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Over 10,000 participate in first ever Southwest Portland Sunday Parkways

Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 24th, 2012 at 10:43 am

A 'Marketplace' set up at the Hillsdale shopping
center was a big hit.
(Photos: Roger Averbeck)

PBOT's Sunday Parkways event ventured into southwest Portland for the first time this past weekend. According to Roger Averbeck, an active bicycle advocate in the area, about 10,800 people showed up and the event was a big success — although it did highlight the barriers that still exist to riders in the area.

PBOT hasn't held the event in the southwestern part of town since Sunday Parkways started in 2008. That's likely because the area lacks the connectivity, bike usage rates, and flat topography of other parts of the city. SW Portland is also criss-crossed by major arterial streets, which makes preventing cars from using all the lanes and allowing people to walk and bike on them a more difficult task.

Spurred on by a "Bicycle Facilities Strategy" planning document crafted by citizen activists four years ago, PBOT has been working to improve riding conditions in the area by building out a network of bike-friendly neighborhood streets and installing bikeways along with road projects.

Roger, who's also a southwest Portland resident, said he feels the event went well, and "better than organizers expected given the hills and need to use some arterial streets with slip lanes." He pedaled the entire route and was able to compare it with Sunday Parkways events in other parts of town. "I observed less total numbers of motor vehicle driver negative interactions with volunteers." Roger also noticed the success of the marketplaces set up at the Hillsdale and Multnomah Village business districts.

Roger said the event helped highlight some of the significant barriers to bicycling that continue to persist in southwest: The hills.

"There were lots of people of all ages walking their bikes up the hills — illustrating what a barrier these are to those not used to it. The route definitely showed how poor the existing biking and walking infrastructure is in Southwest Portland despite recent PBOT efforts to add some neighborhood greenways."

Below are a few of Roger's photos

Roger also shared some quotes from the day he overheard from passersby: "Where are we?" said a rider emerging from SW Maplewood at SW 45th Ave; "What traffic engineer designed this?" said a PPB officers at SW Capitol Hwy and SW Cheltenham; and ""I have not seen this many people on bikes since I visited China," said a woman stuck in traffic in Hillsdale.

Did you attend the event? I'd love to hear your impressions of it.

Thanks to Roger for his recap and photos of the event. I am out of town and was unable to participate (it's only the second Sunday Parkways I've ever missed!).

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Comments
  • 9watts July 24, 2012 at 10:57 am

    I have a question about this hills business.
    Most bikes I see around town (80%?) have gears, lots of them. Most of my friends who ride have bikes with 15-21 gears or perhaps even more--I don't really know. Given the saturation rates of multi-geared bicycles, and the ubiquity of mountain bikes with what we used to call granny-gears, I'm not sure I completely understand the amount of ground we are willing to give up so easily when it comes to topography.

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    • Chris I July 24, 2012 at 12:39 pm

      People are lazy. Riding up hills is harder than riding on flat ground, so they are less likely to enjoy it. I rode this route with a trailer on Sunday, and I only enjoyed the hills because I thought of them as a challenge. If I were riding this every day, it would be more of a chore.

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      • 9watts July 24, 2012 at 12:46 pm

        I agree that with extra cargo, or under time pressure hills can be a big obstacle, physically and psychologically. When I'm pulling a trailer with anything over 300 lbs, most hills are completely out of the question given my gearing and the limits of my bike chain and legs. How Chris (Builder By Bike) manages to go about his business in the West Hills I don't know.

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    • Barbara July 25, 2012 at 10:46 am

      The hills are defintely an obstacle for kids and elderly. My 7-year old has started biking to camp at SWCC and needs to get up Vermont Hill in the afternoon. Even will all the gears it is very slow and she is pushing some of it. Have you ever tried riding Vermont Hill? It's a serious, steep, long hill that is even challenging for me as a regular bike commuter. Also don't forget that the hills limit your radius because riding them takes longer. The 20-minute neighborhood is much smaller here in SW than in SE. I commute to OHSU. I don't have a single flat stretch on my way. Three miles takes me 20-25 minutes.

