Splendid Cycles

Closure of River View Cemetery bike access looms as disrepectful riding continues

Posted by on May 19th, 2017 at 8:59 am

Hopefully not a sign of things to come.
(Photo: David Cushman)

Bicycles will not be allowed to roll through River View Cemetery this coming Memorial Day weekend (Friday, May 26th through Monday, May 29th).

If that news bothers you, consider this: We’re lucky it’s open to us at all. And if we want it to remain open in the future, we better start riding with more respect.

The historic cemetery that sits on 350 acres of prime real estate overlooking the Willamette River just west of the Sellwood Bridge is a private nonprofit organization that was founded in 1882. Its Board of Trustees generously allows free bicycle access through the property because it provides a safe, direct, and pleasant connection between Sellwood and southwest Portland. The alternate routes on SW Boones Ferry and Taylors Ferry roads are out-of-the-way and very stressful on a bike due to their outdated and car-centric design.

However, despite this amazing gift bicycle riders have been given, far too many people abuse this privilege by riding in a way that fails to show the respect due to this venerable place and the people who visit and staff it.

“I knew that we had to do something to try and address the problems or risk a total ban by the Board of Trustees.”
— David Noble, River View Cemetery executive director

After getting word about the closure earlier this month I reached out to the executive director of the cemetery, David Noble. I know Mr. Noble because, unfortunately, I’ve covered issues surrounding cycling behavior at River View Cemetery many times in the past.

In 2006 we reported that a negative interaction between a bicycle rider and a cemetery maintenance crew sparked talk of a bike ban. Then in 2009 we reported that due to people bicycling too fast, the cemetery felt they had to install speed bumps. “We take our duty to the community very seriously,” Noble told me at the time. “But there’s a point when it gets too out of hand and you have to do something.” A few months after the speed bumps went in, the cemetery’s Board of Trustees held a special meeting to vote on whether bike access should be continued as-is, banned or curtailed. Luckily (thanks in part to Noble’s advocacy on our behalf), they voted for bike access to remain, contingent on raising money for new signs and outreach with the community. Then in 2012 public access was on the chopping block once again after people continued to trespass through the property after-hours (and because someone vandalized an entry gate).

In case you’re new to town, or just learning all this for the first time, keep in mind that River View Cemetery are the good guys. It’s an extremely bike-friendly place that has bent over backwards to maintain this crucial connection in the regional cycling network.

With all that said, I was dismayed when Noble told me disrespectful riding continues to be a problem and the four-day Memorial Day Weekend closure could have been — and might still end up being — a whole lot worse.

Here’s more from Noble about the weekend closure and the context of the decision:

“Following last year’s Memorial Day weekend, our Board of Trustees received dozens of written complaints from cemetery owners about problems they encountered with bicyclists, ranging from rudeness, disrespect, failure to yield to vehicles, speeding, packs of racers, etc. They were all encouraging the Trustees, to ‘ban bikes’ and they clearly weren’t talking about just over Memorial Day weekend. Some of them were bicycle riders themselves and knew that a ban would even affect their own commute, yet they still felt that in the overall picture, bicycles should no longer be allowed.”

The dynamic here is that River View Cemetery is a membership association and the Trustees are appointed by member-owners. Therefore, Trustees need to be responsible to the wishes of members.

Adding to the latest issues is the recent opening of the new Sellwood Bridge and it’s vastly improved connections to the road through River View. Beginning last summer, the new entrance led to what Noble describes as, “An exponentially higher volume of bicycle traffic in the cemetery.” Noble estimates about 700-1,000 bicycle riders use the cemetery every day — about a tenfold increase from before the new entrance was built. Even though only about two percent of the riders cause problems (according to Noble), that equates to about 15-20 issues per day.


river view cemetery

It’s a place to grieve and remember loved ones in solitude. It’s not a place to do hill repeats.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

River View Cemetery-3

It would be a shame to see more of these.

River View Cemetery-1

These signs exist today, but most people either don’t see them or don’t abide by these simple rules.

Checking in on Sellwood Bridge progress-19.jpg

A double-edged sword: Much better access due to the Sellwood Bridge project; but more complaints as a result.

“By the end of summer, the conflicts between bicyclists and our owners had grown to an all-time high and I knew that we had to do something to try and address the problems or risk a total ban by the Board of Trustees,” Noble shared with me via email last week.

So, like he has for over a decade now (at least), Noble swung into action. He reached out to the Portland Bureau of Transportation and set up a meeting with stakeholders. In October, Noble met with representatives from PBOT, Lewis & Clark College (a major user of the route whose campus is adjacent to the cemetery), and the executive director of The Street Trust (Rob Sadowsky, who is no longer with the organization).

At that meeting, Noble shared that he feels the only way to avoid a complete bike ban is to reduce bicycle traffic in the cemetery.

Here are the ideas that were discussed at the meeting (via an email from Noble, with my emphases):

1. Put increased pressure on the City of Portland to create alternate bike routes in this area. As an example, it’s always been my contention that Taylors Ferry Road, which currently has two lanes going uphill and one downhill, should be made into a two-lane road and to then create a bike path on either side. Generally speaking, there is the same average number of cars that go uphill every day as go downhill, so sacrificing one uphill lane shouldn’t be a problem. There are other streets where dedicated bike paths could be created to route traffic from the west-end of the Sellwood Bridge to Barbur Blvd., Terwilliger Blvd., OHSU, etc.

2. Contact the many bicycle clubs and racing groups in the area and let them know that River View Cemetery is off limits for training. These groups cause our biggest number of complaints and they need to train elsewhere. It’s one thing to allow commuters and recreational riders to pass through enroute to somewhere else, but having groups of bikes going up and down the route, over and over, simply isn’t OK with us.

3. Increase rider awareness of the fact that this is private property and that passing through is a privilege and not a right. This is particularly important with so many new riders discovering this route due to the new Sellwood Bridge. This would be accomplished by creating a brochure on the topic, which would be distributed to riders who attend or work at Lewis & Clark and by having multiple times during the heaviest riding season (April to October) where BTA volunteers would come to the gates and distribute the brochures to riders.

4. Developing new signage at the gates. It’s been 7 or 8 years since the current signs were put in place and over time riders come to simply not see them. New colors and new language may renew their attention to the rules.

5. Closing the route during periods of heaviest cemetery visitation by our membership. Those would be Easter Sunday, Mother’s Day weekend, Memorial Day weekend and Veteran’s Day. I decided to just observe traffic this year on all those days except Memorial Day weekend to get a sense of whether we had enough problems to justify closure. Easter went fairly well, although there were a few complaints and Mother’s Day weekend is upon us, so we’ll see how that goes. I’m not terribly worried about Veteran’s Day because although we have a lot of visitors, it’s the rainy season and bicycle traffic is already lower. But we will for sure close on Memorial Day weekend [Noble says they typical have 10,000 motor vehicles on the property over those four days]. This was all discussed at the late October Board of Trustees meeting and they voted unanimously for the closure.

Adding to the complexity of this issue is that the main point-person from The Street Trust who worked as a liaison between the Cemetery and the community was Carl Larson, who left the organization in January 2016 after a budget cut eliminated his position. Noble laments not having Larson at the table and hopes someone can step up to continue his important community outreach.

For Noble, the last thing he wants is to have to close bike access. It’s up to us to not put him in that position.

“I know that people are going to be inconvenienced by this,” said Noble. “But in the big picture, avoiding all the inevitable complaints from cemetery clients could make the difference in keeping or losing the route altogether. The fewer complaints I get from our staff and the fewer complaints our Board of Trustees gets from cemetery owners, the less likely it is that they will step in and make any changes.”

Please heed his words and please tell everyone you know to ride with respect through River View Cemetery.

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

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  • Monkeysee May 19, 2017 at 9:05 am

    It’s very easy not to screw this up Portland, but you’ll manage to do it somehow.

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    • rick May 19, 2017 at 10:27 am

      Many people drive through the cemetery just to save precious time. I saw it firsthand while volunteering with the BTA by the Sellwood Bridge, on the west side of the new traffic light.

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      • Monkeysee May 19, 2017 at 10:59 am

        That’s messed up too.

