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Group proposes bicycling barrier on Willamette Greenway Trail through Riverplace

Posted by on October 14th, 2015 at 4:06 pm

Willamette Greenway Trail through Riverplace-5.jpg

Riverplace has shops, restaurants, and lots of tourists.
It also has a popular path running right through it.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Friends of Riverplace formed earlier this year to help reclaim South Waterfront Park and the Riverplace Marina from “loitering, drug dealing, and off-leash dogs.” The group, made up of property owners, condominium residents and business owners in the area, does regular foot patrols has had success in improving safety for the many tourists, restaurant-goers and others who frequent the area.

Now they’re focused on a different problem: people who ride bikes on the path with no regard for the safety of others.

Bike Advisory Cmte Meeting-4.jpg

Susan West at the BAC meeting last night
with Helmut Gieben and Laurie Ogan looking on.

Friends of Riverplace volunteer Susan West, Riverplace Condominium Association Board Director Helmut Gieben and Mia’s Boutique owner Laurie Ogan came to the City of Portland’s Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting in City Hall last night to share a proposal.

Their idea is to erect barriers at each end of the Greenway Trail (between SW Montgomery and Harbor Way) in order to force people riding bikes to get off and walk.

“This is a critical and alarming issue,” West shared at the BAC meeting, “Almost everyone has been hit and we’re afraid of a lawsuit.”

“This is not your typical multi-use path,” Gieben added, “Imagine having bicycles in a mall.” “Even though there are signs that say bicycles have to yield to pedestrians, it actually works the other way around.”

According to Ogan some of her customers won’t return because “They’re afraid to walk on the Esplanade down there.”

West, Gieben and Ogan each shared stories of people zooming through the area on bikes and striking fear into the hearts of other path users.

“The large number of people that are coming through are racing and are commuters. The signs don’t work, we need a barrier to protect the blind people, the babies, and so on.”

riverplace

Instead of the path along the waterfront, they want people to ride on SW Montgomery and Harbor Way. They referred to those streets as having a “new bike path” that should be a viable alternative. And besides, they said, “It’s just two blocks that we’re asking people to walk.”

The groups says they’ve asked the Portland Parks Bureau to change the use-status of the path. “We want people on bikes to come, but we don’t want them riding through the area,” West said. “We’re interested in seeing if we can get the bike committee to support this idea of a change in use. The Parks Bureau has been reluctant to make this change because it’s designated as an MUP [multi-use path], but we’re hoping that would change.”

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If this sounds familiar to you, that’s because very similar concerns arose in August 2007. Back then condo residents got so upset over bicycle riders that they erected an illegal sign that said “Bicycles Must Be Walked” and then had private security guards enforce it. That episode ended with a stern warning to Riverplace residents from the Parks Bureau reminding them they have no right to require people to walk on what is a federally funded and officially designated multi-use path (not to mention part of the 40-Mile Loop).

I went down to observe the area today around 2:00 pm. While not as hectic as it is during the evening rush hour/happy hour, there was a steady flow of people on foot and on bike: A mom was blowing bubbles as her baby took what looked to be some of her first steps; tourists ate ice cream; restaurant workers set out tables; people pedaled slowly as they took in the sights of a gorgeous fall day.

Willamette Greenway Trail through Riverplace-2.jpg

It’s very rare for a multi-use path to have adjacent commercial and residential use.
Willamette Greenway Trail through Riverplace-4.jpg

There’s seating for cafes on boths sides of the path.
Willamette Greenway Trail through Riverplace-6.jpg

Willamette Greenway Trail through Riverplace-10.jpg

Willamette Greenway Trail through Riverplace-8.jpg

All the people I saw on bikes rode slowly and with courtesy. One guy on a bike even stepped off his pedals momentarily when he came up to people walking 5-6 abreast.

Then Gary Sansom and Shawn Harper rolled up. They live in northeast Portland and were on their way to the Portland Sports Bar. It’s a ride they’ve been doing for 15 years. “This is just part of my loop,” Sansom said. He goes from the Rose Quarter to the Sellwood Bridge. “It’s gotta’ be one of the largest non-traffic loops in the country.”

