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25th Sunday Parkways shines in north Portland (photo gallery)

Posted by on June 23rd, 2014 at 10:57 am

Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-22
People stopped to enjoy the view of Mt. Hood from Willamette Blvd.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

They say it’s never as good as the first time, but somehow Sunday Parkways seems to just get better and better.

This weekend marked PBOT’s 25th Sunday Parkways. Six years ago (to the day) PBOT tried this experiment for the first time on the same streets we enjoyed yesterday. Since that day in 2008, the event has grown in both frequency and attendance and Sunday Parkways has become a revered civic institution that shows Portland at its finest — a living, breathing, example of active community building unlike any other event on the calendar.

Given how short the event is — just five precious hours — I started pedaling the loop at exactly 11:00 am and soaked up every second until the “road closed” barricades started coming down at around 4:00.

As I rode and looked out at the mass of pedaling Portlanders streaming through the streets, I saw a cross-section of our community I never see in the bike lanes when I’m riding to work. It’s the same cross-section we’ll have to see more of if we intend to meet our goal of 25% bike ridership by 2030. In some ways it seems daunting to create a city where people from 8-80 years old can cycle in such a relaxed and enjoyable way — any time of day, any day of the week. But in other ways, it seems tantalizingly simple: just create spaces with little to no contact with automobiles and create enticing destinations along the way.

The result is an environment that transcends mere transportation. While these “open streets” events originated from transportation visionaries, their benefits and impact go way beyond simply getting from a-to-b. There’s an immense amount of good that radiates from this event. It brings us closer to ourselves, our neighbors and our neighborhoods in thousands of (mostly) tiny ways that add up to something that feels much larger.

My only quibble about Sunday Parkways is that we don’t do it more often, in more neighborhoods, and for more hours each time (can you imagine it on a warm summer evening?).

For now, thank you PBOT for 25 amazing events!

Check out more photos below…

Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-1
This street painting on the west side of the Bryant Street Bridge was given a fresh coat of paint prior to the event by the Piedmont Neighborhood Association.
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-5
I’m not sure who’s more brave — the rider or the dog.
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-6
This woman is clearly enjoying her ride, and it’s all thanks to the senior cycling program run by the Parks Bureau (using trikes donated to them by PBOT).
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-8

Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-12
The music of Mr. Ben was a huge hit with families at Arbor Lodge Park.
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-15
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-17
Piedmont neighborhood resident David Harris always stands out.
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-18
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-19
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-39
The views from Willamette Blvd are always a highlight.
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-26
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-27
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-29
Free bike repairs and advice (being given here by Ben Helgren of Block Bikes in St. Johns) are a very popular feature of the event.
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-28
I think my kids spun about 100 prize wheels throughout the day.
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-31
Go ahead! Practice your tricks in the middle of the road!
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-32
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-33
The event gives Cynergy E-Bikes owner Rich Fein a perfect opportunity to offer test rides and boost his business.
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-35
One of my favorites things about Sunday Parkways is watching people come together in the street and enjoy one another’s company.
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-37
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-38
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-41
When its not 11:00 – 4:00 on one Sunday a year, this stretch of Willamette Blvd is known for high-speed cars and a narrow, white-knuckle bike lane.
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-43
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-42
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-44
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-45
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-46
My little three-year-old just chillin’.
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-49
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-50
Veteran St. Johns neighborhood activist Joe Adamski and the head of Sunday Parkways, PBOT staffer Linda Ginenthal.
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-51
As this photo shows, Linda will do just about anything to keep Sunday Parkways alive and well.
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-53
This family wins the costume award.
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-54
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-55
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-56
Sign says: “My name is Pepper. Chime your bell if you love sheep poodles.”
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-57
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Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-58
Perfect spot for a Sunday Parkways selfie.
Sunday Parkways North Portland 2014-64

This was the second (of five) Sunday Parkways for the 2014 season. The next one is in northeast Portland on July 27th. See PBOT’s website for all the details.


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Comments
  • reader June 23, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    It was a great day as usual. A flat front tire from something sharp I picked up on Willamette Blvd nearly caused some extra trouble when I absentmindedly slowed without letting some folks behind me know I was pulling over. A few minutes under a shade tree making the repair and I was on my way again.

    One thing that got my attention was crossing the Steele Bridge path on the way to Sunday Parkways. After the drawbridge warning lights and sounds were activated, two separate runners with earbuds ran past while the gate was closing. The bridge tender got on the loudspeaker and screamed at each of them at very high volume for quite a long time. He really lost it.

    I wonder if anyone else has seen/heard this happen before.

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  • Cupcake June 23, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    The dog is the brave one. Not me.

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  • Jonathan Gordon June 23, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Great shots Jonathan!