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      • 9watts July 25, 2012 at 11:04 am

        Even will all the gears it is very slow

        This is my concern.
        Using your gears in situations like that is what slows things down. You can wear yourself out going up a hill in a high(er) gear, or go slow in a low gear. Slow isn't a drawback - it is the reward for having low gears.

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        • Barbara July 25, 2012 at 3:55 pm

          My daughter is 7. She has had a bike with gears for 6 weeks. She is not an athlete biker. It takes us half an hour to get up that hill.

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  • Esther July 24, 2012 at 11:02 am

    I also agree that I noticed less negative interactions with drivers (granted, I was not working an intersection superhero shift). I thought this Parkways was absolutely wonderful. I had a great time and LOVED seeing a new (to me) part of town. Excited for future events.

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  • Jake July 24, 2012 at 11:22 am

    Actually, I kind of disagree on the hills. And I'm not overly sure what could be done anyway. I've kind of gotten past the point of caring about it because I just accept it as part of the game. Beaverton-Hillsdale Hwy isn't too hilly, and Barbur is actually tamer than it looks. I agree it'd be nice if it was flatter but, that's life. Frankly, the Scholls Ferry / Beaverton-HIllsdale Hwy intersection is a much more pressing issue.

    However, a connection to downtown from Sylvan that doesn't require climbing up Skyline would be appreciated :)

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    • davemess July 24, 2012 at 1:15 pm

      What about cutting down the frontage road from Sylvan to the zoo an then going through Wash Park?

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      • Jake July 24, 2012 at 1:44 pm

        Yeah, this is the best option. It's not ideal, though. You have to deal with the zoo parking lot and then the Rose Gardens, so lots of cars and pedestrians usually. It's not horrible though. I just wish the road from Sylvan to the Zoo extended all the way to the tunnels and then branched off to underneath Vista bridge. I'm dreaming, obviously, though.

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        • Alli July 25, 2012 at 11:28 am

          Even better than that is taking SW Highland Rd. It's the turn before the Zoo. It's really quiet but pretty steep in general but takes you straight up to Fairview. It's part of De Ronde which is how I discovered it.

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  • Roger July 24, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Hills: Not a problem for me, with a triple on my commuter bike, despite middle age. However, my 11 year old niece, my mother in law in her 70's, and some of my less fit neighbors have a different perspective.

    Combine the hills with no shoulders or bike lanes on our curvy SW collector streets (access from homes to jobs, schools, stores), equals barriers to cycling for transportation...

    All my photos from the SW Sunday Parkways are at this public link:

    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3578278579514.2127165.1349629725&type=1&l=1a311633e7

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    • 9watts July 24, 2012 at 11:46 am

      I'm not suggesting hills aren't more work than flat stretches, just that with the widespread availability of low gears we could be having a conversation about how to ride up hills without breaking a sweat, rather than conceding that hills are this unquestioned hurdle.

      My suspicion is that many people don't know how to take full advantage of their low gears and/or what would happen if they kept their cadence constant and slowed down going up hills.

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  • Dan July 24, 2012 at 11:49 am

    It also SEEMS to me like there is a higher fatal-accident-per-cyclist-on-the-road rate in that area, based on my own unscientific recollection of articles posted here. People getting hit on curvy roads & whatnot.

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  • LoveDoctor July 24, 2012 at 11:55 am

    As a SW resident, I feared that it would be a ghost event, since I didn't hear/see much advertising the Parkways. I was very pleasantly surprised Sunday late morning to see people riding by my house to get to the loop, and even a few folks driving up and parking to disgorge their bikes. We got into the loop, and lo and behold there was a sea of people moving both directions, and the whole route appeared to have just the right density of folks; enough to be exciting and support the party atmosphere, but so many that the route was choked. I've been in my area of Garden Home for 7 years, and got to experience some great residential roads I didn't even know existed. Hopefully the businesses along the route appreciated the event, too. There are at least a couple of restaurants and pubs (I'm lookin' at you, Sasquatch Brewery) that weren't really on the radar before that we will patronize soon.

    Regarding the hills, I had The Wife and our 2 year old on the back of my Big Dummy, and it wasn't too bad at all. Many novices will look at those hills and give up, but once they figure out gears and pacing, the grades really aren't bad.

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  • Scott July 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I live in the neighborhood and have been to a half dozen of the other rides in the last three years. Here's a few of my observations.

