Closer look at new carfree path through Rose City Golf Course

A runner takes advantage of the new path. View is looking north onto NE 72nd Drive from NE Tillamook. (Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)
PBOT graphic.

After its first iteration was destroyed by driving advocates, the newly hardened carfree path through Rose City Golf Course (built as a key section of the 70s Neighborhood Greenway project) has survived for a few weeks. Given that it’s now made of concrete poured onto the ground and in the form of multi-ton barriers, it would take a mighty effort to remove it.

I took a closer look at the project yesterday and experienced the anger some folks in the neighborhood feel about the project first-hand.

While I was standing in the golf course parking lot taking video and photos, a full-sized Chevy pickup rumbled toward me (you can see the truck in a photo in the gallery below). I ignored it at first, then a window came down and I heard yelling in my direction. I bent over and peered into the rolled-down passenger-side window to pay attention to what an older mas was saying to me. I felt his anger and hatred immediately — even though we exchanged no small talk. He didn’t ask me any questions or try to understand what I was doing out there. He just went right into tirade-mode: “You have nothing better to do with your time than film people going up this hill?!! You’re a bike Nazi! I bet you got beat up in high school!” It was all so random and strange, yet I understood exactly what was going on (I’m well-aware how our society has become tremendously tribalist and divided). I actually felt bad for the guy. I barely replied. Just looked at him with a shocked face. “I’m just documenting the infrastructure!” I replied. “The infrastructure? Yeah it’s really messing things up for everyone who lives up on the hill! I’m glad you got beat up in high school! You bike Nazi!!”

Looking northeast from golf course parking lot. I didn’t realize it at the time, but inside that truck is the dude who yelled at me.

This man — who’s probably someone’s loving grandpa, friend, and well-loved community member in other circles; yet has nothing but blind hate for a middle-aged stranger in a puffy jacket standing in a parking lot doing his job (note that I didn’t film at all) — then sped away, squealing his back tires and recklessly exiting the parking lot of the Rose City Golf Course.

This is now the city we live in. Where PBOT does a project to establish a safe street that requires drivers to alter their routes and some people get so mad they destroy the infrastructure, scrawl “F*** PBOT” graffiti nearby, and then verbally assault someone they don’t know. Sigh. And no, I didn’t get it on video because it could have escalated the situation and I didn’t want the man to feel antagonized. As it was, if he ever reflects back on that moment, I hope he recalls that I was absolutely shocked at his behavior and that I was calm and nice to him in response.

OK, back to the project…

As I shared last month, the new installation includes three Jersey barriers: one to block drivers from exiting the golf course parking lot, and two to block drivers from going north on NE 72nd Drive from NE Tillamook. There are also four long sections of low-profile concrete curbs and two speed bumps. Unfortunately, because it’s still physically and geometrically possible for a driver to fit their car into the northbound lane, many people still drive north (see video below). It’s truly astounding how otherwise upstanding people will choose to blatantly disregard laws meant to protect people just for their convenience. We should never normalize that!

I was only there for a few minutes and saw one driver exit the golf course parking lot through the enter-only lane, then drive north — in the wrong way in the southbound lane (video below). I also talked to a bike rider who said he uses this stretch of 72nd Drive often and says drivers still drive north. I also noticed deep tire tracks in a planted median that separates the parking lot from NE 72nd Drive. It’s clear people are driving northbound from the lot, then crossing over a gap in the concrete curbs as soon as possible. It appears that the Portland Bureau of Transportation will have to install a continuous barrier along the entire easternmost lane of NE 72nd through the golf course if we want to keep drivers out of the carfree path.

This driver is disobeying signage and barricades to drive the wrong way through Rose City Golf Course.

There is also standard and ample signage that makes it clear no turns are allowed onto the northbound lane that the lane is closed to drivers, and so on. But alas, like many other locations throughout Portland, the only way to stop some drivers from breaking the law is to make it geometrically impossible and/or to have a conspicuous law enforcement presence 24/7. It’s pretty sad that so many drivers behave like entitled little toddlers and we have to essentially baby-proof our infrastructure to make sure they don’t hurt themselves or others. Grow up people! Life in a city requires you to defer your selfishness and sense of entitlement to others so that we can all exist safely.

