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Speak up for a new path into Mt. Tabor Park from Division Street

Speak up for a new path into Mt. Tabor Park from Division Street

Purple line shows approximate location of proposed path. SE Division Street is at the bottom and Mt. Tabor is in the upper right.

Purple line shows approximate location of proposed path. SE Division Street is at the bottom and Mt. Tabor is in the upper right.

Mt. Tabor Park is finally slated to get a rolling and walking path that would provide a much-needed entrance from Southeast Division street and the City of Portland needs to hear your support to make it happen.

As we reported in January 2014, a citizen committee made up of neighborhood residents has been working for years to make good on old city plans for a public entrance and path through the Portland Parks & Recreation maintenance yard located between the park and Division. Plans for such a path go back as far as 2000 and were included in a PP & R study in 2008.

Now, thanks to the recently passed $68 million Parks Replacement Bond and a rosier funding picture, the Parks Bureau is moving ahead on a project to improve the maintenance yard. The second phase of the project (funded by System Development Charges) includes the public path.







According to the City, the path will be built along the alignment of SE 64th Avenue, just west of the maintenance operations facility.

Open House event flyer.

Open House event flyer.

Dawn Smallman sits on the committee overseeing the project for the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association. She says the project will not only establish the first public entrance to the park from the south side, but it will also include safety enhancements to help people cross Division from nearby residential areas, “So there would be the extra bonus of traffic calming there too.”

Construction of the path is slated to be completed by winter 2018.

Because the proposed path would be built alongside an existing apartment building, there is some resistance to the plan from people who live there. They fear it will become “another Springwater Corridor situation.”

Smallman urges anyone who supports the plan or has any input in general about the project to attend an open house for the project this Saturday (October 8th) from 10:00 am to 12 noon at the maintenance yard (6437 SE Division). You can also email project manager Susan Meamber at susan.meamber@portlandoregon.gov. At the open house, city staff and volunteers will give tours of the yard and answer questions. Learn more at the project website.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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The post Speak up for a new path into Mt. Tabor Park from Division Street appeared first on BikePortland.org.

Residents hope the time has finally come for new path to Mt. Tabor Park

Residents hope the time has finally come for new path to Mt. Tabor Park

A committee formed by neighborhood residents wants the City to (finally) fund a new path that would connect neighborhoods south of Division to Mt. Tabor Park.
(Graphic: Committee to Improve Access to Mt Tabor Park)

Southeast Portland’s Mt. Tabor Park is one of the most popular open spaces in the entire region — especially for the neighborhoods that border its 190 acres of wooded groves, view points, trails, roads, and picnic areas. Multiple park entrances offer easy access from the north, west, and east; but residents south of the park aren’t so lucky. Now there’s an effort to change that.

Allen Vogt is Chair of the Committee to Improve Access to Mt Tabor Park at 64th. The committee is made up of residents from the South Tabor and Mount Tabor Neighborhood Associations and the Friends of Mt. Tabor Park. Vogt says their goal is to, “Re-invigorate the implementation of a plan previously developed and approved by the City of Portland to build a multi-use access path to Mt Tabor Park from SE Division.”

View from 64th looking south toward Division St
with Parks maintenance yard on the left.

“Although the Mt. Tabor, North Tabor, and Montavilla neighborhoods have multiple safe and accessible entrances to Mt. Tabor Park on the west, north, and east,” states a flier by Vogt’s group, “there is no good pedestrian or bike access to the park from the south.” The proposed path would begin at SE Division and head north for 280 feet through an existing Portland Parks park maintenance facility (the Mt. Tabor Central Yard and Nursery) to connect to 64th at SE Sherman (see image below). The new path is estimated to cost $139,000 and the committee hopes the get it funded in the current Portland Parks & Recreation budget process (there’s a big public input event on it tonight).

This idea for a new public path on the park’s south side is nothing new. Mt. Tabor’s original 1911 plan called for an entrance at 64th and neighborhood residents have pushed for it ever since. In 2009 Portland City Council adopted an amendment to the Mt. Tabor Park Master Plan that included the path. Vogt says the project was included in Parks’ Capital Improvement Plan last year but was dropped from the list due to limited funds. Now they hope to get it added back to the list.

This drawing from the 2000 Mt. Tabor Park Master Plan Report shows the path in the lower left as an “Alternative” concept.

This drawing from a 2008 City of Portland Transportation Study shows where the path could
be built through the Parks Central Yard and Nursery.
(Note: In this view, the park is on the left and Division is on the right.)