    - Many of the kids were totally overmatched by the hills and should have had an adult get them off their bikes and walk. As a result of that not happening, I saw at least a dozen cringe inducing crashes where kids stopped their forward progress and flopped over the side of the road. Tired kids shouldn't be biking. I did need to break out my first aid kit once.

    - The spandex crowd was out in full force on Vermont, weaving in and out of families at 30+ mph. I realize its fun to go all out, but a family ride isn't the place for it. If you need to release you inner douchebag, the Alpenrose track has open races most Sundays.

    - I saw more angry drivers screaming at PPB officers than any other ride I've been on. Maybe west-siders aren't used to seeing so many cyclists, or it's the Prius effect, who knows? A tip of the helmet to the officers who had to put up with the people who "couldn't handle being inconvenienced for two minutes". (Quote from the officer handling traffic 30 yards from my house)

    - The planners were definitely fighting topography and the piecemeal development "planning" of the SW hills. Some of the sections were questionably routed, but most of them were very well considered. I can't think of any viable substitutions that wouldn't dramatically shorten the route.

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  • Brian Willson July 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    As a 71 year-old arm-powered handcyclist, I completed the 7 mile hilly loop of SW Portland Parkways. However, there was one short stretch in Multnomah Village where I simply could not make it to the top, even tho I was in my lowest gear. There was not much space for entering the short hill with any momentum. My partner wound up pushing me the last 30 feet or so.

    But my thoughts throughout the hilly loop were that none of this human development and activity would have been so eagerly pursued if it were not for fossil fuel-driven industrial civilization. Absent fossil fuels, some of it could be "developed," but history suggests that this much population with all their roads, houses and driveways could only have been built with slave labor, not voluntary labor, and then only over a much longer period of time.

    Nonetheless, I enjoyed the cycling experience in Portland's SW areas, but noted I was not about to do a repeat loop as I have often done on the other Sunday Parkways in N, NW, NE, and SE portland.

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  • brian July 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    I really enjoyed the hills as a departure from the previous sunday parkways. Unfortunate to share lanes vs. have the whole road, but I understand. The people were great and the shopping center setups were good as well, even though they were not what I was expecting.

    Overall a good ride.

    I missed the turn off to go up twilliger.

    My wife is not a daily rider and she was able to ride up all the hills. She did a great job.

    I hope this route is repeated next year.

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  • Seth Alford July 24, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    I did about half the route, from Multnomah and 45th to past Hillsdale, via Vermont. Likes: closed streets. Dislikes: people stopping in the middle of the road on the uphills. Had to stop quickly at least once for that. Too crowded. Maybe make it one way next year?

    And something made my eyes sting and tear up near Bertha. I suspect I got a face full of chili pepper laden smoke from Verde Cocina. But it might have just been sweat.

    A while after that I left the route and rode home on Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway. Except for the kid bike salmoning near SW 21st, for me that was a more relaxing part of the ride.

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  • David Hoch July 24, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Loved the event and glad SW was finally represented. I'm surprised with the amount of people that showed up. Lots of families and kids.

    The hills were a problem for many folks. Majority of my crew (12 people) had to walk up several of the inclines as they simply aren't in bike shape and don't ride normally.

    This was a big win for SW and will hopefully draw a circle around how crappy the infrastructure really is. No Sidewalks. Yikes.

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  • Bill July 24, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    My house was right on the loop. I had my 2-year old in a seat on my rack and a 6-month old in the trailer (her first ride!). Went great! Loved getting out car-free, see lots of people, and my son absolutely loved looking at all the police cars.

    Most of the people I saw walking up hill were still in a pretty tall gear. I think a Shifting 101 class would have been very handy for a lot of folks.

    I really hope they do another one in SW next year!

    --Bill

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  • Paul Hanrahan July 24, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    The hills weren't a problem for me (daily commuter) but my friend found it difficult, being an occasional rider. It was great that Sunday Parkways tied into the Terwilliger 100 year celebration, it was fantastic to ride that blvd car free for a couple of miles! Please do this route again next year!

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  • spare_wheel July 24, 2012 at 4:54 pm

    imo, this was a tough route for the casual rider (especially if you add in terwilliger). my partner is a frequent cyclist but was unhappy with this ride. she said: "never again".