I didn’t want to make this an op-ed, but folks leave me no choice. Back to the project itself…

The good news is that the current design is a huge step above what was there initially. I saw many people out walking and jogging, and it was a dreary, cold, drizzly night. When the sun comes out, this new path will be poppin’! I hope we don’t have to rely on human traffic to reinforce the rules for drivers and that either PBOT returns to make it even more robust and/or these miscreant drivers exchange their pettiness for precaution and find a different way around.

Maybe we should plan some events to activate the new path even more. Let’s set up a temporary mini-golf course in the street!

Have you used this yet by bike, on foot, or in your car? Let us know how it’s working — or not — for you.


Video below posted to our Instagram today:

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Doug Hecker
Doug Hecker
1 month ago

You can report bad Uber/ lift drivers here. https://www.portland.gov/transportation/regulatory/private-hire/pfht-complaint

I’m not sure it does anything but we are the city that works (after many complaints are logged).

Doug Hecker
Doug Hecker
1 month ago

Looks like there is a Uber sticker above the driver side windshield. Maybe it isn’t?

dw
dw
1 month ago
Reply to  Doug Hecker

Yo thanks for sharing this. I’m gonna report the rideshare/food delivery drivers that constantly block the bus lane and bike lane on E Burnside.

idlebytes
idlebytes
1 month ago

“You have nothing better to do with your time than film people going up this hill?!!

So he was going to go up the hill but then thought better of it because you might film him. Don’t they realize PBOT will shutdown the whole street to drivers if they keep this up? Hopefully it won’t come to that and things will largely calm down like the contentious diverters on Clinton and Ankeny. Interestingly enough during my years of nearly daily biking on Lincoln I’ve only seen three people circumvent the diverters. One each at 20th, 30th and 39th.

This is now the city we live in. Where PBOT does a project to establish a safe street that requires drivers to alter their routes and some people get so mad they destroy the infrastructure, scrawl “F*** PBOT” graffiti nearby, and then verbally assault someone they don’t know.

I don’t think this is anything new. Any project that slightly inconveniences people generates some ire. Going back all the way to 2007 I remember the Tillamook bicycle boulevard pissing a driver off so much they they purposefully close passed me all so the could wait behind the huge line of cars in front of Grant.He had some words for me as I passed him. Something about wasting money and taxes you know the usual. Mind you the money wasted was for some very small road markings and signs for wayfinding. The inconvenience in this case was that cyclists were directed to “his” road.

Damien
Damien
1 month ago
Reply to  idlebytes

Don’t they realize PBOT will shutdown the whole street to drivers if they keep this up?

Don’t threaten me with a good time!

bjorn
bjorn
1 month ago

It is interesting to me that one of the complaints people have is the barriers don’t look nice but we may end up with way more of them than would be needed because of scofflaw drivers off-roading in the park. I had hoped once installed that things would calm down but due to a small number of neighbors continuing to try and whip people into a frenzy and implying that these dangerous behaviors are a form of protest that could successfully undo the improvements I think we have reached the point where enforcement is needed. Driving the wrong way on a one way street is a class B traffic violation with a 285 dollar presumptive fine, it seems like a situation where a few enforcement actions would pay for themselves and likely help end the problem.

Doug Hecker
Doug Hecker
1 month ago
Reply to  bjorn

This project is getting a gate in a few months.

bjorn
bjorn
1 month ago

I wonder if the city would also consider installing some one way traffic spikes on the southbound lane where the barrier is located. You know the ones that usually have a sign that says “severe tire damage”. It is ridiculous but it seems like that kind of infrastructure is going to be needed based on multiple violations just during the short period of time you were there taking photographs.

Fred
Fred
1 month ago
Reply to  bjorn

Yep – that’s exactly the kind of design affordance this situation requires, though I’ve never seen those spikes on a public street. Could be a liability concern – you know, lawyers.

Michael
Michael
1 month ago
Reply to  bjorn

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to run my bike over one-way spike strip, especially if I’m going the “wrong way!”

If this behavior doesn’t calm down soon, I can really see PBOT and Parks & Rec going nuclear and just ceding the road to the park to make it a pedestrian and bicycle only path in the middle of the golf course. That would be my preferred alternative in a wonky transportation network sense (the current semi-one-way setup is a weird compromise), but the divisiveness in the community is really sad to see, and I’d like to see de-escalation and rebuilding unity.

