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City: Tells us where to build off-road bike trails

Posted by on March 22nd, 2017 at 2:14 pm

Ventura Park Pump Track grand opening-17

The pump track at Ventura Park. Where should we build more of these?
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Where should we build bike parks and pump tracks? Are there parcels of vacant land where a network of dirt cycling trails could be stitched together? Should we consider improving and/or expanding bicycle access on trails in Forest Park?

These are the questions the City of Portland wants help answering as they move closer to the completion of Portland’s first-ever Off-Road Cycling Master Plan.

After 14 months of meetings with an advisory committeee the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability (they’re leading the project but the parks and transportation bureaus are also involved) released a virtual open house today. BPS has also released dates for four open houses and two community events in April.

Tons of potential. Now is the time to leave your comment about specific sites where off-road cycling should happen. View the map here.

The star of the virtual open house is an interactive map that displays a citywide inventory of parcels that have been vetted and analyzed for their cycling trail potential. The map includes places like Powell Butte and Forest Park where you’d expect off-road cycling to happen; but it also includes places with perhaps unexpected cycling potential. Overlook Park in north Portland for instance could be a perfect spot for a short singletrack trail or a bike park.

The map separates out the potential sites into three categories: “potential opportunity,” “less suitable,” and “unsuitable.”

You can click on a property, learn about its potential, and then leave a comment directly on the map.

While the City reaches out to the public with a broad agreement that Portland is ready for more off-road cycling opportunities in park areas throughout the city; there’s one key issue simmering just below the surface. Yes, you guessed it — Forest Park.

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The debate about how best to improve bicycle access in Forest Park has plagued Portland for well over a decade. The city tried to make progress on the issue in a lengthy public process that ended in September 2010. Unfortunately they failed and the process only led to more frayed nerves.

The hope for a new master plan is that it would establish a policy and planning framework that would help the city make fair decisions about off-road cycling not just in Forest Park but in parcels throughout the city. The goal is to connect Portlanders of all ages and abilities with places near their homes where they can ride in the dirt. The vision includes a network of bike parks (like a play-gym for bikes where kids can test their skills on different features), pump tracks, and singletrack trails.

While much of the new plan enjoys the full support of the committee (and soon the public, once more people learn about it), the Forest Park issue is still a major sticking point.

At a meeting last week of the Off-Road Cycling Plan Advisory Committee there was sharp disagreement among committee members about how to approach the Forest Park issue. The city said that bicycle access on Wildwood and Maple trails should be off the table before discussions even begin. But at least one committee member objected to that idea, saying he wasn’t aware that the committee ever agreed to that.

While everyone on the committee realizes that bikes don’t belong on the entirety of Wildwood and/or Maple, some members feel there might be specific portions where bicycle access could be safely and sustainably accomodated — especially where doing so would open up loops with other roads and trails.

Given the importance of Forest Park to all types of users, the public outreach stage of the master plan process takes on even greater urgency. Please get involved and leave your feedback.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. 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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rick
Guest
rick

That is easy. The forested area of Barbur Blvd’s 45 mph zone by ODOT and Parks-owned property, Woods Memorial Park near SW Taylor’s Ferry Road, Gabriel Park, Riverview Natural Area, and so much other wasted ODOT property. Lots of forested ODOT and Park’s owned land by Highway 26 by the zoo.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

How about finishing the Slavin Court/Red Electric connection from Barbur, now that ODOT’s construction camp has moved out of there? You could have parallel dirt and paved trails through there.

axoplasm
Subscriber

It would only take a weekend or two of trailbuilding to connect the end of Slavin Road to the Capitol Hwy ramp. I can almost do this already

I’ve long imagined a network of trails connecting all the way to Himes park or (on the other side of Barbur) even as far as Riverview. An intrepid hiker can hike along Stephens Creek, should be possible to build trails there too. Kind of a gap there around Brier I guess.

It’s fun to imagine though!

rick
Guest
rick

Yes ! I know qualified people who would volunteer to build that Red Electric Trail segment which needs a parallel mtb trail.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Done. I focused on adding longer XC trails at River View and Forest Park; adding advanced trail options at Powell Butte, Washington Park, and Mt Tabor; and the low hanging fruit of smaller bike parks (pump tracks, dirtjumps, skills parks, etc) all over the city that kids of all ages can ride their bikes to. Spread the word!

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Riverview already!

Kelly Butte.

The more human-impacted sections of Forest Park, such as the lower Firelane 1 corridor.

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

I’m very underwhelmed – It’s not so much a plan as an inventory. It really doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know, and nothing has gotten resolved.

SE Rider
Guest
SE Rider

well the process isn’t not over yet, right?

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

Not likely to reach people who aren’t computer savvy and/or connected to transportation issues with this approach.

Lumberyard MTB Park
Guest
Michael whitesel

There will be “brick & mortar” open houses, as well.

See the bottom of this page for details: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/article/632834

Noraa
Guest
Noraa

A new 20ish mile loop in Forest Park for mt bikes seems like a no brainer. The park could easily accommodate this and there would be no user conflict. Kelly Butte is another under used green space that would be great for a bike park. Then add a few smaller regional networks for the kids.

Alex
Subscriber
Alex

It does, doesn’t it? That being said, that will never happen – frogs stuck in tire tracks, etc. *sigh*

MadKnowledge
Guest
MadKnowledge

Small parcels for pump tracks and skills parks are fine, and a good, but only partial equation of what we really need to even budge the needle on the demand for off-road cycling that doesn’t require a car to access. YES, we do need much-expanded access in Forest Park, which has plenty of room for purpose-built long sections of cross-country trails as well as sections of purpose-built freeride areas that can be placed as to not cause user conflicts. I have communicated this to the City.

Eric
Guest
Eric

Should we consider improving and/or expanding bicycle access on trails in Forest Park?

Really?

How many times does this question need to be asked? How many times do we need to answer YES! How many times will Charlie Brown ask Lucy to hold the football so he can kick it…

Brian
Guest
Brian

Form a committee. Have meetings. Gather data. Analyze. Ask for more feedback. Repeat.

karl
Guest
karl

Mt. Trashmore! aka St. Johns Landfill!!!

karl
Guest
karl

Red Electric (off road) Trail!

Pendelton Park / Hayhrust Woods are part of the Red Electric and they would be great off for road. and take you to Aplenrose

karl
Guest
karl
karl
Guest
karl

Dog Bowl https://goo.gl/maps/DtdaTM4xQAz 3011 N Willamette

Randee Peppercorn
Guest
Randee Peppercorn

Creston Park Dual Slalom

TrailLover
Guest
TrailLover

Anybody interested in this topic might like to see (and share) these related docs.

The first one paints a big picture of the context in Forest Park:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/c57noxtzihe7si0/ForestParkVision.pdf?dl=0

The next one is a video talking about modern trails management and the city of Portland:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/6z4f4a42wdiwvrs/SingletrackSolutionsForPDX.mp4?dl=0

The last one talks about the fallacies surrounding the current 8′ trail standard in Forest Park:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/z7er4t4gcd9c4nx/EightFootTrailDiscussion.pdf?dl=0

TrailLover
Guest
TrailLover

Here’s the video in a better format the people can link to or embed.

https://vimeo.com/user35133993

TrailLover
Guest
TrailLover

Oops, better link here:

https://vimeo.com/209622101

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Cool video! If I could inject one suggestion…..I had to pause the video frequently to give myself time to read everything. Sometimes it moves to the next frame before I could read the text that had just appeared. Maybe extend the time a bit before moving to the next frame?