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    • Paul Souders July 24, 2012 at 7:04 pm

      That makes me kind of sad. We moved to SW nine years ago specifically to put Terwilliger on the route downtown. I like to say "my commute is a bike ride through the woods."

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      • Alan 1.0 July 24, 2012 at 10:27 pm

        I loved the hills, reminded me of biking as a kid. A resident handed out ice cream shots with fresh loganberries at the top of Westwood...woohoo! Loved the old paving up there, too. I missed the turn for it at Hillsdale so I rode back up Capital from Terwilliger and it didn't seem bad at all, less than 5 minutes.

        SWMBO had to push a few times despite low, low gears, once due to tired knees, twice due to spinning the drive wheel on her EZ-3, so those hills weren't imaginary. She was proud to have made it, though, and she'd do it again. We both liked the variety that SW provides to Sunday Parkway routes.

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        • A.K. July 25, 2012 at 8:27 am

          If you liked the section of Westwood you rode during Sunday Parkways, you should take it all the way up to Fairmount Blvd. There are a few sections where the grade pops up, but overall a pretty decent little urban ascent, one of my favorite ways to get up there.

          Once you're up on Fairmount you can ride a ~4 mile loop around the top of the hill, up and down very gentle rollers with very little traffic (you'll see way more walkers and joggers than cars), and ride up to the top of Council Crest if you feel so inclined. It's a really nice area.

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  • Andrew Holtz July 24, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    While most drivers I saw seemed to accept delays (with maybe a grumble), I encountered one driver who loudly vented his anger at having to detour in order to get to his church. He said people walking and biking where he usually drives were "restricting his right to religion."

    I guess some people believe in a divine right to drive.

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    • A.K. July 24, 2012 at 9:47 pm

      I hope he paid extra attention to Jesus' message that day while in Church, and perhaps reflected on what he said.

      But I somehow doubt it.

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  • Don Baack SWTrails July 24, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    No one has mentioned the separate SWTrail route just for Peds, 3.8 miles. It took a lot of peds off the bike route and provided a good experience for walkers on Urban Trail Routes. Many from outside SW had never seen such routes. I heard a very positive reaction. The Ped routes need to be better advertised next time.

    Don Baack

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  • Lenny Anderson July 24, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Hey, glad SW got its turn to "own the streets" for a day. I grew up riding a bike in the late 50s/early 60's between Multnomah (home), HIllsdale (school) and Lewis and Clark college (play). The routes are there, you just have to look pretty hard and take the lane. I was hit by a guy turning left in the Village and had to sit out a couple of ball games...so much for being safer on the sidewalk!

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  • Hart Noecker July 24, 2012 at 8:11 pm

    Had a great time once I got there, but it was extremely difficult to find, and very dangerous, too. Perhaps next time there could be a map online that actually shows the outlying area and some suggested routes to take to get there. That said, my thighs are still burning from all the up and downs on the route, fun times indeed.

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  • Mia Birk July 24, 2012 at 8:50 pm

    SW Sunday Parkways = newbie enlightenment. Our family in the area doesn't own bikes because it's too dangerous to ride in SW. Gave nephew Danny our son's old bike. He rode all day, in heaven, and was thrilled to learn that it takes but minutes to get from his house to Multnomah Village. Brother Bruce manned a water/sunscreen booth at the top of a hill for Pediatric Associates of the NW. Thousands made it up that hill, including many kids, smiling, laughing, connecting with each other and with the joy of walking & riding.

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  • Eli July 24, 2012 at 10:14 pm

    I came down from Seattle and loved the event. Only thoughts were:

    * It's a shame there weren't instructions on how to GET there by bike. I spent an hour wandering on foot around after getting off the Sellwood bridge trying to find the route. Talking with some friends who live in Portland, it sounds even locals would have had the same problems.

    * It was really interesting to self-reflect on Parkways w/hills! What I love so much about the other Sunday Parkways (vs. Seattle's version, which is a 2 mile stretch along the waterfront) is that the event feels like everyone's going at a homogenous speed of about 9-11 miles per hour, kinda like Dutch infrastructure. Whereas in Seattle's event, we really don't have places to bike in general, so it's filled with MAMILs doing 20-25 mph in spandex with inches of clearance from kids riding 3 abreast whose parents don't know enough about cycling to encourage them to stay to the right, etc - which is really unpleasant for me.