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  • ed June 23, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    You are totally right Jonathon that Sunday Parkways captures exactly the sort of demographic that is ESSENTIAL for us to break through the current infrastructure etc. plateau that we all seem to fret so much about on bikeportland. We’ve reached as far as we are going to get with bicycling done by the various subcultures (lycra donners, zoobombers. dirt bikers, nekkid riders, chunk 666er’s, fixie folk, hard core racers, trail riders, trial riders and on and on. All great and essential, but all still marginal to the mainstream essential for mature cycling cities as seen in Amsterdam or Copenhagen. We’ve created a wonderful “alternative reality” for enthusiasts and bikes lovers of all stripes here and accomplished much. But until cycling becomes something more people just “do” without seeing it as an emblematic specialty we will reach the limits of what can be done to be a world class cycling city. All our lovely bike subcultures efforts must be a segue to broader acceptance of the bike in modern American life.

    Sunday Parkways may be the most relevant and important project we can do here. (with much love to Padalpalooza, OBRA, Chunk, Zoobombers Pump, Cross Crusade, PIR people and too many more to mention) Get out and support it. (and take off your particular bike subcultures glasses for the day ;-)

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    • Tim Davis July 1, 2014 at 5:51 pm

      Totally agreed, Ed! Traveling through the city by bike needs to become 5-10 times more common for people of all ages in Portland. Notice that I did not use the word “cyclist.” :)

      If you want to see a North American city where cycling (at least during the summer) is flourishing amazingly, be SURE to hit Montreal! It’s a direct flight from Vancouver, which is a great excuse to fit in a side trip to Vancouver, of course (and to see its beautiful, protected bike/ped infrastructure). Montreal completely blows away all other large cities on this continent when it comes to both cycling infrastructure and mode share. There are reasons that Montreal has for many years been the only North American city to rank in the top 20 for cycling, and I finally saw it all unfold last week in person.

      Montreal’s cycle track network is unbelievably extensive! You’re almost never more than four blocks away from the nearest cycle track, and probably every single cycle-tracked street in Montreal has WAY more people traveling by bike than any five of our “neighborhood greenways” combined. Once you see these incredible two-way barrier-protected cycle tracks in Montreal (combined with the **incredible** Bixi bikeshare network), you instantly see what a difference it makes. Without those two phenomenal pieces of infrastructure, Montreal would witness less than 1/4 the current percentage trips being done by bike, even during summer months.

      People biking in Montreal feel incredibly safe, and you see tons of elderly people biking without a helmet, happy and safe as can be. Just sit at La Maison des Cyclistes (http://www.velo.qc.ca/en/Maison-des-cyclistes) and be prepared to be absolutely blown away by your surroundings.

      Granted, Montreal has one HUGE advantage (of sorts) that no city in the U.S. has, other than the single borough of Manhattan: there is not even ONE detached home (that I could find, at least) in all of Montreal, or at least in the 8-10 most popular neighborhoods (and I visited practically every block). This means ZERO DRIVEWAYS coming off of any street (alleys are probably an occasional exception).

      This, of course, means that between any two given intersections, cyclists NEVER have to worry about cars swerving into their lane because a) the cycle tracks (which are found just about everywhere!) are *barrier-protected*, and b) cars never have to suddenly turn into a driveway from the street. Ever. So, that’s a massive advantage, and it makes it unbelievably easy to transform a two-way street into a one-way, single-car-lane street with a two-way protected cycle track and two rows of parked cars.

      Anyway, just visit Montreal and drool over what they have…And come back more motivated than ever to get Portland to somehow find a way to make massive progress toward becoming a TRULY cycle-friendly city!!

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  • Craig Harlow June 23, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Jonathan, were you riding tall yesterday? A mid-tall-bike passed going in the opposite direction on Willamette Drive and the rider said something friendly-sounding that I didn’t quite catch — I didn’t recognize the bike or see who was riding, then Liuba said, “isn’t that Jonathan?”

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  • Ted Buehler June 23, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Kudos to all who made this happen.

    It seemed that attendance was higher than average yesterday. The streets were packed to the curbs along Willamette Bluffs. The street just wasn’t wide enough to handle the traffic when I went through there at about 11:30.

    I also saw more skut and balance bikes than usual, with kids putting on serious miles. Nice work, moms dads, grandparents and friends, getting the kids outfitted and adding up the miles.

    Great commentary, Jonathan, on how the demographic out riding yesterday was the folks that will move the Portland bicycle mode share needle up to the 25% mark, if only we had the infrastructure available for them to utilize.

    Ted Buehler

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  • AndyC of Linnton June 23, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    First(!) Sunday Parkways I’ve ever gone to. Mostly to see what Willamette felt like and HOLY MOTHER MOLY HELL!
    Riding probably half my normal speed on this road, it seemed as if it went by so much faster because it was so relaxed.
    I even found myself riding in the bike lane sometimes and realizing what I was doing, got back in the street. I did it like 3 times! HA!
    Old habits.
    It was truly eye-opening on what the streets could feel like if they were a little calmer, or had more room to move people and not just cars.
    Thanks to all for making this possible. I hope to be back one day, crazy schedule depending(so…more days/opportunities?).

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • Joe June 24, 2014 at 9:12 am

    awesome ride my first time doing it too. funnnnn :)

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