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    • Chris Wold May 21, 2017 at 9:25 am

      I’ve been riding through this cemetery on weekdays for most of the past 23 years so perhaps I can provide some perspective. In the late 1990’s, the cemetery considered banning bikes because cyclists were cutting through the bushes along Palatine Hill Road when the gate was closed. They were riding over gravestones and making a mess of the cemetery. I worked with the Lewis & Clark community, where I work, to get students and employees to walk along the bushes until they got to the gate. That didn’t work. So then the cemetery built a fence, but they kept the gate open longer so those of us who work late could ride on the road. The cemetery has worked to accommodate cyclists for at least two decades.

      Also, the cemetery has attempted to keep cars out of the cemetery at times. Many of us have seen the chain that crosses the road in the lower part of the cemetery. When a car smashed through a chain that used to be lower in the cemetery, up went a gate. The gates have closed pretty early in the evenings at times. But cars, whether we like to or not, are how people get to the cemetery to visit grave sites. That is not going to change.

      I note that in the 1990s, lots of people brought their dogs to the cemetery. But, the cemetery banned dogs because dog owners apparently wouldn’t do the obvious. Let’s make sure we are not next. As the string of comments indicates, there are no good alternatives. Taylors Ferry is not an option. Macadam to Military Road is not a very safe option, particularly in the winter. So, let’s not screw this up.

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      • jeff May 23, 2017 at 4:25 pm

        as early as 6 or 8 years ago the cemetery owners got pissed with disrespectful idiots on bikes rolling over gravestones to cut the gates at the top, as well as speeding into grieving families just trying to have a moment. if people can’t be respectful, they should lose the access. Its not a public park.

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  • Dave May 19, 2017 at 9:36 am

    I ride this every weekday and would be so bummed to lose this crucial artery to downtown. But, I do recognize that when you’ve got 1000 riders a day, at least a couple of them will be dicks, and in this case, a couple is too many. I hope they put a lane on Taylor’s Ferry – it’s nowhere near as nice, but at least it would be a way up.

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  • Teddy May 19, 2017 at 9:46 am

    I cannot believe anyone or any group would be asinine enough to think they can use this route as a training spot, it just surprises me. Also a bummer that some people are ruining it for the rest of us and lack respect.

    agree that I see nothing wrong with taking away a lane from Taylors Ferry Rd. though Jersey Barriers would be needed to keep vehicles from either or intentionally barreling into the bike lane.

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    • rick May 19, 2017 at 10:23 am

      I prefer riding downhill using Taylor’s Ferry instead of downhill through the cemetery. Don’t have to ride the brakes downhill.

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    • B. Carfree May 19, 2017 at 4:30 pm

      It’s such a tiny hill that I’m amazed anyone would even consider it worthwhile to train on this route. Doing so is pathetic in so many ways.

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      • SE Rider May 21, 2017 at 2:12 pm

        Where do you think we live? A 5-7 minute climb is pretty decent for Portland.

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  • Meghan H May 19, 2017 at 9:47 am

    The fact that there is no other safe route for people on bikes in this part of SW Portland says that we need to demand a separated lane on one of the major streets in this area. We can’t expect a private landowner to completely fill what is obviously an important transportation link — let’s use the (temporary) loss of this route to showcase the need for a safe alternative (which Taylor’s Ferry currently is NOT.)

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    • dan May 19, 2017 at 10:10 am

      Agreed, the city would not think it was OK to put 700 cars a day through a cemetery because there was no road connection.

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    • axoplasm May 22, 2017 at 3:25 pm

      yes, this.

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    • phillip porter May 23, 2017 at 8:14 am

      A couple strips along the side of taylors ferry won’t make it any safer.

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  • rainydays May 19, 2017 at 9:47 am

    How sad to see this happening. Some of my favorite memories of living in Portland were the long commutes home from LO down that hill on a warm Friday evening. The calm before the nerve-rattling death run over the sellwood to a quiet springwater trail. Sounds like a lot has changed since I was last there.

    Crazy to hear it’s used as a training facility now! It’s a pity laws have to be made to deal with the self-centered/clueless.

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    • BradWagon May 19, 2017 at 10:22 am

      It’s most likely not that often but to the average person any group of cyclists wearing kits are “packs of racers”. Would be very surprised to hear of any group that regularly uses it for hill training.

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      • Charley May 19, 2017 at 6:12 pm

        Yeah. I’ve ridden up the hill to get back and forth to Lewis and Clark, and I’ve also ridden up the hill “recreationally,” to get up into that neighborhood for other rides. I can’t remember what I wore every time, but I do wonder if seeing people in lycra just rubs cemetery visitors wrong. They might assume that anyone wearing it is “training” or doing repeats. Who knows.

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  • 9watts May 19, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Great article, Jonathan. Thanks for putting the effort into this comprehensive exploration and exhortation.

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  • BradWagon May 19, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Hot Take: How is riding fast disrespectful?

    I can see cutting people off and riding on undesignated routes as obviously rude but if someone is maintaining safe control what does it matter the speed they are going or if they are “training”?

    (Only top 100 on strava segment have avg speeds above 15 so even most “packs of racers” aren’t disobeying the speed limit, and I doubt people are bombing unsafely down if they are doing hill repeats. The downhill segment probably induces some unsafe riding… but again, ease up if you see other people and stay in control. I often find its slower unaware riders that are more disruptive than faster more experienced ones…)

    I would find the cars that use it as a cut through during traffic far more rude than cyclists enjoying a scenic and quite environment trying to avoid an early grave themselves. Agree that Taylors Ferry as well as Hwy 43 need road diets for bike lanes (43 is almost always 3 lanes the entire length).

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    • 9watts May 19, 2017 at 10:19 am

      “I often find its slower unaware riders that are more disruptive than faster more experienced ones…”

      Ha. My grandmother, who preferred to speed here whole life until she died at 96, always tried to tell me (who works hard to stay below the speed limit) the same thing. Your parameters are showing.

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      • BradWagon May 19, 2017 at 10:33 am

        Impressive she was out crushing the bike paths that late in life!

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    • rainydays May 19, 2017 at 10:26 am

      The speed limit isn’t open to personal interpretation. It seems obvious that laps by packs of racers through there are inappropriate. Maybe not though.

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      • BradWagon May 19, 2017 at 10:31 am

        Agree that could be seen as inappropriate by visitors, however… would be very interested to know how much this actually happens. Would be very surprised if it was anything more than the occasional solo rider or group of 2-3.

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        • Justin M May 20, 2017 at 11:07 am

          I saw a guy in a kit turn around at the top of the hill to go back down last night. Assumed he was doing laps. He went by me so fast on that steep hill, the long stretch up towards the dirt barn or whatever that was. I felt disrespected. Anyone who can go up a hill that fast should have offered to tow me up behind him.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty May 20, 2017 at 11:48 am

            I’m glad to see that you totally get it.

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    • BradWagon May 19, 2017 at 10:28 am

      And before I get flamed: I get the concerns with the speed but approach it from a safety / arbitrary rule basis. Velocity cannot inherently have disrespectful intent, disobeying their wishes? Sure disrespectful, but general culture needs to shift it’s automatic view that someone riding fast is by default being a jerk.

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      • mran1984 May 23, 2017 at 1:24 am

        It’s simply poor taste. Those wonderful folks have let “us” ride there forever. If someone’s attempt at training has any impact on this access please make a grand donation, of your choice, when you win big. Turn the phone off and ride.

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    • Mike Reams May 19, 2017 at 11:38 am

      It is disrespectful because it is private property and, the owners have set the rules of your use. To use the property but, ignore the rules you don’t like is disrespectful.

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      • BradWagon May 19, 2017 at 12:00 pm

        Agree, that is the basis for the disrespect… the idea that removed from other context riding fast through a cemetery or around other people is inherently disrespectful is what I don’t agree with. Not quite the same as a car speeding through a neighborhood due to level of risk / danger.

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        • rachel b May 19, 2017 at 2:31 pm

          In a cemetery, people are mourning. Generally moving slowly, generally contemplative, maybe upset, feeling private, entitled to their privacy and to a certain peaceful communion that cemeteries provide. I can think of few things more tone deaf and disrespectful than barreling past a bunch of mourners, or even one, on your bike, in a cemetery, where you are a guest.