MontyP
MontyP
1 month ago

Oh wow, is that a gate like in a parking garage/lot with an arm that raises? I like the idea of that, or how about one-way tire spikes that shred the tires of any violators? I _really_ like the idea of a locking gate that just closes this whole street down to motor vehicles forever!

bjorn
bjorn
1 month ago
Reply to  MontyP

I think the gate is likely to replace the barricade on the north bound side. There is a maintenance yard about halfway up the road to the bluff and one of the very few reasonable concerns I have heard around the closure is that it might mean that trucks going to the yard to deliver sand or gravel or whatever would have to detour through the neighborhood, although that always seemed like a red herring as it seemed like a problem with a variety of solutions. Obviously no one is worried about a careful delivery driver being let through the gate to carefully access the maintenance yard occasionally, the closure is due to the excessive number of motor vehicles and the speeding.

Joel
Joel
1 month ago

Any notes on the signage leading up to the intersection- warning people. The traffic cones do make it look like something more will happen or that this is in progress. I do like to bike through on the street

David Raboin
David Raboin
1 month ago

Haters gonna hate. My wife and I walked our dogs on the newly closed stretch of road two Saturdays ago. Despite the rain, wind, and cold there were a lot of other people out enjoying the new path with us. This new treatment is an improvement for most. I’m excited to see the new paths that the city has planned for the perimeter of the golf course.

Fred
Fred
1 month ago
Reply to  David Raboin

It really is kinda crazy that people other than golfers and drivers should be able to enjoy the golf course.

Barbara
Barbara
1 month ago
Reply to  David Raboin

Path. What path? One just walks on the road not necessarily enjoyable. The muddy path next to the road is unusable for anyone with walking on unstable ground. Would be nice if the added separate addition lines going north south for walkers & bicyles.
Still need some reasonable way for the pickup trucks to get to the maitenance yards to the north of the current closure. As it is now they have to use it the wrong way and t hen others see that a figure they can do the same

Steven
Steven
1 month ago
Reply to  Barbara

I assume parks department vehicles are allowed to use the multi-use path, just as they do on every other MUP in the city. Do you have evidence of maintenance workers driving the wrong way in the southbound lane?

MontyP
MontyP
1 month ago

It’s been somewhat amazing watching this unfold on varied forums. Some local neighbors think it’s the worst thing ever. Others don’t like it, but understand why it’s being done, and are ok with it, and open to the change. Other people love it and have been waiting for the change for years.

Oddly it’s the older crowd that is the most vocal and opposed, and will often reference some halcyon days of when they biked around Portland 30+ years ago, and then based on that they will state that they have no idea why this now needs to be closed to cars.

“I bet/I’m glad you got beat up in high school” is some kind of strange boomer insult, I guess?

I’m hoping PBOT comes through this spring with lane markings and maybe a whole line of flexposts or similar to make this closure even more clear. A line of posts and cable along the golf course parking lot would further restrict the ease of cutting around the barriers.

Stephen Scarich
Stephen Scarich
1 month ago

I’m a boomer; your comments generalizing about my generation are annoying and unnecessary. Why continue to divide us by generation, when in another breath you sigh about our divided society? You are being very hypocritical.

bjorn
bjorn
1 month ago

Hey Stephen,

I am sorry that it is upsetting to you but having followed the backlash to this project on several neighborhood social media sites it is almost uniformly led by boomers and so it isn’t surprising that folks have noticed that. I haven’t seen anyone under 50 saying something like the quote I will post at the end of this comment, which is an actual reply from a woman in her mid 70’s to a post about the initial vandalism done to the project. The vitriol, hysteria and intimidation all seems to be coming from one age group, I am sure not everyone of that age feels the same way but all the folks who do seem to be of one demo. The person clearly identified herself as a boomer and the post starts with what is a common slight to black leaders in the city, agree with them or don’t but intentionally misspelling their names is a tell, and then the quote well it just goes dog whistling along from there.

“Obviously Mengus Mapps did not meet with the neighbor hood community about this. I have lived in this community for 72 years, and travel this road weekly. If this is closed to cars, the only way to get to up the ridge is, heading east on Tillamook and turning north on 82nd and west on Sisikyou then meandering through neighborhoods to get to Sacramento or Alameda. Anyone who lives in this neighborhood knows It is very dangerous to turn west on Tillamook at 72nd which would take you directly by the Ellington Apartments (at 67th and city owned) these apartments are GANG invested with weekly shooting or police activity. If the city wanted to close a street to bikes or walkers, it should have been 61st. Little or no traffic there. Even if the city does put a cement barrier up here, those that have traveled this road all their life will just go around it. There definitely are not enough police to enforce this silliness.
Don’t fix what ain’t broken!”

