Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 13th, 2010 at 12:17 pm
Everyone's getting excited about the Sunday Parkways event coming up in East Portland this weekend. Despite a change to the route due to a repaving project on the Springwater Corridor, it will still be an excellent opportunity to enjoy carfree streets and explore neighborhood parks with thousands of fellow Portlanders.
However, unlike previous Sunday Parkways events that rolled through areas where people on bikes are common, the East Portland edition reaches places where biking -- or the infrastructure that goes with it -- is not nearly as established. I'm curious how the event will look and feel in a part of our city not known as a cycling haven.
To learn more, I asked PBOT's Transportation Options Division program manager Linda Ginenthal (she's the big cheese behind the event) a few questions (emphasis mine):
Can you share some highlights of the route? What things are not to be missed?
"El Programa Hispano are doing rides and also a fantastic soccer tournament as part of Sunday Parkways. Rides are at 11 am & 1 pm; meet in Ed Benedict Park and the soccer tournament is at Bloomington Park.
Tikes Bikes at Lents Park is another thing I'm excited about. There will be three bike ramps and balance bikes for children ages 1 - 5. And of course, The Sprockettes perform at 2pm on the tennis courts in Ed Benedict Park.
Lastly, the Ramona Street Fair is a new twist. Lents Neighborhood folks pulled this together. It is just west of the I-205 bike path south of SE Steele and north of Foster. Take a look at the location on the attached map. More and more fun...."
What was the reception to Parkways in general from citizens and from business owners in East Portland compared to other places you've brought the event?
"The East Portland neighborhood groups put on the full court press to the Mayor's office to have Portland Sunday Parkways come to their neighborhoods. The neighborhood groups have been working with us to get the word out and gather support.
Just like we have seen the first time in every Sunday Parkways neighborhood we do hear some grumbling from neighbors. This area also felt a bit blindsided by the addition of the Holgate buffered bike lanes going in. With such difficult connectivity issues in east Portland, it is tougher to get out and ride - so we have a real need to be there to show some of the new routes like the newly completed Bush Street Bike Boulevard section through the park.
The corner store on the route at around 111th and Harold has a poster up and will be gathering some feedback for us on Sunday Parkways from neighbors. I'm looking forward to hearing what east Portlanders say after the big day."
Do you see this event as being a catalyst for active transportation and raising awareness of biking and walking in East Portland?
"I do see Portland Sunday Parkways as a way to knit these very changing and diverse neighborhoods together.
When our volunteer management team went out to ride the route a couple of weeks ago, the parks we rode by were filled with families and young people enjoying the parks in the evening in lots of sports games and activities. Many of these families were people of color and spoke many different languages. Traditionally these neighborhoods have been lower-income white families. I am hoping that Sunday Parkways gives these neighbors a chance to literally play in the streets together - whether they ride their bicycles, walk, stroll or just enjoy the fun healthy activities in the parks. And bicycling is a really good way to have a healthy active lifestyle."
Do you still need volunteers?
"Yes! We especially need folks to work the afternoon shifts and helping with event clean up at 3pm. They can sign up at PortlandSundayParkways.org"
Despite the success of Sunday Parkways, the budget issues are well-known. How are things going with donations and budget goals for the remaining two events?
"We still need to raise $93,000 to meet our budget goals. As you know, people can donate online if they'd like to help out."
Thanks for taking time to answer my questions Linda. You and your Options team have given us all a huge gift and we appreciate your work on Sunday Parkways. See you on the streets!