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Dangerous parking on Highway 30 puts people’s lives at (even more) risk

Posted by on February 14th, 2018 at 11:55 am

parking on hwy 30 blocks shoulder

A dangerous situation caused by just a few people who park their cars next to a Forest Park entrance.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Highway 30 is a crucial connection for bicycle riders between Portland, Sauvie Island, Forest Park, the West Hills, and beyond.

On a dry weekend it often feels like there are just as many people using bicycles on the road as there are people using cars and trucks. But it’s much more dangerous than it should be.

I could write thousands of words about how the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and the Oregon Department of Transportation (all of whom share ownership/management of different sections) have completely failed to do their job to maintain and design this highway so that it provides an adequate level-of-service for all users.

But today, I want to focus on one specific issue: People who park cars in the shoulder, forcing bicycle riders into a scary merge.


There’s an entry point to Forest Park about a mile north of Linnton where the unpaved Newton and BPA Roads connect to the highway. Because there’s no dedicated space to park a car (it’s not even listed as official trailhead on the City’s Forest Park map), people who drive here simply park right in the shoulder. Their cars force people on bikes to merge into the adjacent lane where car and truck drivers typically go well over 45 mph. There’s a large turnout on the opposite side of the highway with ample space for parking cars — but people typically don’t use that because it requires a game of Frogger to access the trails.

I’ve personally had to deal with this situation myself many times. I’ve also hiked here and watched the scary situation unfold. If I drive here, I always park across the highway and risk the crossing on foot (because, duh, it’s selfish and dangerous to block the shoulder).

I recently posted this to Twitter and found out that other people share my concerns:

@queenleslie1982 – “Every time I ride Hwy 30 it’s a Zenlike experience of contemplating my own death.”

@absurdtriathlon – “Major conflict. Always sucks”

@clarbpdx – “Yes! This is always so terrifying to me.”

@alexawileymusic – “Yes don’t park there!”


Keep in mind that this is a shoulder by definition (not a bike lane), so as per ORS 811.550 (2), it’s legal to park here (I confirmed it with Portland lawyer Charley Gee). Unfortunately — as is very often the case — ORS does not reflect obvious hazards that might occur to bicycle riders who often rely on shoulders as their travel lane. The law should be amended to include a requirement that there must be enough room for shoulder users on bicycles to safely pass without having to merge into other lanes.

This section of Highway 30 is owned and managed by ODOT. I asked them for comment on this story. While a spokesman said, “I can appreciate your concerns,” he also said no one at the agency had ever received any complaints about it. I asked if ODOT would be willing to make a “No Parking” zone at this location and the spokesman said he’d ask around and see if that’s possible (will update the post if/when I hear back).

I also contacted Portland Parks & Recreation about it. They too said it wasn’t on their radar. “My colleagues say they have not received any concerns from the community about safety at this trail access point,” a spokesman replied.

It’s not surprising to me at all that no one has formally complained about this yet. As bicycle riders, we put up with so many stressful things we’d never complete a ride if we always stopped to call or email when we saw a hazard. Even if someone did want to complain, they’d have no idea which agency is in charge.

Does this situation concern you? If so, please consider telling ODOT about it. If we want something to be done (I think a simple “No Parking” zone would fix it), the first step is to make sure it’s flagged internally.

To log your concern, use the ASK ODOT system online or call 1-888-275-6368 x4.

Thanks for caring.

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

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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

  • Clicky Freewheel February 14, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    Keep in mind that this is a shoulder by definition (not a bike lane), so as per ORS 811.550 (2), it’s legal to park here

    Well, there’s your answer. What did you expect? If you’re crazy enough to put yourself in danger by riding on the shoulder of a busy highway without bike lanes, then expect it to be dangerous, or you know, don’t ride a bike on the shoulder of a highway!

    Push ODOT to implement a bike path along the highway or take the 16 bus out to Sauvie Island, but don’t expect accommodations when you’re the one choosing to ride a bike here for entertainment purposes.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 14, 2018 at 12:31 pm

      Thanks Clicky. Yes it’s unfortunate that ODOT hasn’t provided better access for bicycles on Highway 30, given its proximity to the city and to so many places people like to ride.

      And no, I don’t expect it to be dangerous to ride a bike here. It shouldn’t be. It’s only dangerous because the design/maintenance sucks and people drive without consideration for other users.

      And the reason I choose to ride here has absolutely nothing to do with the obligation ODOT has to make the shoulder safe and passable by bicycle users.

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      • Clicky Freewheel February 14, 2018 at 12:52 pm

        Either push for changes or have reasonable expectations. Most sane people would not consider riding a bike on a shoulder of a busy highway to be safe. I’ve ridden on this road once and it was a truly terrifying experience I do not wish to repeat in my lifetime. I have no idea why you “don’t expect it to be dangerous to ride a bike” on the shoulder of Highway 30; based on some of your previous stories, you appear to be a bit of a thrill-seeker, but who knows. Expecting a safe and pleasurable experience on a street designed for fast-moving traffic without bike accommodations is unrealistic; as if the parked cars are the real problem here, and not the fact that you’re riding on a highway shoulder.

        I would absolutely support a campaign to build a bike path alongside the highway, but a safe highway shoulder is a completely self-serving ask: you only wish to solve the problem for the handful of people crazy enough to bike here. Why not ask for something that would accommodate everyone, like a separated bike path?