    It was surprising to me to see how the introduction of hills made the event feel to me more like Seattle's event - where I'm hoping to keep my speed going downhill and notice myself feeling frustrated by the kids "blocking my way" (or who I had to pass on the right) -- just like motorists who get annoyed at cyclists in their way.

    Again, not to say the kids did anything wrong, of course - in my view, the event was for them, not for me. It just really made me value the homogenous speed of the other events enabled by the flat pavement.

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  • Jeremy Cohen July 25, 2012 at 9:01 am

    I rode this event and while I LOVED it, there were some challenges compared to other Parkways events. I was on a tandem with a kid up front on a Mini-yepp and bigger kid in back in a trailer--and the hills were pretty tough. I have been a daily bike commuter for most of my life and the bike I was riding has plenty of granny-style gears. The issue for most people going up hills isn't that they can't pedal or don't understand about gearing, it is that a bike is much less stable at low speeds. I watched lots of people begin going up the hills, but then as their speed dropped they bailed out due to wobble. My wife, who stokes the back of the tandem would have walked her bike up most of the hills because she feels like a wobble in the bike means she is about to fall over. I can keep the bike going even at low speeds, but with my whole family on the same cycle, it was a little hairy at times.

    I am glad there was a SW event, and I will absolutely do it again, but to pretend that hills don't seriously affect the experience of riding is simply denial.

    I also agree that it was difficult to "find" the event, but once there I really enjoyed the scene, the community and the support from all the volunteers. Overall a great experience and I was able to bike some areas that I didn't know about, and would probably not ever seen (at least not by bike!)

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  • Dan July 25, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Eli
    it's filled with MAMILs doing 20-25 mph in spandex

    Sorry, but don't you find the term 'MAMIL' a bit divisive?

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    • A.K. July 25, 2012 at 9:15 am

      Eh, it's pretty funny. And why would you go to such an event only to need to dodge families/kids/whatever? The same roads are open 364 other days for hammering as fast as you can handle...

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      • Dan July 25, 2012 at 10:10 am

        Not a good idea to go to a group event & expect to ride 25mph, whatever clothes you may choose to wear.

        I might come up with funny names in my mind for all the different goofy looking riders out there, but I don't think it helps to start name-calling between bike riders. We deride 'cagers' for grouping all cyclists in one big pile, but we can't stop creating our own stereotyped groups for ourselves?

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        • A.K. July 25, 2012 at 10:56 am

          Yeah, that's a valid point. I guess since I'm willing (and enthusiastic) member of the lycra brigade, even for commuting, I find the term amusing, especially since I'll be knocking on that door in a few years here - but I'll concede that maybe not everyone may.

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  • michelle July 25, 2012 at 10:14 am

    I hope they change the route next year. Maybe no one knows and maybe know one cares, but the SW Sunday Parkways made the Hillsdale Farmer's Market completely inaccessible. The cops(for no particular reason) closed off the Wilson High Parking lot leaving ZERO parking. No one knew ahead of time this was going to happen. This farmer's market is a vibrant, busy, year round market, but not on this day. As if the winter doesn't have pose challenges, this past Sunday many, many, many farmers lost a lot of money because no one could get to them to buy anything. Farmers depend on this $, depend on summer sales. So, from my perspective, SW Sunday Parkways- FAIL.

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    • Barbara July 25, 2012 at 4:02 pm

      That is true. They really suffered. After all nobody is taking a flat of berries on their bike rack. We planned ahead and went early to the Farmers Market and then participated in the Sunday Parkways. But then we also live in walking/biking distance from the market and could take the bounty home before the ride.

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    • stasia July 25, 2012 at 4:20 pm

      Michelle,

      This is simply my own experience and not confirmed by any official market crowd counts, but when I was there (having arrived by bike) it seemed just as hopping as it does any other Sunday. Perhaps there wasn't parking, but don't forget that anyone from the neighborhood who walks or bikes was still able to make it, plus there were about 10,000 other people who came by bike. Seems to me like it might price out, even for vendors who sell food that you don't typically consume on the premises.

