Are you ready for Sunday Parkways?

Posted by on June 20th, 2008 at 1:31 pm

Sunday Parkways route map.
Larger version

Sunday Parkways — the City of Portland’s first-ever, large-scale carfree event — is all set for this Sunday (6/22) from 8:00 am to 2:00 pm.

PDOT’s Transportation Options division first unveiled their plans for the event nearly one year ago. Since then, they’ve executed a comprehensive and strategic plan to make sure the event is a success. They’ve met with hundreds of neighborhood groups, they’ve had meetings with leaders of churches along the route, and they’ve lined up a myriad of performers, live music, food, and other activities to keep things interesting.

Now all that’s left to do is make sure everyone shows up and hope it goes well enough so that we can make it a regular occurrence.

In speaking with Gil Penalosa in recent days (the Godfather of “ciclovias“, which inspired Portland’s event), he warned against planning the event for just one day:

“Portland should be doing it all summer… I think the most dangerous thing of a carfree Sunday is to do only one. I always recommend doing three or four.

On the first Sunday, you always have problems and complaints from people that couldn’t get through. The second Sunday people figure out how to get around it, they’re used to. By the third Sunday, everybody thinks it’s fantastic, they love it, and they want more. Sometimes when you stop after three or four, everybody wants more… sometimes when you stop after only one, some people want less, so I think that’s a risk and I wish Portland was doing more.”

At the recently concluded Carfree Conference, we learned that similar events are springing up all over the country (and the world). Major cities like San Francisco, New York City, and Chicago have all recently announced plans for large-scale carfree events. Each of those cities has planned at least two separate days of closures.

Whether or not Portland made the right decision in having it for one day only, Penalosa — who plans to attend Sunday’s event — says there’s a lot riding on the success of Sunday Parkways:

“I think all of North America will benefit from Portland’s success, so all of us are pulling for Portland’s success with this event… It would raise the bar everyone.”

To see the inspiration for Sunday Parkways, check out this Streetfilm of Bogota’s Ciclovia:

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Lance P.
Guest
Lance P.

Yes! I will absolutely be rolling, literally, in the the street!

tonyt
Guest
tonyt

It\’s just a shame that it\’s running from 8am til 2pm.

A bit of an early start and ending WAY to early. Would love for this to be more of an all day, city wide block party.

But no doubt, since I live on the route, I will be there and hope to set something cool up to contribute.

aa
Guest
aa

it\’s only from 8am to 2pm? what a joke.

Kronda
Guest

@aa #3: Shame on you. It\’s easy to rag and say they should be doing more. I know that PDOT employees, specifically Janis McDonald, have been running themselves ragged to *start something* and make this a success–which will hopefully lead to more and longer days. You have to start somewhere. What are YOU doing?

I\’m off to go hang Sunday Parkways fliers.

Graham
Guest
Graham

I\’m a night owl, and the prospect of getting my butt out of bed and up to north Portland in time to make use of the closed streets seems a little painful. HOWEVER, that does not take away from the fact that this street closing is a 100% wonderful accomplishment. I\’m going to be there, with whomever I can drag along, as early as I can get my involuntary muscles to function.

With regards to the schedule, it\’s worth remembering: 1) the original Ciclovia only goes to 2pm, 2) it was probably hard enough talking the residents along the route (three cheers for \’em) into giving up their streets for that amount of time, and 3) the only comparable, officially sanctioned, take-over-the-streets event of this magnitude I can think of – the Bridge Pedal – has a similar timeline.

This will be a wonderful chance for people to get their kids out on bikes and feel really safe about it, and a real eye-opener to people who think streets belong to cars.

It\’s a massive undertaking, it promises to be spectacular, and the organizers should be commended.

(With all that in mind, the snarky, totally negative comment in #3 from aa kinda pisses me off.)

Jake F
Guest
Jake F

I can\’t wait! I live in the section of Portland that you can spit and hit Tigard, but as soon as I heard about the \”experiment\” I enrolled to be a volunteer. I\’m making all my friends and relatives in other cities jealous, which as a Portlander isn\’t hard to do, and it never gets old.

