Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 25th, 2012 at 12:31 pm
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(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)
Despite overnight rain, the clouds parted in time for thousands of Portlanders to bask in the glow of Sunday Parkways yesterday. It was the fifth time the event rolled through the streets of North Portland. And, while the crowds seemed quite a bit thinner than the record-setting attendance in 2011, there was still a lot of fun to be had.
Just two blocks from my house, the route went over the Bryant Street Bridge (a biking/walking only overcrossing of I-5). Years ago, I shared how our neighborhood was working with ODOT to spruce it up a bit. The process has been agonizingly slow, but progress is being made. One big step was the recent removal of a section of the chain-link fencing that used to wrap around the entire bridge. Here's how it used to look:
And here's how it looks today (aaaahhhhh that's better):
At Arbor Lodge Park, I joined a ride with local business, political, and city leaders that was hosted by the Bureau of Transportation. The ride included lots of local dignitaries (Kaiser Permamente CEO Andy McCulloch, Mayor Sam Adams, Portland Parks & Recreation Director Mike Abbate, PBOT Director Tom Miller, Metro Councilor Rex Burkholder, and so on).
Here's Mayor Adams and PBOT Director Tom Miller:
It's always fun to see elected and policymakers on bikes; but I didn't get too many action shots because I was busy enjoying a vigorous conversation about bicycling and transportation politics with Nancy Hales, wife of mayoral candidate Charlie Hales and director of First Stop Portland (an outfit at Portland State that shows off our city to visiting delegations).
Here's Nancy and Charlie...
One highlight of the day for me was N. Willamette Blvd. Last year PBOT allowed cars on half the roadway, but this year they smartly decided to keep cars off the entire thing. It was quiet and blissful. I stood at the side of the road and heard numerous people say things like, "Wow, this is amazing without cars!" and "I can ride anywhere! Woohoo!" and so on. My friend Ted Buehler loved it too. He said, "Imagine if Portlanders had car free streets like that to commute on. We'd convert 10,000 drivers almost instantly."
Look at these photos and I think you'll agree...
As always, my favorite things about Sunday Parkways are the people. Pleasant streets bring people together, and when we're not in cars, we can smile and wave and make friends much easier. The North Sunday Parkways always brings out a tremendously diverse cross-section of our city. It brings people out of their cars and houses and into our public spaces. Here are some of the wonderful people I came across...
Thanks to PBOT, the Police Bureau and all the sponsors and volunteers for another great event. I'm already looking forward to next month.
See more photos — including a crazy bike-powered car (seriously) — in the gallery.