Off-road Cycling Plan Frequently Asked Questions
The Bureau of Planning & Sustainability (BPS) recently completed the City’s Off-road Cycling Plan, a planning document that guides a facility or endeavor’s development. The final report and the executive summary are both available online. The Off-road Cycling Plan recommends improvements at all existing off-road cycling facility locations, and development of 19 additional trail and bike park locations. Three additional urban off-road cycling trail corridors may eventually be considered for off-road cycling opportunities.
The City created this page to help inform you about the Cycling Plan and future possible projects.
Q: What are the recommended trail improvements and new off-road cycling trails identified in the City’s Off-Road Cycling Plan?
A: Recommended safety and sustainability improvements to existing trails or new natural surface off-road cycling trail (funding is not currently identified for these projects):
- Powell Butte Natural Area
- “Dog Bowl” at N. Willamette and N. Jessup
- Mt. Tabor Park
- Forest Park
- Lesser Park
- Loll-Wildwood Natural Area
- River View Natural Area
- Washington Park
Recommended potential bike park locations (funding is not currently identified for these projects):
- Gates Park
- Gateway Green
- John Luby Park
- Rutherford Park
- Ventura Park
- Pier Park
- University Park
- Farragut Park
- Fernhill Park
- Rose City Golf Course & Glenhaven Park
- Brentwood Park
- Colonel Summers Park
- Creston Park
- Albert Kelly Park or Hamilton Park
- Downtown (ODOT property)
- Gabriel Park
Recommended urban off-road cycling trail corridors (funding is not currently identified for these projects):
- Springwater Corridor
- North Portland Greenway
- I-205 Multiuse Path
Q: What is the timeline for this? Is any project beginning planning at this time?
A: There is no identified timeline nor current funding for any off-road cycling project. Building these facilities would require significant planning, community involvement, environmental review, potential partnerships, and funding.
Q: Where does off-road cycling fit priority-wise in Portland Parks & Recreation’s Capital Improvement Program? Is the bureau prioritizing off-road cycling projects?
A: Portland Parks & Recreation (PP&R) will begin to incorporate these off-road cycling projects into its Capital Improvement Program. These projects will be considered for future funding each year with the annual budget process. PP&R’s Capital Improvement Program prioritizes equity, gaps in park service, and traditionally under-served populations in selecting projects for parks investment dollars. PP&R will consider off-road cycling projects within this broad context. Funding decisions are generally made by the Parks Commissioner, once per year, usually each December. The next funding decisions will be made in December 2023.
Q: How will the Off-road Cycling Plan address sharing outdoor recreational spaces with hikers, walkers, and community members that use mobility devices?
A: The Off-road Cycling Plan recommends planning, designing, and maintaining trails with all intended users in mind (such as pedestrians [including those using mobility devices], cyclists, equestrians, and emergency responders). It recommends designating trails as shared use (used by multiple user groups) or single use (one user type allowed) on a site-specific basis, depending on considerations like user safety, impacts on natural and cultural resources, public input, and need. It also recommends using best practices in trail design to provide safe experiences for all users.
Q: How will the City work to protect wildlife if off-road cycling opportunities expand?
A: The Off-road Cycling Plan recommends that the City design, plan, and build off-road cycling trails and bike parks that achieve all components of sustainability. Such off-road cycling facilities respond to each site’s unique conditions (including its ecological values), local user needs, and the financial capacity of the managing agency. The City is responsible for managing public land. Through its stewardship of public land, the City provides services to the public and advances important community goals. Many of these goals are related to public and community health, the environment, or economic resiliency. The City will weigh these various objectives for each property when deciding the best way to develop (or not develop) and manage each public property. The goals for each property help determine the appropriateness of a property for trails or bike parks.
Ideally, investments in trails and bike parks should achieve multiple community goals, such as increasing overall recreational opportunities and access to nature, building community through stewardship, restoring natural resources and wildlife habitat, providing for active transportation, and managing stormwater. Some of the Off-road Cycling Plan's recommended trail projects would require an environmental review to ensure adequate wildlife protection and habitat values.
Q: What will these new trails be rated as?
A: Rating trail difficulty can provide useful information to multiple types of trail users, while also helping improve their outdoor experience. The decision to rate trails will be made on an individual project basis.
