Vancouver’s first ‘bike garden’ will bloom in June

Design concept for Heights Bike Garden on Mill Plan Blvd in Vancouver. (Jonathan Maus / BikePortland)

Vancouver’s first-ever traffic garden will open in June.

According to the City of Vancouver, The Heights Bike Garden will, “Provide a fun, community-serving space at the site of the former Tower Mall.” The location — a large development site bordered by Mill Plan and MacArthur boulevards — is about two miles north of Portland’s Marine Drive (as the crow flies over the Columbia River) and about a six mile bike ride from the Kenton neighborhood in north Portland.

The Bike Garden will be a space off the street where kids (and I assume, people of all ages) can learn basic rules of the road and get experience with cycling and traffic rules without the dangers posed by car users. Often referred to as “traffic gardens” these spaces have been common in Europe since the 1950s. BikePortland first reported on one in Utrecht in 2009. Since then, gardens have sprouted throughout Portland and Washington County. In 2020 we shared how the onset of Covid boosted interest in the concept and at that time there were nearly two dozen traffic gardens on the map.

Vancouver’s Heights Bike Garden is taking advantage of an empty parking that will someday be the Heights District, a mixed-use neighborhood currently in development. The design was created by First Forty Feet (with help from Discover Traffic Gardens) the firm behind the Heights development. According to the City of Vancouver, this is the largest traffic garden the firm has ever worked on.

If you’d like to help paint the design and make the vision a reality, the City of Vancouver is looking for volunteers for two events on the weekend of June 1st and 2nd. Fill out this form if you’re interested.

The City will host a grand opening celebration on June 8th from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm at 5411 Mill Plain Blvd. Vancouver Anne McEnerny-Ogle and other members of city council will be in attendance and local nonprofit Bike Clark County will provide bike safety lessons.

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, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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21 days ago

This is giving me flashbacks from the ’90’s, when the Tower Mall DMV had a section of that parking lot painted out for motorcycle license training and testing. All that’s missing is motors and instructors with clipboards, but that’s okay.

20 days ago

Whoo hoo!…now for those of you in North Portland (since Vancouver’s downtown is your closest city center…) you can pedal on over. Now if that Mill Plain or Blandford hill is too steep fort the kids just jump on the Mill Plain BRT (the Red Vine). Or the CTRAN 105 Express bus from Portland.

And look around…as this neighborhood in the early 1960s was slated for the path of the “future’ I-205…which was supposed to follow the Blandford trench from Portland (33rd Ave?). This coulda been a Chkalov / SE 112th Av / Mill Plain mess.

20 days ago

I guess this is fine, but it sort of seems like wasted money. The problem isn’t with cyclists not knowing how to use infrastructure. The problem is with cars not having enough infra to make them safer and laws for cars not being enforced enough. Really wonder how much use this will actually get.

20 days ago

How many four way stop intersections is this for you, Kid?
Little Kid:
Thirty eight… simulated.
How many *road* intersections?
Little Kid:
Uh, two. Including this one.
Oh, man…

Seriously though, I hope it’s a hit. My kid would have loved doing this.