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          • BradWagon May 19, 2017 at 9:36 pm

            Which is why I wouldn’t do that… safely riding by in near complete silence doesn’t sound like what your describing though.

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            • rachel b May 20, 2017 at 4:41 pm

              ?? Sorry, BradWagon–confused by what you’re saying. I think complete silence and slow riding IS what’s called for when encountering people burying loved ones and/or visiting graves in the cemetery. I might even get off my bike and walk.

              I’ve remarkably never run into mourners up there, in my many years of biking the cemetery. I have witnessed cyclists cutting across the grass and rolling over graves and flat headstones, though. Cringe.

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              • BradWagon May 22, 2017 at 10:04 am

                I am taking issue with the idea that riding fast is disrespectful. If I stay to the path, and being quite, give pedestrians space and avoid a burial how am I being disrespectful just by going fast?

                I agree that disobeying the rules and all of the obvious other issues are disrespectful but just don’t like the idea that JUST because someone is riding fast they are being disrespectful.

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              • 9watts May 22, 2017 at 10:21 am

                Well for starters it is their property so if they set a speed limit and you’re disobeying that we have a (respect) problem right there. But quite apart from any local statute, greater speed is generally recognized to be
                – more dangerous when others are (potentially) around,
                – less considerate given the vagaries of life,
                – out of step with what burials, mourning, a cemetery is all about – can you imagine a funeral procession speeding through town?

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              • rachel b May 22, 2017 at 10:23 am

                Well, context is everything. As in every situation. It’s not “wrong” to grin at people and wish them a great day, either, but it is wrong at a funeral. It’s not “wrong” to whistle a merry tune, but it is wrong at a funeral. It’s always wrong to speed by pedestrians on a shared route. And flying by a bunch of quiet mourners laying a loved one to rest, or mourning that loved one, in a graveyard–a place specifically made for mourning? Yes, unambiguously wrong, wrong, wrong, due to the context. Basic good manners.

                You might’ve noticed even cars (and hearses) process slowly to the grave. Context is everything. And it’s not gonna hurt any of us–esp. when the loss of this privilege is at stake–to slow down for a couple of minutes and be respectful of River View and the mourners there. I’d hope we’d all recognize the greater impetus, though. Plain old decency and respect.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty May 22, 2017 at 10:49 am

                >>> I am taking issue with the idea that riding fast is disrespectful. <<<

                There is nothing to take issue with — it's just one of those things that is.

                I'm always surprised when I find people don't understand basic customs and etiquette.

                Next time you attend a funeral, wear black.

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              • rachel b May 22, 2017 at 11:08 am

                Based on anecdotal evidence experienced firsthand, I honestly don’t think a lot of American parents are teaching their kids etiquette and basic manners anymore. It’s one of the things that worries and distresses me more than anything, because those small courtesies are the glue that make a society work, make it tolerable. A big factor in the problem drivers we’re experiencing here, now, I think, this lack. Just no concept of “other people,” no concern for the comfort and interests of any but oneself. Complete and total, unapologetic self-absorption.

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              • q May 22, 2017 at 11:35 am

                Every answer is perfect, but 9watts went straight to the heart of it. The cemetery voluntarily allowed you into their private property on the condition you don’t go above their speed limit. If you go above that limit, you are being disrespectful. Every reason you give why going faster is OK is irrelevant.

                If someone was admiring your bike, and asked if they could take a photo, and you said, “Sure, but don’t touch my bike”, then they touched it, that’s disrespectful. If they gave you reasons why touching it didn’t damage it, etc. those would be irrelevant.

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              • BradWagon May 22, 2017 at 3:07 pm

                Have yet to hear anyone respond to my actual point as to why riding a bike fast is automatically disrespectful (outside of special context – like a cemetery).

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              • 9watts May 22, 2017 at 3:09 pm


                We are here talking about a very concrete situation – in a cemetery.

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              • rachel b May 22, 2017 at 4:34 pm

                How do you divorce the action from the context? Where, in real life, does a contextless experience like that ever occur, involving a bike and riding fast? I mean, what’s the point of arguing it if you ignore the context (which cannot be ignored)?

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              • q May 22, 2017 at 7:43 pm

                No, riding a bike fast is not automatically disrespectful in the absence of context. But then, that might be true of every action. Plus, I don’t think anyone’s ever said it was.

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              • 9watts May 22, 2017 at 7:57 pm

                like in a sanctioned bike race?

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              • q May 22, 2017 at 8:06 pm

                Exactly. In that, the disrespectful thing would be to intentionally go slow. But even then, perhaps not always.

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    • John Schmidt May 19, 2017 at 1:03 pm

      Speeding, especially in a car, say doing 30 in a 25, (or cycling in a pedestrian area), is not so much a safety issue (although it is at 1.7X the energy!), but a Quality of Life issue. It’s harder to cross the street, a lot more road noise (~1.7X more!) , harder to pull out, the necessary heightened awareness (and the stress and tension that requires ) required by those in the neighborhood, if they need to constantly watch out for speeding objects, etc, etc.

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      • q May 19, 2017 at 2:16 pm

        I’d agree completely if you’d said, “…not ONLY a safety issue…”

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    • phillip porter May 23, 2017 at 8:17 am

      Some people hammer down through the blind curves above the cemetery office at maximum speed, and then verbally abuse hippies like me who bike slowly savoring the experience, or those who might have to weave a little to make it up the slope. Such as children or people who aren’t in shape.

      I think if you’re riding so fast you can’t get around a blind curve and avoid a person who is squarely in your path you’re going too fast. This isn’t a race track or a highway for bikes, it’s a meandering private drive through a cemetery. Just slow the f#### down.

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      • Dan A May 23, 2017 at 8:51 am

        verbally abuse

        Care to share a specific story? I think that’s what we’re missing here. All we have a vague accusations directed at the ‘cycling community’.

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  • Scott H May 19, 2017 at 10:20 am

    I ride this nearly every weekday and I have yet to see one of these mythical rude/disrespectful bicycle riders (perhaps the hill repeats are happening on weekends?). What I do see every single day is a slew of cars speeding through the cemetery, using it to try and cut the traffic that takes Taylors Ferry to the Sellwood bridge.

    It’s a complete load of BS that bicycles continue to be targeted when there are hundreds of cars speeding through the 10 foot-wide winding road every day. And when they partially close the gate at the bottom it only gets worse as the parade of cars has to turn around and go back. Yesterday (5-18) I saw a minivan stuck in the mud near one of the turns. Riverview obviously has a traffic problem, but it’s not bikes.

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    • rick May 19, 2017 at 10:22 am

      Very true ! So many people were driving through the cemetery to “save time” during and after the Sellwood Bride work. I saw it firsthand.

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    • dan May 19, 2017 at 11:17 am

      And yet, the complaints are about bicycles, not cars. If it is training that’s causing the problem, I bet you’re right that weekends are the pain point. I don’t think they’re manufacturing these complaints, y’know?

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      • rachel b May 19, 2017 at 2:33 pm

        Hear, hear, dan. I’ve seen ahole cyclists plenty of times when I’ve ridden up there. Losing this privilege would be huge. 🙁

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      • Scott H May 19, 2017 at 2:50 pm

        Kind of how the complaints in Forest Park are about bicycles, not people who can’t be bothered to leash their dogs or pick up their crap.

        I hear what you’re saying, obviously there was an interaction, and it seems to have been mainly last Memorial weekend as Noble mentioned. So something does need to be done about the busiest weekends, and the rush hour commuter traffic probably isn’t witnessed by people who only visit the cemetery on the weekend. But this talk about a blanket ban on just bicycles is ridiculous when they haven’t really done anything to address the car problem.

        When they did put a chain across the lower road to the funeral home for a few days, trucks would regularly make it down to the chain, realize they couldn’t get through, and obviously irritated, execute loud turnaround maneuvers while peeling out, rolling coal, etc. How come there is no mention of complaints about those incidents? Seems heavily biased, to put it lightly.

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        • Eric Leifsdad May 19, 2017 at 3:32 pm

          They are assuming that nobody would visit a grave on a bike? Electric bike perhaps. Why can’t normal people just choose to not burn oil, even on a day to remember fallen soldiers? Sad.

          Is it disrespectful to subvert the status quo? I’m curious about the exact nature of these complaints. I can certainly imagine someone get startled and reacting to a 20mph bike in a way they wouldn’t react to a 20mph car. But I can also imagine it’s all about the freds.

