PBOT balances safety and access with path through Rose City Golf Course

Looking northeast onto NE 72nd Drive from the golf course parking lot. (Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

“I witnessed two vehicles in a span of on minute bypass the new treatments. Way too easy for drivers to bypass still when they’re this willfully bold.”

That comment was posted by a reader on Monday, March 11th about what’s happening on a new carfree path through Rose City Golf Course. Despite a redoubled effort from the Portland Bureau of Transportation to establish a path on one lane of Northeast 72nd Drive through the golf course, some drivers continue to flout the law. Now PBOT is considering installation of a gate to physically prevent drivers from giving into these selfish and dangerous impulses — while they weigh removal of three existing Jersey barriers in order make the path more welcoming and allow easier access for golf course service vehicles.

After our post about this project last week, we heard back from PBOT Public Information Officer Dylan Rivera who clarified their stance on the project and what we can expect going forward.

PBOT plans. (Note: They might be outdated as tweaks happen.)

Rivera called the destruction and vandalism of the initial traffic calming infrastructure “unfortunate.” “Vandalism destroyed the improvements and forced us to install a hardened facility,” Rivera said. “That is not what we would have intended. It’s hard to think of a multi-use path in Portland that has a Jersey barrier at the entrance.” Rivera’s comments make it clear PBOT finds it challenging to create an open and accessible path for bike riders and walkers, while also preventing miscreant drivers from using it.

Rivera said PBOT is working closely with Portland Police to make sure the project they installed last month remains in place and that they will, “Prosecute anyone engaged in criminal activity against our infrastructure.”

Notably, Rivera said the Jersey barriers and concrete curbs in place today are temporary and that the entire project (which is part of the much larger 70s Neighborhood Greenway project) is still considered an experiment:

“PBOT leadership is firm in our belief that the project is promising and worthy of testing. Traffic volumes of less than 800 vehicles a day and substantial pedestrian use strongly suggest a multi-use path in this location could be the right solution. We will gather data, as said we would, and will share that with the community when we have it.” 

In the meantime, Rivera added, they’re making tweaks so that Portland Parks & Recreation maintenance vehicles have easy access to a facility to the northeast of the golf course parking lot. Rivera also confirmed PBOT might install a gate:

“We’re exploring options for a gate to install across the northbound lane, just north of the pedestrian crossing north of the golf course driveway onto NE 72nd Drive. The gate would prohibit motor vehicle access to the multi-use path in the northbound lane. But it would allow Parks & Recreation to use the northbound lane for equipment access that very occasionally needs to come from the south to access the driveway for their maintenance yard. More often, their vehicles can access the yard via NE Sacramento to southbound 72nd Drive north of the pedestrian crossing, and a small cut in the concrete traffic separator can accommodate them. Parks vehicles using the multi-use path in the northbound lane would be operated by professionals, in marked vehicles, looking out for pedestrians and people biking.”  

Rivera said installation of traffic separators for about 150-feet north of the gate should deter drivers from going northbound as they leave the golf shop and pub exit onto NE 72nd Dr.

In the southern section of the project, from the striped crosswalk near the golf shop to NE Tillamook, PBOT plans to remove the Jersey barriers. Here’s more from Rivera:

“From the pedestrian crossing to the intersection with NE Tillamook, we would keep the newly installed concrete separators in place. This would restrict vehicle movement. But we would remove all Jersey barriers — the ones at the intersection with Tillamook, at the golf course driveway on NE 72nd and north of the pedestrian crossing. This would allow biking, pedestrian and we believe an extremely limited amount of vehicle traffic (mostly Parks & Recreation service vehicles) sharing the northbound lane in this small stretch. Many people biking and walking in that 100-foot stretch would choose to use the wide, adjacent sidewalk but some would be comfortable sharing the lane with Parks & Recreation vehicles.”

So the saga of this path continues. And as PBOT assesses its impacts on local traffic patterns, remember that it could all be removed if they determine the impacts to have “adverse impacts with traffic diversion on area streets” or if it, “fails to demonstrate the need for biking and pedestrian use on the multi-use path.” 

In the meantime, hopefully PBOT and Parks can work together to find a good solution. We’ve previously reported on Parks’ difficulties keeping drivers off their paths on the Columbia Slough, the Peninsula Crossing Trail, and the Springwater — so at least they have some experience with the issues.

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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Tony Thayer-Osborne
Tony Thayer-Osborne
3 months ago

I’ve been making a point of using this route whenever I can to help dissuade car drivers from doing the thing. In particular I have witnessed northbound drivers turn right, heading towards McDaniel High School in the morning. I wonder what it would look like for the northbound exit to be partially blocked? I want to think the risk assessment someone would go through would be different if that were the case, but they are already going against traffic on a one-way to get there in the first place so I can’t be too charitable in that regard.

Bjorn
Bjorn
3 months ago

One thing that this project has shown me is that jersey barriers are actually a pretty good piece of infrastructure that the city should be using more often. Paint them if you want them to look more beautiful, or use concrete planters etc, but hardened protection is a good idea and I’d like to see more jersey barriers not less.