Fred
Fred
1 month ago
Reply to  bjorn

If gangs are now investing in apartment complexes, I want to know how I can buy in. 😉

But seriously, I am boomer-adjacent and I think boomers are a diverse bunch: there are just as many a-holes in the boomer generation as in any other. But I will say this: many boomers have had a very easy road – free college, plentiful jobs, affordable housing, etc. It hasn’t been easy for everyone, like the men who died in Vietnam. But if you look at how good most boomers have had it, you can see how many of them have built up a huge reservoir of entitlement. Being able to drive everywhere is a hallmark of this sense of entitlement, though I would say other generations – not just boomers – have bought into the same idea.

SolarEclipse
SolarEclipse
1 month ago
Reply to  Fred

I’m a boomer.
I worked my way through college, and worked crap jobs before I was able to get some good ones. Housing was only affordable because a kind relative offered us the down payment (which I later paid back). Had cousins that fought in Vietnam. Fortunately, none died there, only after in accidents.
Entitlement? Hmmm, the ONLY thing I want be entitled to in this bleeping town is being able to walk freely and openly and safely. And yes I drive, but I would NEVER EVER threaten someone. I might cuss under my breath at some a-hole, but that’s as violent as I get.
For the past two weeks on my walk to my work I’ve had to go into the street (downtown, in traffic) because the sidewalk is blocked by a couple campers. Really, after all these years of the hollow promises of our politicians we still enable people to live in miserable conditions.
Boggles the mind, boomer or not.

Steven
Steven
1 month ago
Reply to  bjorn

Gotta love the complaint about “police activity” right before they signal their own intent to defy the police and the law.

Of course PBOT did meet with the neighborhood community about this project, whose planning goes all the way back to 2018, just like literally every other street redesign they do. The Roseway Neighborhood Association even lists “Public opportunities for city staff to communicate with us about neighborhood projects like […] Connecting Cully/72nd Avenue Transportation Project” under “2019 Successes” on their website: https://roseway.org/about

Steven
Steven
1 month ago
Reply to  Steven

Never mind, I was confusing the sadly downgraded Cully Connector with 72nd Drive. The golf course is actually in Madison South, despite some residents of Roseway apparently thinking it’s their personal backyard.

Madison South Neighborhood Association did have a meeting in December with a PBOT representative to talk specifically about this project: https://www.facebook.com/groups/125027987552528/permalink/7316223015099620/?mibextid=l2hJJHjNVOBSwHk4

Steven
Steven
1 month ago
Reply to  Steven

Whoops again, the chair of the Roseway Neighborhood Association commented on an earlier post to say that PBOT did present this plan to the neighborhood, and that attendees were generally supportive: https://bikeportland.org/2023/09/20/citing-neighborhood-pushback-city-pauses-key-piece-of-70s-greenway-project-379578#comment-7506233

Leann
Leann
1 month ago

I don’t doubt that some boomers are against this. I just want to chime in that I’m a boomer and fully support this road treatment.

Chris I
Chris I
1 month ago
Reply to  MontyP

The words of someone who peaked in High School. The truck says everything you need to know about him.

EV enthusiast
EV enthusiast
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris I

It’s possible to discuss this person’s aggressive and demeaning interaction with Mr. Maus without disparaging people with different levels of educational-attainment — a common surrogate for “class status”.

Ray
Ray
1 month ago
Reply to  EV enthusiast

The phrase “peaked in high school” isn’t typically used to denigrate people’s educational level, rather their maturity level.

I’ve known many who peaked in high school and also hold Bachelor’s, or even higher, degrees.

jakeco969
jakeco969
1 month ago
Reply to  EV enthusiast

Someone could have peaked in High School and still gone on to College and indeed I have met many people like that. Whatever dog whistle you thought you heard about class status was too quiet for anyone else to hear.
I liked your previous personas a lot better.

Chris I
Chris I
1 month ago
Reply to  EV enthusiast

There are many doctors who peaked in high school.

Will
Will
1 month ago
Reply to  Chris I

Lots of folks with doctorates who peaked there as well.

Steven
Steven
1 month ago
Reply to  MontyP

Just ask the folks who remember biking 30+ years ago why they stopped. The answer might reveal exactly why we need more protected infrastructure.

