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Washington Park shuttle drivers concerned about unsafe behaviors from bicycle riders

Posted by on June 20th, 2017 at 1:43 pm

When you see purple, slow down and chill out.

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.

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Be wary of stop locations and one-way roads.

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.”

— 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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BB
Guest
BB

I’m more concerned about the thousands of automobile users operating their vehicles in an unsafe manner all over the city. This is just another example of hand wringing because bikes and should be ignored until people causing actual hazards can be reined in.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

“hand wringing because bikes” indeed

Drivers always notice the times they thought they were about to kill someone on a bike (and blame the cyclist for what may or may not be illegal but only risks the rider’s own neck) and never notice the times they didn’t know they were about to kill someone.

Jason Skelton
Guest
Jason Skelton

So true. Rarely does a driver recognize me as I stop/slow to prevent them from killing me.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Was the driver a Knicks fan?

Jason Skelton
Guest
Jason Skelton

If so, I would have rammed them before they saw me.

wsbob
Guest

“I’m more concerned about the thousands of automobile users operating their vehicles in an unsafe manner all over the city. …” bb

How thoughtful of you. What, if any concern, do you have for people that are said to be biking unsafely around shuttle buses in the park? Sounds like what you’re really more concerned with, is having people biking in the park, somehow be freed of their responsibility and their obligation to ride safely.

I can’t quite make out what you intended to say in your last sentence. Are you seriously advising readers here, to ignore what the rep from the shuttle service has reported about people biking dangerously close to the buses, and other dangerous road use by people biking in the park? So if somebody riding takes your advice, ignores their obligation to ride safe, and gets in a collision as a result, will you still try to downplay the seriousness of what the shuttle service rep is trying to share with people reading here, about unsafe riding behavior in the park?

Paul Atkinson
Guest
Paul Atkinson

Can you quantify the danger? How many lives can be saved, based on historical data, if we correct this dangerous situation?

I recently read a study from the UK, done in response to a public complaint about how pedestrians were constantly having to dodge weaving cyclists in a shared space. The researchers used available CCTV footage to watch for and categorize cyclist-pedestrian interactions. Any time a pedestrian had to change course or speed, that counted; they also counted times a bicyclist passed a pedestrian close enough to startle, and also times cyclists adjusted their course to avoid pedestrians. All this based on someone’s claim that pedestrians were being put in danger.

The result was that there was no significant danger. Out of hundreds of interactions (I want to say ~450 one day, ~410 the other) they found that cyclists avoided pedestrians often, and a few times (5, I think) they passed close enough to startle, but no pedestrians had to change course for a cyclist at all during two 12-hour viewing windows.

So when I read this article I take it with a grain of salt. If the behavior is as dangerous as all that, I’d expect some kind of incident to have happened. No incident — not even a single bump, fall, spill, collision, much less an injury or a death — has been reported. I know people can, sometimes, misjudge how much risk a cyclist is really taking. So I don’t see the benefit in encouraging any pearl-clutching over this.

I do see cyclists hurt by close-passing cars from time to time. I do see them hurt by right hooks, left hooks, dooring, cars in the bike lane, and sometimes by jumping lights or crossing streets illegally. Not often by drafting or rear-ending cars.

So unless there’s really a danger here I’m not sure action is required.

wsbob
Guest

The concern expressed by people driving the bus shuttles, and the bus shuttle service rep, apparently has to do with what they feel is some people’s dangerous riding specifically near to and around shuttle buses. Do people driving buses and people riding bikes, using the road together, not seem to you to be a situation holding potential for danger, particularly when all such road users aren’t using due care in their use of the road?

Portland has had some terrible collisions involving people riding bikes, and people driving motor vehicles. I don’t know how many collisions consisting of someone on a bike rear ending an abruptly stopped motor vehicle, you think need to happen before that kind of situation consists of a danger to which action needs to be taken. A few years back here in Portland, on NE Broadway, quite a traumatic collision of this very type happened: Seemingly confusion between the person driving and the person riding, had, the driver stop abruptly with the person on the bike crashing through the back window of this SUV. This weblog likely has its story on that collision in the archives.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

I nearly rear-ended a car last week when the driver appeared to be proceeding straight ahead, and then he suddenly slammed on his brakes and turned on his left blinker. That was a one-way communication problem.

Lester Burnham
Guest
Lester Burnham

Why is it every time someone points out bad behavior by cyclists we have to go on the defensive and pretend like it doesn’t happen? People have valid concerns up there at the park.

Brian
Guest
Brian

For me, personally, I am tired of listening to all of the cyclist finger pointing BS and my defensiveness is probably a result of it. “Cyclists should get off the road until they learn to obey the laws.” Or, “Cyclists think they own the road.” These comments, without a single finger pointed at other drivers to do the same, are annoying as hell.

SE Rider
Guest
SE Rider

But this is a website about bikes, so of course it’s going to come up here sometimes? I get the defensiveness (I mean we all have to be a bit defensive when riding), but that shouldn’t just trump all rationality.

How about the fact that these complaints/suggests are coming from a pretty well known bike advocate? Does that matter?

Brian
Guest
Brian

My defensiveness comes from the BS I hear from otherwise, seemingly intelligent people at work, at pubs, on social media, etc who point the finger in one direction when it comes to the use of our roads. That defensiveness tends to carry over to other conversations on the topic, such as this. I was just trying to point out one reason why some of the comments might be a little feisty. When the lectures are seemingly one-sided, that can be frustrating. Also, I was being facetious with my comment about passing the shuttles. Mostly. Those things are slow as hell on the descent and the emissions aren’t exactly as fresh as the park air. In fact, I now avoid that area altogether on my ride home because of the shuttles.

