As several of you may have noticed there’s a new gate at the lower entrance to River View Cemetery just across from the new Sellwood Bridge.
The bad news is it’ll be closed at 4:00 pm from now on. The good news is that it’s intended for motor vehicle drivers and they’ve left a space for bicycle users to walk around it.
We received several emails about the gate last week from readers concerned that the gate was the disaster we had hoped to avert when we reported on this issue last month. As you recall, cemetery staff are in a tough spot. The private nonprofit must balance its desire to maintain public access to their roads while maintaining a safe and respectful environment for their customers. The issue continues to bubble up because the cemetery receives many complaints about people riding bicycles too fast and without respect for others.
After hearing about the newly closed gate we contacted River View Cemetery Executive Director David Noble. He said the gate is now operational and is programmed to open at 6:00 am (specifically for morning bicycle commuters — staff doesn’t show up until 8:00) and close at 4:00 pm daily.
Noble says the gate is aimed at preventing cut-through auto traffic, not at prohibiting bicycle traffic. “The gate is there so we can secure our property at night by preventing vehicle traffic,” Noble shared with me via email. He added that they designed the new gate so that bicycle users can get around it.
Here’s more from Noble:
“Just as we designed our upper gate at Palatine Hill Road to accommodate bicycle ingress/egress after the gate was closed to vehicles, we have also designed a way for bicycles to exit or enter our lower entrance at Macadam Avenue even after the main gate is closed. A chain link fence is being installed along the south side of the roadway just uphill from our pillars and gate, but a passage gate is being installed in that fence to allow bicycles to enter and exit.”
Yes, you will have to dismount to get around the gate, but Noble feels that’s a pretty small inconvenience compared to riding on Taylors Ferry Road.
And please do dismount and walk around. Noble said that last week two riders didn’t want to walk in the gravel path around the gate so they, “jerked and yanked on the gate” so hard that it broke the operating system and required a service call that will cost River View several hundred dollars to fix.
While Noble has always stood up for bicycle access through the cemetery — even in the face of trustees and customers who would rather ban bikes completely — he says “antics” like the ones that led to the broken gate are wearing him thin and making it hearder to convince cemetery staff that bicycle users deserve their respect.
And I have to say that the stories of rude riding continue. Noble shared several with me that are really upsetting. Please remember that training and hill repeats are not allowed in the cemetery. Riding fast downhill is also forbidden. Please ride quietly, ride slowly, ride with respect for others, and ride with gratitude befitting a private business that allows your presence even though they don’t have to.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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I doubt the two riders broke the gate because they didn’t want to walk on the gravel. They did it because they feel entitled to unlimited use of others’ private property.
But the gate is there because car drivers felt entitled to use any roads they wanted without paying for them, which is generally the attitude of most car drivers.
Or because they wanted to visit the graves in the cemetery.
But, but … (her emails?)
That’s no way to win an argument, or excuse an inexcusable action. Breaking the property was wrong.
or because they were frustrated that a city-designated cycling route was suddenly blocked?
I don’t believe this is a city-designated bicycling route. From what I remember reading here on BP, the cemetery decided to put in bike route markers, on their private roads, in order to instill some order on the chaos that can be bikes cutting through the cemetery. That was something they decided to do, and was not done by the city or mandated/asked for by the city.
On Portland’s Bike map, the cemetery road is designated a shared roadway, not a designated bike route.
The bottom line is that the cemetery is private property, and it’s really sad that people can’t respect that. It would not surprise me if the cemetery decided to close the road to through traffic completely, including bikes.
It’s marked on that map as a green “road”, i.e. a low traffic street that would be good to bike on: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/323778
It’s the only bike route highlighted on that map a half mile in either direction.
On top of that the city just installed major facilities (bike signals, lanes, etc.) and signage on the new Sellwood bridge encouraging people to take this route.
Given this, I think the city needs to get involved and buy an easement.
I think it’s fair to assume because of map designation, bike signals, route markers, etc., that a lot of people (possibly most) don’t realize this route is private property. I wonder if the City communicated at all with River View before essentially routing bike traffic directly to them from the west side of the Sellwood Bridge. It’s unlikely the City can buy an easement through the cemetery, but they have a responsibility to provide a safe connection between downtown and SW. I realize that there was a lot of controversy about recreational mountain bikers using River View Natural Area, but it seems like it would be a relatively simple solution to provide a paved perimeter path through there for pass-through bike traffic, as has been done in Tryon Creek Park, for example. Then the City at least wouldn’t have to scrap their signalization when River View eventually gets fed up with us all.
An easement wouldn’t necessarily change anything. The property owner could still limit or restrict access if certain conditions weren’t being met or the easement was not being used in the manner intended. Remember this discussion, re. the Will. Greenway trail closure last year.
