      John Lascurettes January 17, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      Pioneer Courthouse Square falls under a downtown sidewalk area. Illegal to ride on it per state law and local definition of “downtown area”.

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    Todd Edelman January 17, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Perhaps it is better to consider this space as a “slow place” or “slow space” and it also helps to be logical: A walking parent matches the speed of their small child on a scoot bike, so the latter should be allowed. So it can be a “(normal) walking speed space” and this could also mean someone could ride a three-wheeled cargo bike very slow through it…. Maybe shoot for all of this as a compromise?

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    Slammy January 17, 2012 at 2:16 pm

    been saying this forever, but any architect that designs a plaza with ledges, “hubba” rails, planters, and stairs that are even remotely skate-able should not be given the business by a city that wants to keep skaters out.

    city planners: please hire me for a nominal fee ($$$) and i will tell you if there are any desireable obstacles in your city plaza designs before you run with it.

    i feel sorry for those poor guys that had to install 1000 skatestops on the vera katz esplinade

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    Slammy January 17, 2012 at 2:25 pm

    also, might want to delete the biker from the concept drawing at this point?

    http://media.oregonlive.com/washingtoncounty_impact/photo/machine-works-2-rendering-revisedjpg-86db988d95b6af93.jpg

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    Ian C. January 17, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    Wait, Sherwood has a downtown?

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    Steven Soto January 17, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    I attended the city council meeting tonight and it was clear that the intent of the ordinance was to discourage abuse and misuse of the features of the public spaces. The council noted that they needed to be supportive of active transportation, especially in light of the upcoming investment in Tonquin trail system. The ordinance passed with an amendment to include roadways as an exception in section D.

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      Schrauf January 17, 2012 at 9:54 pm

      Nice! Problem solved, mostly.

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    Don Griz January 20, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    Well, I suppose if you’re commuting past the “public space” in the center of the road’s travel lane, you should be at least 30′, maybe more, from the “public space”. The road and shoulders is called a “right of way”, not a “public space”. Perhaps this technicality makes the ordinance moot so long as you are in the road.

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