SE Rider
Guest
SE Rider

But again, if these comments are coming from someone with a very strong bike advocacy background, does that make them more valid?

Brian
Guest
Brian

No, it does not.

jeff
Guest
jeff

but no less true in most instances.

Mike
Guest
Mike

I am curious if there is ever a time where it is o.k. to criticize a cyclist’s behavior because if even a hint of needed correction is spoken here the cars-kill-millions card is always pulled. It is as if people here feel free to ride however they want regardless of etiquette because of those darn killing machines. I certainly understand the dangers cars have but for me it doesn’t give me the freedom to ride like a jackass, I still respect my surroundings. So, is it ever ok to call out dangerous riders?

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

The Moral Relativism approach is frequently used here by others who do not want to take ownership of their own behaviors.

q
Guest
q

Certainly it is. Read the comments here and in other articles. Read the article itself. Read the recent articles about the potential closing of Riverview Cemetery to bikes. The articles and comments (at least many) often criticize poor cycling behavior. Even comments about cars being more dangerous don’t necessarily mean those commenters are defending dangerous cycling so much as putting it in perspective.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Even comments about cars being more dangerous don’t necessarily mean those commenters are defending dangerous cycling so much as putting it in perspective.

Exactly.

I do not condone dangerous cycling behavior. I was nearly hit in the park a couple of weeks ago by a cyclist who was was riding the wrong way on Washington Way (why would anyone go the wrong way on that road? there’s a shorter way to get there that isn’t as dangerous). But the way people drive on Kingston is considerably more threatening to me.

BradWagon
Subscriber

Ooh, Ooh, Pick me, Pick me!

Make Kingston one way the direction the shuttle travels with a nice bike path each direction.

In my riding in the park this was the only place I contemplated dangerous maneuvers due to cars/shuttles. Granted this is a small portion of the route but I would bet good money it’s the most problematic stretch.

shirtsoff
Guest
shirtsoff

@BradWagon

I like this idea. It’s willing to step aside the traditional boundaries by acknowledging the goals of each group while remaining committed to the safety of everyone involved by formalizing the behavior in a nontraditional way. Anyways, listen to BradWagon and the shuttle operators, cyclists, and other park users will all be happier!

I wear many hats
Guest
I wear many hats

Buses and people driving around looking for parking spots drive so slowly that one must ride the brakes 100% of the time on this loop. I’m constantly riding the brakes and using air resistance to slow down when behind slower traffic. Not once have I ever rear ended a car while on a bike. Its counterproductive to kill myself while riding. The one way loop is a work around that works for car traffic, but the bike traffic is routed onto a sidewalk where one is advised to walk. This is not acceptable.

hotrodder
Guest
hotrodder

I’m sure that there are many valid points in this story, especially about the dangers of head on collisions, but it’s my experience that if you were “drafting” off the shuttle bus you’d be taking a very leisurely, stinky ride through the park.

I wear many hats
Guest
I wear many hats

Exactly! Drafting a slow moving bus would be asinine. There are routes that avoid this congestion and I’d happily share them.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Is it cool if I just pass them then? It will give all of the tourists a chance to photograph a real, exotic Portland cyclist in it’s natural environment.

Christopher of Portland
Guest
Christopher of Portland

The driver of some kind of tour bus…trolley…thing, maybe one of those pink ones, mentioned cyclists and bike lanes when I rode by them near the Pearl district. I thought it was kinda funny to become a sort of exhibit for a few seconds just by doing something I normally do.

Teddy
Guest
Teddy

“If the shuttle driver tapped the breaks – there would be a serious injury.” That should be brakes.

“It is also imperative to heed the direction of the man one-way road in the park — Rose Garden Way.” That should be main one way road.

I am not surprised to read this considering​ the recent articles about abusing graveyard access. Irresponsible bicyclist need to think of the trauma they cause first responders as they scrape your mangled body off the pavement and the stress to motor vehicle operators when bicyclists ignore the laws of the road such as blatant stop sign running.

Matt Meskill
Subscriber
Matt Meskill

Thank God all the motorists drive in such a safe manner.

wsbob
Guest

People that drive, the majority of which are fair to good to excellent drivers, every day manage to avoid colliding with people using the road on foot, riding bikes, skateboards and doing so unsafely.

Seriously…where motor vehicles and bikes are being used on the road together, it’s people biking that are the vulnerable road users. That should obviously be understood to mean that however watchful and cautious people driving should be with regards to people as vulnerable road users on the road, vulnerable road users should be doubly watchful and cautious wherever there may be motor vehicles in use on the road.

Brian
Guest
Brian

The majority of cyclists are great. The best. You wouldn’t even believe how amazing they are. They ride day in and day out without crashing into any cars, busses, scooters, skateboarders, or squirrels. And there are a hell of a lot of squirrels in town these days.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

I don’t know what nation you are living in, but here in the US motorists are sending over four million people to the hospital each year and killing about 110 per day. That’s not what would happen if they were actually operating their vehicles in safe, responsible ways. Come visit some time and observe how few of them obey any law, particularly speed limits, stop signs, traffic signals, following distance, maintaining lanes and safe passing movements. I can’t remember the last time I observed a motorist go three blocks without a violation.

Against that background of lethal lawlessness, is anyone actually surprised that many pedestrians and cyclists adopt unorthodox behaviors in order to create some sense of safety? And of course any suggestion that cyclists are the safety problem is going to get hackles up among people who have actual skin in the game.

wsbob
Guest

“I don’t know what nation you are living in, but here in the US motorists are sending over four million people to the hospital each year and killing about 110 per day. That’s not what would happen if they were actually operating their vehicles in safe, responsible ways. …” b carfree

I live in the U.S., in Beaverton, just west of Portland. How about yourself? Corvallis, isn’t it?

