Clean and prune your trails and bike lanes!
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  1. #1
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    Clean and prune your trails and bike lanes!

    Hi folks. In Portland, I have started a major cleanup project on my local bike lanes and trails, on weekend mornings. Pruning vegetation and shoveling dirt and debris off the shoulders of the road. In many areas, there is a couple feet on the outside of the white line that is covered with growth and debris that needs removing. I am sure there are many other roads in Portland that need similar work so I would love to have more volunteers. Just spend a few hours a month cleaning and pruning your favorite trails and commutes.

  2. #2
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    I got a lot done today. Check out how much pavement was covered before and after!



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  3. #3
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    Working alone, I shoveled off several hundred meters of hidden bike lane!

    All of this had been covered almost completely to the white line!

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    Last edited by MudSnow; 4 Weeks Ago at 07:11 PM.

  4. #4
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    nice work...! applaud your initiative to do something good for the cycling community.

    last year, after getting no response from the City to deal with a 1.5 mile-long stretch of heavily-used bike lane, I decided to do a similar project. vegetation was taking over and forcing riders out into the car lane in many places.

    filled my car with saws, pruners, broom, shovel, gloves and went after the encroaching jungle...

    it was fun for about an hour and then it became grueling work...dealing with fire ants, plants with sharp thorns, 40-mph traffic, and 95+F temps got old really fast. I cleared a couple of the worst areas, but admitted defeat after a few days...

    altho a few riders offered some expressions of gratitude for my efforts, most simply rode around me without speaking...not really a great motivational tool for to continue working.

    about a month later, I was riding that stretch of road and noticed that a railroad ROW crew was chainsawing down a large, particularly nasty mesquite tree that I had spent two hours battling...sigh. just bad timing on my part I guess...was nice to see it being removed tho.
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  5. #5
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    But... we're supposed to ride on the left side of the white line.

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    Quote Originally Posted by OldZaskar View Post
    But... we're supposed to ride on the left side of the white line.
    This may be true. However, it is safer have a "bailout" strip available for that unexpected tool that comes barreling along within a gnat's whisker.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    This may be true. However, it is safer have a "bailout" strip available for that unexpected tool that comes barreling along within a gnat's whisker.
    Good point!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oxtox View Post
    last year, after getting no response from the City to deal with a 1.5 mile-long stretch of heavily-used bike lane, I decided to do a similar project.
    I suggest you use a more focused approach with your city. I have found that when you use the words "hazard to navigation" or "dangerous for bicycles" you get their attention. Their legal liability takes a big jump up when they find themselves in a "knew or should have known" situation, so if you frame your complaint in that context, they are much more likely to respond. They have the equipment and the manpower to do this project in a tiny fraction of the time it would take a volunteer to slog through it. You're paying taxes for them to maintain the roads!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oxtox View Post

    altho a few riders offered some expressions of gratitude for my efforts, most simply rode around me without speaking...not really a great motivational tool for to continue working.
    I'm surprised anyone said anything. I doubt I would realize some dude with saws, pruners, broom, shovel, and gloves was there on his own time and a fellow cyclist trying to help. I'd probably be thinking: 'bout time the freaking city took care of this. And if I did realize it was a cyclist not sure I would have the presence of mind to slam the brakes and think of something to say before riding by.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    I suggest you use a more focused approach with your city. I have found that when you use the words "hazard to navigation" or "dangerous for bicycles" you get their attention. Their legal liability takes a big jump up when they find themselves in a "knew or should have known" situation, so if you frame your complaint in that context, they are much more likely to respond. They have the equipment and the manpower to do this project in a tiny fraction of the time it would take a volunteer to slog through it. You're paying taxes for them to maintain the roads!

    Yeah, and search state cycling laws, road laws and throw in some of the legal stuff to catch their eye.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons View Post
    I suggest you use a more focused approach with your city. I have found that when you use the words "hazard to navigation" or "dangerous for bicycles" you get their attention. Their legal liability takes a big jump up when they find themselves in a "knew or should have known" situation, so if you frame your complaint in that context, they are much more likely to respond. They have the equipment and the manpower to do this project in a tiny fraction of the time it would take a volunteer to slog through it. You're paying taxes for them to maintain the roads!
    not sure why you'd offer such a suggestion as you have no idea what approach I used to register my concern.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oxtox View Post
    nice work...! applaud your initiative to do something good for the cycling community.

    last year, after getting no response from the City to deal with a 1.5 mile-long stretch of heavily-used bike lane, I decided to do a similar project. vegetation was taking over and forcing riders out into the car lane in many places.

    filled my car with saws, pruners, broom, shovel, gloves and went after the encroaching jungle...

    it was fun for about an hour and then it became grueling work...dealing with fire ants, plants with sharp thorns, 40-mph traffic, and 95+F temps got old really fast. I cleared a couple of the worst areas, but admitted defeat after a few days...

    altho a few riders offered some expressions of gratitude for my efforts, most simply rode around me without speaking...not really a great motivational tool for to continue working.
    Yup, about the same here, except the temperatures have been in the 60s and low 70s.