Willamette Greenway Trail through Riverplace-9.jpg

Gary Sansom (L) and Shawn Harper cruising en route to a nearby bar.

What would you do if someone put up a barrier and required you to walk? I asked. “I’d ride anyways,” Sanson replied, smiling.

“It is supposed to be used by everyone, including, like it or not, people who are rude or obnoxious but who have every right to be there.”
— David Hampstem, PBOT Bicycle Advisory Committee member

At the BAC last night, several members concurred that rude riding on paths like this is a problem. But the barrier request didn’t get much support. “I disagree there’s a ‘bike path’ close by,” said the BTA’s Carl Larson, speaking to the assertion that since there’s a safe bikeway one block west there’s no need to ride on the Greenway path. “It’s not a ‘bike path’ [on Harbor Way], it’s a street with a little bit of paint [sharrows] and a hotel with a lot of out-of-state rental cars on it.”

David Hampsten, a BAC member who represents east Portland interests said the core question is whether or not the city still considers the Riverplace section of the Greenway Trail to be a multi-use path. If it is an MUP, than it needs to maintain a 15-foot width at all times. “If this is a MUP the tables and other stuff should maybe be moved so that there is more width and cyclists can go thru,” Hampsten said. “It is supposed to be used by everyone, including, like it or not, people who are rude or obnoxious but who have every right to be there.”

At the end of the meeting, BAC Chair Ian Stude acknowledged that dangerous riding on this congested path is a serious issue. But, he said, “It’s more complicated than it seems.” Stude said the committee will come back to the issue at a later date and that they will not recommend any course of action at this time.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I’m curious — do the seating and signs require a permit in a multi-use path as they do on a sidewalk? And if so, do any have them?

Paul Atkinson
Guest
Paul Atkinson

Did they produce any evidence of damage by these dangerous cyclists, or are the cyclists all so reckless that they’ve avoided hitting anyone or anything since the 2007 proposal?

If it’s dangerous, the danger will out. If it’s not then the problem is one of perception, not safety.

canuck
Guest
canuck

“It’s more complicated than it seems.”

No it’s not. Pedestrians are the vulnerable users. Much like there a drivers that ignore that fact with bicycles on the road, there are cyclists that do the same with pedestrians.

The golden rule applies, treat pedestrians on the MUP the same way you want drivers to treat cyclists on the road.

axoplasm
Subscriber

“Almost everyone has been hit.”

Weird, I’m down here daily, sometimes 2x/day, for the past 6 years. About half the time on foot. Never once hit or been hit, not even had a close call.

But then I am not everyone.

How DO the hospitals cope with all these injuries? Must be a dozen a day. I mean: EVERYONE!

I like the marina vibe down here. I like that it’s occasionally congested. When it gets really busy (summer evenings) it’s obvious you need to slow to walking speed or even get off the bike. Much more obvious than on the esplanade for example.

And I seriously doubt much “racing” happens here.

Jessica Roberts
Guest
Jessica Roberts

I have a hard time believing that “almost everyone has been hit.” As Seth and Amy say, REALLY?!

mw
Guest
mw

This is gold:
West shared at the BAC meeting, “Almost everyone has been hit…”
“…we need a barrier to protect the blind people, the babies, and so on.”

dan
Guest
dan

Install strips of cobblestone across the path every 20 feet or so. Done.

soren
Subscriber

Large sections of this mup have been converted into seating areas for restaurants and shops. These areas crowd pedestrians and people cycling into narrow choke points. They also encourage the perception by pedestrians that this is some sort of “plaza” instead of a multi-use path. The obvious solution is to remove restaurant seating and paint some bikes ride here symbols that separate pedestrians from cyclists.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

Despite the fact that this is a public right-of-way, Riverplace for years had this area illegally posted ‘No Bikes’. PBOT finally forced them to remove these illegal signs about four or five years ago. Closing this segment of trail again would be a huge step backwards.

Also, FWIW, when I was down there recently it looked to me like McCormick and Schmick had just about doubled their outdoor seating capacity since last year, creating a very significant bottleneck for all users.