          It sounds like the number of jerks in cars is at least as many as jerks on bikes. Maybe they’re the same people? The few times I’ve been through here, at least half of the car traffic was moving close to 20mph.

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        • q May 19, 2017 at 4:07 pm

          But lots of people DO complain about dogs in Forest Park.

          And this IS private property. If the cemetery wants to crack down on bikes and ignore cars cutting through, that’s its prerogative. But who says they’re doing nothing to address cars cutting through, anyway?

          And the idea of a blanket ban didn’t instantly jump out from nowhere. It’s a last resort after years of trying less drastic measures.

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          • rachel b May 20, 2017 at 4:43 pm

            Thanks, q. Can we not be upset about more than one thing and deplore them? No to cars! No to dogs! And no to reckless, self-absorbed cyclists!

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    • Phil Richman May 19, 2017 at 2:41 pm

      My thoughts exactly!

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    • SCOTT DIAMOND May 22, 2017 at 12:07 pm

      When do you see these cars? I’ve been commuting up through the cemetery for years in the morning (evenings I join cars on Taylor’s for fast ride down) and I can’t remember the last time I saw a car when I was heading up. Is this just an afternoon/evening phenomena? Definitely not early morning.

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      • phillip porter May 23, 2017 at 8:21 am

        I cycle through that place many times a week and have been doing so since about 1992. Aside from a tiny minority of bike jocks going a little too fast down the hill I’ve never seen anything worth complaining about. That place is usually relatively empty.

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        • Dan A May 23, 2017 at 8:54 am

          Wait, didn’t you just write up a complaint 4 minutes ago?

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  • rick May 19, 2017 at 10:21 am

    Please show more respect when riding a bike !

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    • rick May 19, 2017 at 10:30 am

      but the police and others need to keep track of the people driving through there and riding motorcycles just to save time. Washington County is adding sidewalks on the western edge of Taylor’s Ferry soon. How about PBOT doing some respect for the eastern end of Taylor’s Ferry?

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    • Spiffy May 19, 2017 at 11:40 am

      respect is open to interpretation…

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  • oliver May 19, 2017 at 10:28 am

    “1. Put increased pressure on the City of Portland to create alternate bike routes in this area. ”

    If only there were a municipally owned parcel of land in the vicinity where bicycle access couldn’t be rescinded…

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    • Josh May 19, 2017 at 3:48 pm

      I was thinking this as well. How can it be so difficult to create a multi-use path through the RVNA??

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty May 19, 2017 at 4:00 pm

        Because it’s supposed to be a natural area?

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        • SE Rider May 21, 2017 at 2:16 pm

          There are plenty of paved paths in Portland Natural Areas.

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  • Burk May 19, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Thanks for bringing this to peoples attention Jonathan. I was worried this would become a bigger issue after the Sellwood bridge was done. As someone who rides this probably once a week, losing this route would be a huge bummer. It’s a beautiful setting to ride through and as someone with family buried up there it always makes me happy to see the place in good shape
    and being used by the cycling community. Maybe we could reach out to the local clubs and tell em’ to chill a bit going through the cemetery? I’ll reach out to mine.

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    • B. Carfree May 19, 2017 at 4:39 pm

      Or maybe reach out to the local clubs who are apparently using this route to give back with some volunteer time and/or donations. If the staff get to know some of the folks riding through, they cease to be some annoying “other”.

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  • Tom May 19, 2017 at 10:46 am

    The issue is mainly fast riding downhill through the cemetery, so using it only as an uphill route is one solution. It’s nicer going downhill on Palatine Hill Rd. and Military Rd. which are less curvy. Here’s a lunchtime loop I sometimes ride from downtown using that route:


    The short stretch on Hwy. 43 isn’t too bad, as it’s downhill with a continuous shoulder. And the new fly-under ramp on the Sellwood Bridge makes it easy to get back on the Willamette Greenway Trail.

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    • abomb May 19, 2017 at 11:04 am

      I like the uphill only idea, if that will save us from being banned. Even going down Taylors Ferry isn’t bad.

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    • Justin M May 20, 2017 at 11:15 am

      I never thought of this route before. How is the car traffic along this route? I take the cemetery and cross the Sellwood bridge to go to work. Always looking to add in another mile or two.

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    • phillip porter May 23, 2017 at 8:23 am

      I’ll tell you right now if that kind of rule is passed I’ll ignore it.

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      • q May 23, 2017 at 10:20 am

        Which rule?

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty May 23, 2017 at 10:35 am

        That’s the spirit! I’ve always said this “guests should respect the rules of their host” stuff is a load of crap. Yeehaw!!!

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  • mw May 19, 2017 at 11:06 am

    A bike path up Taylor’s Ferry is not a good alternative. It’s too steep, cars too fast, and frankly will never happen. I have two alternative ideas. First, the City should just give River View a wad of cash as a way to come to an agreement to permanently allow unfettered access to the cemetery so they can’t hold this over our heads whenever they feel like it. Second, River View should periodically let the police camp out at their trouble spots and hand out tickets to cyclists (and cars) for speed (and other) violations. This will cut down on the trouble makers more than the feckless signs.

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    • dan May 19, 2017 at 11:18 am

      “hold this over our heads”? It’s private property and they want people to be respectful to those who have family and friends buried there…don’t think it’s appropriate to try to minimize that.

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      • mw May 19, 2017 at 11:25 am

        To the 98% of cyclists that are respectful, yes this is being held over our heads.

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      • oliver May 19, 2017 at 3:48 pm

        I think you may have hit the nail on the head with your private property comment.
        For private property advocates, any presence of people who have not paid to be on the property is a direct affront to their private property rights.

        At university, I often studied in the cemetery by my apartment, and later after I started work, I would eat lunch in a different one, as it was the closest green space.

        A surprising number of people at my work were annoyed by this, and considered it disrepectful as I was there for “recreation” and not to pay my respects to the dead.

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    • PoPo May 19, 2017 at 7:49 pm

      Police cannot enforce speed limits and other violations on private property.

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    • rachel b May 20, 2017 at 4:54 pm

      The Taylor’s Ferry option? UGH. UGH. UGH.

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      • K Taylor May 20, 2017 at 6:38 pm

        Yeah – I would venture to say that’s simply not a solution, between the poor grading and the toxic levels of auto exhaust, never mind aggro or distracted traffic. Even with a bike lane – even with a protected bike lane – you’d need to be fearless and in really great shape to take that route.

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        • Eric Leifsdad May 20, 2017 at 11:08 pm

          If you’re training for cyclocross, you can carry your bike up Custer Way from Taylors Ferry and laView, then follow the trail up the west edge of i5 to more stairs under Terwilliger.

          We could reduce the emissions by dropping the speed limit to 20.

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          • rachel b May 22, 2017 at 12:46 am

            But…they’re going uphill. Would reducing the speed limit really make a difference?

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            • Eric Leifsdad May 22, 2017 at 7:23 pm

              Possibly not, depending on wind resistance/efficiency vs how much of the emissions comes from accelerating. But, perhaps fewer cars would pass you in the time you’re riding along? It would definitely reduce the noise and it would be safer.

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              • Eric Leifsdad May 22, 2017 at 11:04 pm

                Power for climbing and rolling resistance is linear with speed, but drag is exponential: speed to the 3rd. But it might not matter as much as whether someone decides to ride a bike instead. Then there’s the fact that everyone is racing to sit at a red light, losing progress and momentum.

                Besides the acceleration losses, pushing more air takes more power, and the exponential really starts to catch up around 20mph (when you start to hear the wind noise when you’re near traffic.) At the same engine speed in increasing gears, you should see a drop in efficiency / rise in emissions. The drag coefficient and frontal area will make a big difference, e.g. a passat or prius vs a truck.


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              • rachel b May 23, 2017 at 5:51 pm

                Er… all I know is riding behind a bunch of exhaust spewing cars and trucks going up a steep hill in two lanes is one of the worst things ever. Just anecdotally speaking. 🙂 I avoid such a scenario like the plague.

