Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on May 20th, 2014 at 10:07 am
morning commute on N Willamette Blvd
(with a free donut stop).
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)
It was like a mini Sunday Parkways this morning on N Willamette Boulevard. As part of their National Bike Month outreach efforts, The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) set up a “Quick Fix” station to offer free coffee, donuts and lube jobs to anyone who happened to be biking by. And business was brisk.
Andy and Cheryl Kehrli where two of dozens of people who stopped by. Andy held a mug of coffee in one hand and his bike in the other while PBOT staffer Abra McNair lubed up his squeaky chain. “We were just riding over to get coffee and we knew this would be here,” said Andy. He told me he bike commuted to work for nine years before he retired a few years ago. Now he and Cheryl ride every day. “We just sold our Prius,” he said, “Because it never gets driven.”
This part of north Portland (the Overlook/Arbor Lodge/University Park neighborhoods) is booming with bicycling these days and quiet, calm streets like Willamette are a big reason why. It also doesn’t hurt that some of the city’s best neighborhood greenway streets — like Concord, Bryant, and Wabash — criss-cross the area. There were so many people biking out on Willamette this morning that when a car did come rumbling by, it seemed out of place. Or, as PBOT’s McNair put it, “Cars just seem awkward on this street.”
standing in the middle of the quiet street.
While I was there this morning, I noticed riders of all ages and abilities. There was the retired Kehrli couple, several families (including one small girl who rolled away on her balance bike with a chocolate sprinkle donut in one hand), and even a 6th-grader riding by himself to a nearby school. University Park neighborhood resident Stephanie Turner stopped by with her first grader Oliver (on his own bike). She’s lived in the area for 10 years and says there’s been “exponential growth” in the amount of people biking.
But infrastructure is only part of the equation when it comes to creating a pleasant cycling environment. The power of events like this Quick Fix is in the community and conversation. In just the few minutes I was there I learned about an upcoming bike event, saw several friends who happened to be biking by, and enjoyed several nice chats. For PBOT, they got to tell their story (many people have no idea our city has dedicated staff whose job is to promote biking, walking and transit) and connect with the citizens they serve.
There are still several events left on PBOTs PDX Bike Month calendar, including the final “Quick Fix” which will be held on Saturday, May 31st at SE 136th on the Springwater Corridor.