Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on May 22nd, 2011 at 6:26 pm
(Photos © J. Maus)
East Portland did a stellar job kicking off the Sunday Parkways season.
The weather held up for the most part, with just a light drizzle hitting just before the end of the event. The turnout wasn't the full-street mobs we've seen at Parkways events in closer-in neighborhoods; but given the weather and the fact that bicycling isn't as common in outer East Portland, the crowds were very respectable.
As is usual when a safe, carfree environment is created, the diversity of people on bikes flourishes. I saw many senior citizens and tiny kids pedaling away with big smiles; I also saw many families walking and biking together.
Another thing that caught my eye were the new marketing posters attached to A-board signs and placed throughout the route. I assume these were paid for by presenting sponsor Kaiser Permanente. They were emblazoned with messages like, "Stretch", "Sunday Parkways Everyday", or my favorite; a photo of a guy in a wheelchair and the tagline, "Keep Portland Moving."
But not everyone got the message.
I saw one man in a pickup drive through the course, willfully oblivious to the closure. A nearby volunteer intersection monitor said she'd seen him before doing the same thing. I chatted with a Portland Police officer who said they'd given a ticket to a man who drove over a traffic cone into the course. In the comments below, one intersection volunteer reported that she encountered "many angry residents."
"I'm not used to being yelled, cussed at and blamed for the event... By the end of my shift, though uneasy leaving my intersection without a replacement, I was so on edge I wasn't being an effective helper and decided it was best that I not continue and possibly get into a fight... I'm not sure I'll be volunteering for this particular Parkways in the future, the way these neighbors react to bikes (Holgate included) is very discouraging and I did not feel safe."
On the brighter side, in a challenging traffic environment, the Portland Police did a great job handing some of the trickier crossings.
And how about the Springwater Corridor?! I happened to be on it during the only real sunny part of the day and I saw packs of happy people walking about biking on the two-mile stretch of greenery and smooth pavement.
Were you out there? What did you see? How do you think the event went? How did the crowds compare with last year? Please add your reports to the many comments that have already come in (this post was updated Monday morning after being first published Sunday evening).
Check out more images in the photo gallery.
And one more thing, if you haven't contributed to the Sunday Parkways fundraiser on Kickstarter, there's only a few hours left and they're just a few hundred dollars short of their goal. Head over and donate to send a clear message to City Council that the community supports this great event!