I for one would boycott each and every business down there if they prohibited cycling, and these are businesses that look like they could use every customer that comes their way, as it’s sort of an out of the way spot, particularly for retail.

chris
Guest
chris

Oh, I don’t ever ride through there. I tried once and it was indeed “like riding through a mall”.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

I bike to the Riverplace Docks regularly – this groups’s request has merit. It’s an extremely congested walkway, especially when the weather is nice. The bike racks, and outdoor eating tables take up a lot of space on both sides of the sidewalk, leaving an even narrower area for people traversing it. There’s no reason cyclists can’t dismount and walk to LIttle River Cafe, or use Harbor Way/Montgomery Street if they are passing through.

Dave
Guest
Dave

The encroachment of cafe seating looks like an attempted privatizing of public space to me.

PNP
Guest
PNP

Even if they have a valid concern, lacing it with hysteria (everyone has been hit!) only damages their message.

Mossby Pomegranate
Guest
Mossby Pomegranate

Pedestrians deserve a place they can feel safe from both cars and bikes. It’s funny what hypocrites the BP community are when it’s Bikes vs Peds instead Bikes vs motor vehicles.

Adam
Subscriber

Build a viable alternative (i.e. nearby protected bike lanes) for people commuting though. A real dedicated cycling facility, not just another MUP. People should still be allowed to ride their bikes to destinations along the path, though. Why not install cobblestones or another type of bumpy paver to encourage people to ride slowly?

This is the same issue that Better Naito aims to solve in Waterfront Park. Build a safe alternative and people will use it.

Ben
Guest
Ben

The over-the-top rhetoric is ridiculous, but they have a valid concern. Riding on that stretch of path is unpleasant, and walking on it is too.

Personally, I’d like to see cyclists discouraged from using the waterfront path entirely, but first we need a sensible route along the river between the south waterfront and the Broadway Bridge.

If the city installed a six-foot cycletrack along SW Harbor and Naito, I’d totally support putting in cyclist-inconveniencing measures like low bollards or those awful crotch-hammering ridges on the esplanade.

Fred King
Guest

I have to agree with Dave. Over the years that I have used that route (25 years), the condo has taken over what was originally a multi-use path. I wish I could put patio furniture out in the street where I live, but taking away rights of way by occupation is wrong and people who are used to using it to complete the West side bike path will challenge the “facts on the ground”.

This is fundamentally different from tourists who are surprised and complain when we use that bike path as a bike path. Tourists have a right not to know the legal use of the path.

zholz
Subscriber

All of this “fast bikes use ____” stuff is such a clear case for mode separation!

I will admit that when I am a pedestrian (and I’d encourage everyone on this site to walk across the Hawthorne Bridge during peak times, or along this stretch of the Waterfront, to see what it feels like), I pretty frequently feel in danger of getting hit by a cyclist. I know I’m just one mis-timed step away from getting clipped by someone’s handlebars, or worse.

It’s so strange & frustrating that we’re really willing to bring up the “I’m a vulnerable road user” line when cars are threatening us, but don’t take it as seriously when pedestrians ask cyclists to slow down or respect their right to the space.

Vancouver seawall, anyone? I’m sure plenty on this site have been there. It is such a beautiful example of effective mode separation. Let’s stop saying “share the space” to all the people walking (cause we know from our greenway experience that it is a broken metaphor), and actually build the infrastructure all modes deserve.

Jack
Subscriber
Jack

What about the runners!!!???? I walk my dog through there every morning and evening and have had more “fast runners” pass us faster than most people who ride through there on bikes. Just saying.

Zaphod
Guest

I think diverters that make it hard but not impossible to roll through will encourage faster riders to go elsewhere. Here’s the thing… the dialog here has such an “us vs them” mentality. Like all the people trying to eat and chill along the waterfront are a bunch of wankers and we cyclists have a legitimate need. Our needs matter, theirs do not. We sound like angry motorists. Well damn, the nearby route is fast and efficient. It’s the choice I go for.

The shop owner is wildly exaggerating I’m sure but intelligent and logical commuters will take the other route anyway. Why not filter out the rest so that the parent having a drink with a nearby toddler can f*&#ing relax for a moment.

It’s straight from Portlandia’s “bicycle rights”

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

First we had bike paths, where bikes have total right of way. Then they became, in many locations, MUPs, which, like sidewalks, give the right of way to pedestrians. The logical next step is to convert the MUPs formally to off-street sidewalks and ban bikes.