The bike markers in the cemetery are another interesting topic. Did the cemetery put the them in or did the city? They’re the same symbol used for bike way finding on city routes (little circle with a bike in it and an arrow). This is likely another reason that many people don’t even realize this is private property and think it’s a city facility (it has the official city symbols).
Well I contributed to a private fundraiser have them painted so I suspect they’re not done by the city. (Also, unrelatedly: unlike city markings they are slick when wet)
Thanks for the info. I do wonder if having them be a city standard has been problematic.
BikePortland had an article in 2013 about the cemetery board deciding to install the markers.
they broke the gate because it’s cheap…
That design is not cargo bike friendly. How are people who are unable to lift their bikes up supposed to get around that gate?
Seriously? looks like a low curb and a pretty easy way around to me.
Talk about a sense of entitlement…sheesh.
Its likely not usable for me and my cargo bike. I teach an evening class at L&C and used to ride my 55+ lb cargo bike through the cemetery. Before fall term starts I will go check it out but from the looks of it here, I won’t be able to navigate this design without lifting my bike so I will likely be adding some VMTs during the evening rush hour via Uber/Lyft or Zipcar since neither the school shuttle nor TriMet offer anything that works w/ my schedule. Thank you PBOT/ODOT for not providing any reasonable alternatives.
Jonathan, I would have thought you’d be above condoning collective punishment, but apparently not.
It is not punishment, it is protection of private property. What entitlement do you have to use their property? They have been more than accommodating all these years but common courtesy doesn’t seem to be all that common when it comes to using this property.
I think what Adam is getting at is that it’s a myth and a poor choice of words to use the collective “we” in this situation.
In other words, no one is responsible for how others behave — simple because we share a mode of transportation.
Like it or not cyclists are a small minority of the road users and while riding our bicycles the majority user group (motorized vehicles) lumps all cyclist together as a “we”. As a Caucasian cyclist in Portland it maybe gives me a very, very small bit of insight into what a racial minority feels like when the majority lumps them all together based on the actions of a few. When I get off my bike I transform back into the majority so I really have very little idea of what it is like to always be collectively lumped together and judged based on the actions of a few.
No one is responsible for how others behave, but cemetery staff and management are responsible for maintaining the cemetery which involves addressing whatever problems come up, particularly recurring ones.
The cemetery gets no benefit from allowing cyclists to ride through. In fact, providing this access involves some liability risk to them. This means that if too many cyclists cause trouble, doing something to keep them out is the logical thing to do.
They get a PR benefit (which is important at a time of majorly declining burials).
If there are some cyclists causing problems, requesting some sort of enforcement to handle those people individually is the right thing to do.
We have some drivers who speed in my neighborhood. Does that mean we should put a gate up to block the road?
Your street is probably public and not private.
I hope they start closing roads that supply the cars that careen off and crash into yards and houses. This happens hundreds of times each year in Oregon. I think it is time for a ban, don’t you?
They already do this. Drive like an ass on a private road and a gate will be put up. As a matter of fact, that is exactly what happened here! Huh? How about that!
I hope so, too! As long as the roads are privately owned.
Yes, now that I read it I don’t like that sentence either.
Thanks for pointing it out.
I am just so annoyed by this entire issue on several levels. The people riding like assholes really need to stop but it’s nearly impossible to stop them from doing so… precisely because there is no “we”.
Agreed. When is this argument ever used against other modes of transport? Banning an entire type of travel based on the actions of a few? We’d never disallow car access to roads because a few people were driving dangerously and breaking the rules, would we? Would we ban walking on the Waterfront path because a couple jεrks yelled at family while out for a morning run? Why do cyclists always get the shaft here just because a few Freds can’t handle not having unfettered access to their favorite training route?
Um, society does this all the time. Consider the installation of traffic diverters on the greenways to curtail the actions of some rude drivers.
That example is more about encouraging the behavior we want though design (less cars on a street make it safer for cyclists), rather than serving as a punishment for bad behavior. No one ever told drivers that if they don’t stop driving on greenways that we’d take away their access.
Adam, you sometimes seem to struggle with the concept of private property.
If that were true the diverters would go in with the greenways instead of after the complaints mount up.
Well yeah, but PBOT doesn’t think proactively. Still, your comparison is flawed since diverters don’t actually prevent people in cars from accessing those roads, as well as the fact that someone driving has plenty of other equally safe and comfortable alternatives to driving on the greenway.
In this cemetery case, if bikes are banned, they wouldn’t be being banned as “punishment for bad behavior”, but rather to prevent the consequences (disruption of mourners, etc.) of future bad behavior.
And it does happen all the time with other modes–fences put up to stop people from walking through a property, bans on skateboarding and rollerblading, gating off parking lots and park roads so cars can’t use them in evenings, etc.
