without worry at the annual Peacock Lane
holiday lights show.
(Photo © J. Maus)
Each year, for the last two weeks of December, residents of the little-traveled Southeast Portland street, Peacock Lane, deck out their houses with elaborate holiday light displays and invite the public to come enjoy the show.
Thousands of Portlanders flock to the event. Some walk or bike, and others even ride horse-drawn carriages down the street; but the majority drive cars. Cars roll slowly down the street amid large crowds with their headlights switched off as they gawk at the displays. This creates a real safety hazard for people walking and biking.
Thankfully, for the first time ever, on December 14th, from 5 to 11:00 pm, Peacock Lane will be closed to cars.
According to Becky Patterson of the Peacock Lane Neighborhood Association, “possibly hundreds of people” in the past five years have requested a carfree evening.
The street’s usual opening day is December 15th, and that is still the published grand opening this year. In an email to BikePortland, Patterson explained,
“We chose to add a night rather than incorporate the car-free night into our normal schedule. We know that a lot of seniors and disabled groups plan bus rides down the street, as well as families with small children and we didn’t want to change the plans without enough advance warning. If the night is a big success (which we anticipate!) we will discuss how and if we change our schedule.”
Patterson adds that the neighborhood association is still deciding how to handle bike traffic on the street. They are considering making one lane of the street bike-only, but another idea on the table is simply to ask people to walk their bicycles, to remove the danger of “distracted cyclists running over distracted children.”
First Alberta, now Peacock. With carfree momentum building from neighborhoods and from City Hall, this is a trend we’re happy to see.
Elly Blue has been writing about bicycling and carfree issues for BikePortland.org since 2006. Find her at http://takingthelane.com