That’s not my idea, it came from an acquaintance in Hawaii a decade ago. I guess it’s coming to pass, so it’s time for the segregationists to bone up on their VC skills.

I’d be interested to know about the original funding for this path. Was it to provide for cycling to relieve auto congestion, which was pretty typical for many years, or was it to provide a pedestrian amenity to the motoring crowd?

Nathan Hinkle (The Bike Light Database & NearlyKilled.Me)
Guest

I think this streetview image illustrates perfectly what the problem is.

According to the post, the MUP should be 15 ft wide. If we assume the gentleman in the blue shirt in the streetview scene above to be 6 ft tall (and he’s probably a bit shorter), then the width of the path here is at best 12 ft, and it looks like some of the chairs are sticking out further. I’ve seen guests scoot back their chairs without looking too.

Drawing:comment image

I don’t think there’s really any argument that the current situation is unsafe. I’ve biked and walked through there many times, and there simply isn’t room to get through without slowing to walking speeds.

So if the passable space is at best 12 ft and should be 15, what’s the deal? Do the restaurants have a permit to encroach on the right-of-way? It doesn’t seem like they should be able to take it over just because they want to and it’s profitable.

The best solution would be to double the width of the path. There’s plenty of room, as you can see from this view. A wide concrete path with separated biking and walking lanes (like the Moody Ave cycle track) could be built directly east and adjacent to the existing path, and the current path could be fully developed as space for restaurants and stores to use as they see fit.

Of course, since they are currently encroaching on the right-of-way for their own commercial gain, the Riverplace businesses should fund the construction of such a path. It would attract more people to pass through the area, as it would make for a nicer place for tourists to walk by and enjoy the river and bring local through on their commute, so it should improve business long-term, and it would open up space for them to use commercially to host more tables, etc. Seems like a win-win.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

I don’t usually ride that part of the MUP in front of Riverplace, strongly preferring the alternative route of one block on Montgomery then one block on Harbor. It is much faster, because you can ride at normal cycling speeds of 15-17 mph on a real street that has relative light traffic that is moving slowly, instead of weaving slowly through pedestrians and tables at 5 mph.

I would want to try some advisory signs like “through cyclists take Montgomery/Harbor” instead of a ban on cyclists, which I think would be excessive and possibly illegal.

Phil Richman
Subscriber

I’d have to guess this area is getting some more traffic with the opening of Tilikum. Interesting conundrum.

Scott H
Guest
Scott H

Wait a minute, we should just put her in charge of ODOT! She’d ban cars from the roads, because babies and lawsuits and stuff.

J_R
Guest
J_R

Like a few others, I think the extent of the problem has been greatly exaggerated. I’ve seen a few people riding faster than appropriate, but most operated with great courtesy.

I used to work in that area and rode my bike through at modest speeds early in the morning because I enjoyed seeing the boaters going to and from their boats or enjoying their coffee after their time on the river. When it was busier, I opted for Harbor Way and Montgomery Street. I also liked to visit the ice cream shop with my kids when we’d been on a long bike ride. We always rode slowly and carefully to get there and never experienced a problem.

Some improvements to sight distance and, perhaps, a change in the traffic control at Harbor Way and Montgomery Street intersection would help. When heading southbound on Harbor Way, sight distance to the east along Montgomery Street could be restricted by parked cars near the intersection. Besides that, you couldn’t be certain whether autos would yield to you or whether they were yielding to pedestrians. Just a little confusing.

Another issue is the transition from the MUP to Harbor Way at the north end near the turnaround in front of the Riverplace Hotel and Three Degrees. The ramp from the path to the road was sometimes blocked by vehicles.

Andy K
Guest
Andy K

Another option to consider is simply giving prioritization to pedestrians through inexpensive visual cues. The Netherlands does this using a “guest” scheme. Basically one user “owns” the space and the other is the “guest”. What this looks like; a user encounters a sign or pavement marking [http://www.eindhoven.nl/upload_mm/0/e/b/61085_fullimage_Verkeersbord-Auto-te-gast.jpg]
[http://www.fietsersbond.be/sites/default/files/images/IMG_1280.jpg] indicating who is the guest on the street. The system works quite well, even though it is entirely self governed. There is a pedestrian example too, where an easy to read sign defines it as a ped space where bikes are allowed but with (implied) diminished “rights”
[http://www.0297-online.nl/images/news/0297_detail/verkeersbord-fietsers-te-gast.jpg].