“Private property” is the key here, and I would guess there are plenty of examples where public access to private property was restricted due to the behavior of a few idiots.
Uh, when it comes to private property, all the time?
Many posts on this blog advocate improving driver training and awareness. Cyclists also need to training and awareness.
In plain English, that means that even if there is no “we,” “we” need to help people understand ridiculous behavior is not OK. That begins by calling it out. Turning a blind eye hurts all cyclists.
This is easier said than done, because nobody is ever wrong anymore. I’ve always called people out a lot – for bad biking behavior, for letting their dogs run loose in nature preserves, for smoking in bus shelters, for letting their children scream at the top of their lungs in romantic restaurants on Valentine’s Day, etc. I have to confess, I don’t do it as much as used to. 10-15 years ago, usually people would be shocked and a little defensive, but also at least somewhat ashamed. Often, they would stop the offending behavior, and you got a sense they’d think before doing it again in the future. Now, if you confront someone, they’re usually defiant. They are totally in the right – the exception to the rule. You are the problem because you need to lighten up. One or two people here or there calling others out won’t do the trick here. Few of us are willing to take the emotional beating you get if you do this consistently, and as long as it’s only a few of us saying anything, we’ll always be perceived as the ones who just need to chill.
Yep. Usually when I try to call out people’s bad behavior, the response is generally aggression (especially when it’s a young white dude). I’ve had enough bad experiences with this that generally I don’t even bother anymore.
I hear you both. A similar issue exists with bad drivers (even if the latter is more dangerous).
People who do this stuff know they shouldn’t, so direct confrontation is not only unproductive, but can be counterproductive. Sometimes, a gentler approach that requires multiple interaction with multiple people over time works better.
Even without saying anything, it’s possible to put out a vibe that their behavior is being tolerated the way small children who don’t know any better are tolerated.
I don’t know – I think a lot of people tell themselves that if what they are doing is really bothering anybody, somebody will say something. This gives them permission to do it without *really* being a bad person. But then, they are also relying on this understanding that the rudest thing you could do ever in our current cultural climate is call somebody out on something. What I mean by this is that I think most people are pretty impervious to the evil eye, either because they’re distracted or because they’re so certain what they’re doing isn’t (or shouldn’t be) really an issue for anybody. I don’t think a look has much impact anymore – and I’m not sure how you would manage to effectively give the stinkeye of kindness over the long term (though would be curious to hear any tips you might have).
Case in point: people who make their vehicles painfully loud. They’re getting away with murder and they know it, and they’re going to keep getting away with it until communities enforce noise ordinances and start clamping down on these honeybadgers of the people world.
Ah yes, the “adults” who never made it out of the terrible twos. It’s not enough for them to have their toys — everyone has to pay attention when they do.
FWIW, I did call the cops on some nimrоd who on repeated occasions revved his modded superbike with straight pipes at 2am. I tried to work it out with him amicably, but he insisted on being an aggressive [insert derogatory term for male exhibiting juvenile behavior], so I called the cops. More importantly, I called his landlord and made it crystal clear they would hear about it every single time I was disturbed on future occurrences — at the exact time these occurrences occurred. The problem stopped instantly and the guy even started acting polite to me….
Wow–well done, Kyle! I can’t tell you how heartening that story is. It helps to quell my impotent rage and gives me hope. 🙂
So do they consider “training” anyone who is wearing spandex (aka cycling clothes)?
And again, I’ll comment that it’s crazy the city isn’t involved with this (considering they just built a brand new bridge with bike facilities that directly traffic you to this route).
This is just too bad all around.
How do they know that the gate was damaged by cyclists trying to avoid dismounting? Seems more likely it was done by somebody with a larger vehicle. If they have camera footage showing the cyclists in action I wish they would share it with us.
do they have documentation that someone on a bike caused damage to the cemetery ?
Given that they mention two cyclists and the specific actions that damaged the gate, I’ll go out on a limb and guess that they have reason to know that cyclists were involved, and that there were two rather than some other number of them, and that they did jerk and yank the gate…..
Just stop it. Are you serious about someone not being able to lift/roll their front wheel over the 6-8 inch curb?
How would you propose getting a longtail, bakfiets, or 50 lb Dutch bike over that curb and around those tight turns?
One can argue that if you cannot lift your bike, you should not be riding it.
I have an old sports injury to my right (dominant) arm. It makes lifting things like my 55+ lb cargo bicycle quite painful, however, I am quite capable of cycling my two kids to school and back on said bicycle. In fact I do it every day, year round and have been so for years. If you want to continue to vouch for the idea that you need to be able to life your bicycle to ride it.. be my guest.