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 14, 2018 at 1:11 pm

          I’m asking about putting up some no parking signs and enforcing them. That’s pushing for a change and I think it’s quite reasonable.

          And your feelings about who rides here and for what reasons are only your feelings. They are not the reality for everyone. A lot of people bike out to Sauvie — many of them completely sane.

          And this is one post about one specific issue. I’m not trying to launch a big campaign here.

          Please try and focus on the issue instead of focusing on your personal beefs with me. By the way, we’ve never met have we? I don’t think so. So I’m not why you think you understand me or my motives.

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          • I wear many hats February 14, 2018 at 3:09 pm

            I disagree with you here JM, I recently hiked here and parked just as pictured. The only thing more dangerous than riding on HWY 30 is trying to walk across 5 lanes of 65 mph traffic on HWY 30. I don’t ride HWY 30 at all because its incredibly close to high speed traffic. One glance at a text message and its all over for any vulnerable road user. Good luck getting the city to do anything. It will become mired in city bureaucracy only to get shelved by city council if its ever put up for a vote (ORCMP?). A separate bikeway is needed off of street level. Riding HWY 30 is a suicide mission, with or without the occasional parked car.

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            • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 14, 2018 at 3:15 pm

              Yes we disagree here Spencer. And that’s OK! I still like and respect you.

              And I can see your point. I just don’t think someone’s personal choice to use a large vehicle that impedes the safe access of another road user is something that we should accomodate in this specific context. If people want to drive to use these trails, they have options: park across the highway in the turnout, take the bus and walk to the trail, take a Lyft, or access the trails from another trailhead.

              Thanks for the comment.

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        • Ben February 14, 2018 at 1:46 pm

          So people who don’t drive should just, what, never leave the city? Highway 30 is unpleasant, but it’s not particularly dangerous to bike on under normal circumstances.

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        • Jim Calhoon February 14, 2018 at 1:56 pm

          I have been riding bikes for over 50 years and have spent most my life living in St Helens and Scappoose. So I have thousands of miles riding on HW30 and have not felt as unsafe as you make it out to be. It has very wide shoulder and good visibility for both drivers and bike riders. If we all shared your belief that there is no safe place to ride other than protected bikeways or MUP’s no one would be riding. Think about this if people my age stopped riding bikes on roads back in the 70’s the only biking we would have now is Mountain Biking where everyone would be using their motor vehicles to transport their bike to the trails. I understand your fear of riding on city streets its ok, but to call me insane doing what I enjoy is not ok.

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        • q February 14, 2018 at 2:25 pm

          The “unsafe” argument only goes so far given that that shoulder is double the width of many official bike lanes. Anyone can give examples around here of official bike lanes on busy streets or highways (say Beaverton-Hillsdale) where the bike lane narrows to 3′ or so, are littered with gravel, and have vegetation sticking out much of, or all of, the width of the bike lane.

          It’s valid to say Highway 30 has safety problems for biking, but no more so than many others that are official bike routes.

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        • Middle of the Road Guy February 14, 2018 at 2:49 pm

          Of all of the major roads in the area, I feel relatively safe on this one. The shoulders in most cases are quite wide and there is seldom a need to be close to the white line on this road. If anything, my biggest gripe is the cars in the shoulder near Linnton, and the amount of refuse on the shoulder.

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          • mran1984 February 14, 2018 at 11:57 pm

            I hug the white line as much as possible. Why? It’s the cleanest track. The only problem I have with HWY 30 is the obstacles/garbage and rocks from “that place”. Turning left onto Logie Trail can be a bit sketchy during prime commuting hours. The parking doesn’t bother me at all. PLUS, why would anyone take a Lyft when that driver will park in the same spot and not pay any attention when said driver is getting back on HWY 30.

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        • El Biciclero February 14, 2018 at 3:12 pm

          “…you only wish to solve the problem for the handful of people crazy enough to bike here.”

          Maybe you see the irony of the fact that if this problem were solved, then people riding here wouldn’t need to be “crazy enough”.

          Maybe you also see the double standard of considering drivers who come here to park on the shoulder for “recreational purposes” “normal” users of the roadway, but bicyclists who use this segment of roadway as a commuting connection “crazy”. If one needs to use a road, one needs to use a road—why should the roadway itself create such an unbalanced situation where some users feel—and actually are—unsafe?

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      • Spiffy February 14, 2018 at 3:46 pm

        “bicycle riders who often rely on shoulders as their travel lane”

        “obligation ODOT has to make the shoulder safe and passable by bicycle users”

        why do you think ODOT has to make the shoulder safe for bicycle users? isn’t it illegal to operate a vehicle on the shoulder? it doesn’t seem like it’s legal to bike there per ORS…

        ORS 814.430 “Improper use of lanes” says that a bicycle operator has to ride on the right side of a roadway, or other portion of the roadway if the right side isn’t safe…

        ORS 801.450 “Roadway” says that the roadway does not include the shoulder…

        ORS 811.370 “Failure to drive within lane” states that vehicles must remain in the lane…

        what’s the exception/law that allows bicycles to be operated on the shoulder all the time?

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 14, 2018 at 4:02 pm


          there doesn’t need to be a stated exception in ORS in order for bicycle users to have certain legal rights.

          bicycles are absolutely allowed to use highway/freeways shoulders in Oregon — when there is no other alternative route and except on a few sections of freeway in Portland Central City and Medford. Therefore this section of Highway 30 is legal for cycling on. And as such, the agency in charge of the highway has an obligation to make sure it is maintained in a manner that allows for safe operation.