MontyP
MontyP
3 months ago
Reply to  Bjorn

This spot at SE22nd and Powell caught my eye when these fluorescent orange barriers went in. They’re cheap and effective, and will actually stop a car and protect pedestrians and cyclists. I’d like to see a line of these down the middle of 72nd through the golf course, but maybe not painted as brightly. Hey, why not?
https://maps.app.goo.gl/D2EqSenGMPj8xweR6?g_st=ic

IMG_4135
Todd/Boulanger
Todd/Boulanger
3 months ago
Reply to  MontyP

MontyP: yes they work for short periods…but once they freeze and crack (or are emptied of liquid) then they are easily (re) moved. They can also be filled with sand for more permanance.

Plus, The concrete barriers are better looking AND they may be cheaper to procure (or rent). They may also be in stock at PDoT base yards, as we speak.

PTB
PTB
3 months ago
Reply to  Todd/Boulanger

These are concrete here.They were put in by someone, it doesn’t seem like a city thing, to keep a pretty out of control camp from continuing on here. This west side of the park was a little rough for a while.

MontyP
MontyP
3 months ago
Reply to  Todd/Boulanger

I’m aware of the limitations of plastic barriers, but these are concrete that has been painted bright orange.

Part of what makes these so great is what you mention; these are likely on hand in a maintenance yard somewhere. PBOT could definitely use these blocks, or the “standard” taller/skinnier jersey barrier all over town.

I keep thinking PBOT needs to get neighbors/kids to “own” a barrier and paint murals on them, decorate them, etc. That would make a long line of barriers seem more friendly, and part of the neighborhood.

MontyP
MontyP
3 months ago

This project is still half-baked without the posts and paint, so many pedestrians won’t realize what it is unless it looks like what it’s supposed to be. This area will also really come to life once Metro builds the walking paths/trails around the course, but that project is a ways off as well. In the meantime, I worry that PBOT will weaken the strength of this project with the talk of this possibly being just a temporary experiment.

People driving east & west on Tillamook need something BIG to let them know they’re not supposed to drive North on 72nd. It seems that the signs aren’t big enough, or getting their attention enough, such that they will still likely make the turn. Maybe paint would help, but I have my doubts. The big concrete blocks are very effective at getting the point across though!

The plan around maintenance vehicle access is a little confusing as they mention that “a small cut in the concrete separator can accommodate them”, but then show 50 linear feet of separators being removed in the diagram. If there aren’t any seperators next to the concrete block/gate, people will just drive around this like the maintenance vehicles will.

BP1
Bjorn
Bjorn
3 months ago
Reply to  MontyP

I agree that removing these barriers is a really bad idea as we are already seeing scofflaw motorists driving north in the southbound lane this is only going to further encourage this behavior by making it easier for them to get into the north bound lane. Maintenance access is only needed occasionally, so gates that need to be opened in order to allow vehicle passage should be used. We have seen that the honor system isn’t going to work for motorists at this site.

maxD
maxD
3 months ago
Reply to  MontyP

agreed! reading the between the lines: PBOT is calling this an experiment and temporarily hardening things to save face, but they will remove this soon and add a sharrow or something. I hope I am wrong.

Nick
Nick
3 months ago

It’s hard to think of a multi-use path in Portland that has a Jersey barrier at the entrance

It’s not hard to think of a multi-use path in Portland that couldn’t use more car hardening. As evidenced by the number of cars/motorcycles/gas scooters on multi-use paths in the area.

maxD
maxD
3 months ago
Reply to  Nick

Greely at Interstate desperately needs these! The bike lane is just a dangerous, narrow driveway with very poor sightlines at this point.

PTB
PTB
2 months ago
Reply to  Nick

Someone driving a vehicle just took out someone’s backyard fence that bumps up to the 205 path. Somewhere south of Holgate but north of Harold, very much on the path, no street access here. Insane.

Steven
Steven
3 months ago

The concrete separator islands are designed so vehicles can carefully drive over them, are they not? I don’t see why PBOT needs to remove any concrete separators for maintenance access, when a pickup truck can simply roll right over them at slow speeds. Especially when northbound vehicle access is only “very occasionally” needed. Maybe they don’t want the public getting any ideas?

David
David
3 months ago

I’m a resident in the area, live on Tillamook. I’m also an avid cyclist. But- I disagree with the closure of this street to northbound traffic. I’ve read here how”busy” the street is, how drivers are speeding; I often walk up the path on the side of the road and also used to drive north, and I’ve not witnessed speeding or frankly a steady stream of cars. I’ve also not witnessed, during the week or weekends a steady stream of cyclists either. I certainly don’t condone any vandalism or people evading the barriers but this is a low volume street for both cars and bikes and should be returned to a shared street, with highly visible signage stating so.