The Portland Tribune reported on the project in 2008. They cited several advantages of a paved connection from Division into the park, but they also said some residents oppose the idea due to fears it would attract too much auto traffic and would lead to more residential development in the area. Another issue often cited as a barrier to the path is the right-of-way it would take up through an existing Parks maintenance facility. As one of the larger facilities in the city, Parks has said the 25-feet of width that the path would require is needed to store and park large trucks and other equipment.

Vogt says this project deserves funding now more than ever due to the new bike lanes on SE Division which have brought more bike traffic to the area. More biking and walking traffic is also expected in this location in the future due to PBOT’s plans to install a median island at 64th as part of their Division Street High Crash Corridor Program.

At this point, Vogt and other volunteers on the committee are working to spread the word about the project. They’ve planned a series of public events to answer questions and hear feedback. If you’d like to learn more, email Allen at allen.vogt at gmail.com and/or attend one of the events below…

  • 1/13 at 6:30pm @ Friends of Mt Tabor Park (FMTP) Monthly Meeting – contact Mary Kinnick at mary.kinnick@gmail.com
  • 1/15 at 7:00pm @ Mt Tabor Presbyterian Church, 5441 SE Belmont St hosted by the Mount Tabor Neighborhood Association (MTNA)
  • 1/16 at 7:00pm @ Trinity Fellowship, 2700 SE 67th hosted by the South Tabor Neighborhood Association (STNA)
  • 1/28 at 6pm @ Warner Pacific, 2219 SE 68th, Egtvedt Hall Room 203 hosted by the Improving Bike/Ped Access to Mt Tabor Park Committee

Learn more about this project via the City’s 2008 Mt. Tabor Central Yard & Nursery Transportation Study which was posted to Scribd.com by the Tribune.

Residents hope the time has finally come for new path to Mt. Tabor Park

Residents hope the time has finally come for new path to Mt. Tabor Park

A committee formed by neighborhood residents wants the City to (finally) fund a new path that would connect neighborhoods south of Division to Mt. Tabor Park.
(Graphic: Committee to Improve Access to Mt Tabor Park)

Southeast Portland’s Mt. Tabor Park is one of the most popular open spaces in the entire region — especially for the neighborhoods that border its 190 acres of wooded groves, view points, trails, roads, and picnic areas. Multiple park entrances offer easy access from the north, west, and east; but residents south of the park aren’t so lucky. Now there’s an effort to change that.

Allen Vogt is Chair of the Committee to Improve Access to Mt Tabor Park at 64th. The committee is made up of residents from the South Tabor and Mount Tabor Neighborhood Associations and the Friends of Mt. Tabor Park. Vogt says their goal is to, “Re-invigorate the implementation of a plan previously developed and approved by the City of Portland to build a multi-use access path to Mt Tabor Park from SE Division.”

View from 64th looking south toward Division St
with Parks maintenance yard on the left.

“Although the Mt. Tabor, North Tabor, and Montavilla neighborhoods have multiple safe and accessible entrances to Mt. Tabor Park on the west, north, and east,” states a flier by Vogt’s group, “there is no good pedestrian or bike access to the park from the south.” The proposed path would begin at SE Division and head north for 280 feet through an existing Portland Parks park maintenance facility (the Mt. Tabor Central Yard and Nursery) to connect to 64th at SE Sherman (see image below). The new path is estimated to cost $139,000 and the committee hopes the get it funded in the current Portland Parks & Recreation budget process (there’s a big public input event on it tonight).

This idea for a new public path on the park’s south side is nothing new. Mt. Tabor’s original 1911 plan called for an entrance at 64th and neighborhood residents have pushed for it ever since. In 2009 Portland City Council adopted an amendment to the Mt. Tabor Park Master Plan that included the path. Vogt says the project was included in Parks’ Capital Improvement Plan last year but was dropped from the list due to limited funds. Now they hope to get it added back to the list.

This drawing from the 2000 Mt. Tabor Park Master Plan Report shows the path in the lower left as an “Alternative” concept.

This drawing from a 2008 City of Portland Transportation Study shows where the path could
be built through the Parks Central Yard and Nursery.
(Note: In this view, the park is on the left and Division is on the right.)