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          • Spiffy February 15, 2018 at 2:52 pm

            “there doesn’t need to be a stated exception in ORS in order for bicycle users to have certain legal rights.”

            why not? there are plenty that already exist, like passing on the right (which doesn’t state you’re allowed to leave the lane if a line exists)…

            I stated 3 examples of ORS that seem to state you can’t bike on the shoulder… what’s your legal defense?

            yes, you can absolutely bike on Hwy 30 legally, in the marked lanes…

            it seems that you think it’s legal but you can’t back that up by citing a law… maybe this question needs to be a Get Legal article?

            bicycles are vehicles and I don’t see where vehicles are allowed to drive on the shoulder…. there seem to be plenty of laws in ORS to reference that disallow this, so if you know of an exception I’d really like to know…

            I’d like to think I’m missing something incredibly obvious in the ORS but I’d like somebody to point it out… and if you’re going to call out ODOT on it I’d really like to know that you are even legally allowed to do what you’re asking of them…

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            • B February 23, 2018 at 8:38 pm

              This was an absolutely fascinating comment branch, thank you for bringing up the idea.

              I know for a fact that (especially in rural and low motor vehicle volume areas) wide paved shoulders are frequently considered to be the bicycle and pedestrian accommodations ranging from AASHTO to NACTO, and certainly ODOT. And ODOT has a general obligation to provide safe travel on all public ways under their jurisdiction.

              That’s why I was so shocked to think that – even if only “technically” – it could be illegal to ride in the shoulder.

              I’d love to hear from someone with an actual legal background about this, but here’s my take: it’s not illegal to drive on a shoulder! Well, not specifically illegal, but I’d bet it could frequently fall under “Careless Driving” (ORS 811.135).

              Here’s how I understand the three ORS sections you mentioned:

              ORS 801.450 “Roadway” defines the word as the portion of a highway that is improved, designed or ordinarily used for vehicular travel, exclusive of the shoulder. That’s paired with…

              ORS 801.480 “Shoulder” means the portion of a highway, whether paved or unpaved, contiguous to the roadway that is primarily for use by pedestrians, for the accommodation of stopped vehicles, for emergency use and for lateral support of base and surface courses. So although shoulders are sometimes considered sufficient bicycle accommodations they are not primarily for bicycle use. This does not exclude access to bikes, since bikes have all the rights as a vehicle (ORS 814.400) they can use the roadway.

              ORS 814.430 “Improper use of lanes” only applies to bikes on the Roadway, so does not apply to riding on the Shoulder.

              ORS 811.370 “Failure to drive within lane” also only relates to operating a vehicle upon a roadway, so it does not apply to operating a vehicle upon a roadway.

              ORS 801.155 “Bicycle Lane” defines that part of the highway, adjacent to the roadway, designated by official signs or markings for use by persons riding bicycles. Therefore a bicycle lane is not part of the Roadway. (not directly relevant to this thread, but I found it interesting.)

              In summary… I don’t see any reason why any vehicle can’t drive on the shoulder. If it’s dangerous, it might be Careless Driving… and there’s certainly no legal obligation on the part of the road authority to provide continuous shoulders.

              That being said, I find it hard to believe that it’s not illegal to drive on the shoulder of the freeway.

              Thanks for reading.

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              • B February 23, 2018 at 8:40 pm

                Darn found a typo already. I meant to say:

                ORS 811.370 “Failure to drive within lane” also only relates to operating a vehicle upon a roadway, so it does not apply to operating a vehicle upon a *Shoulder*.

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    • GlowBoy February 15, 2018 at 10:55 am

      I disagree with the sentiment “don’t ride a bike on the shoulder of a highway!” How else are you going to get to Sauvie Island, Scappoose or St. Helens? Ride up I-5 to Kalama and then parasail across the river? There is no alternate route.

      I also disagree with the thought that Dirty Thirty is that dangerous, at least for most of its distance. What makes it dangerous is a couple of relatively short segments where the shoulder narrows or is taken up by parked cars. Most of the time the shoulder is very wide. I’ve ridden it all the way out to St. Helens and back a couple of times, and didn’t find it that bad. Unpleasant at times, sure, having a mirror to monitor traffic behind me does wonders for my anxiety level.

      And putting this in perspective: I am not a Strong & Fearless cyclist. I would never ride I-84 in the Gorge or most of the Oregon Coast Highway, unlike many riders. US 30 is not the same level of danger as those popular roads. It is never going to be a pleasant cruise through the park like the Springwater (er…?), but a handful of targeted improvements could make it much safer.

      FWIW, I often used to enter the park at the entrance in question, sometimes to bike and sometimes to walk my dog. I always parked over on Marina Way, even though it made it a bit further to get to, and mandated crossing 30 on foot or wheel.

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  • Todd Boulanger February 14, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Has this idea been seriously evaluated yet: Road Diet for OR-30?

    There should be an opportunity for ODoT and the Community to implement a road diet here (and other sections of OR-30, that have even less ADT).

    As of ODoTs 2016 data this section has about 21,900 motorized vehicle per day. So a traditional 3 lane road diet should work well in the long stretches between signalized intersections, thus freeing up space for on-pavement safety enhancements (buffered bike lanes / targeted parking / wider median lane / pedestrian refuge with marked crosswalks / bus stop loading lay-by area). “At best 2” lanes could potentially be removed (1+median+1 layout) or “at worst” 1 lane removed (2+median+1 layout).