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              • q May 23, 2017 at 6:06 pm

                Taylors Ferry is a real race track going uphill. It starts at Macadam, where cars heading southbound take the slight right turn in front of Zupans. As soon as they leave Macadam, they hit the accelerator so they’re going about 40 by the time they’re at the small landscaped island. Then they feel that they’re in a car-only environment, and it has two lanes so they can race around any slower cars heading uphill.

                That intersection is also the only one I know where pedestrians only get a crosswalk for half their trip across. When you step off the curb heading west, you have a crosswalk on Macadam, then you cross with no crosswalk (but cars have a stop sign) between the large and small islands. Then you have to take your life into your hands crossing from out behind tall shrubs into the lane with cars accelerating as hard as they can right where you’re stepping out into that lane going up Taylors Ferry.

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  • mw May 19, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Also, can we just keep this as a private property issue rather than appealing to a cemetery as a place deserving veneration and respect? Let’s be honest, in the modern era, and especially in densely populated cities, cemeteries are such an antiquated concept. What cemetery in the city is not full now? Even for ones with space, can the average citizen even afford a plot there now? How many plots actually get visited?In the not too distant future, this will trend to zero. Every time I ride through River View, I think it’s such a beautiful place, but what a waste of space. Would be better as an arboretum.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty May 19, 2017 at 11:34 am

      Or maybe we could build apartments there!

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      • q May 19, 2017 at 11:49 am

        People would be dying to get into those!

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty May 19, 2017 at 12:15 pm

          Game… set… match.

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        • rachel b May 20, 2017 at 4:44 pm

          🙂 🙂

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    • Austin May 19, 2017 at 12:05 pm

      I don’t get it… would an arboretum also not be worthy of veneration and respect? Arboretum or cemetery, some things just honestly do deserve to be respected. Quiet and a slow pace in one small place of the city should be allowable.

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      • mw May 19, 2017 at 1:21 pm

        When passing through Hoyt, not trampling on the plants is giving it all the veneration and respect it needs and deserved.

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        • pruss May 19, 2017 at 11:07 pm

          and this is why we can’t have nice things

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        • K Taylor May 20, 2017 at 6:57 pm

          Hoyt Arboretum, like many places in Portland, has fallen prey to the dogs dogs dogs problem, which constitutes a serious lack of respect in a wildlife preserve. Many, many dogs – few with any obedience training worth speaking of – no one following the posted on-leash requirement – everyone considering themselves the exception to the rule. I’ve called these people out before and they are usually defiant – their dog is harmless! But you don’t see nearly the variety of birds you used to 15 years ago up there.

          There are just too many of us here now for everyone to be the exception to the rule, even just once or twice — even if we’re usually perfectly good. All those ‘just onces’ add up to steady degradation of the places we love. I don’t think we’re only talking about a few bad actors in River View Cemetery – there are also probably a lot of people who are usually good but make an exception for themselves (as we all do) when tired or grumpy or in a hurry. This is why I have a hard time imagining there will be any way to solve the behavior problem while still allowing such huge numbers of people through the cemetery every day.

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          • 9watts May 20, 2017 at 7:17 pm

            “There are just too many of us here now ”

            Ain’t that the truth. And with such far reaching implications.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty May 20, 2017 at 11:01 pm

            But… dogs are our children!

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            • K Taylor May 20, 2017 at 11:24 pm

              Children shouldn’t be allowed off leash either! 🙂

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            • Dan A May 22, 2017 at 8:22 am

              Our children that can sit behind the steering wheel.

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          • rachel b May 22, 2017 at 12:49 am

            Portland is a magnet for people who think they are the exception to the rule, a regular lodestone for self-absorbed aholes.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty May 22, 2017 at 10:26 am

              Luckily, I am an exception to that rule.

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              • rachel b May 22, 2017 at 2:24 pm

                Luckily, you are. 🙂

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      • oliver May 19, 2017 at 3:56 pm

        River View Natural Area…146 acres of River View Natural Area paid for with our tax dollars meets your criteria.

        Any place allowing the presence of an automobile is not that place.

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        • phillip porter May 23, 2017 at 8:26 am

          Would it be feasible to make a paved cycle lane through there though?

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    • dan May 19, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      Because a church, a school, a gas station, a grocery store, and a cemetery are all the same thing? I think we have to agree to disagree.

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    • peter May 19, 2017 at 1:27 pm

      This is the attitude that is going to result in loss of this privilege. Please just honor their request.

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    • Kyle Banerjee May 19, 2017 at 6:14 pm

      Also, can we just keep this as a private property issue rather than appealing to a cemetery as a place deserving veneration and respect? Let’s be honest, in the modern era, and especially in densely populated cities, cemeteries are such an antiquated concept…

      I presume you favor issuing tickets for dumping to those who leave leave ghost bikes in public spaces…

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  • GlowBoy May 19, 2017 at 11:22 am

    As both a Riverview plot owner and as a former West Hills commuter who would occasionally ride through there, I was glad to see the compromise come together a decade ago. Sorry to see it’s at risk of coming apart again, just as we finally get a good connection to the Sellwood Bridge (and a good Sellwood Bridge).

    There are no other safe routes through this area, so it would be a huge loss. Tom’s proposed compromise (allow uphill traffic only) would help soften the blow, but would still be painful.

    Agree that Taylors Ferry doesn’t need 3 car lanes its whole length. Good spot for protected or at least buffered bike lanes, but it will be important to make sure there’s a good connection from these lanes across Macadam and the dumb ramps at that intersection to the other side.

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  • Justin M May 19, 2017 at 11:34 am

    I’ve recently started riding this to and from work, five days a week. Beautiful ride. Would be very sad to see it closed.

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  • K Taylor May 19, 2017 at 11:41 am

    Thanks for reporting on this, Jonathan – so upsetting. Like others who’ve commented here, I have a long history of wonderful memories of riding through Riverside Cemetery. It’s where I learned not to be afraid of hills – Cemetery rides are almost wholly responsible for my losing 125 pounds about 15 years back. I haven’t been there in a while, so am a little shocked to hear that traffic has multiplied by a factor of 10 – – that really isn’t sustainable, even if nobody misbehaves.

    There are a lot of different ways people treat the Cemetery like a public park or through-way – as others mentioned, there are cut-through motorists the Riverview folks have been trying to figure out how to deter for years, but there are also the dog walkers. Nothing says disrespect like letting your dog pee or romp around on somebody’s grave.

    The mood and energy of a park full of recreators is not what most mourners want when they come to visit their dead – and many of the people buried here come from the wealthiest families in the city, who aren’t usually willing to accept unwanted change. I’ve always assumed that someday, we’d all be shut out – just depressing to hear that day may be at hand, especially as I’m just about to move to a place from which I was depending on using that route to get to work downtown. Will likely follow Palatine to Terwilliger instead and take Terwilliger into downtown – – not thrilled about that. Terwilliger isn’t as safe a ride as it used to be (and it was never all that safe – – but fewer cars and fewer people on smartphones made for lower risk).

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    • rachel b May 19, 2017 at 2:40 pm

      Hear, hear. 🙁

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  • Spiffy May 19, 2017 at 11:43 am

    travel by bike? You can’t visit your dead loved ones this weekend…

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  • Spiffy May 19, 2017 at 11:46 am

    close the route… let all those cyclists spill over onto Taylor’s Ferry… then the city will have to do something…

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  • RobC May 19, 2017 at 11:53 am

    Rather than change Taylor’s, build a quite and serine bike path winding through the River View Natural area. Safer, nicer, and probably not any more costly!

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    • I wear many hats May 19, 2017 at 12:16 pm

      You realize that those paths already exist, and bikes were banned, and that a paved path is counterproductive to natural area rehabilitation? The cemetery cut a new road this winter, why not use that instead?

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      • David May 19, 2017 at 2:01 pm

        Not sure what this writer is referring to. River View Cemetery has not created any new roads on its property in around 25 years.

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  • Dave May 19, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    Thank you Jonathan for your years of coverage of this issue, and thanks to Riverview for continuing to let bike commuters pass through this property – so much safer than any other option!

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  • q May 19, 2017 at 12:04 pm

    The design of the west end of the Sellwood Bridge is horrible. Any reasonable person driving across it would assume the main route is directly into the cemetery, not the tight, afterthought-like right turn to Portland. And just to keep drivers further unbalanced, they see either five or seven (can’t remember which) signals that they have to figure out which one applies to them as they’re figuring out which way to go.