I certainly can. It’s up to you to meet your own needs, not others. You chose to have a 55lb bike. Others are not responsible for the fact that you cannot lift it while undertaking a voluntary activity.
Transporting children is a voluntary activity now? smdh
***Comment deleted.. I am growing tired of the personal back-and-forths. Please — and this goes for everyone — try and focus on issues and ideas at hand, rather than individual commenters. Thanks – Jonathan ****
I can see that turning a long bike on that short bend could be difficult. But bike facilities have never accommodated anything other than standard diamond frame bikes. Those who use adaptive technology, tandems, recumbents, trikes, you name it, have needed to figure things out.
I’m still missing why getting it up the curb is such a problem because it is absolutely unnecessary to actually lift the bike. Rather it can be rolled up. Seems like something an average person could do with a bike that weighed hundreds of pounds and a less able person could still move a really heavy object over that.
We should apply that rule to all vehicles. Aren’t you the guy who says bikes are the same as cars?
First, you have to go to city hall with 1000 of your closest friends and demand safe passage on Boones Ferry and Taylors Ferry.
Then wait 5-10 years.
By the time SW Capitol Highway gets the new bike lanes and sidewalks from Multnomah Village to the Barbur Transit Center, it will have been decades after people in the Multnomah neighborhood association asked for it.
But is anyone riding a bakfeits up River View? I’ve seen a few Xtracycles but that’s it. I suppose you could with electric, but a lot of electrics have walk-along buttons now to help you push them up a hill. Still have yet to see one but then again, I’m only there late mornings and early evenings.
I’m pretty darn sure I could ride my electric-assist box-bike up Riverview. And good lord, that gate would be obnoxious to get around. I’m pretty sure I would have to make my kids get out to get around it. I’d back up my back wheel to get it over the curb, but then the front wheel with kids inside wouldn’t make it. Maybe if I put down the kickstand and went over and picked up the front portion of the bike and put it up on the curb. (Going front-wheel-first never works for curbs and box-bikes, loaded or not). Regardless, there would be some definite encroachment on the landscaping going on.
The underlying problem here is that the cemetery, out of the goodness of their hearts and the unfortunate lack of provision of suitable facilities by the City, is allowing their property to perform a City function (safe, comfortable, through bicycle travel to all points west of the Sellwood Bridge) without compensation or oversight by the City. So, they understandably have little tolerance for negative impacts, and don’t have knowledge or budget to implement best practices for bicycle travel. The ideal solution would be for the City to negotiate an easement with Riverview that spells out the following:
*Compensation (annual $ from City to Riverview for allowing their road to perform a function that would cost the City many millions of dollars to perform in a suitable fashion)
*Conditions (hours of operation, how facilities like this gate bypass should be designed and implemented, expectations for signage and detours during paving projects, etc.)
*Enforcement (Assistance from the City on enforcing rules for through-travelers to the extent that bad behavior is a serious problem needing to be addressed)
Riverview is already compensated by the city. They pay property taxes that are hundreds of times lower than they would be for typical private property in the city.
But Riverview already meets all the conditions necessary to get that break, so it can’t be used for leverage for getting a bike easement.
Also – isn’t that property tax break administered by the County based on rules set by the State? I’m just guessing here – but I know the County generally does property taxes and I’ve never seen much involvement by the City aside from area-wide levies.
Plus, it makes sense the cemetery’s taxes are lower than they are typical private property. The use of services by the cemetery is far lower. Cemeteries place zero load on schools, parks, and libraries. Riverview in fact makes available to the public many attributes of public parks, so it actually reduces demand on parks. The per-square-foot need for police or fire protection is a fraction of what it would be for housing or most other uses. Same with traffic generation and demand on streets and public transportation–it’s far less than for most other uses. In fact, currently the cemetery, with its providing a bike route that public facilities don’t provide, is contributing a great deal to the transportation infrastructure.
So even if you feel that cemeteries are wastes of land, as some comments in previous articles stated, the lower property taxes still make sense because cemeteries use less public services than typical uses that pay more.
I agree. There are many benefits to the green space, provided we have public access. I’m only saying that the taxes should be re-evaluated IF they close off public access. At that point, there is little benefit to the taxpayer.
“The use of services by the cemetery is far lower. Cemeteries place zero load on schools, parks, and libraries.”
You could make this claim about any large parcel of private land.
Yes, you could make that claim, but so what?
In the case of the cemetery, it’s a large parcel that’s zoned to allow very limited development, so the value of its land is far less than say, a large parcel zoned for residential or commercial development. So it makes sense that the cemetery pays less, since its land is worth much less. Also, while it’s true that the land zoned for development that’s currently undeveloped isn’t currently generating much demand for services, that’s due to a choice by the owner to leave it undeveloped. Plus, since property taxes are based on value of land plus improvements, the owner of the developable land also pays far less in taxes than similar properties that are developed and that do generate more demand for services.