Of the people driving, I’d say a fair guess is that it’s a relatively small minority that are driving badly and causing collisions. About people biking, I’m not so confident to guess, at least not about people riding in Portland, because I’m not there very much to watch what’s happening on the streets.

In Beaverton, I see a lot of people riding well, signaling at least some, and generally riding fairly safe. With exceptions. Out here though, I don’t think there are as many people riding as there are in Portland. Less people riding could explain fewer examples of people not riding safely.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

We judge driving badly only by the collisions caused?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

How many vehicular deaths are acceptable in Oregon each year?

How many are acceptable in Portland?

How many are acceptable in your family?

Are we doing enough to prevent these deaths?

Spiffy
Subscriber

“the majority of which are fair to good to excellent drivers”

citation? where are you getting this data? the majority of people I see on the roads are driving dangerously and doing illegal things…

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

You’d think if they were all so bad there would be a lot more trouble given that the typical bike commuter probably encounters hundreds of drivers every day.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Most of us that have been doing it sometime have learned ways to avoid most of the stupid mistakes that drivers make. If I didn’t purposely give up my right of way all the time, I would have been right-hooked by non-signaling drivers multiple times by now.

canuck
Guest
canuck

Always justifying bad behaviour with others bad behaviour. At that point you give up the moral high ground. You’ve lowered yourself to their level and the argument is lost.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Ah, but the morality is different in this case, since operating a 5000lb chunk of metal at high-speed is a significantly greater risk to the public. I agree that it is a poor excuse to point out that others behave badly, but let’s not equate speeding and rolling stop signs on a bicycle to an activity that kills 40,000+ US citizens every year.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

The morality is not different. You still have the responsibility to operate your bike in a safe manner on the road. the manner in which you do so may vary, but the same end result is expected.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Yes, stealing a jelly bean is the exact same thing as stealing a million dollars. /s

jeff
Guest
jeff

speaking of moral relativism.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

The reason cyclists may be salmoning on Rose Garden Way is because of all the Water
Bureau road closures in the park, which are going to last for years…

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

I take the Kingston/Tichner/Marconi detour and have been doing so since the closure. There’s really no excuse for riding the wrong way down Rose Garden Way, or on Washington Way for that matter.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

When I’m riding in the correct direction, up Rose Garden Way, I expect drivers traveling alongside me to be courteous and give me space, and there’s plenty of room for them to do so because it’s a one-way road. This does not work well when there are cyclists salmoning in the wrong direction. Also, because this road is one way, I should have the freedom to ride on the left side of the road on the way up, which I typically do from that sharp left-hand turn all the way up to the intersection. This is not your space for riding backwards on. If there’s anyone reading this who thinks it’s acceptable to ride the wrong way down Rose Garden Way, well, it’s not.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

That’s funny. Last week I was tempted to report a shuttle driver who passed me way too closely on the way up. I know that they aren’t legally required to give extra space when only traveling 20mph, but seriously, the guy nearly hit my elbow when he went by, and it was on the long straightaway right after the really steep right turn. There was nobody in the oncoming lane and he had plenty of room to move over. It was the worst pass I’ve seen from any driver in Washington Park in at least a year.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

“I was shocked to see how close the cyclists get to the shuttles”

More like the other way around.

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

Get a bus # or plate # next time. Then publish.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Apparently we need video proof for some people.

Alex B
Guest
Alex B

Did you actually try to report it to anyone? Seems like this article give you a great place to start – Explore Washington Park

I wear many hats
Guest
I wear many hats

Don’t forget that Waze is now directing traffic through the arboretum and by the rose garden to avoid Burnside. These roads used to provide mild and safe recreational cycling opportunities. Now the congestion doesn’t allow riding quickly. As I said before, there are options to avoid this downhill mess. I’d advise every rider to ride over to Burnside via the old road @ 25th. Its far nicer riding. BTW, this is different than the cemetery as this is a public road. Its an example of the city’s failure to accommodate cycling and driving in this park. It behooves us all not to be ___holes, whether driving or riding.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Whatever you do, don’t go up the shoulder of 26 or you will be FB shamed by concerned drivers.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

regardless of the fact that riding on 26 west of the Jefferson St. exit is totally legal….

fourknees
Guest
fourknees

Can you post a link of the “Burnside via the old road @ 25th” route?

rick
Guest
rick

I’m glad it is legal to ride on the east-bound shoulder. The path is across from where NW 24th Place meets Burnside. PBOT will build sidewalks to NW Uptown Terrace along with other projects for Burnside. https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/69920

fourknees
Guest
fourknees

Thanks. I frequent NW 24th Place and the switchbacks in the park, just didn’t know it by the other name. I do like that there are now only posts versus the gate as you enter the park.

I wish they would put lane as they did on NW 24th PL on NW 24th between Glisan and Flanders. Going to the park you have to go up the sidewalk there as it’s a one-way and NW 24th is a bikeway. There are rarely pedestrians on that stretch though.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Yeah, that’s a really awkward area for bikes, and a critical connector for me. You’re cruising along NW 24th southbound, and then you have to ride up the sidewalk on the left-hand side of 24th, where you reach a really weird intersection. From there you have to either shoot out onto Westover, or cross Flanders in the wrong direction to get to a crosswalk that people practically park on top of. And then 24th/Burnside is an excellent place to get right-hooked. Ideally they would make it no-turn on red with an advanced bike/ped crossing light.

