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 cat plays Chutes and Ladders on a playspace painted on the ground. They are going "up" a ladder from space number 4.

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

Bellrose Station Apartments
located in the apartment parking lot; entrance is just north of I-205 overpass along SE 92nd Ave
*be sure to watch for cars entering and exiting the parking lot*
7901-7929 SE 92nd Ave, Portland, OR 97266
*installed on September 2, 2020

Greenview Terrace Apartments
in the northern parking lot accessible from SE 148th Ave
*be sure to watch for cars entering and exiting the parking lot*
620 SE 148th Ave, Portland, OR 97233
*installed on September 3, 2020

Kenilworth Presbyterian Church
in the church parking lot along SE 34th Ave
4028 SE 34th Ave, Portland, OR 97202
*installed on September 9, 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.  

Playspaces

Northeast
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

The Ellington Apartments
Playspace Game: Labyrinth and Eric Carle-inspired animal activities
in the parking lot; accessible from NE 67th Ave between NE Broadway and NE Hancock streets
1610 NE 66th Ave, Portland, OR 97213
* installed on August 12, 2020

Southeast
Rose CDC: Jim & Salle's Place
Playspace Game: Chutes and Ladders
in the parking lot, visible from SE Steele
7531 SE Steele St, Portland, OR 97206
* installed on August 18, 2020

Leander Court Apartments
Playspace activities: Chutes and Ladders, hopscotch, four square, obstacle course, and Eric Carle-inspired animal activity
by the playground near the parking lot, accessible from SE 122nd Ave (please note: bike parking is available near the playspace, but cars must use on-street parking)
4620 SE 122nd Ave, Portland, OR 97236
* installed August 25, 2020

Rose CDC: Orchards of 82nd Ave Apartments
Playspace activity:
obstacle course with activities for two people to race against each other
access through the covered parking area off SE 81st Ave; bike parking is available nearby -- cars must use on-street parking
8118 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97206
* installed August 27, 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