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      • Barbara July 25, 2012 at 5:59 pm

        I ran into the market manager at the end of the market and he said it was bad for most of the produce selling farmers. Just the food vendors and a few others, like The Smokery had a decent day. People apparently don't just come crom the neighborhood but from Beaverton and other areas to shop at the market. The only thing that saved the day was the early opening at 9:30.

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    • Alan July 25, 2012 at 8:02 pm

      I found the Farmers' Market completely accessible. I parked, as usual across the street from the market along a residential street with numerous other Parkways participants and Market shoppers. As for the Wilson High parking lot, I don't know why the police closed it, unless it was to avoid a lot of traffic in and out at the intersection of Capitol Hwy and Sunset, right where many cyclists were passing after climbing the hill from the West or the East. I think we should chalk any difficulty up to this being the first time Parkways has been done in SW.

      And, flats of berries aren't the only things folks buy at the Market. A knapsack or saddle bag for some tomatoes, zukes, or smoked salmon worked for a lot of people, I would bet.

      BTW, all the merchants along the east side of Hillsdale had their parking totally removed for the hours of the event, but most of them made the most of it with booths, samples, sales, and general good PR.

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  • Ted Buehler July 25, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    The Bike Temple had a great time -- we offered our usual fare of bicycle blessings and incense, and we were pleasantly surprised to fins that SW Portland riders were eager to have their bikes blessed. On the east side, most folks just give us a skeptical glance as they roll by, but in the SW whole families would line up for a few waves of incense or shakes of holy water.

    & The Oregonian featured us in their SW Parkways writeup.
    http://www.oregonlive.com/gresham/index.ssf/2012/07/bike_temple_preaches_at_first.html

    I rode the east half of the loop, I was very impressed to see so many kids and adults tackling the hills with grit and gusto. Sure folks were tired and all, but unstoppable. Lots of eastsiders wimp out at hills half the size of those on the route. And the route had an incredible saw-blade profile. Up and down and up and down, hardly a level spot anywhere on the west side that I rode.

    I also went up the "spur" from Hillsdale Center to Terwilliger. It was a real treat having Terwilliger closed, but it was yet another epic hill to get there, so I only saw a handful of folks on that part of the route.

    I was also impressed with the sheer numbers of people out. It seemed like the streets were just as packed as an east-side Parkways. A near constant stream of bicyclists.

    Congrats to Sunday Parkways staff and volunteers for making this event such a success!

    Ted Buehler

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  • Craig Harlow July 25, 2012 at 12:55 pm

    We did not do this Parkways specifically due to the challenge of getting a (car-free) family on bikes across town to the ride start. I considered taking my kids and bikes on the MAX green line to OHSU, to cover the through-town run as well as half the initial climbing--but I decided that I couldn't rely on the prospect of getting us all with bikes on the same car at the same time.

    I would love TriMet to consider an addition to their train platforms:

    Run a special train just once per hour (on each line) with one standard car, and the second car half cleared (or, heck, completely cleared) of seats, and that cleared space devoted to people with bikes and strollers. No bike hooks--just riders standing with their bikes, bike trailers, cargo bikes, strollers, etc.

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  • Jen Seamans July 25, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    I biked a significant portion of the route -- everything except the section between Hillsdale & Terwilliger -- twice, once solo & once with 6-year old in tow (see third pic up from bottom).   Did not witness a single vocal angry person in vehicle.  Crowds were sizable everywhere to the point of narrow misses & a couple spills between riders going different speeds.  With the narrower slip lanes and steeper hills I didn't trust my son on his own bike as I have on other Sunday Parkways routes, but he loved being on the trail-a-bike and not being responsible for walking a separate bike up the biggest hills. 

    Kudos to the thousand of hours of time from neighborhood activists, city staff, officers & everyone who dreamed big, advocated, planned, permitted, set up, volunteered, & kept folks safe to bring bikey & walky fun to a quadrant of the city that needs it badly.  'Cos after all, that's the point, right?  If people can associate biking & walking with FUN and "everyone's doing it," and maybe discover it's not as intimidating to walk their bike up the big hill as they thought (and they're in good company doing it), then they might do it again.  And again and again.

    Looking forward to next year!