AJ
Guest
AJ

I wonder if there might be eventual value in setting up gates at the park entrances and charging entry fees for drivers in order to combat the cut-through traffic (walking/biking/buses would still get in free). Could be balanced by reducing the parking fees an equivalent amount.

jh
Guest
jh

But what about the people that actually live up there? Since the water department work, the bus route now incorporates non-park streets, and some of these “cut through” people are actually driving on those streets.

q
Guest
q

Exactly. Arlington Heights has only three ways into it–up Park Place through the park, up Tichner/Burnside (not very close to Park Place via streets) and over the top from the west (a multi-mile detour).

gtrain
Subscriber
gtrain

But it is so much more fun to ride down the one way! This is going to be a struggle for me to resist every day on my ride home. Those beautiful curvy switchbacks beckon me! I knew I would get called out sooner or later… Safey and fun go back and forth in my priority levels constantly. I try to be somewhat reckless, but safely. More to consider now.

I wear many hats
Guest
I wear many hats

Zoo bomb tunnel bomb past gridlocked traffic on the 26 is a blast every time. There is a big wide shoulder.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Except it is throttled down into the debris field by construction…

rick
Guest
rick

Do you mean the Jefferson street exit tunnel? It is a lot of exhaust smoke to breathe, but I can coast downhill on the highway 26 shoulder to the exit. Less wear and tear on the bike.

gtrain
Subscriber
gtrain

Yeah, it is a blast. But the freeway is ugly especially compared with Washington Park and I don’t want to breath in more exhaust than I already do.

Brian
Guest
Brian

I think the descent just above, through the neighborhood, might be even better. I’ve been hitting that every day. The key is to wait until there are no cars ahead as they are WAY slower on the curves. That and you get to avoid all the cars backing out of their spots by the Japanese Garden/tennis courts.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Wow, every comment runs away from any concept of accountability or the possibility that the shuttle drivers might be simply stating observations. If shuttle drivers are complaining about it every day, perhaps it really is an issue. It’s not like they are racing shuttles at high speed up and down the road. I’d say there is more incentive for a cyclist to tear down these roads (it’s fun) than for someone tasked with carting others safely from place to place.

SE Rider
Guest
SE Rider

Did you expect anything else in the comments here?

pruss
Guest
pruss

i silently pegged the over/under at 2.5 comments before we saw “BUT CARS!!!”
boy…did i get wrecked.

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Nope. And not everything is mutually exclusive – both the shuttle drivers and cyclists can have valid points.

q
Guest
q

You and Middle of the Road Guy ARE commenters here.

SE Rider
Guest
SE Rider

zing!

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Windshield-biased observations.

jeff
Guest
jeff

your average PDX cyclist is quite selfish, always have been. Its proven here every single time one of these stories comes out.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Your average person is selfish.

Tell us, please, how PDX cyclists are more selfish than the drivers we share the road with.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Seriously, virtually every day I have the shuttle in my lane going around the corners as they come uphill and I am descending.
Pot. Black.

wsbob
Guest

Borrow a go-pro and film what you’re claiming to see. Send a copy to bikeportland, and the shuttle service management. If you’re truly threatened by what you’re seeing, people should see proof of it. Some of the buses may be going over the center line of the curvy sections of the road…and they shouldn’t be…but if they are, people biking on the road had better be thinking ahead about the chance that this kind of driving behavior may happen.

BradWagon
Subscriber

I love how cyclists have to go the extra mile to prove wrong doing or just accept that buses will be driven dangerously and take the responsibility for it themselves haha. Yet cyclists riding close to the shuttle (which I’m not aware of any law against) is criticized.

wsbob
Guest

Here’s what Steve wrote:

“Seriously, virtually every day I have the shuttle in my lane going around the corners as they come uphill and I am descending.
Pot. Black.” steve

I don’t want to say I don’t believe him about the situation he describes, but he skimped on the details, inviting readers to assume whatever they were inclined to. That’s why I replied, suggesting that if he really felt the situation he typically experiences with the shuttles was dangerous, he ought to consider documenting it with a go-pro, or at least…describing how far into his lane he estimated the shuttle tends to be.

A tire over the center line of the road isn’t so good, but it’s also not particularly a dangerous situation for someone riding, unless the person riding happens also to be hugging the center line of the road.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Do you ride Kingston much? There are potholes all up and down it. The safest place to be when descending is in the middle of the lane, or towards the left side of the lane. The entire right half is pretty much off limits, unless you like swerving around large holes in the road.

I descend early enough that I rarely see cars in the morning heading up, but I have encountered a driver passing someone on that blind left-hand turn. They were halfway out into my lane, and it was terrifying. I wish they would mark that turn as a no-passing zone somehow.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

So you say you were assaulted? The bot won’t believe you unless you have video evidence.

ed
Guest
ed

The gall of Washington Park overseers to blame cyclists for the mess they created. The ongoing “remuddling” of the park and its routes have made it almost impossible to negotiate on a bicycle. And as others have noted, the resulting bumper to bumper parking lot that now comprises that parks roadways and Kingston Av makes it even more impossible. Instead of blaming the hapless cyclists trying to make progress/survive perhaps look to whatever team dreamed up this mess and ask them to be more responsible, or replace them. I avoid that park now and go up Fairview Blvd. from southbound Kingston (via hidden road south from 25th and Burnside) but really miss the park and highly resent the park being made effectively unrideable.

rick
Guest
rick

Should the gravel parking spots be removed ?

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

It’s rideable. You just have to go slower.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Come on. There are a lot of self-absorbed, careless cyclists here now, for gud knows what reason. Shape up and don’t ride like a jerk! I’m livid that we may, for example, lose the privilege of riding through Riverview Cem because of several ahole fellow cyclists. And yes, yes, yes–I agree drivers are a million times worse. Both things can be true.

wsbob
Guest

Thank you for trying to get people that bike unsafely, to own up to what they’re doing. About some of the people that drive unsafely, doing so, much worse than the people that bike unsafely? I don’t think so. About the same, really. It’s the same kind of dumb mentality that has a person use the road unsafely, regardless of what vehicle they’re using the road with.