And if you compare the cemetery to parcels whose zoning also does not allow much development, many of those would be paying reduced tax amounts also.
Interesting that you bring up development potential, as just a few years ago Riverview attempted to have some of its land re-zoned so they could sell it off for development, then threatened to sue the city if they weren’t able to do it.
“The biggest of the two claims, filed by River View Cemetery in SW Portland, seeks to develop residential properties on 185 acres of surplus land—land that is currently protected from development under “open space” zoning. If the cemetery doesn’t get its way, it’s demanding $24 million in compensation.”
Yes, so if they’d been successful, their property taxes would have gone up because their land would have been worth far more. But they apparently weren’t successful, so they get taxed at the lower rate for land with very limited developability that’s thus worth much less. So it all makes sense.
“There are many benefits to the green space, provided we have public access. I’m only saying that the taxes should be re-evaluated IF they close off public access. At that point, there is little benefit to the taxpayer.”
There are many benefits to green space also if the public is most adamantly NOT allowed access. Begging your pardon; humans are pigs. And that is an insult to pigs (sorry, pigs!). And I see more and more of the more boorish order of human in Oregon nowadays, demanding their rights to trash every freakin’ public space there is. No respect, no stewardship. Just a puling cry for the right to party wherever is “public” and leave the wreckage behind. “It’s muh RIGHT, g-dammit!” Bleccch.
At this point, due to the stress humans have caused to natural environments around the state for the past ten years of overuse and carelessness (esp. the past 5-7 years of geotag/FB/instagram “collect a natural space NOW!” craziness), I’m all for OFF LIMITS TO HUMANS. Leave ’em to the other creatures who are far less destructive and definitely less obnoxious…except for honey badgers, which, fortunately, we do not have here.
There are a few other cemeteries adjacent to Riverview. They don’t provide a valuable through-route for bikes like Riverview does, and their taxes are all ZERO. So Riverview’s tax situation looks pretty reasonable in comparison.
And I agree, there are lots of benefits to preserving green space even if there is no public access. The tax code recognizes that. So do zoning codes. Countless zoning regulations require having minimum percentages of parcels devoted to landscaped areas, even though those areas are private.
As an even more direct comparison, Portland’s zoning code (and others are similar) devotes several chapters to conservation and protection of “environmental” areas (ravines, woods, stream areas, shorelines, riverbanks, steep slopes, etc.). All those requirements apply to private development, even though that land is almost always totally off limits to the public.
In Riverview’s case, a high percentage of its property is designated as environmental areas in which development is restricted or prohibited, so those natural areas are exactly the type that zoning regulations say have great public value even without public access.
Furthermore, even if Riverview closes off its property as a bike through-route, it still allows public access to its property. Anyone can go there any day to walk or view graves. Touring Riverview as an historical site is encouraged by Riverview. I’d guess a pretty high percentage of people visiting Riverview are not there to visit a particular grave, or to only do that. Removing bike through-access wouldn’t at all remove public access to Riverview.
This is exactly what needs to happen, thank you for saying it.
I don’t know about easements but I remember from a CVNA meeting years ago (I used to live in the neighborhood) that the public has a legal right to cross the cemetery, at least on foot. The city should do the right thing and secure a proper easement and assume some maintenance for the bike route.
As some have already stated regarding private property you are missing the point. They don’t have to do anything for you. You might consider a thank you to the owners for even considering bikes at all in the design.
I have to admit, that would be a bit difficult for my longtail with both kids and gear on the back. It would have been nice if they extended the transition on each side, at a 45* angle instead of a 90* angle. What’s done is done at this point, though.
And a general note: this land is private property, but it is highly subsidized. The total property tax paid is less than many single family homes in the west hills (about $13k per year). If they choose to ban all public access, we probably should take a look at that value.
It depends how loaded up the bike is. If it’s well loaded up it could be tough to keep it balanced up and over a curb (particularly at an odd angle). I’ve dropped my bike lugging it over a curb, with just a full basket, not even a full cargo bike! For some people it’s going to depend how strong their arms and shoulders are. Imagine, for instance, you’re carrying your kids on a bike. Are you going to try to roll it over the curb and risk spilling the bike? Nah, you’re probably going to need everyone to dismount.
Maybe it’s the angle and size of the photos or something, but that gravel “path” doesn’t even look like a pedestrian path or sidewalk. It can’t possibly meet ADA.