If used, trail ratings would be based on the rating system for trails developed by the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA). IMBA is a nonprofit educational association focusing on best practices for planning, designing, and managing successful off-road cycling networks. The rating system uses symbols similar to ski trails, with easiest trails marked with green circles, intermediate trails marked with blue squares, and the most difficult trails marked with single or double black diamonds.
Q: How does the Off-road Cycling Plan consider people who use wheelchairs and additional mobility devices?
A: Portlanders of all abilities, including those who use adaptive equipment or non-traditional bicycles, should have opportunities to travel, recreate, and experience nature through off-road cycling. Common barriers to access include both informational and physical barriers. The Off-road Cycling Plan recommends designing trails to enhance accessibility and addressing accessibility during the trail and bike park planning and design processes. At this time, there is no identified timeline or funding for any off-road cycling project.
Opportunities for those who use adaptive cycles exist today at Gateway Green, a 25-acre park located just east of Rocky Butte, which contains approximately 2.5 miles of off-road cycling trails, including an adaptive cycling trail.
Q: Where will the money for these projects come from?
A: There is currently no funding identified for any off-road cycling project. The Off-road Cycling Plan will not be realized unless there is associated funding and community support to complete the identified efforts and projects. Multiple sources of potential funding for cycling efforts exist from state and regional government and private sources. Potential funding sources may include:
PP&R and City capital improvement and budget processes. As part of this process, projects would be measured against PP&R goals and other priority park, recreation, and citywide needs and priorities. Both PP&R and City budget processes include opportunities for community input.
Federal and regional funding sources, such as competitive grant programs
Statewide funding sources, such as competitive grant programs
Partnerships, such as with off-road cycling user groups, foundations and private companies
Activity and user fees
Q: Off-road cycling is becoming increasingly popular. How will the City’s Off-road Cycling Plan address this activity taking place in sites where it is not allowed?
A: There may always be people who do not follow the rules of a bike park, trail system, or other facility. The Off-road Cycling Plan recommends establishing enforcement protocols that define the rules for facilities (e.g., use hours, direction of travel, etc.), penalties for not following the rules, and the roles and responsibilities of enforcement agencies. It also outlines an escalating management hierarchy to reinforce sanctioned trail use and etiquette that includes lesser actions such as signage and education, and more intensive interventions such as physical barriers and paid patrols. Each intervention type requires funding and can have drawbacks such as increased system costs and deterrence of other allowed users. Behavior and park use is monitored and enforced in the same way at all PP&R-managed parks, natural areas, and properties: with the help of the Park Rangers. Non-emergency concerns can be reported online at parkscanpdx.org, or by calling the Portland Park Rangers at (503) 823-1637.
Q: Will trail maintenance frequency increase with heavier use of our existing trails?
A: Trail maintenance may need to be increased, depending on use. However, PP&R has limited resources to add more maintenance work once new trails are open. PP&R asks the City Budget Office and Portland City Council for, but does not always receive, additional operations and maintenance funds (O&M) when new projects are built. New trails are built to be as sustainable and resilient as possible. The Off-road Cycling Plan outlines various ways to build trails to be highly durable.
Q: Who are the community members who gave input on the Off-road Cycling Plan?
A: The Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability (BPS) conducted an extensive community engagement program to solicit comments during all phases of the plan development. BPS convened a Project Advisory Committee with a diverse range of stakeholders that met 14 times between 2016 and 2017. A list of the people who provided input as part of the Project Advisory Committee can be found at portland.gov/bps/planning/off-road-cycling.
As part of the review of the discussion draft of the Off-road Cycling Plan, BPS held four public open houses, provided an online interactive map for feedback on specific sites as well as an online comment form, and engaged the Community Engagement Liaison Program to solicit feedback from Russian, Vietnamese, and Latino communities.
BPS staff reviewed 871 individual comments. Key topics of interest included Forest Park, River View Natural Area, the Dog Bowl, and off-road cycling in general.
Q: How do I submit an idea, concern, or ask a question about off-road cycling issues and projects?
For questions about off-road cycling project implementation, please contact PP&R City Planner Maya Agarwal. Email: Maya.Agarwal@portlandoregon.gov.