Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 20th, 2017 at 1:43 pm
It’s peak season at Washington Park. That means about 1.2 million people will visit the Oregon Zoo, the Rose Garden, Hoyt Arboretum, the Japanese Garden and many other attractions between now and September.
The good news is that about one-quarter of visitors opt to get around the park via the free shuttle. The bad news is that according to shuttle operators, some people who ride bicycles in the park are not being as safe as they should be.
Washington Park’s free shuttle service is the fastest growing mode of transportation in the park. 120,000 people used it last season, a 40 percent increase from 2015. This year the park is encouraging even more people to take the shuttle due to the reservoir construction project.
Explore Washington Park is a nonprofit that oversees transportation in the park. Executive Director Heather McCarey (a veteran bike advocate who used to sit on the City’s Bicycle Advisory Committee) got in touch with us recently to help spread the word about safe riding around the shuttles. McCarey says too many people are riding dangerously and she’s worried about the potential of collisions between bike and shuttle operators. “They are biking the wrong way down a one-way, windy street, they are bombing through a stop sign at a blind intersection, and they are drafting off our shuttle buses,” McCarey shared.
“The shuttle drivers complain to me about it on a daily basis. They are extremely concerned about the safety of the cyclists,” she added.
After hearing from operators, McCarey boarded a few shuttles to judge for herself. “I was shocked to see how close the cyclists get to the shuttles,” she said. “If the shuttle driver tapped the brakes – there would be a serious injury.”
If you ride through or in Washington Park, please be aware that shuttles make many stops on a continuous loop from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm. It’s also imperative to heed the direction of the main one-way road in the park — Rose Garden Way.
“We love having cyclists in the park,” McCarey says. “But we want to keep everyone safe.”