Jessy
Guest

Argh! I so wish I could be there. Alas, I\’ll be in Maryland starting tomorrow. I hope this will become a regular thing… But I\’m still really disappointed that I\’ll be mising the FIRST one. How exciting!

Andy
Guest
Andy

The more we put into it, the better our chances of this happening again! 🙂

For those who think 8am\’s early – some of us volunteers will have to be out there before 7am. :p 🙂

JeffW
Guest
JeffW

My wife and I are really looking forward to it. We\’re coming over from Vancouver and see it as a great opportunity to get to know a neighborhood we might want to move to.

Penalosa makes an interesting point about having it often, but just having one is a huge accomplishment. I\’ve been telling people at work about it for a couple days.

Sarah C
Guest
Sarah C

Graham in #5 is right – this is a great opportunity for families. When I told my six year old that she would be able to ride her bike in the street her first response was \”Won\’t the cars hit me?\” I explained that there would be no cars and showed the video from Ciclovia – she started to do the happy dance.

We live within a mile and we are early risers so we plan to spend most of the day there. I hope with a great turn out that next year we will see more.

Lazlo
Guest
Lazlo

We\’ll be sportin\’ the tandem. This sounds like such fun! Hats off to all who made this happen.

bArbaroo
Guest
bArbaroo

Yes, Hats off to all of the City staff, neighborhood folks and volunteers that are making this a reality.

I\’ll be out there on Willamette Blvd. to pump up bike tires and lube chains and hand out lots of yummy peanut butter treats -can you say \”ants on a log\”?

Can\’t wait!

BURR
Guest

I\’m with everyone else who said 2 PM is way to early to end it

michael downes
Guest
michael downes

The family and I will spruce up the Bakfeits in preparation for this Sunday. I am really looking forward to it but I agree with Gil\’s comment about establishing multiple Parkways. I think there should be at least four, one for each quarter of the city. That way there would be some competition to really pull out the stops and represent your neighborhood.

See y\’all on Sunday!

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

The Unimproved Road Ride will cross the Bryant St. ped/bike bridge after 5 p.m. on Sunday so come on out and lets keep lots of bikes on No Po streets way past 2 p.m.!

http://shift2bikes.org/cal/#22-141

donald
Guest
donald

writing from the tarmac in st. louis. thanks to all for bringing this to the community! see you there.

Michael M.
Guest

It would be nice if it lasted past 2PM, but being a morning person I\’m glad it\’s starting at a decent hour. So many of PDX\’s cycling events are timed so that you end up out after dark, and I don\’t particularly like riding at night (poor night vision). And so many also seem to revolve around alcohol consumption. It\’s great to have an event that isn\’t bar/pub/beer-focused and takes advantage of the best part of the day.

Paul Tay
Guest

Santa BAIT! 😛

Graham
Guest
Graham

Just looking at the kids taking to the streets in the \”Kidical Mass\” post has me really hoping parents will be motivated to take advantage of the closed-off Sunday Parkways. There should be plenty of safe space for the little ones to putter around. (And if parents of little kids feel they must drive to get to the Parkway route, I hope no one gives them any guff about it.)

Paolo
Guest
Paolo

What is the safest way to get there from Mt Tabor, I would like to ride there with my kid but can not find a easy way that is safe too.
Thanks

Graham
Guest
Graham

Paolo,

If you can make your way to the CityBikes annex, there\’s a group ride leaving there at 11:15 am: http://www.shift2bikes.org/cal/#22-226. It\’s described as a slow ride, so that plus the whole safety-in-numbers thing should work for you and your kids.

To get to CityBikes, you pretty much will want to make your way to Ankeny, like from about where it intersects with Laurelhurst Park. Ankeny is a great bike boulevard: pretty quiet, and car-free.

Going down Salmon, and north on 38th or 37th (not sure exactly, but somewhere in there) should get you from Tabor to Laurelhurst Park.

A good way to find a route – whether to the Annex, or to the Parkways event itself – is http://www.bycycle.org. It\’s like Google Maps for bikes, and it gives you the option to chose an extra-safe route.

