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Enjoy the lights on a carfree Peacock Lane on December 14th

Posted by on December 2nd, 2009 at 8:30 am

Enjoying a carfree Peacock Lane.
(Photo by Greg Raisman)

A longstanding holiday institution in Portland is taking a stroll — or, more prevalently, a slow, idling drive — down the one-block Peacock Lane to gaze at the elaborate holiday light displays that residents drape over their houses, trees, and yards.

Last year for the first time, neighbors on the Southeast Portland street decided to open a night early and make the event carfree. This year they’ll be doing the same — on December 14th, from 6pm to 11pm, the street one block east of SE 39th Ave between Stark and Belmont will be closed to all but foot traffic.

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A thick coating of ice on the streets last year — the legendary snowpocalypse was just beginning — meant that turnout for the carfree day wasn’t exactly thronged, but there was a good turnout nonetheless, with many families arriving by bike and parking at temporary corrals set up at either end of the street.

Peacock Lane resident Becky Patterson got in touch to let us know that the neighborhood is excited to repeat the experiment:

Last year’s Car-Free night was a great success even with the inclement weather. The residents on Peacock Lane celebrated the peace and quiet of our opening night; we all felt it was quite magical. The cross-country skiers, volunteers and other brave souls who came out to support us were greatly appreciated!

This year they’ll repeat the experiment on December 14th again, and hope for better weather that will help gauge its success — residents are particularly concerned that the surrounding neighborhood will be plagued by parking problems if too many people drive to the carfree event. They are encouraging revelers to walk, bike, or take transit (the 15 and 75 buses stop a block away).

Once again this year, the neighborhood is asking anyone who arrives by bike to lock up or walk their bikes “due to the number of pedestrians we anticipate to be crowding the street.” To avoid the confusion, they are billing the event as “pedestrians only” rather than “carfree.”

Patterson added that there is talk of making the event carless for more than one day, or even its entire duration, and would like to hear suggestions about how to accommodate those who cannot walk (many folks are bused in each year).

Volunteers are being sought for one hour shifts at either end of the street to make sure the closure goes smoothly. To volunteer, email Becky Patterson at peacocklane at comcast dot net (Patterson has also hinted at a steady supply of hot beverages for volunteers).

Peacock Lane will be walking-only on Monday, December 14 from 6pm to 11pm. From December 15 through 31 the lights will be on for viewing by any mode from 6pm to 11pm (until midnight on the 24th and 31st).

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Comments
  • MCSqueak December 2, 2009 at 10:25 am

    I think this is a great idea, I rarely go just because it gets so congested with cars, it’s simply not fun.

    As a potential solution to people who don’t want to walk, can’t walk, or wish to stay warm, perhaps they could allow pedicab drivers to offer their services for a fixed fee per each “drive” down the street. You could huddle under a blanket and enjoy the lights at a slow pace.

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  • amos December 2, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Wow! Between this, Carfree Winter Wonderland at PIR, and Trees by Bike I might actually get into the holiday spirit this year! God bless us, every one!

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  • Hart December 2, 2009 at 11:56 am

    I remember crashing this a few years back as part of the Santa Rampage and harassing SUV drivers here as they idled in the middle of this street. What jolly good fun!

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  • Michael M. December 2, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    It’s hard to imagine how they could accomodate those who can’t walk and be completely “carless” for the duration. I’m going Dec 15th with a group from a residential facility that will include some who can’t walk at all, some who have limited mobility, and some who can walk just fine. Some of us will be walking on Peacock Lane, but everyone is taking a van to get there. There would have to be some kind of staging area if Peacock Lane were to be completely closed to motor vehicles for the duration, where people aren’t already in wheelechairs could get into wheelchairs. But the weather probably makes that unworkable. While last year’s snowpocalypse is rare, rain is not.

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  • amy December 3, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    maybe it could be completely car-free except for certain days and/or times when buses are allowed. i really like the pedi-cab idea too.

    as for parking, if they didn’t allow parking on the nearby streets for this event, that would solve that.

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