BradWagon
Subscriber

People biking unsafely mostly expose only themselves to risk. People driving pose a risk to others. This “both are bad” take is wrong.

canuck
Guest
canuck

Both are bad. Your taking risks does impact other road users. This I can do no wrong entitled attitude is the problem. Ride the way you expect drivers to drive. Sure you take on the greater risk, but does anyone want to kill someone through no fault of their own just because the other person doesn’t think their actions don’t impact the other guy. Heck it’s only an insurance deductable, mental scars be damned.

BradWagon
Subscriber

Ride in a way you want drivers to drive? Ok, I ride my bike in a way that only myself will be injured by a mistake I make… can the same be said for vehicle drivers when they make mistakes?

I was hit by a car last week, up on the hood, bouncing across asphalt, full meal deal. My taking that left turn posed a risk of maybe… sliding out on wet pavement? The car trying to overtake me while I turned left risked splattering me and my bike across their hood. The two situations are not at wsbob said “about the same, really”. Complaining about cyclists having an a entitled mentality sounds similar to criticizing other minority groups that just want fair and equal treatment.

canuck
Guest
canuck

So as long an only you get injured, even if it is your fault that you get hit by a car, somehow you don’t think that impacts the driver. Again a selfish attitude. You don’t get it and never will.

BradWagon
Subscriber

I said “risk” and “injured”, not impacted. Please enlighten me as to how a driver is injured or at personal risk from getting hit by a cyclist? If it is my fault their insurance will come after me for all costs related to damages to vehicle so no real financial hardship there… maybe having to get a rental car and drop their vehicle off at the shop for a day for a new hood or windshield? Sure that’s an impact in a very material sense…

I’ve been without a commuter bike for a week and have had no productive response from their insurance. That’s not even counting the day I missed of work and the weekend I spent gingerly getting out of bed and making sure my road rash didn’t stick to my clothes.

So not only is the level of risk incomparable but even the “impacts” are drastically one sided. You seem to think I am encouraging people to ride recklessly because it doesn’t affect a driver… no, I am saying stop equating the responsibilities of drivers and the responsibilities of cyclists as equal. It is an inherent advantage of being a cyclist that you don’t have the same responsibilities as drivers. Don’t complain because someone is choosing a method of transportation that is advantageous, not everything had to be equal and cars and bikes are clearly not. What cyclists enjoy in less responsibility we more than compensate for in risk, effort, and inconvenience.

BradWagon
Subscriber

I said “risk” and “injured”, not impacted.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

The logical implications of your position here would mean that bicyclists must ride perfectly, since any time a bicyclist makes a mistake that results in a collision, it will be the bicyclist who gets injured, and the poor motorist who must then live with the lifetime of psychological damage. The same cannot be said for motorists, who, when they make a mistake that results in a collision—especially with a bicyclist—are usually left with only repair bills.

wsbob
Guest

“People biking unsafely mostly expose only themselves to risk. People driving pose a risk to others. This “both are bad” take is wrong.” bradwagon

So do you think it’s no big deal to most people driving, if someone riding does so in a way that particularly places the person driving at risk of colliding with the person riding?

jh
Guest
jh

And yet , the last few times i’ve been on the shuttle, we’ve gone far over the speed limit, whipping though the park and the residential area around the park, driving down the center or left lane. All this while the shuttle driver is almost literally turning around and handing out pamphlets or talking about the “unique houses and the rich people who live up here in the west hills.”

The only time I’d be worried about them “tapping the brakes” is when they’re flying by the bus stops and remembering that they have to stop, or when they almost truck over ped’s coming off the wildwood at a road crossing and they aren’t paying attention to the road.

RH
Guest
RH

I biked from Beaverton to Portland via Washington Park recently…it was a mess compared to when I last did it about 2 years ago. It used to be the favorite part of my ride….like a treat from grinding up 1000ft to get to the Zoo. Now it’s just crazy up there with cars driving all over looking for a parking spot, etc…Then I looked online and it said construction will be going on for the next 8 years?!!

https://www.portlandoregon.gov/water/62547

rick
Guest
rick

ODOT sometimes clears the east-bound shoulder of Highway 26. Rush-hour has 30 mph traffic and it is legal to ride on the shoulder from Sylvan to the Jefferson street exit. Smooth pavement once the gravel and construction are gone.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

This shoulder is currently severely constricted and at times fully blocked at two points between the zoo and Jefferson due to “smart sign” installation work. This work is scheduled to conclude in “fall 2017”. Now, I could be pleasantly surprised, but my bet is the shoulder will be restored by January.

I’ve been taking Hewett to Patton and down Broadway drive in the mornings, which can be a real brake-burner to keep it under 30 (speed limit is 25).

oliver
Guest
oliver

I’ve not been up there this summer, but If a shuttle is on it’s way downhill, maybe they should slow and move to the side to be passed (it only costs a few seconds), the same way that I move aside when I’m the slow moving vehicle on my way uphill.

And sweet Mary and Joseph stop cutting the blessed corners.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Those trolleys are too wide for that road.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

This is the one I’m thinking of. I would not want to have to drive this sucker up Kingston.
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fourknees
Guest
fourknees

I love the park route, but switch it up with the south route toward council crest. From downtown @ SW 13th & SW Montgomery. Take Montgomery all the way up until you need to jog on SW Patton to SW Greenway to SW Talbot. Then SW Patton, right on Hewitt, pop out at Sylvan to rejoin your normal route.

rick
Guest
rick

Have you tried riding to Council Crest from Hillsdale via 18th using the old dairy gravel road / trail ?

fourknees
Guest
fourknees

I haven’t is that SW 18th Drive coming off of SW 18th Pl? (on google maps with no streetview?)