Matt
Matt
1 month ago

I imagine that continued hostility from even a vocal minority of drivers and hostile behavior by any number of drivers breaking the rules of the road (and, essentially, common decency) by driving north might dissuade some folks from utilizing this exciting new segment for bike riders and pedestrians alike.

So, I think it would be nice to organize a regular neighborhood walk of this stretch.

I’m not connected with social media, so I’m not sure the best way to get this started. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Damien
Damien
1 month ago

This man — who’s probably someone’s loving grandpa, friend, and well-loved community member in other circles; yet has nothing but blind hate for a middle-aged stranger…

Maybe. And if so, just a reminder that driving and sociopathy go hand-in-hand: https://osf.io/preprints/psyarxiv/egnmj

Jeremy
Jeremy
1 month ago

I have owned a house on top of the hill since 2008 and have driven north on this section of 72nd as my route home when getting off I84. I occasionally would ride my bike downhill, but never uphill due to the fear of idiots in their cars. I’m glad it is partially closed, and wish it was closed entirely to vehicle traffic to make it safer for my neighbors and me to ride our bikes in and around this nature-y area. As a driver, I have had to adjust my route. It’s do-able and not something that should illicit such behavior!

EEE
EEE
1 month ago

So much hate and struggle against downzoning. Not surprising at all.

Joseph E
Joseph E
1 month ago

I’ve seen 2 to 4 people walking or running on the newly car-free side every time I’ve gone this way (usually at 7:15 am or 6:00pm) in the past couple of weeks. While it is beneficial for bikes, it’s transformational for people walking to have a paved, flat route instead of being pushed onto the muddy shoulders.

Chris I
Chris I
1 month ago

This man — who’s probably someone’s loving grandpa, friend, and well-loved community member in other circles

Eh, I doubt it.

And that lowered 2017-ish Silverado is very easy to spot. Perfect example of a truck that has never worked a day in its life.

Steven
Steven
1 month ago

Traffic reduction efforts in London and even bike-friendly Amsterdam still attract lots of angry protests and accusations of “bullying” motorists. Portland is hardly unique here. As ever, when you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.

Steven
Steven
1 month ago
Reply to  Steven

To clarify, it’s motorists who say they are being bullied, not the other way around: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/jul/09/amsterdam-split-low-traffic-roads

Fred
Fred
1 month ago

It appears that the Portland Bureau of Transportation will have to install a continuous barrier along the entire easternmost lane of NE 72nd through the golf course if we want to keep drivers out of the carfree path.

Well duh. (Not Duh, JM but Duh, PBOT.)

It all goes back to design affordances: whatever your design affords determines how it will be used.

As for people driving the wrong way, does PPB have any time to stake out this route and write some tickets? Or the park rangers?

Sorry you were verbally abused by the loser in the pickup truck, JM, but remember that’s probably why he bought the pickup – so he could behave aggressively toward others and feel safe while doing it.

In my many years and thousands of hours biking, walking, running, and hiking on the roads, 95% of the idiots I encounter are driving pickup trucks. Yes, there are many nice people who drive pickups, but when I do encounter an idiot, he (yes, it’s a “he” 95% of the time also) is driving a pickup.

dw
dw
1 month ago

So, a few years ago I used to commute from East County to the N Tabor area using a combo of bike and MAX. I would get off at NE 60th and ride about a mile, usually taking Everett after I got off the MAX. I usually just rode on the sidewalk until I got to the greenway, but one day the sidewalk was blocked so I rode in the street. I got revved at, honked at, harassed and close passed passed by – I’m pretty sure – the same guy in the same truck.

Matt
Matt
1 month ago
Reply to  footwalker

Huh, they also sell a portable spike strip that only weighs about 10 pounds 🙂

Michael Mann
Michael Mann
1 month ago

Didn’t the last article on this new treatment include a photo of the new camera PBOT installed?
I wonder how long the self-righteous entitled northbound driving will last when the tickets start arriving in the mail?

Kim
Kim
1 month ago

This will prove to be crucial protection for bikes as the new improvements to 82nd get underway and drivers start diverting onto neighborhood streets to avoid construction traffic. Hope it goes fully bike/ped.

Snolly
Snolly
1 month ago

Around 11am today, I witnessed 2 vehicles in a span of 1min bypass the new treatments.

Way too easy for drivers to bypass still when they’re this willfully bold.
Enforcement is a necessity.