Good luck, and have fun!

Graham
Guest
Graham

Hmm, the addition of a period at the end of the shift2bikes link seemed to break it. Let\’s try that again:

http://www.shift2bikes.org/cal/#22-226

Paolo
Guest
Paolo

Thanks for the tips Graham.
The ride from Citybikes would be great.
I checked the trusted bycycle.org but I am not that familiar with the roads in NE hopefully Sunday morning they should not be too bad.

Joe Adamski
Guest
Joe Adamski

I can\’t speak for others, but I am looking forward to this being a great event. There will be problems, and some snafu or another. Not a big deal. Those shortcomings will be trumped by thousands of people having a great day, connecting with their community, meeting friends and neighbors.. and not a car in sight.

When we did the re-dedication of the St J bridge, all we did was close the bridge off to traffic for a few hours and have a street fair in the downtown area. The closure of the bridge allowed everyone to get out and walk on the bridge. That is still talked about, three years later. After putting all the hoopla and the booths,swag and entertainment aside, everybody gets to enjoy their streets without competing with cars. That will make the event a success.

Graham
Guest
Graham

Happy to help, Paolo!

Note also that they have a ride back to Citybikes Annex scheduled at 2pm.

Mark Allyn
Guest

I just got back from the event. Great job by all! I saw no snafu or anything else wrong.

Thank all of you who helped put this on!

Luv

Mark

Donald
Guest
Donald

We just got back, too.

Walked up to Pennisula the morning; the kids Skuuted.

We caught the bug and rushed home to get the big bikes: Trailed one and towed the other for a complete orbit.

What a great collection of sights: A sea of bikes around every corner. Peds out in the mix without a worry. Doubles, triples, unis, kid trailers, protest trailers, dog trailers, fixies, recliners…

\”There sure are lots of kinds of bikes, dad,\” I kept hearing from my stoker.

Overpasses were a bit of a pinch, especially for those with long loads, but nothing to fret about. Volunteers and Portland\’s Finest were all in good cheer and helpful.

A terrfic way to start a Sunday.

Roberta
Guest
Roberta

It was great fun. I was a volunteer, and the organizers did a great job of getting us the info we needed and helping us any way. I enjoyed watching all the people go by, and then enjoying the ride after my shift was done. Great work organizers!

a.O
Guest
a.O

This was awesome! Tons of people everywhere, walking, running, and riding anything with wheels.

This should be a monthly event!

Scott Mizée
Guest

FANTASTIC! This was an awesome event. The kids and I did quite a bit of the route. We can\’t wait for the next one!

Darren
Guest
Darren

Absolutely awesome. Many, many thanks to the organizers, the volunteers, and our great city for thinking forward. More please.

AQS
Guest
AQS

Thank you to all who worked so hard to put this event on. It was most definitely a success.

This is what makes Portland so special. And its how you build up a sense of community.

It was cool to hear everyone thank the cops as we rode by them. Let\’s plan some more of these. I\’d say one a month, at least during the summer and fall.

abberdab
Guest
abberdab

This was so much fun! So many cool bikes, too. I had to pull aside a couple of times to check out people\’s rides (some awesome old Raleighs at Arbor Lodge park). Thanks to everyone who made this happen. I second the call for more. 🙂 This day totally turned my frown upside down.

cong
Guest
cong

My wife and I had a blast. This event should be a monthly one, or even weekly during the summer. Our dog was a big hit. He was the one with his shoes on 🙂

Joe Adamski
Guest
Joe Adamski

what was the best / worst of Sunday Parkways?

Overall, I was wowed! I especially liked the large number of \’regular citizens\’ who had a great time. The sense of community impressed me. My adult daughter, who is not a regular cyclist, noted she was impressed how cautious everyone was making sure of safety and comfort of all, especially children.Not something she has necessarily noted in the larger community,esp where cars are involved.

My only complaint…its a small one, is the difficulty getting over the Failing St overpass easily due to the numbers and the abundance of trailers/piccalos and alt bikes.