    Or, if they’re not confused, the bridge design has made going through the cemetery much more simple and convenient than going right and then up Taylors Ferry.

    I know the main focus of the article is bike traffic, but hearing from people that it’s become a car commuter shortcut can only be whittling away at the patience of the cemetery board, and the poor bridge design contributes directly to that situation.

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    • abomb May 19, 2017 at 12:41 pm

      I agree with you that the westside signaling is very confusing and over complicated.
      The cemetery has been a car commuter shortcut for the 20 plus years that I’ve been riding through the cemetery. Its nothing new. Riverview has tried different things throughout the years to minimize it but it still persists.

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      • q May 19, 2017 at 12:50 pm

        Yes, it’s nothing new, which is why the new bridge designers should have taken this as an opportunity to correct that, by allowing access to the cemetery for legitimate visitors, but directing short-cutting drivers away.

        Instead, it looks like the goal was to make it easier for short-cutters, and to encourage everyone else driving across the bridge to also drive directly into the cemetery.

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  • Jon May 19, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Welcome to SW Portland where the bike infrastructure often lets you down or leaves you with a dangerous stretch in an otherwise nice route.
    Clearly speed and the number of riders is the issue. I agree that banning downhill riding might be the best solution. particularly if one of the 3 lanes of Boones Ferry was turned into a bike lane up and down.

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    • rick May 19, 2017 at 3:50 pm

      many potholes on Taylor’s Ferry Road

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  • Brian May 19, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    I will admit it, I used to do hill repeats at the Cemetery to train for racing. I was by myself and I took the route away from the office, and kept to myself. I never felt I was being disrespectful, and no one from the Cemetery told me not to use the property in this manner. I was just riding up and down a road that had very few cars on it, and I enjoyed the peacefulness of it. We used to ride our bikes all the time in cemeteries when we were kids, so I guess I never considered it disrespectful to use the space in this manner since it is open to bikes. If I had been told it was an issue I would have found another place to ride, and I’m willing to bet that others would do the same. Perhaps it should be signed as a “commute” or “through” route only, with an additional emphasis on the speed limit? The signs could be purchased for the Cemetery using funds from the cycling community. Maybe that will help to reduce further conflicts.

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    • SE Rider May 19, 2017 at 2:30 pm

      I’ve had the same experiences. I would ride up the hill maybe three times during a weeknight, and ride down at a controlled speed. I’ve had no negative interactions (and really no interactions at all).

      I would really like to see the city try to buy out some kind of cycling easement on that route. It’s just too perfect for connections to that area of town (shallow hill angle, low traffic, and now connected to the best biking bridge in the city).

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    • rachel b May 19, 2017 at 2:37 pm

      This is a good idea, Brian. A thoughtful gesture. They’ve been exceedingly patient and kind and deserve something in return. Even a small gesture is something.

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    • Edward May 23, 2017 at 9:44 am

      I would love to see some video of what the “disrespectful riding” looks like so we would know exactly what it is they don’t like. I ride up and down through the cemetery a couple of times a week on my bike and folks always seem respectful — but I’m never there long enough to see if there’s some guy doing endless hill repeats.

      I’ve also had some really wonderful conversations with other riders going up the hill. It’s an amazing place where strangers can feel comfortable talking about love, loss, and the nature of life and death.

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  • TOM May 19, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    Let’s face it. If access were negotiated today, it would not happen. Access will never be given back, especially as population and bike commuters continue to increase. I must admit, as an occasional user for 15 years, I’ve probably exceeded the speed limit, but again, I’ve never had a negative interaction with anyone. I’m in favor of uphill only, as a bike lane access from a taylors/macadam intersection would be a nightmare with the amount of cars traveling through there. It’s always the dumb asses that ruin it for everyone.

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    • Charley May 19, 2017 at 6:13 pm

      Uphill only would certainly help with the speed issue. Improving Taylor’s Ferry would help everything!

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  • rachel b May 19, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    THANK YOU, David Noble and Riverview Cemetery! Please don’t give up on us!!! Thanks, Jonathan, too.

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  • Holtz May 19, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    Also… we were blocked from Mt. Calvary Cemetery at Burnside today, because of an incident during a recent funeral. I am aghast at the lack of decency by a few jerks. The disrespect towards families is unacceptable. And now it’s led to punishment of many innocent people.

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    • rick May 19, 2017 at 7:48 pm

      The cemetery that had the landslide? The one with English Ivy and the giant landslide near the top of the hill ?

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  • Rob May 19, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    This has been going on for years… I’m just thankful that there’s a considerate person (David Noble) taking the time and effort to speak on cyclists’ behalf. For those who haven’t witnessed bad actors out there, they’re there and I’ve (unfortunately) come across them (mainly riding on the sections closed to bikes). I guess I’ll have to be a d*** next time and tell them it’s not cool….

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  • rick May 19, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    What if you walk a bicycle through the cemetery?

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    • rachel b May 20, 2017 at 4:48 pm

      I think a rule to get off and walk when you come across mourners would be completely reasonable!

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  • Hmmm May 19, 2017 at 4:38 pm

    Taylors Ferry Rd is not the only street. I love Fulton Park Blvd. This connects Miles Place with Terwilliger at Barbur — often more aligned with my needs than Taylors Ferry Rd is. I also like Palatine Hill Rd, which connects Macadam with Lewis & Clark. Both are usable uphill and down. I’d like Palatine Hill Rd more if Macadam had good bike lanes between there and the bridge. I hope the cemetery continues to be available, but I respect their point of view.

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  • Mark smith May 19, 2017 at 5:50 pm

    There are way too many taboos in America about cemeteries. The irony is….how many people in those plots were out there by cars?

    But yet….it’s the skerry bikes. Ugggggghhhhh.

    Ban the cars.

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  • drew May 19, 2017 at 5:57 pm

    I have ridden thru the cemetery for 11 years on my commute, and have seen the occasional antisocial motorist and bicycle rider. Thanks Mr Noble for keeping it open to bicycles!

    While the cemetary will never be closed to motorists, bicycles are an easy target. A widespread public perception is that bikes are toys or sporting equipment which have no place in a cemetery where a reflective, respectful tone is expected. I would guess that many of the shareholders have this view.

    I think most bikes taking the cemetery route are commuters who are trying to avoid being harassed or slaughtered by motorists on Taylors Ferry or Macadam. Those routes are strictly for the most fearless bicycle riders, and are the only alternatives.

    A groundskeeper at a Veterans cemetery in San Francisco told me I was not allowed to enter with my bike. Why?- “this is not a parade route”. Still trying to figure out the meaning of that answer. I told him that some veterans from WW1 were part of a bicycle infantry, but he just shook his head and told me to leave.

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. May 19, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Banning bicycles from a cemetery while still allowing cars seems rather odd, considering how many people are there because they were killed by operators of motor vehicles.

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    • q May 19, 2017 at 6:18 pm

      Of course they’re not going to ban cars, because almost everyone there to visit the cemetery comes by car. I’d guess hardly anyone visits by bike, because of the difficulties of getting there by bike from many directions, and circumstances (e.g. funerals). If many visitors came by bike, I doubt they’d ban bikes. As it is, they can solve their bike problems easily with a ban, without inconveniencing many visitors.
      I’m sure they’d ban cut-through autos if they could figure out an easy way how.

      I do agree with the irony. And also, more people COULD visit by bike if auto traffic on Macadam and Taylors Ferry didn’t make that so dangerous.

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    • pengo May 20, 2017 at 1:36 pm

      Looking forward to the Pedalpalooza event where we ride to the cemetery and own mourners with #logic

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      • rachel b May 20, 2017 at 4:51 pm

        Huh? I hope this isn’t meant to be as callous as I think it is.

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        • pengo May 20, 2017 at 6:32 pm

          It’s meant to mock the idea that actuallying people about auto deaths is somehow an acceptable response to Riverview’s request that cyclists using their property respect their wishes.

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          • q May 20, 2017 at 9:42 pm

            Good comment, now that I know what you meant.