Instead of trying to control the situation through difficult to enforce rules or physical barriers (remembering that some cyclists may use the facility at night when ped volumes are low as a safe alternative), allow common social pressure to enforce the situation. The idea of clearly stated user priority is not to create a route for punishment like a ban would be, but instead it is to let everybody in that space define the appropriate behavior within that space at that time.

Mark
Guest
Mark

This is retirees with nothing tondo and bikes to hate on. In their mind, the world outside of a car should operate at walikg speed but inside a car should be completely free of any kind of restrictions. Bikes are just an obstacle in life to be dealt with.

I am glad parks has shut down their anarchist behavior a few times. Bikes should never ever be banned from anywhere. Let me repeat.

Bikes should never be banned. People need to learn to cooexist biking or not. Period.

axoplasm
Subscriber

So on my third trip through riverfront today (srsly) it hit me what I find so risible about this entire thread. The design of the space as it is, is largely self-correcting. When it’s crowded (5pm on a warm October evening), you’d have to be really bloody minded to even TRY to go fast. If you insist on riding, you do it at walking speed, and use your human voice to say “excuse me” to the other humans who are there. But at 6am this morning — why NOT go fast? There’s no one to hit.

It is a human scale space that encourages interaction with other humans, using human communication, at human speeds, with human ambiguities, with human consequences. If a cyclist and walker tangle the cyclist is almost as likely to break a bone as the other person — and broken bones are the usual worst case scenario in such occasions. Compare to a car crash where a broken collar bone is a GOOD outcome. But walking/riding here requires negotiating & interacting with other people, absent the legal and mechanical frameworks we’re used to elsewhere (ie. in a car)

This is what I like about it. That and the pretty boats.

Signs and mode separations and barriers and rumble strips and MUPs and ROWs are the idiom of machines, of carving up the landscape such that two ton metal boxes won’t crush 200 pound sacks of meat into…er…hamburger. (Sorry the metaphor is getting a little gruesome.)

Maybe what bugs Ms. West and the rest of us about the interactions at Riverfront Place, is a collective inability to reckon with ambiguous and small-scale interactions, when we prefer the crisp and legalistic delineations of the (often fatal) machine interactions we’ve unfortunately become accustomed to.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

I guess what bothers me most about this is that the Willamette Greenway is more or less mandated by both State law and City ordinance, yet it’s taken years longer than reasonable to complete, and this would be a huge step backwards.

These people are trying to privatize a public asset, filling the public space to the point of choking it with their tables, signs, merchandise, etc., and that’s just wrong in so many ways.

And it’s not cyclists’ fault that the facility was under-designed to begin with; that seems more like the rule than the exception in Portland. If the facility is over capacity, the city shouldn’t be issuing so many permits for private use of the public space.

IMO, the better analogy to this proposal is SK Northwest and not Clinton Street.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Seems like a wonderful place to have bicycle mounted PPD traffic teams doing enforcement issuing real tickets and fines for “wreckless driving” (this would be a down side of legally being a vehicle by ORS code) or just broad spectrum “public endangerment”.

Unlike the nuisance that ignoring stop signs in Ladds Circle is THIS is an actual hazard. Dedicate half of that enforcement power here and actually perform a public good.

kittens
Guest
kittens

Legislation and signage are no substitute for courtesy and the consideration of others. It is too bad people are not more cooperative but Im not sure manners will be hastened through these measures.

I also think this neighborhood group is being a little silly. We should all be so lucky to have such problems as these!

gutterbunnybikes
Guest

I like this little stretch a lot, ride it often – even more often now that is now part of my new Tilikum Loop for my impromptu uninspired rides.

I don’t really think the problem is as much that there are tables, bikes and walkers on it, I think the problem is more placement of the tables. Keep the tables and move them and the benches to the storefront sections and open the path up where the tables currently reside. This would cut down pedestrian and bicycle interference dramatically.

