Thoughts and photos from North Portland Sunday Parkways

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on June 25th, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Sunday Parkways North Portland 2012-20
Riding a completely carfree N Willamette Blvd was sheer bliss.
- Gallery -
(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:

Sunday Parkways 09 -29

And here's how it looks today (aaaahhhhh that's better):

Sunday Parkways North Portland 2012-1

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:

Sunday Parkways North Portland 2012-3

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...

Sunday Parkways North Portland 2012-6

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...

Sunday Parkways North Portland 2012-8
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2012-13
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2012-16

Sunday Parkways North Portland 2012-15
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2012-21
Willamette Blvd in full splendor

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...

Sunday Parkways North Portland 2012-2
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2012-14
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2012-45
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2012-19
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2012-26
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2012-28
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2012-35
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2012-39
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2012-38
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2012-40
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2012-23

Thanks to PBOT, the Police Bureau and all the sponsors and volunteers for another great event. I'm already looking forward to next month.

Sunday Parkways North Portland 2012-46

See more photos — including a crazy bike-powered car (seriously) — in the gallery.

Email This Post Email This Post

Possibly related posts

Gravatars make better comments... Get yours here.
Please notify the publisher about offensive comments.
  • Roger June 25, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    A few pics taken while "working" as a volunteer superhero coordinator between Arbor Lodge and the I-5 Bryant Overpass:


    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Nick V June 25, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    How come city officials and politicians can't wear their helmets correctly?

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Lenny Anderson June 25, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Willamette Blvd actually has room in the public owned right of way for at least a 15' bi-directional bike/ped path/trail above the curb on the bluff side, separated from motor vehicle traffic. Atla took a look at it for the Swan Island Trails Action Plan in 2004. It would require that private motor vehicles now parked at the curb make use adjacent side streets.
    Image being able to bike, run or walk from U. of Portland to the adidas campus without crossing a single street. Willamettee needs to be reconfigured to serve everyone, not just commuters taking a short cut from Columbia County to jobs on the east side and residents who live on the street and occasionally park a car there.

    Recommended Thumb up 21

    • Adam June 25, 2012 at 4:52 pm

      I have often wondered myself about this. Given that each house along Willamette Blvd has its own driveway, there are very rarely cars parked in the parking lane. I actually counted on spin out to St Johns, and there were 17 cars, in a several-mile stretch of roadway.

      It would be a dream come true to see a cycletrack installed on Willamette. There is clearly not at all high demand for on-street parking on this street that warrants so much asphalt to be dedicated to it.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Joe June 25, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    power to the people :)

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Mike O'Brien June 25, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    A very big thanks to all the volunteers and organizations who made this delightful day possible! We look forward to taking the grandchildren next year.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Andrew K June 25, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    I had a conversation with Nancy Hales at an awards dinner a while back and really liked her. Win or lose for Charlie (my vote is still undecided) I think she is one very nice lady!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • wileysiren June 25, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    The *best* part about Sunday Parkways is all the kidlets learning to ride their bikes with parents in tow... and the kidlet gets the hang of riding and keeps going and going and going with the biggest grin you've ever seen. I saw quite a few parents getting a workout just trying to keep up!

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • dwainedibbly June 25, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    Looks like it was a great time, sorry we missed it.

    Somebody enlighten me, please. How do you get a tallbike tandem moving?

    Recommended Thumb up 5

  • Alan 1.0 June 25, 2012 at 6:15 pm

    Favorite moment: sitting on a garden wall, watching happy people passing by on Willamette Bvd with NW Portland in the background, munching on delicious Taco Pedaler tacos fresh off a trike-mounted grill and sipping Tamarindo soda.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Paul June 25, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    I had a great time volunteering, as always. This is my favorite event of the year! See you in SW!!!

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • HAL9000 June 26, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    After having read Jonathan's previous post last year about Willamette Blvd, how many yard sales were there?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • esther c June 26, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    Another great Sunday Parkway. It can be a challenge sometimes to stay upright as slow as you have to ride, but all the better to get a good look at everything and every one.

    My favorite is always the kids with their training wheels still on.

    Good vibes everywhere. I love Portland.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • mmann June 26, 2012 at 11:34 pm

    I pulled an early volunteer shift riding mechanical support. This was the nicest NoPo Parkways event, in my opinion, and the full closure of Willamette to cars was a big reason - I rode Willamette three times just to bask in the awesomeness. But I also had to do a lot of back and forth intersection control on Bryant between Arbor Lodge Park and Willamette. When drivers "discovered" Willamette was closed, many decided to head north on Knowles and cross the route at Bryant. Intersection volunteers were sparse at the beginning here, and drivers were moving the barricades to cross. Quickly remedied, though. But also a reminder that the success of these events is dependent on a LOT of volunteers. If you haven't yet, sign up to help out at one (or more) of the remaining events.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

- Daily bike news since 2005 -
BikePortland.org is a production of
PedalTown Media Inc.
321 SW 4th Ave, Ste. 401
Portland, OR 97204

Powered by WordPress. Theme by Clemens Orth.
Subscribe to RSS feed

Original images and content owned by Pedaltown Media, Inc. - Not to be used without permission.