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Traffic Playgrounds & Playspaces

Portland Bureau of Transportation's Safe Routes to School program is installing temporary traffic playgrounds and playspaces starting summer 2020. Learn what traffic playgrounds and playspaces are, and where you can find them.

On this page

What are Traffic Playgrounds?

A cartoon drawing of two sloths: one is riding an orange bike in a red helmet and is stopped at a stop sign painted on the ground. They are signaling right as they prepare to turn. The other sloth is riding a pink kick scooter in a green helmet with a flower on it. They are looking at us as they ride their scooter past the other sloth.

Traffic Playgrounds are places that provide children and families a fun space to learn rules of the road away from street traffic. During the COVID-19 pandemic they also provide a no-contact play destination for families.

Each playground looks like a small version of our city's streets. There are travel lanes, crosswalks, stop signs, and places to visit like parks, businesses, schools, and neighborhoods. They are great for scooters, bicycles, wheelchairs or feet. We invite you and your family to be creative in how you use them!

These temporary play places are in school and church parking lots, or other spaces not getting as much use during COVID-19 physical distancing requirements.   

What are Playspaces? 

A cartoon drawing of a cat smiling and jumping between squares on a Chutes and Ladders board. The text says Play Spaces in orange letters and has a Safe Routes to School logo .

Our playspaces are just like hop scotch, where children interact with a game board drawn on the ground. They provide another way for no-contact play. Playspaces fit better in smaller areas where there may not be a lot of room for riding scooters or bikes. 

Traffic Playground & Playspace Locations

Traffic Playgrounds
Sacramento Elementary School

in the front parking lot along NE Sacramento St
11400 NE Sacramento St, Portland, OR 97220
* installed on May 29, 2020

Harrison Park Elementary School
on the back side of school near SE 84th Ave
2225 SE 87th Ave, Portland, OR 97216
* installed on July 14, 2020

Lents Park
in the parking lot in the NW corner of park; at SE 88th and Holgate
4808 SE 92nd Ave, Portland, OR 97266
* installed on July 30, 2020

Our friend and partner, Coach Balto from César Chávez School in North Portland, has been creating his own traffic playgrounds (also called traffic gardens) on Portland Public School blacktops. He has mapped all Portland locations. View the map here.  

Hacienda CDC (Community Development Coordination)
Playspace Game: Chutes and Ladders

on the SE corner of the building next to the parking lot
6700 NE Killingsworth St, Portland, OR 97218
* installed on July 23, 2020

Traffic playground activity ideas

  • "Neighborhood" Scavenger Hunt:  Pick different locations around the traffic playground and use proper rules of the road to get there
  • Practice bike hand signals (see below for how-to's)
  • Right of way game: choose who will be a pedestrian, emergency vehicle or regular vehicle and follow the rules of the road accordingly (everyone yields for emergency vehicles, regular vehicles yields to pedestrians). Change up who gets to be which role.
  • Make believe -- just have fun!   

Traffic safety tips

Four images of a short-haired bicyclist from behind. They are riding while using turn signals with their hands. The rider signals left, stop, or right turn.

For bicycles and scooters:

  • Always ride on the right side of the road
  • Look for people in the crosswalk and let them cross before you
  • Stop at the stop signs; look left, right and left again before going
  • Practice using hand signals to show which way you're going (see image at right for hand signal instructions)

For people walking:

  • Look both ways before crossing in the crosswalk
  • Give people on wheels time to stop for you before entering the crosswalk