I typically don’t have issues with the visitors in this area when I ride slowly through, it’s the staff of establishments who typically are the ones that I have close calls with (if you really call them that) as they dart in and out of their restaurants.

Honestly I think they are shooting themselves in the foot. A big part of the charm of this small stretch isn’t just the view and the restaurants it is it’s carlessness and somewhat European or beach town vibe to it.

The With the new bridge they should be embracing the bicycle traffic and building a few more racks nearby and work on finishing the path from Poets beach around the back side of the Marriott Riverplace for a connection to Moody and or the Tilikum.

Lester Burnham
Guest
Lester Burnham

David Hampstem’s comment…wow. Yeah I guess that’s pretty much society as a whole now. Just “tolerate” rude and obnoxious behavior from self-centered cyclists.

bikeslobpdx
Guest
bikeslobpdx

Sounds like a pretty reasonable request to me.

AIC
Guest
AIC

I dont like riding slow. So I just take Harbor when I commute through that area. It is faster and very light on traffic. Back in the 90’s when I used to ride recreationally down there all the time, I would walk my bike through that area. Allows a person to window shop and/or stop for a refreshment.

Carl
Guest
Carl

Has anyone proposed an intermediate solution, like pavement treatments, offset bollards or chicanes that allow bikes through but at reduced speed?

At the end of the day, it’s just a MUP that gets a lot of pedestrian traffic, which is not a unique issue — plenty of cities in Latin America and Europe have lots of these, and deal with them by making it hard to ride fast, usually with cobbled or brick surfaces.

Not saying that’s the solution here, but seems there are more options than a)ban them and b)free-for-all.

pat lowell
Guest
pat lowell

I don’t understand why we’re bickering over something so undesirable. Runners, walkers, dogs, strollers, waiters – this area SUCKS to ride. Harbor Way might be a “detour” but it’s a lot faster and safer than trying to navigate that Riverplace mess. Why can’t we just use the damn detour and save our outrage for something truly important, like Barbur?

Spiffy
Subscriber

David Hampsten states that a MUP must maintain a 15′ width for its multi-use purpose…

looking up sidewalk cafe regulations it seems that those can only be set up along a sidewalk and not a MUP…

so are these actual City of Portland sidewalk cafes or are they simply the businesses deciding to create a MUP cafe due to lack of Portland Parks and Recreation rules prohibiting them?

if they’re a permitted sidewalk cafe then they only need to maintain 8′ of clearance for through travel…

in either case I don’t see how clothes racks are permitted by the city… they’re not a cafe nor are they a sidewalk vendor… must be a different permit…

I can’t find the rules for MUPs on PP&R’s web site…

should I report these tables and clothes racks to PP&R or to City of Portland?

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

I walk this stretch of MUP at least once a week and ride on it occasionally, throughout the year. During mid summer and during the many festivals the MUP is packed. Jonathans photos do not reflect the conditions when the path is crowded. Most cyclists ride slowly with caution and respect, but it is common that a fast rider will go through. I have never been hit, but I have been buzzed by inches. These guys (always guys) aren’t “Lances” but random riders who aren’t safe or respectful. It just takes a few jerks to spoil things for everyone and this section of the MUP has its share of jerks.

I doubt barriers will be installed, but the concerns are quite valid.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

I used to bike commute through this area every day. I maybe used the MUP once and decided it wasn’t worth the potential conflicts with dodging pedestrians. The Harbor/Montgomery alternative was very easy, almost as quick, and relatively little hassle. Now with the Tilikum, there’s a great little cut-off from Moody to the Waterfront path that works perfectly and keeps you off Harbor/Montgomery entirely.

I think the real problem here is that many commuters can be aggressive jerks, whether they’re on bikes or in cars. Commuters are laser-focused on getting to their destination as quickly as possible with little concern for more vulnerable road users. Most of us see that on a regular basis, and that’s likely the primary source of conflict in Riverplace. I think something needs to be done to keep aggressive commuters from riding through a pedestrian-centric area, or at least expand the path for a dedicated cycling route. I think the better choice is for bike commuters to choose a different route. That certainly worked well for me back in the day and added only a slight amount of time and hassle to my commute.

oliver
Guest
oliver

Wow, commentpalooza.