    I just think of it as getting in my upper body workout while enjoying the fresh air and accomplishing something important that needs to be done.

  13. #13
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    Have you looked at any liability issues with you doing the work on a public road instead of the DPW doing it? Nice work but should you be doing it. might not make union workers happy seeing you doing their job.

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    If you look at my signature, you'll see I do something similar to what the OP was doing, but I do it weekly on the trails and road of my city's largest park. The road is mostly closed to traffic so it was much easier. What I learned is, brush grows back extremely fast; tree limbs not so much. You could be fighting a losing battle but at least you tried.

    As a suggestion to the OP; it is somewhat dangerous to do this work on a public road. I'd expect the local police to sooner or later shoo you away despite your good intentions. If you insist on continuing, at least wear a safety vest and proceed against traffic rather than with traffic.

    I like the suggestions of others here: You'd be better off writing to the city mayor, manager, etc., and even write a letter to the editor of the local paper. Include photos and offer to escort a local councilperson on a tour of the affected areas. Unfortunately, the city workers who may eventually do the work won't exactly have your vision in mind if they perform the work so don't expect it to look like what you envisioned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bmach View Post
    Have you looked at any liability issues with you doing the work on a public road instead of the DPW doing it? Nice work but should you be doing it. might not make union workers happy seeing you doing their job.
    It's a public road. I am the public citizen.

    And if there was anybody else at all doing it, there wouldn't be a decade of accumulated dirt and roots on top of the road.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmach View Post
    Have you looked at any liability issues with you doing the work on a public road instead of the DPW doing it? Nice work but should you be doing it. might not make union workers happy seeing you doing their job.
    If you see a piece of garbage on the sidewalk, would you pick it up... or wait for that union DPW employee?

    He's not patching potholes or repairing a bridge. He's clearing leaves and debris. Plus... from his pics, I don't think the union boys are going to be by anytime soon.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MudSnow View Post
    It's a public road. I am the public citizen.

    And if there was anybody else at all doing it, there wouldn't be a decade of accumulated dirt and roots on top of the road.
    I ride a lot on a MUT here in the DC area. During the pandemic, the county quit maintaining it -- mostly mowing -- and it got fairly over grown in places. Every so often, I'd ride by someone who was trimming back some of the weeds. A nice gesture, but not a real substitute for maintenance. It would take years of shoveling to clear out the miles and miles of bike lane that needs to get uncovered. Plus, working on the side of a road like that is a bit risky. I think you'd benefit people more by lobbying whoever maintains that road and tell them there's a safety issue here with the bike lane being obscured. They might run a street cleaner or some other machine and get it cleaned up in a few days.

  18. #18
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    What would get it cleaned up in a few days is if a dozen of the few hundred other cyclists in the area would follow my motivation and join me. Every weekend there are a at least a couple hundred cyclists going down that road, but the trees and vines haven't been cut in years. Some of the vines have become a woven mat several inches thick and full of many pounds of mud, but nobody stopped to trim them when they were just a few stray vines reaching out.

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    Not exactly the same situation, but I've been involved in our local mtb trails org for almost 20 years, on the board, designing, building and maintaining trails. I've worn many hats over the years. Your options are to do what you can, by yourself, unsanctioned. As you did. Nag the city, as a lone voice and hope they respond. Or try to rally other cyclists to your side for both manpower and a larger lever to make the bureaucracy move.

    In our case, our local Parks dept has zero money for maintenance, so we can help solve their problems with volunteer labor.

    When there is a public process for trail projects, we can marshal a large amounts of riders to push for what we want.

    If there is a local club, I'd contact them, or on social media, if there's a FB group for example. See if you can find a few like minded people and go from there. The city might be all in for a volunteer work day and provide support, a truck for slash, cones, a safety person etc. Or you might get entirely shut down. Hard to tell.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oxtox View Post
    not sure why you'd offer such a suggestion as you have no idea what approach I used to register my concern.
    So what approach did you use to register your concern? I am speaking from experience in multiple jurisdictions about what works and what doesn't work. You seem VERY wed to your approach regardless of the issues and ideas raised by others. Go for it.

  21. #21
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    Very first flat this season. it's all that crud, grit and "stuff" on the side of the roads that are a hazard. Even Continental Gators with Keflar can't cope with that, it was just a matter of when. Oh well.

    BTW sweeping 50km (30miles) of provincial highway .... forget that! Besides the same amount of crud would be back next week.
    So grin, bear, change the tube. At least the 700x23c tires are easy enough to get off the 700x25c rims, even without tire irons.

    PS Never happens when I ride the XC bike on the road.
    Cheers

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