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Are you looking for more places to be active outdoors in your neighborhood? Are you an experienced off-road cyclist or perhaps wondering what it’s like to ride dirt on a bike with fat, knobby tires? Or do you like to walk or run on Portland’s trails? If so, this online open house is for you!
We invite you to make your way through this online open house to learn more about the Discussion Draft recommendations for off-road cycling trails and bike parks throughout the City.
The Portland Off-road Cycling Master Plan is helping to create more off-road cycling trails and facilities in Portland. These trails and parks would provide places for healthy and safe outdoor recreation for children and families of all abilities as well as increase access to natural green spaces in the city.
The Discussion Draft of the Off-road Cycling Master Plan, and the accompanying interactive map, include draft recommendations on how the City of Portland might build more off-road cycling trails and bike parks throughout the City. The City is particularly interested in creating more opportunities for people and families in underserved areas.
Building or improving a trail or facility on a City property will require additional future site planning, community engagement and funding. If a property has an existing master plan, the City and community may need to amend the plan to incorporate the planned trail or facility.
Check out the Discussion Draft and share your comments and suggestions about what kinds of trails, pump tracks and skill parks should go where! Comments are appreciated by December 17th, 2017.
How was the Discussion Draft developed?
First, the project team looked at all City-owned properties to determine if any are suitable for future off-road cycling trails and facilities. This analysis was based on the vision and research into community needs, the impacts and benefits of off-road cycling, and the best practices for building safe and sustainable trails and facilities.
Then, the team combined community input from thousands of Portlanders with feedback from City property managers and the Project Advisory Committee to develop the Discussion Draft of the Master Plan. The Discussion Draft also draws on best practices, additional planning, and visits to more complicated properties by environmental and off-road cycling specialists. The result is a map of recommended sites for new trails and bicycle parks as well as many recommendations for how to create a safe, sustainable, and successful system.
Portland currently has a few places where you can ride a bicycle off-road, such as in Forest Park, at Powell Butte or the Ventura Park Pump Track. The Discussion Draft aims to support equity by bringing off-road cycling trails and bike parks to neighborhoods that have traditionally not had access to these types of places. The goal is to create more places to ride that are easy to get to from all neighborhoods by bike or transit.
The Discussion Draft also includes recommendations to ensure people of all ages, skill levels, and incomes can take part in off-road cycling. It aims to improve accessibility for people on all types of bicycles, including non-traditional bicycles.
Creating a sustainable system
Portlanders value investments that address equity and provide community benefits, protect and enhance the environment, steward the City’s public lands and taxpayer funding, and help build individual and community prosperity. The Discussion Draft of the Off-road Cycling Master Plan includes many recommendations to ensure off-road cycling trails and bike parks meet these goals.
To achieve these goal, it’s also important that we hear from as many Portlanders as possible.
Off-road cycling trails are made from dirt or other natural components — instead of concrete pavement. Off-road cycling facilities also include bicycle parks with skill areas and family recreation. Off-road cycling can be several different types of bike riding, including:
The Discussion Draft includes proposed locations for three different types of off-road facilities:
These facilities are for all riders — beginner to advanced. They are places where kids and adults can be active and have fun outside, spend time with friends and family, practice riding skills without car traffic, and experience nature and the city.
Kids in SE Portland get their first taste of off-road cycling.
At Hamllik Park in Washougal, Washington, young riders navigate the different features of the off-road cycling skills park.
Bicycle parks such as pump tracks, jump parks and skill trails, are places for people of all riding abilities to practice their riding skills and have fun. These parks can include trails, dirt or concrete tracks, and features like rocks, logs and “skinny” bridges. They can be built on a portion of a property or around the edges. Bicycle parks can be as small as 2,500 square feet or as large as an acre or more in size. However, they can only be located in developed parks, not in natural areas.
Recommended future locations
Natural surface off-road cycling trails are typically made of dirt. They are generally used by both people riding bicycles and walkers.
Since ‘experiencing nature’ is a key goal of many natural surface trail users, trails are typically located in forested or other natural areas of parks. However, many of Portland’s parks and natural areas face challenges like invasive species and erosion, which harm habitat for fish and wildlife and can detract from the experience of bicycling or walking on a trail. To address this, the Draft Plan recommends complementary natural area restoration and enhancements for each location listed below.
Powell Butte Nature Park, Mount Tabor Park and Forest Park currently have natural off-road cycling trails. The Draft Off-road Cycling Master Plan recommends improving some of these trails for safety and sustainability. The Plan also recommends improvements and expansions of Forest Park’s trail system to allow more trail riding, see pages 61-72 of the Discussion Draft.
Recommended future locations
The Draft Plan recommends adding sustainable natural surface off-road cycling trails to the following parks and natural areas to provide more opportunities for Portlanders across the city. These trails could be open for walking as well.
These locations were chosen because they offer opportunities for riders to experience nature, could provide beginner to intermediate level trails, and are either located in degraded areas or could improve existing unsustainable conditions. Recommended trails would be designed and constructed according to best practices for user safety and environmental sustainability.
Natural areas offer a variety of trail experiences for people of all ages and abilities.
These urban trail corridors would combine paved and unpaved trails to create longer and more varied riding experiences. Urban off-road cycling trails could include new unpaved trails or skill features parallel to existing or planned paved trails (like the Springwater Corridor) or in parks nearby. Right now, Portland does not have any urban off-road cycling trails.
Recommended future locations
Off-road cycling isn’t just for boys. Girls ride, too!
Broken concrete finds a new purpose in skills parks like this one.
In March and April 2017, the project team asked the community for help to decide which places would be recommended in the Draft Plan. Thousands of Portlanders voiced their opinions through the online interactive map, community events and open houses, online questionnaires, and by email.
Most participating community members supported plans to create a system of off-road cycling facilities, though there were mixed opinions about creating, enhancing or expanding trails in Forest Park and River View Natural Area. There was broad support for trails and trail connections that provided opportunities for youth and families to access nature. Connections to schools, neighborhoods and transit were also important. Some common themes about the overall system were:
Access: Community members generally felt that having local access within neighborhoods and near schools was important. Facilities should be accessible by bike, on foot or via transit.
Equity: Facilities should be distributed equitably across the City. All ages and skill levels should have opportunities to ride and experience nature, including walkers and people with strollers, wheelchairs or hand-cycles.
Natural resources: Protecting and enhancing the natural environment and wildlife habitat and avoiding adverse impacts on natural resources are priorities that the majority of respondents valued, whether or not they supported the expansion or enhancement of off-road cycling facilities.
Safety: Safety and appropriate design and management practices were listed as important considerations when shared use trails are recommended.
Funding: Funding to establish new facilities and long-term maintenance were listed among stakeholder concerns. Several people mentioned the opportunity to partner with cycling groups to coordinate work parties and trail maintenance efforts.
Best practices: Many people mentioned best practice examples in other communities as examples to strive for. The Plan should look to best practices and tools across the nation to create a visionary, yet reasoned approach to planning, designing and managing off-road cycling trails and facilities.
Use the interactive map to comment on recommended locations across the city.
Attend an open house to learn more about the proposals, talk to staff, and submit your comments.
Send your general comments and suggestions to the project team through the online comment form or by emailing email@example.com.
Attend the final Project Advisory Committee meeting on November 9th.
The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is working on the Portland Off-road Cycling Master Plan in collaboration with Portland Parks & Recreation, the Bureau of Environmental Services, the Portland Bureau of Transportation, the Portland Water Bureau and other local government and community partners.