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          • rachel b May 22, 2017 at 12:54 am

            Ahhh. And, doh! Sorry for misunderstanding you, pengo (the sardonic). I agree w/ q–well writ. 🙂

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            • pengo May 22, 2017 at 12:45 pm

              No worries, written sarcasm is dicey. Was hoping the hashtag would give it away

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              • rachel b May 22, 2017 at 2:29 pm

                So true, and well hashtagged. Now I know you, I’m ready with the gimlet eye. 🙂

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      • q May 20, 2017 at 6:02 pm

        Wonderful idea if the goal is to get all bikes banned there permanently. With the bonus of being able to harass people during one of the lowest points in their lives.

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    • jeff May 23, 2017 at 4:32 pm

      yeah? what’s the exact number there, guy? wow us.

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  • Bjorn May 19, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    While I don’t disagree that respect should be shown each and every one of us subsidize this private business that sits on prime real estate on which it doesn’t pay property taxes. My feeling is that if we are going to subsidize businesses in this way, and I put Weyerhaeuser right in with them then they should be required by law to provide access through their land.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty May 19, 2017 at 6:27 pm

      How do we subsidize them?

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    • rachel b May 19, 2017 at 8:20 pm

      I’m happy to have the green space.

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      • q May 19, 2017 at 8:57 pm

        I’ve seen deer there several times. That’s worth something in itself.

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        • K Taylor May 19, 2017 at 9:17 pm

          I once saw an adorable chipmunk sitting on a headstone while I was toiling slowly up the first hill, and just as I drew up parallel to it, an eagle swooped down and grabbed the chipmunk. That was worth it for sure! Though not for the chipmunk, I guess.

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          • Hotrodder May 20, 2017 at 9:32 am

            One of my favorite lyrics from the Cowboy Junkies:

            (From ‘Good Friday’)

            “What will I tell you
            When you ask me why I’m crying?
            Will I point above
            At the Red Tail gracefully soaring
            Or down to below where its prey
            Is quietly trembling?”

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          • rachel b May 20, 2017 at 4:53 pm

            Oh, fleeting (chipmunk) life! The cemetery was the perfect place for that particular lesson. 🙂

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            • q May 20, 2017 at 5:55 pm

              Spend your time hanging out on tombstones, and you may get gravely injured.

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              • K Taylor May 20, 2017 at 7:01 pm

                Heh. Heh!

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              • rachel b May 22, 2017 at 12:55 am

                Groooooan, q! 😉

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            • K Taylor May 20, 2017 at 7:01 pm


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        • Justin M May 20, 2017 at 11:40 am

          Do the deer poop on the graves? That seems disrespectful. They should ban the deer.

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          • rachel b May 22, 2017 at 12:56 am


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  • q May 19, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    The cemetery does pay some property taxes. And they do voluntarily allow access, and aren’t planning to stop that, other than for biking through (and the total ban isn’t a decision that’s been made). A cemetery in the city isn’t the same as Weyerhauser land. There’s some major public benefit in having privately held green space in the city.

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    • rachel b May 19, 2017 at 8:23 pm

      Yes, q. And green space that has some rules. The any and every public space gets swarmed anymore, I treasure places like River View Cemetery. I don’t want cemeteries to go the way of libraries. Stop accommodating (and fostering) the awfulness of teeming humanity, already, dammit! I can’t abide Portland anymore. We need some sacred (and I mean that in the secular sense 😉 ) spaces.

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      • rachel b May 19, 2017 at 8:24 pm

        Oops: The way any and every…. (doh!)

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      • K Taylor May 19, 2017 at 9:19 pm

        Amen to that! Secularly!

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  • TAJ May 19, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    I ride this frequently and have thought during several rides that I should send a thank you letter to the owners for allowing me access. I need to stop thinking about it and actually do it because I truly appreciate the access. I usually ride up and through to get to Terwilliger, but sometimes do repeats on my own. In that case, I do a very controlled descent and don’t care what my Strava pr is because, well, it isn’t a great descent and it’s a cemetery after all.

    I look out for ceremonies in progress and in that case go either very slowly or go out of my way to go well around. I have family buried in a different cemetery and very much understand the perspective from the person visiting the burial place of a loved one.

    FWIW, I’ve thought that if I collapse while riding, being buried in the cemetery through which I’ve passed most might not be a bad idea. : )

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    • SCOTT DIAMOND May 22, 2017 at 3:04 pm

      I sent a letter and a tax deductible donation. If more of us do that it will have an impact.

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    • Edward May 23, 2017 at 9:48 am

      And it’s probably time for some of us to buy a plot.

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  • Wade May 19, 2017 at 10:24 pm

    My grandma in law (who I was very close to) is buried at Riverview. Does that mean my family is a member-owner? So, if they ban bicycles, can I not ride my bike to bring her flowers? I sometimes (a dozen times a year or so) take the long way home and ride my bike up the hill through Riverview. I think of her every time I ride past her resting place. The only time I ever drove a car through Riverview was at her funeral. This seems like the board is making a mountain out of a mole hill. And there are plenty of mole hills at Riverview.

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  • totes May 20, 2017 at 1:08 pm


    i cannot believe that motorized vehicles are currently and will most likely be forever allowed to race through this cemetery unfettered without any censure, (per Waze?) and cyclists are getting the stick like this. closing this route down, due to their “bad behavior”.


    all the signage with rules disciplining us cyclists, but cars can go about their shortcut business as if it is normal.

    why do we even try anymore folks???
    i give up

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    • q May 22, 2017 at 9:39 am

      As others have said, the cemetery apparently HAS been trying to reduce cut-through auto traffic, so your “unfettered without censure” comment isn’t accurate.

      They also have the problem of how to keep out cut-through autos without blocking legitimate visitor autos.

      What would you suggest they do to reduce auto cut-throughs? What would you suggest they do to reduce problems from bikes that they haven’t already tried?

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty May 22, 2017 at 10:38 am

        Block the road in the middle, so you have to enter through the “side-appropriate” entrance to get to your destination. Alternatively if the roads are laid out in such a way that it’s possible, they could make the through route long and windy by blocking the most direct routes.

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  • q May 20, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    Scott H
    I ride this nearly every weekday and I have yet to see one of these mythical rude/disrespectful bicycle riders (perhaps the hill repeats are happening on weekends?). What I do see every single day is a slew of cars speeding through the cemetery, using it to try and cut the traffic that takes Taylors Ferry to the Sellwood bridge.
    It’s a complete load of BS that bicycles continue to be targeted when there are hundreds of cars speeding through the 10 foot-wide winding road every day. And when they partially close the gate at the bottom it only gets worse as the parade of cars has to turn around and go back. Yesterday (5-18) I saw a minivan stuck in the mud near one of the turns. Riverview obviously has a traffic problem, but it’s not bikes.
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    Did it occur to you that the cemetery probably IS very unhappy and frustrated with drivers using its roads as a shortcut? And that the reason the gate is partially closed is to discourage that?

    It also wouldn’t surprise me if the cemetery already discourages or even prohibits driving through it by short-cutters, but it continues because the cemetery doesn’t know how to stop it without also stopping legitimate vehicle traffic.

    The cemetery obviously does have a problem with bikes, otherwise it wouldn’t be bothering to restrict them.

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  • MP May 22, 2017 at 6:18 am

    Could the owners of the cemetery contact Strava and have all segments removed from their private property? That might help with discouraging training.

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    • jeff May 23, 2017 at 4:29 pm

      Its not ‘training’. Its mostly Lewis and Clark students being a-holes.

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  • John Liu
    John Liu May 22, 2017 at 11:32 am

    The cemetery has the right to control access through their private property. It would be unfortunate if it were closed to cyclists but that is their right.

    The city needs to create a safe usable bike route to replace the cemetery route.

    What would be needed to make Taylors Ferry Rd an acceptable route? I’ve ridden down it, not up. I don’t recall anything extremely prohibitive about biking there. Except the grade, but there’s not much that can be done about that.

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    • q May 22, 2017 at 11:45 am

      There’s almost no shoulder along much of it (going up and down), and the lanes don’t seem very wide now, so widening it would be tough. Curves make visibility difficult. People go very fast both ways.

      I’ve run it between the cemetery entrance and Macadam, and it’s scary due to all those reasons. A pedestrian was killed near top a year or two ago, trying to get to or from a bus stop, as I recall.