It looks like they’re really trying to get people on bikes to dismount. OK, well, it’s hard to design an obstacle that forces an athlete to dismount (or even slow down significantly) without making an accessibility challenge for someone. In the car world, speed bumps can be this way: if you put down speed bumps sufficient to slow down an aggressive driver in a Land Rover, a normal person on a bike is going to be slowed down even more, even if they weren’t speeding in the first place! Some traffic-calming methods that effectively target high speeds involve narrowing the road, sometimes even just visually. But it’s hard to make a road narrow to a cyclist and also allow cars to pass at all. It’s not easy to meet the goals they have… but it’s certainly worthy of comment.
Not to be confused with the rider.
This bicyclists breaking the gate thing seems very odd to me. If a couple of people tugging on a gate breaks it seems extremely weak and the behavior does not seem true to me. Clearly cyclists used to cut through the lawn when the gate as closed above but randomly pulling on a gate to get through when there is a gravel path 5 feet way does not seem logical. I ride to and back to Sellwood via this route and my wife used to commute through the cemetery every day and I have never seen any bad behavior by cyclists. I saw a car stuck right by the hair pin turn near the new gate when the person tried to go 4 wheelin’ across the grass and was high centered trying to get back on the pavement. We only spent a few minutes per day so our sample size is pretty small but I it is confusing to me to hear about all the bad things that cyclist do while never seeing it myself.
Seems much more plausible that a driver was trying to get the gate open, as otherwise they couldn’t get through?
The article specifically mentions two riders breaking the gate. Why is it more likely that a driver was at fault?
Probably because cars are the source of all problems 😉
Highly recommend keeping a very keen eye out on the decent for the next couple weeks as pissed off drivers make their way back up the hill likely at speed after encountering the gate. That last corner before the hairpin is quite blind.
Always get anxious when I see other people bomb down around that corner, especially as I have seen big trucks coming up hugging the side before.
Is the gate at the top closed at 4:00 PM to people walking and / or riding bikes and using wheelchairs? Did they consider the high amount of cut-through car traffic?
SW Taylor’s Ferry Road isn’t super horrible to ride downhill for an average commuter bike ride in the day time. I prefer that to riding the brakes through the private cemetery. Let’s show respect and also attend the nearby neighborhood meetings to call for a road diet for SW Taylor’s Ferry Road. 2 car lanes uphill?
A Taylor’s Ferry road diet should have happened decades ago. Completely ridiculous to have two uphill lanes and no space for cyclists and pedestrians on this critical link. Personally, I would love to see a solid concrete barrier installed on the outside lane, creating an 8ft wide multi-use path.
Yes Indeed. TriMet might remove bus 43 from SW Corbett to put it on the Sellwood Bridge which means walk / bike access adjacent to the many nearby cemeteries would become more critical. Collins View and South Burlingame meetings are the ones to attend.
* well. maybe for a person very comfortable with riding along a heavy car traffic road, and riding 30 mph downhill, Taylor’s Ferry might not be super bad
Taylor’s Ferry often gets backed up with traffic at the bottom during the evening rush hour. The road narrows close to the bottom and is a single lane in both directions without a shoulder, so there’s no great/safe way around the cars.
I too would like a bike lane on Taylor’s Ferry, but I suspect that the two lane pinch point is the problematic bit.
I tried this when River View was closed and I was very anxious about the cars passing me so quickly and way too damn close. I suppose that my years of cycling on multiuse paths and neighborhood greenways has made me a little less brave than back when I biked in LA.
Same here. I have only had 2 very minor episodes going down Taylor’s Ferry. both times by pickups with wide mirrors trying to knock me off with the mirrors. Broke them both while I was going the speed limit. going up hill I always use Laview.
I want to thank River View cemetery for putting in a way around the gate, but I don’t understand why, it was If the gate is to stop cars, the ‘cyclist’ egress was designed specifically for pedestrians.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that I go out of my way to avoid walking on grass or on gravel in my street shoes, it makes my wife crazy.
I certainly do not want to do it in carbon sole cycling shoes, which cost 4-5 times what my street shoes do. (and no, it wasn’t me)
It’s worth pointing out they could have built the curb in the bike-ped “bypass” at the gate to allow cyclists to not have to dismount. It still could have been made to prohibit motor vehicle access.(including motorcycles if that’s seen as a problem) That was the stated goal right? Why design it to require walking through rocks/gravel? Seems egregious to mandate dismount when it’s completely unnecessary for the gate to operate as we are told here it was intended to.
Based on my observations of the construction over time, it was never designed for bike traffic to go around the gate. Closing the gate is a response to an unforeseen circumstance of drivers using the cemetery as a cut through. I witnessed an employee having to talk to drivers, the other day at 6pm, telling them to turn around and asking them to not cut through. There was a long line of cars and some of them were going a little fast IMHO.
I personally have no issue with dismounting my bike and going around the gate as needed. A small price to pay to have the huge benefit of not having to risk my life riding on Taylors Ferry.