I only read about 2/3 or the comments from the story, apologies if someone has already said this.

Concerns from pedestrians/pedestrian advocates should absolutely be taken seriously. Complaints along the lines of “won’t someone please think of the children” as merely rabble rousing from people who would like bikes banned on “their” street as a matter of course should not.

I think we should be wary of the Riverplace HOA attempting to control infrastructure that may not be theirs to annex.

Fozman
Guest
Fozman

I ride this route all the time. It can get very crowded, and many racer wanna-be’s treat it like it’s part of their time-trial route and rush through there. It’s especially bad on the weekend. I would prefer a dedicated bike lane, but don’t blame the residents or wanting riders to walk on this section. If you want to ride you can go around the back.

And people saying they should get rid of outside seating and merchandise racks? Ridiculous! That’s part of the charm of this area and why people like being there.

Progress in biking infrastructure comes with some compromise. People hear scream bloody murder whenever their right to bike anywhere they want is challenged. Just like the goatee ‘d guy on Portlandia.

SD
Subscriber

The problem with this discussion (that many have pointed out) is that the group wanting to prohibit riding in this area appears to have decided what solution they desire and embellished their narrative to justify it.

The trope “we love bikes, but only when they are two or three blocks away” is getting old.

There are clearly solutions to this issue that would preserve bicycle transit and the seasonal outdoor seating and pedestrian traffic. It is unfortunate that this group has chosen a factious self-serving remedy.

This conflict underlies the widely held position that bicycle traffic is problematic and needs to be tightly controlled and corraled into limited areas. Instead of investing in infrastructure that cyclists would chose over areas where there is conflict, more obstacles for cyclists are put in place.

Paul Wilkins
Guest
Paul Wilkins

Jonathan – try observing on a Saturday morning when the spandex mafia hits the road.

Alva
Guest
Alva

These resturaunts aren’t going anywhere and the same goes for the foot traffic. Take the short detour and aviod the hassle of having to weave through crowds of people. Everyone will be happier for it.

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

We’ve learned that our river is too valuable an asset for it to be used simply as a mobility corridor. Tearing out Harbor Drive to build the park was one of the best things this city has ever done. I can’t wait for the day when we do the same thing with I-5 on the east bank.

But if the point of reclaiming our riverfront is to simply replace fast-moving cars with fast-moving bicycles, we’ve lost the opportunity to make places for people. This stretch of river is a wonderful place, where visitors and residents alike come to relax, have a nice meal, and enjoy the fun of being alongside a river. They shouldn’t have to worry about being buzzed by someone on a bicycle, particularly when there’s another route the cyclist could be taking. And yet, I see that happening everytime I’m down there. I think the concerns raised are legitimate, and cyclists should be more sophisticated in how they respond to those concerns. Because this is the exact argument everyone raised with regards to auto traffic on Clinton.

Tom
Guest
Tom

(1) This stretch is similar to ones that can be seen in the Netherlands. Walking similar areas when off the bike, I experienced no real stress from the cyclists. Everyone has a bell and they use them, which makes a big difference to pedestrian stress I think. Rather than banning bikes, a better solution may for the city to create bell zones, where bells are required when there are situation where bikes and pedestrians are mixed. I don’t usually like requiring equipment, because it can lower ridership, but in this case I doubt someone would switch back to their car because now they need to get a bell for their route. Its much less of a deterrent than a bike ban anyway.

(2) If the problem really is just weekend mornings, then why did they not propose the ban just for weekend mornings, instead of 24/7. It sounds more like they want to get rid of bikes altogether, as they did in the past.

(3) The distance looks like ~1000 ft, so wouldn’t that be closer to 4 blocks, using Portland’s standard 260 ft block length? I don’t see how they could call that 2 blocks.

Angel
Guest
Angel

The designers should probably have accounted for this scenario when they built the path.

The solution is to post a 6mph speed limit. Then people on bikes can ride through the area (it is, after all, a MUP), but they would only be going about twice as fast as people who are on foot.

Angel
Guest
Angel

I like the bell zone idea, too.