Overall, a wonderful day! my best to the City and PDOT..and everyone who helped make it happen!

dave g
Guest
dave g

we did it!! Wife 11 yr old daughter and myself. We can\’t wait for more of these!!!

THANK YOU to all that made this possible, volunteers city officials, Portland police et al

What a great way to see Portland and meet portlanders

EVERYONE on the ride wore a smile, it was great

Dave g

Graham
Guest
Graham

A great event! Congratulations to the organizers, and way to go Portland!

I was a little worried when I saw the morning drizzle, but I should have known better. When I got there about 11:30 (around the tail end of the cloudy weather), the biking was in full swing, and looked like it had been for a while.

Lots of families, lots of kids, but not so slow or crowded that the adults couldn\’t move along.

Like others, I liked all the cop-thanking that was going on.

Unfortunately I only got from Overlook Park to Peninsula Park. Met some friends (walkers with a stroller) at Peninsula, and that\’s all she wrote. But we had a really nice time listening to the music, looking at the booths, and wandering around the fountain. Which reminds me – am I the only one who had no idea what a beautiful park Peninsula is? What a gem.

Thank you thank you thank you for the good coffee available where I started, at Kaiser Town Hall.

One suggestion: I got to the launching point (Citybikes) for the SE to Parkways ride too late. I figured I could catch up with the ride, but I didn\’t know which way they went. A Citybikes employee gave me a flyer with the Parkways route (which helped), but it didn\’t tell the best way to get to the Parkways. For that I relied on my bike map. So my suggestion is: how about next time around printing up neighborhood-specific \”how best to get to Parkways\” fliers. These would specify per-neighborhood start points – in this case it would be Citybikes – and give a very specific route from those start points. Obviously you couldn\’t get too granular on this with regards to the number of neighborhoods you cover, but maybe a flier per city quadrant or something.

One other suggestion: some nice baked goods to go with the coffee.

Overall, I had no complaints, and I didn\’t even find that pedestrian bridge to be too big a deal. People seemed to move along on it, and it\’s likely that many (like me) learned of its existence for the first time. Also, it probably made for good advertising to the freeway drivers zipping below us.

Matthew
Guest
Matthew

I was one of the many volunteer intersection monitors, and must say the sea of people that passed by in the second half was simply staggering. So much so, in fact, that I think that for the sequel there should be some serious consideration to using wider thoroughfares — not to mention roads in better condition. The Kerby and Bryant stretches were pretty rough going in parts…

Overall, aside from a couple of curmudgeonly drivers, and one unfortunate bike collision (no one was hurt), the spirits were high and sense of community palpable. Here\’s hoping this becomes a regular occurrence!

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

hey folks… great to hear the reports of the event today… but please let\’s keep them all in one place… I\’ll have my photos and recap up soon.

I\’ll also be asking for feedback.

thanks.

Scott Mizée
Guest

Hey everyone, there is a photo pool on Flickr for Sunday Parkways. All you flickr photographers, please join the group and post your photos there. I saw a lot of cameras out there today! Let\’s share the film! ….er uh… share the memory card!
http://www.flickr.com/groups/sundayparkways/

Paul Tay
Guest

Thanks, PDOT! I HEART ya! Santa HEARTS ya! Not too often Santa and I make non-snarky remarks to a gub\’mint agency. Stranger things have happened.

PLEASE do Sunday Parkways at least EVERY month.

Paul Tay
Guest

Ooops. Almost forget the kudos to PPB! You guys were AWESOME! Hey, who needs Critical Mass, with Sunday Parkways EVERY month?

Critical Mass, sooooo YESTERDAY?

Graham
Guest
Graham

@Jonathan: Should the one place to keep the reports be the \”Thousands of smiles\” thread? If so, do you mind if I re-post my long ramble from #38 there? Only because it includes a suggestion or two, and I\’d like for them to be in the place they\’ll get read. However, I also know double-posting can be bad manners.

Thanks!

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Guest

graham,

yes. I would recommend that everyone re-comment over on the new thread (my report on the event).

I do not mind re-posting because I think it will be important to have as much feedback in one, central place as possible.

thanks.