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Do cyclists need shade to keep cool?

Subscriber Post by Doug Klotz on June 19th, 2018 at 11:10 am

At the Sullivan’s Crossing open house, a staffer explained that the planters at the south end “plaza” can’t have any trees in them, since the leaves would be slippery when wet. I know in the summer I ride specifically on streets with shade trees to keep cooler. Am I doing it wrong? Shouldn’t bikes be routed away from shade trees? Or, should we plant conifers, so no falling leaves (mostly)?

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13 thoughts on “Do cyclists need shade to keep cool?”

  1. Avatar Ben Schonberger says:

    That answer is absurd. Trees and bikes can co-exist.

    1. Avatar Doug Klotz says:

      And, they plan to put tree-shaped metal sculptures/light fixtures in the planters instead. Nothing that would cast any shade.

  2. Avatar maxD says:

    This is so frustrating! There are so many great trees for this spot. Broadleaf evergreen oaks, for example, lose a few leaves at a time sporadically throughout the year. Many are extremely drought tolerant and deep rooted, too, so they do not disturb adjacent pavement. The leaves that do fall are dry and thick and not slippery. Some conifers like Incense Cedar would also be a great option. I am pretty disappointed in the bridgehead treatment overall. The bridge design is very self-conscious expression of an engineering solution- not bad in its own right, but lacking in historic context, experiential design, or placemaking elements. The bridgeheads seem like transportation afterthoughts. They could be landmarks in their own right, as well as meeting spots, and viewpoints (much quieter and less stinky than on the bridge). This is clearly being run by engineers who don’t know what they don’t know.

  3. Avatar J_R says:

    Conifers drop needles. I find some of my most difficult stretches of bike lane are those with needles blocking the entire lane due to being swept along by water in the gutter.

    The real problem is the City of Portland’s acquiescence or even encouragement for dumping leaves in the street during the fall for “leaf districts.” At the very least, the city should actively discourage (and even cite) homeowners for blowing leaves into the street more than 48 hours in advance of leaf pick up days.

    1. Avatar Dan A says:

      Are you a homeowner with a leaf problem? I find that at that time of year there are very few good days for blowing leaves. It is usually raining, and sometimes raining heavily. You really have to rake/blow whenever you get the chance to. I typically have 8-10 hours worth of leaf raking/blowing to do every fall.

      1. Avatar Johnny Bye Carter says:

        We shouldn’t be blowing them at all, we should be using a rake. They’re a lot easier to control when they’re wet and don’t keep blowing away. I think if we can bike in the rain we can rake leaves in the rain.

        1. Avatar Dan A says:

          For me, it depends on the leaves. Our old house had a tree with really small leaves that were pretty much impossible to rake (they would go right through the tines). I had to blow them into piles and then shovel them up.

          But generally, I do prefer to rake. It’s more zen.

  4. Avatar maxD says:

    I truly hate the City’s policy of having people store leaves in the street. It is a messy, dirty mess that sits in the road for weeks or months. I have a LOT of trees, and I put my leaves in the green bins. Forget the blower, just get a rake and some gloves and scoop them up.

    1. Avatar Dan A says:

      When I lived in a neighborhood that didn’t have street leaf collection, it would take me almost the entire year to get rid of them using the single green waste bin. I had a massive pile on the side of the house that I had to shovel from every two weeks.

      1. Avatar Johnny Bye Carter says:

        I have to do the same thing with apples. Due to the weight limit on green waste bins I had to start a compost pile just for the apples that drop every 2 years.

  5. Avatar John Liu says:

    I cannot come close to getting rid of my leaves using my green bin. Way too many leaves from my street trees. Nor can I rake/blow/sweep my leaves only on the day before leaf pickup, as the leaves are soggy and unmanageable by then. Instead, I pile my leaves in the street near the curb, and rake/sweep leaves from the bike path in front of my house.

  6. Avatar Johnny Bye Carter says:

    You seem to be confusing seasons. I doubt the leaves are slippery and wet when you’re riding in the shade during the summer.

    The problem it’s the leaves so much as it is the small amount of space we have to bike on the streets. An exception being separated cycle paths like the one on SW Broadway that fills up with slippery leaves.

    Usually we can bike in the lane where no slippery leaves remain. It’s only when we’re pushed to the sides by mandatory sidepath laws and aggressive drivers that the leaves become a problem.

    I suppose our over-litigious society is also to blame. The maintenance of trees is one reason that so many planting strips have been paved over by businesses leaving you to swelter walking along the business district.

  7. Avatar Johnny Bye Carter says:

    Betteridge’s law of headlines says the answer is no. However, the past couple weeks I’ve intentionally taken circuitous routes with more shade rather than an easy direct route. So yes, we’d like some shade, but it’s not required.

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