The Portland Parks & Recreation bureau has taken a big step to reduce crowding and help create more distance between people in public spaces.
Effective Thursday morning March 26th gates will be closed at 10 popular local parks. The gates will prevent car and truck drivers from accessing the parks with their vehicles, “to help promote safe social distancing practices and discourage overcrowding.”
“The closure of park road gates will help ensure we maintain a healthy balance of visitors in our parks and natural areas,” says a Parks bureau statement. People using bicycles, their own feet, and other mobility devices, will still be welcome.
Here’s the list of closures:
— Pittock Mansion
— Washington Park (SW Kingston Drive – the road through the park – will be closed; other roads open for Water Bureau project)
— Hoyt Arboretum (Fisher Lane closed)
— Council Crest
— Kelley Point Park
— Sellwood Riverfront Park
— Mt. Tabor Park
— Hillside Park
— Sellwood Park
— Powell Butte (already closed in partnership with the Portland Water Bureau)
Parks says more parks that currently allow motor vehicle access could be closed in the coming days. They also make it clear that all parks, “remain open to those walking, rolling, or strolling.” There’s no end date on the closures at this time.
Several of these parks are very popular cycling destinations and the absence of drivers and their large vehicles is likely to make them even more so.
On Monday PP&R announced that all playgrounds, outdoor sports courts and fields (including basketball courts, skateparks, tennis courts, soccer fields) are closed and “should be avoided” to adhere to Governor Kate Brown’s order to stay home and slow the spread of coronavirus.
Despite narrow sidewalks and bike lanes that make social distancing impossible for vulnerable road users, Portland’s transportation bureau has not reduced driving space on any road. At a press conference yesterday, PBOT Director Chris Warner acknowledged the surge in people biking and walking on our streets and urged people to drive more safely. “Assume every street is a shared street. Watch out for fellow portlanders. Drive safely, especially in our neighborhoods.”
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— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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