I’m guessing cost?
Well, if anything seals our fate with Riverview, it’s these execrable ‘me first’ comments. I read down with an increasing sense of disbelief. We are NOT entitled to this property, fellow cyclists! They are doing us a solid, of their own free will. A HUGE one. And we should be meticulously mannerly, considerate and grateful in return.
This thread just depresses the hell out of me because it nearly convinces me we’re going to lose this wonderful privilege.
p.s… this (below) sickens and really angers me. I don’t even recognize this city anymore. Seriously–who are these people??? It’s private property! I don’t care if you’ve got a bakfiet or cargo bike! I have an elephant. I don’t expect everyone to accommodate it on their PRIVATE PROPERTY.
“And please do dismount and walk around. Noble said that last week two riders didn’t want to walk in the gravel path around the gate so they, “jerked and yanked on the gate” so hard that it broke the operating system and required a service call that will cost River View several hundred dollars to fix.”
There is a lot of that attitude here on BP and Maus could certainly do a better job discouraging it. We look terrible as a cycling community.
There’s some of that attitude here, but it’s not the norm at all. I don’t know what Jonathan could be doing better. In this cemetery issue, for instance, the several articles he’s written all urge people to behave well.
I suppose he could censor the most selfish/entitled comments (and who knows what he does censor?) but I get the feeling he’s judicious with censoring. I love that, because there’s great value to everyone to see comments of people who think differently. And posting those comments gives others a chance to post countering comments, which they always do.
It also seems that when people post a comment that counters a selfish or entitled comment, they get a lot of “likes”, which is encouraging. Other times, the commenters who seem to have selfish opinions explain them well, showing their logic, and that’s a great learning experience also. None of that would happen on a more “managed” site.
There should be a donation point, a strong steel container like at un-manned campgrounds. All users who benefit from use of the cemetery as a cut through should donate a buck each time. A small price to pay, but would go a long way towards good will.
Some gesture seems useful. Having to register w/ Riverview and get a tag or something, if you’re going to regularly commute through there (as we are, my family and I, and you can bet we’re grateful for it!)–anything that helps them keep track and gives them (and us) tools to deal with scofflaws and those causing problems.
Yes – – this is a great idea, rachel b!
Yes! Please often use the headline “Here’s the deal on…” It works on many topics and is colloquial as a bestie. So friendly!
Here’s the deal on bowties, why they gotta be so complicated!
Thank you to David Noble and River View Cemetery for allowing bicycle access through your property, and for designing a method to keep cars out at the top and bottom while still allowing bicycle access. I’m sorry there are continuing problems with individuals not respecting the space.
Hear, hear. Nicely said, pixie.
if they don’t want cars to cut through then leave all the gates closed except for one…
Is there some reason that would be better than keeping them out by closing all gates?
because people still need to access the site (and most of the those people come in cars).
The fact that they built the gate with cyclist in mind is absolutely fantastic! A warm thank you to them. Do they have any method to collect donations from cyclist to help cover the cost for cycling improvements like that and for fixes things that people damage?
KristinT (above) wrote
“I don’t believe this is a city-designated bicycling route.”
It is a designated bicycling route on
PDX “ByCycle” Portland Bike Map
Portland “SW Bicycling Map”
Metro’s “Bike There” regional bike map
So it’s definitely a city-designated bicycling route.
Perhaps PBOT should add a separate marking type for “privately owned routes” for this, the path along the Willamette from South Waterfront to the Sellwood Bridge, & any others.
It’s also on Google’s bicycle map
As someone who rides the cemetery daily I have definitely noticed an uptick in car traffic over the last 6+ weeks. These people are not visiting graves but using it as a commute route(witnessed long line of cars backed up to the big turn from the bottom gate plus streams of cars coming into the upper gate after 5pm). So I understand the gate. In fact I meant to reach out to Jonathan about this noticeable uptick in car traffic in the cemetery. It has become quite dangerous at times as drivers that are unaware of cyclists using the route try and fly down the small lanes. I would imagine that Google or Waze has discovered this route and is directing folks down it as an alternative to the back up that is occurring of folks trying to get onto the Sellwood bridge.
Also, instead of Taylor’s Ferry being the focus of city improved biking routes I think the greater focus needs to be on the South West side of the river and trying to get a MUP into Lake Oswego with alternatives that would allow cyclists and pedestrians safe access up SW Palatine, Military, and Breyman which would in turn bypass the cemetery and provide similar access to the same areas.
Well, a rails-to-trails project for the rusting trolley line would be great.
to those of you whining about lifting a bike:
lately I’ve noticed a rider on Springwater who has no arms. There is an extension bar to the handlebars and he steers with his chin. I dont know the details of shifting/braking or lifting it , but the point is …. if you are serious about cycling, there are usually solutions/workarounds if you really want to do it.
