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.