If I’m over that way I usually take from Sunset – 27th to Twombly to Cheasapeak to get to Fairmont. It’s a pretty steep route though.

rick
Guest
rick

Would it help if SW Barnes Road to West Burnside had protection for walk and biking and enforced, lower speed limits? A rebuilt SW Scholls Ferry Road? I prefer riding downhill on Scholls and Burnside outside rush hour or on an early weekend morning.

I Voted for Trump
Guest
I Voted for Trump

Thank you Heather for doing the right thing and pointing out dangerous behavior that you’ve noticed is happening too often. Hopefully this might prevent another tragedy.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

My take on this is just the opposite – the shuttle bus drivers are the dangerous ones, especially when they attempt to pass cyclists dangerously where the lanes are narrow and/or curvy.

And do the bus drivers really adhere to the 15 MPH park speed limit? In most instances, I doubt it very much.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

It’s 20. And probably not.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

I’m pretty sure it’s 15 MPH on SW Kingston Dr. all the way from SW Knights to SW Sherwood.

Dan A
Subscriber
curly
Subscriber
curly

Thanks Jonathan.
This is another illustration of why the city, state and regional governments aren’t throwing money into active transportation options. A few cyclists not being courteous transportation users give just cause to the decision makers who distribute transportation dollars. Think BIKE TAX!
I’m sure Heather, a bike activist, is disappointed also. Washington Park is where we all play, no matter how we get there. BTW, from outer east Portland, MAX is the best for Concerts!

Jason H
Guest
Jason H

And yet when thousands of motor vehicle misbehave and get aggressive and pushy in traffic on a daily basis, the government sure thinks throwing money at extra “capacity” is the panacea. Used to feel cyclists needed to self-police, but the situation has gotten worse every year, nd it’s not the cyclists changing the climate. SO, SO over bike shaming anymore. Government and motor vehicle lobby have bled dry any good will to get along.

Jonathan, did YOU go up there and make any observations? If the complainers are just shuttle drivers and their bike-washed director, I can guarantee it’s their vehicle centric perspective skewing things, not any real uptick in unsafe riding.

I Voted for Trump
Guest
I Voted for Trump

If YOU can guarantee it’s all the driver’s fault then YOU must have gone up there to see it for yourself, right?

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

And this is why they won’t widen the highways.

I wear many hats
Guest
I wear many hats

The concerts are auditory torture for the prisoners in the zoo

Steve
Guest
Steve

Actually, we use music as environmental enrichment for many of the animals, but thanks for your opinion.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Perhaps that was a comment on the volume. I find the choice of artists to be audio torture for people, but maybe the animals like the selections.

Steve
Guest
Steve

I definitely agree with the choice of artists.

I wear many hats
Guest
I wear many hats

Lets ask the animals if they enjoy being in the zoo. Then we can ask if they enjoy concerts. Lets ask Packy 1st. Oh wait, METRO killed him.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Whoops, I meant I agree with you about the artist selection.

q
Guest
q

And I’m sure the number of concerts and noise levels were carefully arrived at to maximize benefit to the animals.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A
Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

The animals told you this?

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

“A few cyclists not being courteous transportation users give just cause to the decision makers who distribute transportation dollars.”

“Cause” in their own minds maybe, but certainly not “just” cause. If anything, behavior that drivers consider “undesirable” by bicyclists means that there are not enough bike-friendly routes (i.e. actually optimized for bike travel) between popular destinations, and more should be done to be sure that people have access to routes that offer the same level of safety and convenience when riding a bike as they do when driving a car.

Also, as already mentioned, why must bicyclists be the only ones that have to “beg for their supper” by being good little boys and girls? We definitely don’t require this of drivers to invest millions in car-only infra. I mean, we could buy a couple of F-16s for the price of a few freeway lane-miles. Although F-16s probably wouldn’t be carbon-neutral, either.

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

I have been riding from the Zoo-MAX station since it opened to the Main street exit. It was always great until the construction cut off the route past the east side of the reservoir. I am usually going downhill on the steep descending LH curve where the busses are climbing in the middle of the road. They usually consider it one way unless a cyclist is going the same direction then they will cut the cyclist off if they are going around any curve. I have never seen an oncoming bus in the right lane.
I am glad that either Portland or the Zoo has fixed the road however. I have broken 3- $200+ wheels hitting the potholes. When a pothole report was turned in the reply was the parks take care of it. The Zoo said that Portland takes care of it. Grimm fixed one of the worst sections. The second section was taken care of this year. We still have the very rough section just down hill from the archery range well before the sharp LH corner. You know the one that is just after the trees shade the patch after the bright sunlight.
I have been riding the ZOO since 1953 (OLD ZOO) and riding the wrong way from the old 4 way, now 3 way, intersection. Riding through the parking lot to the downhill “S” curve since the reservoir road was closed, I have never encountered a vehicle coming up the hill. Occasional pedestrians yes! I continue through the ped path to the road that goes around the memorial to Main then 23rd. I have never encountered any traffic there either, 3 times I though of using the MUP to 24th Place but each time a city pickup was blocking it either from the top or the bottom trying to follow it up or down and getting stuck with 3 wheels off the pavement trying to go around a hairpin curve.
It made me think he was trying to find a shortcut for a bus.:)

Andy K
Guest
Andy K

I’ve been riding Kingston for 8 years and have found the shuttle drivers to be very cautious…and so much better than the many drivers passing me that are on the road for the first time.

q
Guest
q

There’s a whole story not being told here, although some comments have hit on it–Washington Park and the streets just outside it–Fairview and Kingston especially–have become drastically crowded with park vehicle traffic. Much is due to poor decisions by the City.

I lived in that neighborhood for 20 years. The parking spillover for the Rose Garden and Japanese Garden that would happen then on holidays and nice summer weekends happens constantly now.