Steven
Steven
3 months ago
Reply to  David

How fortunate that you have not experienced speeding cars on this street. Others have been less fortunate. We need safe infrastructure for all ages and abilities, not just “avid cyclists”.

Fred
Fred
3 months ago
Reply to  David

Taylor Griggs is a prophet!

MontyP
MontyP
3 months ago
Reply to  Fred

Yep, as soon as there’s a “but” in the statement, you know the first part was just performative BS.

That linked article nails it!

rick
rick
3 months ago
Reply to  David

As if there has been a giant promotion from the city of this now more people-friendly street? Is it on the route for Sunday Parkways several times for this year? Why should any street be a public street through a city-owned golf course?

bjorn
bjorn
3 months ago
Reply to  David

2/3 of the motor vehicles travelling north on 72nd through the park were speeding. Respectfully if you were not using a radar gun perhaps your perception of vehicle speed isn’t accurate. Additionally the traffic volumes along the entire greenway are in excess of stated goals and need to be reduced in order for the greenway to be a place where people feel confident in their safety regardless of mode choice. Greenways are in part about enabling people who want to move around outside a car but are scared of being hit by a driver to have a place where they don’t have to be afraid.

qqq
qqq
3 months ago
Reply to  David

I’m an avid driver. But I disagree that the northbound lane should be opened back up to drivers. I’ve read how “necessary” the street is for drivers, but frankly I’ve not witnessed a need for it.

Michael Mann
Michael Mann
3 months ago
Reply to  David

Drivers don’t need this street. It slightly inconveniences them – to the tune of 2-3 minutes – to use 82nd or 61st to access the top of the hill. Apparently that’s a compelling enough reason for some to advocate for keeping the car lane. Personally, I find it petty and selfish, and I’d love to see this “experiment “ go the other direction. Think of all the possible roads in Portland that don’t need to be open to cars.

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  Michael Mann

Personally, I find it petty and selfish

I can’t understand why people complain when I ask them to change their behavior and inconvenience themselves to benefit me. They are so petty and selfish!

Steven
Steven
2 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Apparently it’s not possible to support things that benefit others, eh Watts? Personally I rarely if ever bike on this street, and I still think this project is good and the drivers protesting it are a bunch of crybabies.

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  Steven

My remark wasn’t based on the project being good or bad, but rather the irony in the comment.

Michael Mann
Michael Mann
2 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Cars are the problem. Less streets with cars = less problems. Drivers don’t need all the streets they use, and our community would be better off with more roads closed to cars. I have zero problem with how that inconveniences drivers.

Watts
Watts
2 months ago
Reply to  Michael Mann

“Less streets with cars = less problems”

For you, perhaps, but more for other people.

Since it’s hard to make big changes without the help of others, your disregard for their concerns presents an interesting challenge.

Steven
Steven
2 months ago
Reply to  Watts

Sure, I guess we’ll just ignore all the environmental and social costs of car dependency plus all the people who for one reason or another can’t drive: children, the elderly, the blind, people with various disabilities. Your disregard for their concerns presents an interesting challenge.

Hotrodder
Hotrodder
3 months ago

Is the white type on a black background a bug or a new feature of the new bike Portland?

Ray
Ray
3 months ago

Thanks for bringing this up, Hotrodder.

I prefer dark mode, but lately find myself having to click it much more frequently. Sometimes even after sorting comments to newest on the same page. Any recent change that made this an issue?

jakeco969
jakeco969
3 months ago

I get the black background randomly as well on both phone and computer and often when I am changing pages within BP so I don’t think I’m accidently hitting “dark mode”.

Charley
Charley
2 months ago
Reply to  jakeco969

Yeah. I get this on my Mac and my iPhone as well, but only on this website. I haven’t noticed if it’s entirely random or it’s actually correlated with nighttime. There’s a crescent moon button on the bottom right side of the screen and the button will change it from day mode to night mode or vice versa. It’s kind of annoying because it obscures a surprisingly large percentage of the screen, and I can’t figure out how to get the button out of the way. I thought it was just a problem with my computer/phone!

Fred
Fred
3 months ago

FLOUT, not flaunt.

Drivers are flouting the law (disregarding it), not flaunting it (showing it off).

Good story otherwise!

donel courtney
donel courtney
3 months ago

haha Jonathan.

Charley
Charley
2 months ago

LOL 🙂

Matt
Matt
3 months ago

Do we think putting in a trap camera would be more affordable vs putting up a gate and more infrastructure? Just curious.

Steven
Steven
2 months ago

“It’s hard to think of a multi-use path in Portland that has a Jersey barrier at the entrance”, Rivera said. Except for the Going to the River path and the Columbia Slough path, of course:

https://bikeportland.org/2024/03/19/entry-to-riverfront-path-on-swan-island-blocked-by-boulders-and-barricades-384911

https://bikeportland.org/2022/01/14/citys-concrete-barriers-restrict-access-to-columbia-slough-path-343791

To be fair, those paths are managed by BES and PP&R respectively, so maybe Rivera is not as familiar with them.