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    • Middle of the Road Guy February 14, 2018 at 12:57 pm

      It seems to work pretty well without a road diet already.

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      • rick February 14, 2018 at 1:47 pm

        I rode on highway 30 on labor day last year. A bad crash took place on the highway across from pumpkin ridge and the cars ended up on the shoulder where I had just been riding 5 hours before the crash.

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  • bikeninja February 14, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    Let’s see if I understand this, people using bikes to get somewhere are doing it for entertainment purposes, but those going to pick up cheez-doodles at the mega-mart in their dangerous smog belching automobiles are doing it for productive purposes. I guess everyone knows that fossil fueled transport has sole domain over all parts of the asphalt covered earth and anyone who ventures there not attached to some form of motorized transport has the same status as children playing marbles in the street.

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    • Clicky Freewheel February 14, 2018 at 12:56 pm

      That’s a nice whataboutism there, but this article frames the issue as people riding out in dry weather to Sauvie Island or going on hikes in Forest Park. Seems like entertainment to me. No one in their right mind would rather ride on Highway 30 instead of taking the bus unless they really wanted to.

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      • bikeninja February 14, 2018 at 1:03 pm

        Jonathan’s specific words were. “Highway 30 is a crucial connection for bicycle riders between Portland, Sauvie Island, Forest Park, the West Hills, and beyond.” The automobilista’s parking on the shoulder are certainly recreating but the cyclists could be riding for many crucial reasons.

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      • BradWagon February 14, 2018 at 4:51 pm

        I commute to many bike rides on my bike instead of drive my bike there… very few people ride just out and back on Hwy 30 cause its nice riding, they do it to get to their destinations, like FP or Sauvie. If you see someone riding in an undesirable area, they are most likely also not enjoying it but making an effort to reduce time spent driving with their bike on a rack.

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      • Resopmok February 16, 2018 at 7:57 am

        Why does the context even matter? Public roads are for the benefit of all users in all modes, and if one mode is unsafe because of the roadway design, the design should be altered to make it safe. People drive cars and people walk on public rights-of-way for entertainment, commute, commerce, exercise, and a wide variety of other reasons. The law does not care about context, and even though one was given in this article, it makes no real difference to the argument. This road _should_ be made safer for modes other than automobiles.

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    • Clicky Freewheel February 14, 2018 at 1:01 pm

      Also note the context. This is a rural state highway and a major intercity freight corridor. I would not make this same argument for urban streets like Burnside or Williams, for example.

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  • Tom February 14, 2018 at 12:39 pm

    It’s not an official access point means it’s an illegal access point!. Needs to be fenced off with “no access” sign. Until then, yellow tape with ‘do not cross’ should be put up. If they want to open this access point, it should first undergo a proper review like any other new access point would, preferably with a public input opportunity.

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    • DC February 14, 2018 at 12:54 pm

      The author wrote that it’s not an official trailhead. It IS an official, legal access point. Please reference the trailmap.

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      • I wear many hats February 14, 2018 at 3:12 pm

        Its actually a road, and its degraded so much its the best legal single track in Portland. Ride it, just don’t ask me how to get anywhere once you reach the wildwood, you’ll have to use your imagination.

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        • paul h February 14, 2018 at 4:16 pm

          If you were combining it with, say Firelane 12 or Newton Rd, which would you climb and which would you descend?

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          • I wear many hats February 15, 2018 at 8:00 am

            Newton rd is a great climb, rolling, and punchy. 12 is plain steep. Both are hard climbs, and both feel like you’re alone out there. I haven’t descended Newton but it would be a blast (but it gets some hiking use on weekends so don’t open it up all the way if you descend it. The folks that far north in the park actually like bikers also, unlike the NW Thurman neighbors ;).

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            • paul h February 15, 2018 at 9:44 am

              Thanks for the beta!

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            • GlowBoy February 15, 2018 at 10:59 am

              Funny, my experience is the opposite. Newton is by far the best descent in Forest Park. My approach was always to ride up firelane 12, getting the climbing finished quickly (not as quickly as possible, though: that would be BPA road), then come back down Newton.

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              • I wear many hats February 15, 2018 at 3:16 pm

                I generally descend the ridge and linnton trails but that’s not advised

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  • David February 14, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    “As bicycle riders, we put up with so many stressful things we’d never complete a ride if we always stopped to call or email when we saw a hazard. Even if someone did want to complain, they’d have no idea which agency is in charge.”

    This right here. I see so many things every day that create dangerous conditions. Reporting them takes a few minutes and there are so many (I could easily identify a dozen or two every day) that only the absolute worst hazards get sent in.

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  • eawriste February 14, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    For the $450 million dollars spent on a quarter mile of two lanes of I-5, ODOT can create separated MUPs on almost all major highways in Portland. If they were actually concerned with safety, this would be their priority.

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    • Clicky Freewheel February 14, 2018 at 12:58 pm

      Totally agree, this problem can better be solved with a path alongside the highway, rather than complaining about people legally parking on the shoulder.

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 14, 2018 at 1:07 pm


        This problem could be solved in myriad ways…. But complaining about it and asking for a few “no parking” signs is something that could happen in a matter of days… instead of years — or even decades in the case of the path idea.

        So what should people do in the meantime? Continue to put their lives at risk? Stop biking here?