The Portland Tribune reported on the project in 2008. They cited several advantages of a paved connection from Division into the park, but they also said some residents oppose the idea due to fears it would attract too much auto traffic and would lead to more residential development in the area. Another issue often cited as a barrier to the path is the right-of-way it would take up through an existing Parks maintenance facility. As one of the larger facilities in the city, Parks has said the 25-feet of width that the path would require is needed to store and park large trucks and other equipment.

Vogt says this project deserves funding now more than ever due to the new bike lanes on SE Division which have brought more bike traffic to the area. More biking and walking traffic is also expected in this location in the future due to PBOT’s plans to install a median island at 64th as part of their Division Street High Crash Corridor Program.

At this point, Vogt and other volunteers on the committee are working to spread the word about the project. They’ve planned a series of public events to answer questions and hear feedback. If you’d like to learn more, email Allen at allen.vogt at gmail.com and/or attend one of the events below…

  • 1/13 at 6:30pm @ Friends of Mt Tabor Park (FMTP) Monthly Meeting – contact Mary Kinnick at mary.kinnick@gmail.com
  • 1/15 at 7:00pm @ Mt Tabor Presbyterian Church, 5441 SE Belmont St hosted by the Mount Tabor Neighborhood Association (MTNA)
  • 1/16 at 7:00pm @ Trinity Fellowship, 2700 SE 67th hosted by the South Tabor Neighborhood Association (STNA)
  • 1/28 at 6pm @ Warner Pacific, 2219 SE 68th, Egtvedt Hall Room 203 hosted by the Improving Bike/Ped Access to Mt Tabor Park Committee

Learn more about this project via the City’s 2008 Mt. Tabor Central Yard & Nursery Transportation Study which was posted to Scribd.com by the Tribune.

Popular trail at Mt. Tabor Park now signed "No Bikes"

Popular trail at Mt. Tabor Park now signed "No Bikes"

Trail use conflicts continue to plague one of Portland’s most popular urban sanctuaries: Mt. Tabor Park. For many years, the several miles of narrow singletrack trails looping around the park have been known as a fun place to ride a mountain bike. But, given the park’s urban setting and natural beauty, the crowded trails are also known as a place where user conflicts are common.

Last year I reported that complaints about trail conflicts between people walking and biking, led to the installation of a new “No Bicycles Please” sign on the Green Trail. The Green Trail is a 1.7 mile loop and is one of three trail loops that circumnavigates the park. Earlier this week a reader contacted me saying that several more signs had recently gone up.

The reader was frustrated that bike access was being limited even more. “I fully intend to ignore them,” he wrote, “Trail access in Portland, as you know, is becoming a bigger issue as recreational cycling in our city continues to grow.” His frustrations are shared by many others.

Unfortunately for people who want to maintain access for bicycles on these trails, the Mt. Tabor Park Master Plan that was adopted in 2000 clearly prohibits bicycling on trails that are narrower than six feet. According to PP&R media relations staffer Mark Ross, all of the Green Trail is less than six feet wide and some places are less than three feet wide.


The map below shows the Mt. Tabor trail system. The Green Trail is marked in green…

Map is from Portland Parks, with color added by organizers of the upcoming Friends of Mt. Tabor Park Tar n Trail Run.

Back in January and February of this year continued trail user conflicts led to meetings between PP&R staff and representatives from the NW Trail Alliance (an off-road bicycling group) and the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association. The topic on the table was closing some of the parks trails to bikes.

At the meetings, representatives from both groups agreed that the concerns over user conflicts had reached a point where additional trail access limitations were necessary.

Tom Archer, advocacy director for the NWTA was at those meetings. “What they’re doing is enforcing the rules set forth in the Master Plan,” he said yesterday, “They’ve been getting complaints. And the neighbors have the Master Plan to lean on, so there’s not much we can do about it.”

For context, this is not a new issue in Mt. Tabor. Check out this post to an MTBR forum thread from May 2002:

“This is probably the most crowded place I have ever rode my bike at speeds approaching “creepy dangerous”. The more people walking the trails, the more dangerous it gets for all.”

An article about bicycling in the park published in The Oregonian in 2004, provides more historical context of the user conflict issue:

“If you want to ride hard, crank up the hills because you need to go easy everywhere else. Lots of walkers and dog owners use the trails, too. If you go too fast, you could hurt somebody, which could hurt mountain biking in the park.

Pat Billings, the park’s district supervisor, says dog owners want him to close the park to bikes. But he would rather keep it open if everyone can just get along.”