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  • Dabby July 27, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    So funny that the significant barrier to cycling in the SW/West Hills is actually "The SW/West Hills".
    I mean funny cause it is true funny. But funnier because people, while making these claims, choose to live in an obvious barrier to neighborhood exercise in general, Hills!
    I grew up on a huge, steep hill. To get to my hill, I had to traverse a longer, but slightly less steep one. This was from the bus stop. Bad enough on foot.
    Yet my paper route was these two hills, plus three more.
    And they wonder why I became a messenger?
    Yes I have Sunday morning nightmares.....

    My point is, adapt or die. Move forward with momentum, cause that is all we have.
    Take the hills you moved into and embrace them.
    Maybe some easier gears.
    Or a tougher attitude...

    Give your surroundings a big ole hug!

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    • Barbara July 27, 2012 at 2:17 pm

      It's not so much the hills I have a problem with, but the barriers that come with the hills. For example we hardly have any neighborhood greenways because we have so little through streets or reasonably flat streets. Add into that the almost complete absence of sidewalks and big gaps in bikelanes, especially on the main throughfares, and biking and walking gets really difficult. I'm glad that a lot of people from the east side came and saw our conditions and maybe understand the barriers to biking better. We got a recommendation from Safe Routes to School about a safe way to get to our Neighborhood elementary school that is 2 miles and a steep hill away. As the direct route is on a busy street with no sidewalk or bike lane in a crucial part, the recommendation was to go down a steep hill, than back up to the top of the hill and back down. Obviously, the person didn't know the lay of the land over here. There is a reason why the percentage of bike commuters is 15% on the east side and 5% on the west. There is much more dedication and enthusiasm necessary here to even just do basic things as getting to school or the park.

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      • 9watts July 27, 2012 at 2:25 pm

        "There is a reason why the percentage of bike commuters is 15% on the east side and 5% on the west."

        Yeah, maybe. But when I was a kid there was no infrastructure for people on foot or on a bike and we walked and biked anyway.
        When I was 5 years old I walked a mile along Capital Highway into Multnomah (now -Village) to preschool--alone. I don't remember any sidewalks but I do remember the dogs. Sometimes I took the Trimet bus home.

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        • Barbara July 27, 2012 at 2:41 pm

          These were the good old days. Now we live in the age of helicopter parents, parent paranoia, safety first, sue everybody times. And no, crime is the lowest it was since the 50ies. Instead we let our kids get obese and depressed... But I have to admit even as a free-range parent and dedicated bicyclist I have problems letting my 7year old ride Vermont between 30th and 35th by herself, because this stretch is even scary for me. I can't wait for the city to finally put in a sidewalk, bikelane and MUP in this stretch later this year. I'm not afraid of the bogeyman, I'm afraid of mothers in minivans yacking on their phone while driving past my kids. Remember, there were no cell phones when you were a kid!

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          • 9watts July 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm

            You're right, Barbara. I am saddened that I wouldn't let my daughter do what my parents had me do without giving it a second thought. But the more of us who encourage our kids to walk and bike, infrastructure or no infrastructure the better it will be for everyone. We may not be in the 'good old days' but now we have bike trains...

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  • Michelle July 30, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    @Stasia and @ Alan

    Loss of sales to the farmers is not a debatable point. Reports by the farmers to the farmers market manager indicated a 30% decrease in sales. I can't afford a 30% cut in a weeks pay, can you? If I made the bulk of my income in the months of July, Aug, and Sept. that decrease would hurt even more. The prepared food vendors did "okay".

    As for the success of the little marketplace in the Hillsdale shopping center, well, I've heard that this wasn't really successful in terms of sales either.

    The original route of the SW Sunday Parkways was NOT slated to go on Capital Highway. I think they should reconsider the route next year. I don't think it's right to call an event a "success" when so many businesses were hurt. The Hillsdale Farmers Market has been there for 15 years. Sunday Parkways hasn't even been around for 5.

    I'd also like to point out that I'm not an anti-bike person. I ride a bike for transportation 90% of the time, I take trimet 5% of the time and I ride in a car with my boyfriend 5% of the time(the Hillsdale Market being one of those time as no, I can't carry a flat of berries from SW to NE on my bike.)

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