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        • RH February 14, 2018 at 1:29 pm

          Wouldn’t people just park a few feet in front of the ‘no parking’ signs…essentially just pushing this problem a few feet away from the trail entrance?

          The cars currently are not breaking any laws by parking there. Let’s not turn a molehill into a mountain.

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          • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 14, 2018 at 2:27 pm

            Yes that’s a good point RH. I like Allan’s suggestion of making a wider shoulder here. That would be a bigger lift than a no parking zone though because ODOT would very likely laugh at the idea of narrowing existing lanes… and the cost of cutting into the mountain would not be small.

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        • pdxlady February 14, 2018 at 1:47 pm

          Exactly, there are short-term, interim solutions that would immediately improve the safety and experience of bicycles there that would not take a longer-term solution (a sidepath or expanded shoulder, etc.) off the table. If anything, it might encourage more people to ride that path, helping boost the case for higher cost investment.

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        • GlowBoy February 15, 2018 at 11:00 am

          Yes, it would be solved by a path along the highway. All we need to do is wait 30 years and spend tens of millions of dollars!

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    • Middle of the Road Guy February 14, 2018 at 3:04 pm

      Then people would complain about being so close to the emissions.

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  • Middle of the Road Guy February 14, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    I rode by that this weekend…it was unpleasant, but all I had to do was slow down for a few seconds until there was a safe gap in traffic to get around the parked cars. All in all, not a huge imposition and not unsafe if the cyclist is patient.

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    • Spiffy February 14, 2018 at 3:56 pm

      this is the law of bullies: might makes right… all vulnerable users are forced to wait for the most dangerous ones to finish before they get their turn… this is backwards and should be changed…

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      • Middle of the Road Guy February 14, 2018 at 7:49 pm

        You’re projecting intent onto others when you have zero idea what those people are actually thinking…do you know they are intentionally trying to be bullies?

        Each and every one of them has that intent? They might just be thinking they are parking legally.

        The much simpler conclusion is that they are simply people trying to park their car near a trailhead and were not thinking of anything past that.

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        • Spiffy February 15, 2018 at 3:02 pm

          do you think that all bullies think of themselves as bullies who are doing something incredibly wrong whenever they bully somebody?

          do you think a driver laying on the horn and yelling at you to get out of the way as you’re cycling over a sharrow on a greenway thinks of themselves as a bully?

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          • Middle of the Road Guy February 19, 2018 at 10:38 am

            Do you think a person with a persecution complex can see things in any other context?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 14, 2018 at 4:44 pm

      I agree with you that this isn’t a big deal if people are simply patient… But in the real world people don’t always make the best decisions and they certainly are not patient.

      That’s why ODOT spends millions on things like jersey barriers and caution signs and barricades and reflectors and those long cable barriers between highways… Because — while we’d already be at “Vision Zero” if people were always patient — we can’t simply tell people to be good then sit back and think our work is done.

      Again… flip the script: How would ODOT handle something like this if the place where people drove was blocked in this same way? Why is it that users of bicycles must always be the ones told to “be patient” and be reasonable and be careful — when we make no similar demands (in word or in policies and projects) to users of cars and trucks?

      All I want is safe access to a legal right-of-way. This shouldn’t be controversial at all.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy February 14, 2018 at 8:06 pm

        Jonathan, you just posted this today and as ODOT mentioned, they had heard no complaints about this before. As you know, ODOT is a bureaucracy and things rarely happen overnight. I’m going to use the word “Complaining” (even though it’s not the best fit) that there is not a solution today to something they were not aware of isn’t a reasonable reaction. You may disagree.

        Per your earlier point, an interim solution can be signs (unlikely since it is legal to park on the shoulder) or a wider parking spot (more likely because yay more pavement). However, before either of those things happen the safest thing one can now is to be patient and extra cautious in that area. I can make a decision that directly impacts my safety. I don’t view that as controversial – for me, it is just common sense.

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        • q February 15, 2018 at 12:30 pm

          You’re right, ODOT is a bureaucracy, and they said they hadn’t had other complaints, and people can choose behaviors to keep themselves safer.

          But that doesn’t mean the current system doesn’t deserve criticism. “Bureaucracy” really means a slowly-responding red-tape-burdened system that’s so tied up in rules it can’t respond quickly in a common-sense fashion. That deserves criticism, and some bureaucratic organizations have made improvements, so improvement is possible.

          And I can understand “not having received other complaints” as a reason to overlook extraordinary situations, but this issue (putting a trailhead at the highway, where the only parking is in the same location that bikes use) isn’t extraordinary. Someone among the various agencies involved should have seen it as a problem long ago, without needing the public to point it out.

          And how many times have ODOT or PBOT or Parks staff driven past there over the years without noticing the conflict? Probably lots. But how many times have any of them biked (as part of their jobs) Highway 30 to experience it from a cyclist’s perspective? I’d guess zero.

          So your view is a correct, realistic view of current reality, but it’s equally correct that it’s a compromised system that deserves criticism and needs to be improved.

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        • Spiffy February 15, 2018 at 3:09 pm

          ODOT also said they didn’t know about the dangerous situation that killed Martin Greenough, yet they had signs warning about it on the road…

          it’s not difficult to see these problems all over the highway system if you’re not in a motor vehicle…

          ODOT just chooses to ignore them and cater to the motor vehicle driver instead of the safety of all users of their facilities…

          ODOT knows…

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      • Kyle Banerjee February 15, 2018 at 6:01 am

        Vehicles are asked to be patient. In the Portland area, life is much easier for the impatient cyclist than the impatient driver.

