Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on December 29th, 2009 at 9:20 pm
(Photos © J. Maus)
Excuse me while I gloat…
KGW-TV (Portland’s NBC affiliate) traffic reporter Michael Convery said this afternoon’s surprise snowstorm is the worst he’s seen in his nearly 20-year career in the Portland region. In a report tonight, he shared tales of a 25 mile backup on I-5 south of Tigard, about 50 abandoned vehicles on Highway 26 between the Zoo and I-405, the Fremont Bridge as a “high-rise parking lot”, and so on.
All of those things taken together led Convery to say, “That makes this the most unbelievable traffic afternoon in the last 20 years.”
“There was a dude running on the Burnside Bridge faster than I could ride and I was passing all the cars. The modes were turned on their heads.”
All afternoon in reports from friends and Mayor Sam Adams’ Twitter updates, I heard of nightmarish commutes. Buses that never showed up, MAX trains not running at all, streetcars left at the bottom of hills, cars sliding out, plows not being able to work because of all the abandoned cars, and heinously slow traffic even on surface streets.
But, through it all, people on bikes seemed to be not just moving along just fine, they actually seemed to be enjoying themselves. Imagine that!
Matt Picio decided to catch a movie (Avatar in IMAX 3D) and posted to his Facebook page that not only did he have the theater all to himself but that during the six mile ride he “was faster than the bus and ALL the cars” and that he was, “the fastest transportation in Portland right now that doesn’t ride rails.”
Check out Tony Fuentes, who rode from Lloyd Center to Concordia and just left a comment saying “Honestly, it wasn’t that bad (not that I would do it willingly, mind you).”:
(Photo: Jennifer Fuentes)
Alan Gunn is glad he just built up a new Surly Pugsley. “I actually pushed a small pickup as I rode by on my pugsley and got it unstuck. I love the snow!”
And Ken Southerland: “There was a dude running on the Burnside Bridge faster than I could ride and I was passing all the cars. The modes were turned on their heads.”
IanO left a comment on our Snow-pen Thread earlier today:
“I gotta say, it is a nice feeling to be able to soldier up a hill when other cars are spinning out. It also feels great getting and giving thumbs up to all the other intrepid bikers I passed on the way.”
And another commenter, Matthew, gets the last word:
“It’s beautiful out there. Rode from Lloyd Center area to North Portland (200 ft level) and passed cars stuck and others waiting to get stuck. It’s good going out there at this elevation provided you stick to the fresh snow, which isn’t difficult as auto traffic seems to be sticking to well-worn (and visible) trails in the main lanes. Avoid the ruts.
Memorable moments: Unlocking my bike at work, and having people on their way to their cars chuckle at me saying, in sarcasm, “Won’t YOU have a fun trip home tonight!” Well, yes I did, thank you, and faster than a lot of them.
Kudos to the couple in a Subaru with a bike rack who slowed down next to me on Interstate Ave and offered me a lift. Much appreciated, but I was having too much fun.”
Since PBOT and others seem to forget about bike traffic during snow storms, I just wanted to remind everyone that bikes are actually a viable and fun way to get around in this weather (as long as you ride cautiously of course). If you need further proof/inspiration, go back to our coverage of the major snow event we had back in January. And if this weather sticks around, you might want to consider studded tires or other modifications.
Happy Snow Days!