One reason–the City and neighborhoods were working out a paid parking plan there. The City abruptly cut the neighborhoods out of the planning, and proceeded with a plan that requires payment within the park, but free parking yards away on the extremely narrow neighborhood streets.

Another–the Japanese Garden just completed a huge expansion–not of garden space, but of buildings–about 15,000 sf of meeting rooms, event spaces, a cafe, etc. At the same time, it CUT the number of public parking spaces, and it didn’t do anything meaningful to encourage other travel modes. The expansion also exceeded the land use review’s limit by several thousand square feet, so all the traffic studies used for approvals were voided. The result is many more people driving to the Japanese Garden.

Another–the City allowed the Japanese Garden to expand its office use into a residential house outside the park on Kingston, next to the park entrance. What used to be a single-family house with a car or two of traffic now houses many staff, plus many volunteers, plus generates more traffic and parking demand right at the crowded park entrance. Not a huge amount, but it happens in the worst possible location.

Another–as part of the Japanese Garden expansion, Parks attempted to close the trail that links the Rose Garden/Japanese Garden area to the Wildwood Trail, which in turn connects to the Zoo/Children’s Museum/Forestry Center area. Thus, it cut off the pedestrian connection between those areas, forcing people who’d prefer to walk to drive or use the shuttle. Parks pretended the trail never existed, and called it “an unofficial shortcut”, even going so far to remove the official signage for the trail ahead of the hearing so they could claim that. After protests, Parks agreed to build a crappy, compromised trail, but it’s not built yet. So again–less walking between attractions, more driving and shuttle use.

Another–neighbors have been complaining since the 1980s that this huge park lacked an official, up-to-date master plan. Parks did nothing until recently. And the recent plan is really poor, and won’t have any impact until its in place anyway.

The institutions in the park have a horrible track record for transportation. I could give MANY examples prior to these recent ones (and worse than them, too). The traffic problems are a direct result of the City putting its head in the sand while those institutions act in their own selfish ways, and the current transportation mess is the result.

I’m sure there are plenty of poorly mannered cyclists, but they’re a SYMPTOM of the larger problems.

q
Guest
q

By the way, throughout the Japanese Garden expansion land use review process, Parks argued extensively that the trail through the woods that it decided to close not only was no more than an “unofficial shortcut”, it wasn’t needed because there was a sidewalk outside the park on Fairview that people could walk on instead.

In other words, Parks saw no difference in experience between walking on a trail in the woods in a park and walking on a neighborhood sidewalk on a fairly busy street.

So what is the chance that Parks places much value in having the biking experience within the park having any value? By the logic they used in their trail closure decision, people riding on Kingston through the woods in the park could get the same experience riding up Burnside or Fairview.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

Or maybe just poach one of the park trails and avoid the roads altogether…

I wear many hats
Guest
I wear many hats

The most pleasant ride is one without cars ;). Trails are for people, be polite on them if you find yourself wanting to appreciate nature on your ride home.

Leann
Guest
Leann

Gee. I’m concerned that one of their shuttle drivers forced me into the ditch a couple of weeks ago when they decided to pass me on a blind corner and encountered an on coming car.

Douglas K
Guest
Douglas K

The city is working on a master plan for Washington Park right now. Their draft concepts from this spring contemplated two large parking structures (one by the MAX station, one north of Burnside) to intercept cars, shuttle service through the park linking the two parking areas, and auto access within the park heavily restricted to make more room for bike traffic and pedestrians.

We’ll see what they come up with when the final master plan is released this fall.

q
Guest
q

It is good that the master plan is recognizing traffic and parking issues. At the same time, in the survey it used to solicit public input, it had MANY types of expanded and new development, and I had to write in that I valued nature, because there were hardly any options to check for wanting to keep a focus on natural areas that didn’t involve building more stuff.

I see the master plan as being dominated by the institutions in the park, and the result will be more development and more traffic.

You won’t hear the Zoo saying that they have one of the most expensive rail stops in the world serving them, so that’s how their visitors should be arriving. They’ll push for more parking. So will the Japanese Garden, Children’s Museum, etc.

Steve
Guest
Steve

The Zoo DOES promote use of the MAX, even offering discounts off admission and the idea that Washington Park is a nature experience is naive. My guess is the likely outcome will be a large parking structure operated by the city/Metro sited where the current lot sits.

q
Guest
q

Yes, I know it does now. It wasn’t long ago that it claimed it promoted coming by Light Rail at the same time it had a full-page ad in the phone book with no mention of Light Rail, and “5 minutes from downtown via Highway 26” with free parking.

It also wasn’t much longer ago that it got permission to turn a grass meadow into a temporary parking lot to replace parking lost during the light rail station construction. Then, when construction was complete, it refused to remove it, despite a court order. Mayor Hales called it something like the worst example of a public body ignoring land use law that he’d ever seen, and was ashamed that the zoo did that to the public.

During that time, the zoo claimed the parking was needed due to constant overflow from the main lot. It turned out (via a Freedom of Information Act request) that the main lot reached capacity only a few times that year.

I have no idea why you’d claim it’s naive to think of Washington Park as a nature experience. Of course it is. It’s got acres of forest, with miles of trails, all officially recognized as natural areas if seeing it with your own eyes isn’t enough.

Wanderer
Guest
Wanderer

I’m glad to see that there are some folks on this list who will acknowledge that cyclists can misbehave as well as auto drivers.

I think the issue with reckless biking is not so much killing/maiming people, though it happens occasionally. The real issue is intimidating pedestrians who are trying to cross a street where cyclists are ignoring stop signs. My wife is semi-disabled and walks very slowly, she encounters this all the time. It also makes her more insistent about demanding parking spaces adjacent to her destination, which can be problematic for other road users.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Nobody here is arguing for ignoring stop signs.