        Like many other cyclists, I pass countless cars going to and from work. When I approach a construction zone or accident scene, I find that I can ride past everyone who’s been waiting in line for a long time — and that flaggers often specifically give me priority.

        I’ve passed many vehicles parked like the ones shown in the picture and have yet to ever have to stop. All a cyclist needs to do is time his or her approach to coincide with gaps in the traffic. There are also techniques cyclists can use to get vehicles to provide more clearance.

        Novice cyclists won’t feel comfortable doing some of these things. But a huge percentage of the roads aren’t accessible to novice drivers either.

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        • Middle of the Road Guy February 15, 2018 at 9:49 am

          The underlying theme I see in many posts on BP is that cyclists should not have to change any of their behaviors to remain safe. Personally, I don’t think that’s realistic and it is certainly not true for automobiles or pedestrians. We are all actors in a system with risk.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty February 15, 2018 at 10:54 am

            Cyclist already have changed their behavior.

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          • q February 19, 2018 at 11:51 am

            Say a tree falls onto a crosswalk in an intersection. To remain safe, everybody–driving, walking or biking–has to change their behavior (to go around it) to remain safe. Everyone expects they’ll have to do that.

            When it’s something less accidental–such as the problem in this article of people parking on the shoulder where people also bike–cyclists will still change their behavior (by riding into the traffic lane to go around the cars). That doesn’t mean they should accept the situation and accept permanently changing their behavior. It’s legitimate to ask for a solution that doesn’t require that behavior change to continue.

            And in this case (as in many) asking for the change could lead to a solution that benefits everybody–no need to ride into traffic for the cyclist, safer parking for the people parking, and no need for people driving to have to slow down or change lanes to accommodate cyclists driving around the cars or people milling around near the lane to get in or out of their cars.

            The same applies to other situations that force drivers or pedestrians to change their behaviors to remain safe or safer. Changing your behavior without asking for improvement to whatever is making you change isn’t nearly as productive as asking for improvement and saying you’re unwilling to accept permanently changing your behavior.

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  • Dave Ross February 14, 2018 at 1:09 pm

    I’ve ridden here and parked here. I don’t think asking people who want to recreate in Forest Park to run across the highway, possibly with small kids, is the answer. It does suck that it’s not safer to ride along Highway 30.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 14, 2018 at 1:12 pm

      Hi Dave, Thanks for the comment.

      I agree with you. But do you think asking people to swerve around your car and merge into highway 30 traffic, possibly with small kids, is the answer?

      And FWIW I have parked on the other side with my 6-year-old. We had to run across the highway holding hands and hoping we’d make it across without dying.

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      • Dave Ross February 14, 2018 at 1:25 pm

        No, agreed, also not the answer. I’d love to be able to ride my cargo bike with kids to Sauvie’s Island (or that trailhead) but don’t feel it is safe.

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    • BradWagon February 14, 2018 at 4:55 pm

      Maybe not everywhere needs to be easy to drive to/park at? There are plenty of better places to access Forest Park with parking or even (crazy thought here!) without a car. This is a very poor place to start a hike with “small kids”.

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  • Allan Rudwick February 14, 2018 at 1:31 pm

    I think my preferred solution would honestly be to make a wide enough shoulder for like 8-10 cars to park there and bikes to get by safely. Accessing the park is an important other goal. Thanks for raising this concern, Jonathan.

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  • Hello, Kitty
    Hello, Kitty February 14, 2018 at 1:46 pm

    Another solution might be to create a small off-street parking spot along the first 20 feet of the trail. I don’t know the topography, but that might be a relatively easy short-term solution. Also, asking people to park with half of their vehicle on the curb would create more space for cyclists to pass.

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    • rick February 15, 2018 at 8:38 am

      The off-road plan calls for a mtb trail that would somewhat parallel highway 30 but in forest park.

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    • Pete February 15, 2018 at 11:43 am

      Just looking at the photo above, it looks like a retaining wall could be put in and the curb moved back to widen the shoulder in that stretch. Instead of suggesting to ODOT that “No Parking” signs be put up, which arguably would indeed push the problem just a little further down the road (and/or effectively ‘close’ the trailhead to the motoring masses), complain that it’s not safe for children visiting the park to get in and out of cars so parked close to the highway, and that adding space could save lives.

      Think of the children!!

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  • Scott Kocher February 14, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Like a lot of people… I have experienced this danger many times, and never reported it. Repeated “reporting” seems necessary even though the problem should be evident to ODOT and Parks. Hopefully asking for “No Parking” signs will address the safety problem in the short term. The other part I would like to see is a connector trail so people can go between that gate at the bottom of Newton/BPA Road and NW Harborton Dr a quarter mile west. The connection would (1) allow people to park and get to Newton/BPA w/o crossing 30, and (2) link up Newton/BPA with Firelane 12 off Harborton. On a related note… we need a similar connector trail between the bottom of Saltzman and lower Firelane 1, which passes within a stone’s throw of Saltzman.
    It’s the same thing there: it doesn’t connect so people have to go on 30 :(.

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    • I wear many hats February 14, 2018 at 3:15 pm

      How far of a connection from FL1 to Saltzman? Why would the Off Road Cycling Master Plan ignore such an obvious trail connection?

