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Portland parks bureau bans driving in 10 parks

Posted by on March 25th, 2020 at 10:24 am

Council Crest is on the list.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

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:

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— 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.”

***Browse all our coronavirus coverage here.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Alex
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Alex

Would love to see them shut down parking at Forest Park.

Jason
Guest
Jason

Woooo!! Car free Tabor days for … days. Months even. Get those hill laps in! All these great environmental improvements, all it took was the end of the world. Good time to get on the soap box and point out the vast improvements in air quality and lack of road fatalities.

axoplasm
Subscriber

I realized this weekend at my neighborhood park (Sellwood) that the park was full, but I didn’t see any of my neighbors (which is very weird). Then I noticed the overflowing parking lot. Same problem with Forest Park, gorge destinations, beaches etc.

The message we have been getting is “stay home, except for taking a walk outside” when the message we SHOULD be getting is “no unnecessary driving”

Laura
Guest
Laura

Also of note, Oaks Park is closed for all activities, including folks using the area for Springwater Path parking, dog walking (beach acces is locked), CX riding. Gate Guard is only allowing select employees or building tenants in.

Bryan
Guest
Bryan

was up at tabor last week. took the kids up there on bikes. could not get over how many cars were parked up there. could barely ride down the road cars were parked all over the place. was more worried about cars and the kids in tabor then the ride there from woodstock.

z
Guest
z

Wow. Not bad. Thank you Portland Parks Bureau.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Excited about many of these. Was riding out near Kelly Point on Sunday, and the amount of traffic in/out of there was shocking. Most things are terrible right now, but the increased cycling access in the city is a notable silver lining.

Joe
Guest
Joe

Withholding access to people with disabilitys is just another way Portland Parks discriminates and holds back those who would exercise to stay healthy.

Jason McHuff
Guest

Kelley Point Park spelling is wrong (“two e’s please” as I think the book Wild in the City says)

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

We are starting to do this in Minneapolis too. A lot of the paths are getting pretty busy.

https://www.startribune.com/minneapolis-to-close-some-parkways-so-runners-walkers-can-spread-out/569137802/

Jason
Guest
Jason

Middle of the Road Guy
I’m arguing for no vehicles and no bikes, so the handicapable people can have their own freedom without concern Recommended 1

But you said that handicaps could only go to the park one day a week if cars were restricted to one day a week. So, which is it? Handicaps need freedom from cars or handicaps can’t go to the park if they can’t drive?


SilkySlim March 25, 2020 at 12:04 pm
“I’ve always thought they had it flipped for Tabor: should be 6 days blocking cars, 1 allowing them (for accessibility sake).”


Middle of the Road Guy March 25, 2020 at 2:01 pm

“So the disabled can only go one day a week?”