And as for making other drivers walk a bit more, well, let them walk. It’s good for them.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

Yeah, but this doesn’t have anything to do with cyclists endangering pedestrians, and everything to do with cyclists endangering busses…when push comes to shove who do you thing will lose that encounter every time?

Spiffy
Subscriber

concerned about what others might do to themselves? afraid they’re not taking proper precautions? I assure you they are…

rarely is this type of discussion for the benefit of the people making their own decisions…

if you’re worried one of your shuttle drivers might hit a cyclist then you don’t have trust in your drivers to obey the law… cyclists are looking out for themselves, I assure you…

michael khamsot
Guest
michael khamsot

I ride up and down Fairview everyday for commute and occasionally intervals. The
City of portland is particularly to blame because they closed off Sherwood Blvd. 90% of commuter use Kingston and they are left with 2 options, either make a left turn and try to fight the traffics around tennis court or take the one way Kingston down. I ride up Fairview during evening commute and I don’t recall seeking any bad cyclist trying to overtake a bus! I do recall TriMet bus overtake cyclist on a narrow part of Fairview going up!

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

I’ve passed shuttles in the park, but only when they are stopped. And now they have a new pickup spot at the Kingston/Rose Garden Way intersection which is just terrible. They used to stop a little further back on Rose Garden Way where it’s one-way only, which left room for cars and cyclists to pass. But now they stop right at the intersection and sit there for a few minutes, which backs up the cars on Rose Garden Way, makes it harder for people to go around, and is really confusing to everyone at the intersection.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Passed a shuttle here yesterday, and they were parked at the original pickup spot below the intersection (instead of AT the intersection). I hope this is a permanent change. It works much better.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

Yesterday I was going west on Couch just past where it crosses over 405. Two of these Washington Park shuttle buses were in the oncoming one way lane that has the westbound bike lane opposite the eastbound car lane. Both of the shuttle bus drivers were hugging the left hand side as they drove completly taking up the whole bike lane and causing me and many other riders to leap from our bikes up to the median island for safety. I think there might be something wrong with these shuttle bus drivers, maybe prison work release or something.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

You’re talking about this little chunk of road, right?

https://goo.gl/maps/tonZ2Qn3eMz

The city should either remove the parking spots there or prohibit vehicles over a certain width from using that. I don’t see how one of those shuttles would fit without taking up the bike lane too. I mean, look at the size of this thing!

https://goo.gl/maps/fkV6d2ZsLRz

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

Yes, that is the chunk of road. I totaly agree they should get rid of the parking, but I looked at the second bus in the row going through after I had bailed to the median and it had enough room between its mirror and the cars to have stayed out of the bike lane. They were just lazy or didn’t care.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

Well, just like a car driving down a skinny road towards you. They will drive down the center and wait for you to move out of the way. I don’t think this is particularly related to the Washington Park shuttle drivers.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

That’s exactly what I do when I’m on my bike.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

You use your size to bully smaller road users out of the way?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

When I arch my back, I appear bigger and meaner than I actually am.

I have also found that if drivers have a place to pull off, they often will, just as they would if I were in a car.

fourknees
Guest
fourknees

Since this is being monitored for feedback – I only encounter the shuttles on my commute home going up Kingston toward the Zoo. I’ve passed the buses when they are loading passengers (by the rose garden gift shop intersection). At first I didn’t, but it would take about 3 minutes (I timed this one day) for the passengers to get on/off and the bus to begin moving again. I suggest moving the location of this stop further back where there are two lanes between the tennis courts and parking lot next to rose garden.

I’ve also pulled off to the side to let the shuttles pass me if I’m approaching one of the up hill curves. However the times when the shuttles have passed me on straight sections they have remained too close for comfort.

Also, why no bike racks on the front of these buses? Seems like a good idea.

I’ve felt more uncomfortable in the mornings when on the Tichner/Marconi/Park detour. Many cars race through there and rarely stop at the stop signs. Even when I’m at a stop either in the same direction or at an intersection.

I wear many hats
Guest
I wear many hats

Just this evening the shuttle bus rolled a stop at a 3 way where I was stopped in a track stand. How and why are the bus drivers concerned about bike riders when they can’t even bother to stop?

jered bogli
Guest
jered bogli

My bike commute takes me over the hill and I jump on highway 26 from the Zoo to Goose Hollow in order to avoid the sketchy, twisty, bumpy, dark, congested, chaos that is Washington Park. I feel safer on the shoulder of 26 than I feel riding through Washington Park.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

I love riding through the park, especially in the morning when the sun’s coming up. It was even better when Sherwood was open and you could get a nice view of the city. My biggest worry in the morning is that a bird might fly through my front wheel.

Kittens
Subscriber
Kittens

I am a professional bus driver for the city and we are trained to be exceptional drivers. Meaning, we are to be above the fray: pedestrians, bikes, cars — we are to expect the unexpected, the illogical and illegal behavior of other users. This is not an excuse, but a realization that no amount of hand-wringing or scolding will suddenly make other road users start being safer.

Singling out bike riders for unsafe behavior in the park is pointless at best and counter productive. Heather should focus her energies on finding drivers who are patient, professional and able to operate such that no one is put at risk. That is her’s and her drivers’ responsibility.

If I can steer a 40-foot 20,000lb box down 21st on a summer afternoon safely every day, there is absolutely no reason not to expect the same in a park with a fraction of the traffic, congestion, pedestrians.

And finally, I don’t recall TriMet ever complaining about bikes while they operated a shuttle on the same route for decades without incident.

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

Everything close seem dangerous when you are in a car/bus. Just go with the flow and don’t worry.