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 14, 2018 at 3:19 pm

        I’ll take the liberty to share Scott’s ideas. Here are maps showing the two connections he’d like to see:

        Newton FL12 Connection


        Saltzman FL1 Connection

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        • Spiffy February 15, 2018 at 3:16 pm

          sad and funny that drivers are afraid to walk this half mile along the highway… so they park close to the path not knowing they’re making it scarier for others using the highway…

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      • Alex February 14, 2018 at 5:00 pm

        Why would the Off Road Cycling Master Plan ignore such an obvious connection? They probably didn’t ignore it. It probably got shut by the some vitriolic FP user group in the name of “conservation” (think of the elk!). The simple fact that there is not even a full mile of single track that bikes are allowed on and the fact that we have the lowest miles of single track to people ratio while promoting itself as a “bike” city shows you just where we are at with cycling in this city.

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        • paul h February 15, 2018 at 9:43 am

          I think there’s still time to comment on ORCMP. Did you do so already?

          It was likely missed b/c it was created by humans under with limited time and deadlines. My comments didn’t include a request for such a trail b/c it didn’t occur to me.

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          • I wear many hats February 15, 2018 at 10:05 am

            I commented many times requesting their design team to consider a traversing trail from Thurman Germantown down hill from existing infrastructure. It was ignored by the ORCMP, and then shelved by Nick Fish. Comment a lot, but also donate $$$ to Fish and Fritz if you want to ride in the park. Its obviously pay to play in Portland. It would help if every advocate showed up to the “secret” BAC meetings to influence parks funding. The last one I attended had a man get extra speaking time so that he could schmooze with the board members prior to his official time in which he berated mountain bikers.

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          • Alex February 20, 2018 at 3:28 pm

            Yes, I did. From what I understand, FP is still pretty much off-limits.

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        • I wear many hats February 15, 2018 at 12:08 pm

          Exactly! Unfortunately, those with $$$ have more free time to show up to city meetings mid day during a work week to complain about mountain biking. I am outnumbered every time I show up to voice public comment, and its the same people beating the same drums in front of the same budget advisory groups.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty February 15, 2018 at 1:54 pm

            I’ve never noticed a positive correlation between $$$ and more free time. My friends with the most time are generally unemployed (or are off between paid gigs) and don’t have tons of $$$.

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            • I wear many hats February 15, 2018 at 4:02 pm

              Its a bell curve on the economic spectrum. The one’s beating the “no bikes in the forest drum” live in specific zip codes.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 15, 2018 at 5:58 pm

                I’d be willing to bet that those advocating for mountain bike trails in Forest Park live in specific zip codes as well.

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              • Alex February 20, 2018 at 3:30 pm

                @Hello Kitty – way to obfuscate the issue and ignore the reality of the situation. Have you been to many of the meetings regarding mtbing in the Portland area? RVNA? Single track advisory committee? Metro Planning meetings?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 20, 2018 at 4:21 pm

                I’ve attended some meetings where this issue’s been discussed, and I think I understand it; there are people who want to build trails in the park for their recreation of choice; there are those who don’t want the additional traffic that would bring; there are those who have genuine environmental concerns. Personally, I don’t really care, as long as adding bike trails can be done without degrading the natural environment of the park or overly impacting existing uses. In the end, environmental issues aside, this really seems like one special interest against another, with plenty of misrepresentation and dismissing of other people’s concerns to go around.

                The park is so big I can’t see why a biking loop couldn’t be added in a way that steers well clear of neighboring residents; enter off 30 or something. This seems like such an obvious solution that I must be missing something.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 20, 2018 at 4:32 pm

                I should be clear that the main objection I have in this thread is the “othering” nature of the comments.

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              • Alex February 21, 2018 at 7:48 am

                So my read on your comment is “No, I haven’t been to meetings where mountain biking access was the focus” and the “issue” you seem to “understand” is basically the a) more access b) less access and c) environmental arguments. All of which I don’t think hits the point being talked about – who is for what and how the discussions have went at these meetings. If you were to attend these meetings and listen to the conversations in the hallway, you would note that the groups (a) and (c) are generally the same people and third group these people tend belong to is (d) people who live in the neighborhood who don’t want people parking on their streets. To me, this isn’t just about FP, and as my comment specified, this has to do with MTB access across the city. This is pure NIMBYism. I know you think, based on your previous comments, that you think mtbers act entitled, but I don’t think that is true. I feel you are seeing years of frustration of very conservation minded people who are living in a “bikey” city, being told they can’t ride their bikes in a public space for unknown environmental reasons or for other more subjective reasons that can and have been dealt with in a healthy way in other metro areas. Portland has less singletrack to people than basically any other city of its size. It also has a higher park to people ratio than basically any other city of its size. It’s completely frustrating to have the rug pulled out from you over and over again. It’s almost like thinking that Charlie Brown thinks he is entitled because he thinks he should be able to kick that football Lucy is holding for him.

                While I appreciate that you think a “loop” could be added without impact to neighboring residences, I don’t think that is the main issue. Some people view the park as “theirs” and they are the ones who should be (and have been) dictating the usage of the parks (not just FP, it is a much larger issue).

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty February 21, 2018 at 10:37 am

                Your group d is my group b. I have to say your comment has confused me. I thought the issue was people wanting MTB access in FP, and neighbors not wanting mountain bikers in their back yard (a problem for which I think there’s a solution), but you are suggesting the issue is really much larger, about control over parks in general.