Ross says they’re adding 15 new signs on the Green Trail (like the ones at the top of this post) and the installation process began last month. PP&R are working with the non-profit Friends of Mt. Tabor Park group to identify locations for the signs. I’m awaiting more details from Mr. Ross at PP&R about the nature of the complaints that has led to this new round of signs as well as a confirmation that the other two main trails will remain shared use.

Have you seen the new signs? I have never taken a mountain bike onto the Tabor trails, so I’m curious what folks think about this. Do you ride these trails? What do you think?

Popular trail at Mt. Tabor Park now signed "No Bikes" – UPDATED

Popular trail at Mt. Tabor Park now signed "No Bikes" – UPDATED

Trail use conflicts continue to plague one of Portland’s most popular urban sanctuaries: Mt. Tabor Park. For many years, the several miles of narrow singletrack trails looping around the park have been known as a fun place to ride a mountain bike. But, given the park’s urban setting and natural beauty, the crowded trails are also known as a place where user conflicts are common.

Last year I reported that complaints about trail conflicts between people walking and biking, led to the installation of a new “No Bicycles Please” sign on the Green Trail. The Green Trail is a 1.7 mile loop and is one of three trail loops that circumnavigates the park. Earlier this week a reader contacted me saying that several more signs had recently gone up.

The reader was frustrated to see the new signs. “I fully intend to ignore them,” he wrote, “Trail access in Portland, as you know, is becoming a bigger issue as recreational cycling in our city continues to grow.” His frustrations are shared by many others.

Unfortunately for people who want to maintain access for bicycles on these trails, the Mt. Tabor Park Master Plan that was adopted in 2000 clearly prohibits bicycling on trails that are narrower than six feet. According to PP&R media relations staffer Mark Ross, all of the Green Trail is less than six feet wide and some places are less than three feet wide.


UPDATE: After pointing out to PP&R that their existing trail map was terribly inadequate and probably leading to confusion… They just completed this updated version (!) which is much more helpful/clear….

Updated map from PP&R showing where trails are closed to bikes.

Back in January and February of this year continued trail user conflicts led to meetings between PP&R staff and representatives from the NW Trail Alliance (an off-road bicycling group) and the Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association. The topic on the table was to educate trail users about what activities are allowed on certain trails.

At the meetings, representatives from both groups agreed that the concerns over user conflicts had reached a point where more public awareness about trail access limitations were necessary.

Tom Archer, advocacy director for the NWTA was at those meetings. “What they’re doing is enforcing the rules set forth in the Master Plan,” he said yesterday, “They’ve been getting complaints. And the neighbors have the Master Plan to lean on, so there’s not much we can do about it.” (UPDATE: Please see important clarifications and a statement from Archer about this issue via his comment below).

For context, this is not a new issue in Mt. Tabor. Check out this post to an MTBR forum thread from May 2002:

“This is probably the most crowded place I have ever rode my bike at speeds approaching “creepy dangerous”. The more people walking the trails, the more dangerous it gets for all.”

An article about bicycling in the park published in The Oregonian in 2004, provides more historical context of the user conflict issue:

“If you want to ride hard, crank up the hills because you need to go easy everywhere else. Lots of walkers and dog owners use the trails, too. If you go too fast, you could hurt somebody, which could hurt mountain biking in the park.

Pat Billings, the park’s district supervisor, says dog owners want him to close the park to bikes. But he would rather keep it open if everyone can just get along.”

Ross says they’re adding 15 four new signs on the Green Trail (like the ones at the top of this post) and the installation process began last month. These signs are in addition to seven existing signs. PP&R are working with the non-profit Friends of Mt. Tabor Park group to identify locations for the signs. I’m awaiting more details from Mr. Ross at PP&R about the nature of the complaints that has led to this new round of signs as well as a confirmation that the other two main trails will remain shared use.

Have you seen the new signs? I have never taken a mountain bike onto the Tabor trails, so I’m curious what folks think about this. Do you ride these trails? What do you think?

UPDATE, 2:39: I’m getting new information from PP&R: Mark Ross says only some portions of the Green Trail (on the west side of Tabor) are off-limits to bikes. Ross added that someone placed a sign by mistake on the Blue Trail. That sign is being relocated immediately. He also wanted to make it clear that bikes can still ride on the Red and Blue Trails as well as the north, east, and west sides of the Green Trail. Sorry for any confusion caused by my initial report. Please spread this update if you can.

UPDATE, 3:51: This story originally had a trail map that was difficult to read. PP&R just sent me a much nicer version, which I have inserted into the story.