      There’s a route through the neighborhood just north of Macadam, but it’s circuitous, and I think you still end up on Taylors Ferry for the bottom few hundred yards, unless perhaps you go way north.

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      • rachel b May 22, 2017 at 2:33 pm

        It’s also a LOT of exhaust–esp. as drivers are going up a steep hill. Cough, choke, cough. I so so so so so hope River View gives us another chance… We’re moving and were counting on the generous availability of the River View route.

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  • q May 22, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Hello, Kitty
    >>> I am taking issue with the idea that riding fast is disrespectful. <<<
    Next time you attend a funeral, wear black.
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    Depending on the circumstances, what someone wears to their next funeral may be out of their control.

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  • q May 22, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    People need to have some empathy for the cemetery management and users.

    I’d guess many people at funerals are old. For some, just going to the cemetery is an effort. Many old people can’t hear or see well, and if anything is heading towards them fast, they get surprised, and they know they can’t get out of the way.

    The fast biker can see them ahead walking to or from a car, or across the road, and knows he or she can easily maneuver around them. But the mourners don’t know that.

    The “penalty” for falling (not even getting hit, but just falling from surprise) can easily be a broken hip or wrist, which will never heal, and will hasten your own death.

    Or, if you’re the adult child of one of those old people, you’re trying to keep them safe from injury, and from being further upset. Then add to all this the fact that the mourners maybe have barely slept for days, have just had a family member die an excruciating death, and may have been caring for a dying person for the lat five or ten years with no break. They don’t have any reserves. So even if they’re off the road, just the distraction of bikes speeding by can be jarring and upsetting.

    Then imagine the cemetery management knowing all this, and likely having had complaints from mourners about bikes before. If a mourner gets hit by a bike, the cemetery will get sued. If it’s just a matter of bikes disrupting a service (and there are no “do-overs” with funerals) or visit, the cemetery still has a duty to protect the interests of its visitors and users. The cemetery also knows if something bad happens due to a bike, there will be plenty of its members saying, “We’ve been trying to tell you that for years”.

    Then add on top of this that the only reason cyclists who aren’t visiting a grave are even allowed to be there is because the cemetery is voluntarily allowing it, and it all makes it pretty lame to try to justify breaking the rules, or to be thinking badly of the cemetery for setting those simple rules.

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    • rachel b May 22, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      Hear, hear. The expression “Looking a gift horse in the mouth” comes to mind.

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    • John Liu
      John Liu May 22, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      I wonder if there is a compromise for cyclists to only be permitted to ride uphill through the cemetery. Going uphill, only the very strongest riders will be doing more than 10 mph or so.

      Going downhill, Taylors Ferry Rd still seems a reasonable route to me. When I’ve ridden Taylors Ferry downhill, I didn’t have any problem keeping up with cars.

      A route through the nature area would be ideal. But sounds from prior discussion like that would be a difficult thing to get?

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      • rachel b May 22, 2017 at 4:39 pm

        🙁 I want to go both ways! I’m so thankful to get to go both ways! It’s an unbelievable bonus to get to avoid traffic.

        What if (courteous, law abiding) riders who wanted passage through the cemetery had to register with River View? Maybe put a sticker on your bike? If there was a nominal fee, it could help with enforcement…

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        • q May 22, 2017 at 8:03 pm

          Me, too, because eventually there’ll be a day when I go into the cemetery and the “uphill or downhill” decision won’t be mine to make.

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          • rachel b May 23, 2017 at 12:05 am

            The worms play pinochle on your snout…

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  • axoplasm May 22, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    This has been on my commute (both directions) for a decade. I have Opinions.

    In 10+ years I can count on my fingers the number of times I’ve seen mourners at graveside in River View at commute times. It’s rare enough that it’s memorable anyway. Conversely, I see cars cutting through almost every day. Moreso now that the bridge has a straight line into the cemetery. Cars + bikes + stressed out rush hour commuters + twisty blind curves = huge potential liability. If I were on the cemetery board that would worry me more than disrespectful behaviors.

    The City has been very neglectful in providing alternatives. Especially now that the Sellwood Bridge is finished. This makes the closure of the adjacent Natural Area even more shameful.

    The cemetery is one of only two routes along Taylor’s ferry where I take my kids up and down Palatine/Hummingbird hills. If it goes away that leaves only LaView or Fulton (north of Taylor’s Ferry). I wouldn’t take my kids up/down Military Rd or Taylor’s Ferry unless there was a separated path, and maybe not even then. They are pretty steep.

    This is private property so I they can do what they want. I very very VERY much appreciate the public service the cemetery provides, in covering for lousy bike planning by city and state.

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    • Eric Leifsdad May 22, 2017 at 4:43 pm

      Very neglectful indeed. Why is there still not a bike lane for that one block of Taylors Ferry between Virginia and LaView?

      And was it my complaint about the pole blocking the middle of the sidewalk (abandoned utility pole holding nothing but a deer crossing sign) that got it finally fixed, or were there several of us? That was a real hassle with a longtail bike.

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      • Phil Richman May 23, 2017 at 10:40 am

        Eric, Funny you should mention LaView and the pole. Last night I rode home from the BikeLoud meeting up LaView on a Big Dummy. Normally I’d take the Gibbs St. Elevator to get home, but it is broken (as is so often the case). I felt elated when I saw that pole was gone! Thank you!

        On a side note, LaView should be designated a neighborhood greenway as it is arguably the safest and most scenic way to get up to the top of Corbett & Fulton Park.

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  • Dan A May 23, 2017 at 7:10 am

    This morning I saw three joggers in Sunset Hills Memorial Park. They were clearly disrespecting the sanctity of the place by choosing to train there.

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  • phillip porter May 23, 2017 at 8:07 am

    As with others on this comment thread I’ve been cycling through this cemetery regularly since the 1990s.

    People, Taylor’s Ferry is sketchy and dangerous. A bike lane won’t make it any safer. It’s high volume traffic that moves fast. It’s unpleasant and steep. Local motorists complain about long waits in traffic as it is, so you’d best believe no one is going to be down with one less lane there.

    And, importantly, if RiverView is closed to cyclists and people are forced to use Taylor’s Ferry, there will be accidents and someone will get hurt or killed. That’s what happens when people cycle on roads like Taylor’s Ferry.

    I don’t have a problem with closing RV now and then, but closing it altogether would really suck because there are no alternatives – nothing as safe and beautiful, anyway.

    As I’m constantly telling folks, just slow the f### down.

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    • Dan A May 23, 2017 at 9:01 am

      I’ve got a bike computer to help me out. It only shows 5 speeds:

      Woo Hoo (46mph)

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty May 23, 2017 at 10:32 am

        Huh… I have the same computer, but it mostly just shows Woo Hoo when I’m going up a hill and Ludicrous when I’m headed down. I didn’t know about those other readouts.

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  • Andy K May 23, 2017 at 11:52 am

    Why are people suggesting other routes? This route is like 100x better than Taylors Ferry.

    It’s a shame that this route through the cemetery may come to an end, it really is one of the most peaceful, low-stress climbs in the area.

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    • rachel b May 23, 2017 at 5:54 pm

      Yes!!! I don’t even want to put the idea in anyone’s head that Taylor’s Ferry is an acceptable alternative. I also hate the “open it to only-going-uphill” idea, or the converse. Aghh! Let’s just figure out a way to help relieve River View of these problem cyclists and show proper appreciation for the privilege of riding there!

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  • jeff May 23, 2017 at 4:30 pm

    Justin M
    Do the deer poop on the graves? That seems disrespectful. They should ban the deer.
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    why to go full childish.

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  • Scott8 May 24, 2017 at 5:21 am

    I think the people who need a talking to about being assholes are probable not the ones visiting this website and reading this article (sorry Jonathan). Not sure how to reach these people and more than likely they don’t care.

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  • starguts May 28, 2017 at 7:48 am

    Haven’t seen anyone mention it yet, but as a new-comer to Portland an obvious solution to cut down on the MAMIL’s (middle aged men in lycra) training on this hill and disrespecting the cemetery would be to petition Strava to delete/freeze/hide this segment from their app. I know that unfortunately chasing Starva segments is what often fuels much of the competitive riding that is inappropriate for similar spaces.

    Strava is how I found out about this route and I yet I would have had no idea about the ongoing issues had I not been reading this page.

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