                Who do you think should control the parks? Or should there be no controls? And why do you frame this larger issue so narrowly and tie it to MTBs? There are plenty of other potential allies who would use the parks in ways currently not allowed.

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              • Alex February 21, 2018 at 1:45 pm

                I am making a distinction that you seem to miss. Also, if you re-read my comment, you will notice that I specifically point out a larger problem that has to do with not only to do with FP, but the larger process as a whole – and one that challenges more than just MTB access.

                If you look at the Off-road master plan, parks doesn’t have control over it – it was basically removed from Fritz because she has treated bikes horribly (RVNA). The problem is very political in nature and it seems like there are some nuances that go over your head.

                I am not going to drag this on any longer or beat a dead horse, just thought I would point out it seems like you are missing some pieces to the puzzle.

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    • GlowBoy February 15, 2018 at 11:03 am

      Firelane 4 comes within a stone’s throw of Saltzman. I don’t think Firelane 1 comes within a mile of Saltzman.

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      • GlowBoy February 15, 2018 at 11:06 am

        Oops, hadn’t looked at the map when I made that comment. I hadn’t realized FL1 came so close to Saltzman, though it makes sense. Pretty steep terrain there, though. The distance might be short, but if memory serves the firelane might be as much as a couple hundred feet above the switchback on Saltzman.

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  • Josh G February 14, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    If ODOT has never heard of any complaints about this location before, than it must not be a problem.

    Wait, what? Does the current report/complaint to ODOT not count as a report?

    Is the quantity of reports received the deciding factor in determining in the validity of a problem? If there is a single report, and the report is accurate about a serious problem, than it should be taken seriously.

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  • Josh G February 14, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    Sent ODOT a polite message about the issue.

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  • Danny February 14, 2018 at 3:31 pm

    I like the idea of a no parking zone to keep people from parking in a manner that forces riders onto the highway; I think such action would protect many more people (on bikes) than would be put in danger from crossing the road on foot or even or prevented from using this access to Forest Park. At the same time, I always feel very insecure riding on Hwy 30, and I’ve read too many articles about riders being killed there, so I mostly avoid it.

    I think now is a good time to start advocating for a separate bike path or similarly separated facility for cyclists along Hwy 30– talk about a major economic boost for Linnton, Scappoose, and St. Helens!

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    • rick February 15, 2018 at 8:36 am

      The Southwest in Motion plan from PBOT (check online comment form for this month) calls for a mountain bike trail that would be somewhat near the edge of Forest Park so it would have minor hills. It would be an alternate for Highway 30.

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  • Pat Lowell February 14, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    Can’t they just close off this access point? There are so many other ways to get into Forest Park, and so many other problems to solve all across the city, it just doesn’t seem worth putting effort/time/money into trying to salvage this unsafe trailhead.

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    • GlowBoy February 15, 2018 at 11:07 am

      Close off this access point? That’s one of the best parts of the park!

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  • Art Fuldodger February 14, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    Why is there any parking allowed on this shoulder, from Linnton all the way back south to St Helens Rd.? That’s prioritizing the convenience of the few over the safety of the many – just check out the steady stream of cyclists on any decent-weather weekend.

    Just put down an 8″ line, add a few bike symbols and no parking signs, and it’s an (enforceable) bike lane.

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  • mark smith February 15, 2018 at 5:12 am

    Wow, look how even bike folks defend the car. So, why is there a highway for cars spanning 50 feet or more bit not 12 feet for people?

    Why is there suddenly so much bike lash on here against good ideas?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

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    • rick February 15, 2018 at 8:37 am

      The Southwest in Motion plan from PBOT (check online comment form for this month) calls for a mountain bike trail that would be somewhat near the edge of Forest Park so it would have minor hills. It would be an alternate for Highway 30.

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      • rick February 15, 2018 at 8:39 am

        sorry, it is the off-road plan under review

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty February 15, 2018 at 11:47 am

      “Bike people” and drivers are not two distinct populations. This is not “us” vs. “them”.

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      • mark smith February 15, 2018 at 4:16 pm

        Wolf in sheep’s clothing

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  • Steve Scarich February 15, 2018 at 9:12 am

    The funny thing is that in the picture for the article, there is plenty of room for a cyclist to pass, without even entering the lane. The only danger would be getting doored, and you can easily see through the rear window if someone is in the driver’s seat.

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    • Dan A February 15, 2018 at 12:07 pm

      That’s not a fool-proof plan to avoid getting doored. And if you get doored here, you are likely to die. I would pass with a 5 or 6 foot cushion, which puts you in the car lane.

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  • rh February 15, 2018 at 9:32 am

    This discussion is like ” I used to be able to cycle happily on my neighborhood street…now cars are parked all along the sides of it because of the apartments with no parking…we should put up no parking signs so I can cycle without interruption and safer….those evil cars [fist shaking]”

    The flip side is…”I love biking down Interstate Ave…but the bike lane randomly disappears because of cars parked there and I get tossed into the auto lane….why on earth is it designed like that??!”

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  • Gary February 15, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    On the subject of a path or wider shoulder. Why is the center lane needed here? Restripe it to a 2 ft buffer for this stretch, preserve 2 traffic lanes, make the shoulder wide enough to stripe parking spots and a path. Some paint and a few signs, no retaining walls, no concrete, no asphalt. Done.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty February 20, 2018 at 4:31 pm

      I should be clear that the main objection I have in this thread is the “othering” nature of the comments.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty February 20, 2018 at 4:32 pm


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