To those of you whining about driving in thick mud from SE Portland to SW Portland:
Lately I’ve noticed a lady driver in Westmoreland. She uses specially designed grippy white lace gloves to keep her grip on the wheel strong while plowing through our unpaved roads, and hires a common laborer to ride with her in case the car gets stuck and needs to be pushed by a strong man rather than a lady in petticoats. I don’t know about the details of how many times she gets stuck per drive, but the point is… if you are serious about driving, there are solutions/workarounds if you really want to do this.
For those of you who want a safe, convenient, fast way to get from A to B, I recommend the streetcar. Driving is only for those who are SERIOUS.
I have no idea what point you’re trying to make here. Clearly, that no-handed rider would not be able to lift their bike over this curb, so you may have inadvertently proved my point.
REALLY! That guy is a hero.
Anyone who can pull that hill on a cargo bike would easily have the chops to walk the bike over a 4″ curb around the column.
“Just as we designed our upper gate at Palatine Hill Road to accommodate bicycle ingress/egress after the gate was closed to vehicles […]”
I ride this way every day, but I’m not sure what the accommodation for bikes at the top gate is. Is there a secret way in from Palatine? Do the gates not close all the way?
Yes, in years past (haven’t seen it in a while) they only partially closed the top gate and left it about 4-5 feet open in the middle with a metal bar above.
The gates close with a gap in the middle wide enough for bikes, but too narrow for cars. It was an elegant solution and I wonder why it wasn’t applied at the lower gate.
There was previously a chain across the road at the top of the last bit of road before the SR43 gate, but it was broken.
This is no longer used. I can speak for at least the past two weeks around 530am-545am and the top gate is chained tight with no other alternative than bombing Taylor’s Ferry. Can’t speak for the top gate in the evening though.
Once again, I wanted to say thanks to River View for thinking of cyclists and putting in the pathway around the gate. Maybe with my tandem with a tag-along which is towing a trailer might take a few extra minutes to get around it, but that’s fine….
I wish they would have used the well-documented accessibility guidelines for that. Ramps, room to maneuver, I don’t know, a sign indicating what it is?
I worry about a black gate being hard to see at night if the area is poorly lit.
That’s why cars and bikes have LIGHTS. If you can’t see what’s straight ahead of you, you either need to buy a better light, or slow down.
I think this gate is great news. It still allows for bike traffic, while cutting down on car commute traffic.
The only baffling thing is, why is it opened at 6am if it is supposed to prevent auto cut through traffic? It should stay locked until 9am.
I noticed that too. All I can think of is that they don’t feel they have a problem with cut-through traffic entering from that direction in the morning. But if they also open the upper gate early, they’d also have to feel that they don’t have a problem with people heading in from the top and exiting at the bottom in the morning.
Taylors Ferry gets backed up heavily eastbound (downhill) in the evening rush hour, generating lots of cut-through incentive, but I don’t know if it gets backed up going uphill in the morning.
There’s no reason for a car to cut through the cemetery in the AM commute. Traffic is only backed up on the PM commute.
how am i supposed to get my car around this gate?
That’s pretty funny, and would have been even funnier if your name was “prius”.
I would think it isn’t even necessary for the cemetery’s operations to allow any through traffic at all, at any time. Mourners can arrive and leave through the entrances on Boones Ferry and Taylors Ferry. The Macadam entrance could be kept closed all the time.
I’ve always wondered why they kept the Macadam entrance when the bridge was replaced. A lot of effort went into keeping it there, and all it seems to do is create the weird situation of aiming bridge traffic straight into private property. The bridge’s whole, confusing west end could have been greatly simplified if it hadn’t maintained that straight-ahead lane going into the cemetery.
So it seems like there was no advantage to the County/bridge users to keep that cemetery entrance, and any advantage for the cemetery would be outweighed by all the extra traffic (intentional cut-through drivers, or just confused) that it must generate. And of course they could have maintained a bicycle/pedestrian entrance there if they’d wanted, without all the cost and complication of having it set up for vehicles.
“The bad news is it’ll be closed at 4:00 pm from now on.”
From now on is taking some time to arrive. Since the story was published, I’ve exited at the bottom gate every weekday at times varying between 4:30pm and 5:15pm. and the gate has yet to be closed. There are new signs further up the road (just before the last intersection before it’s no more exits until the bottom) that warn cars that the gate closes at 4:00pm, but still no closure. However, last Friday, they did have the chain up at that last intersection so cars could no go further, and there was a steady stream of motor vehicle traffic having to negotiate a tight turn-around in that area.
Yesterday, I had 3 cars follow me down and 9 were already waiting at the light at the cemetery exit.