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Bikes help land North Williams area in Sunset Magazine

Posted by on January 6th, 2009 at 1:10 pm

In yet another sign that bikes are good for business…

The venerable Sunset Magazine (devoted to “Living in the West”) shares a trip to Portland with readers in their January 2009 edition. Their “Northwest weekend” section features a day trip to North Williams Avenue and the focus is on the area’s bike-ability and bike-friendly vibe.

The article says the street, “with it’s bike lanes and organic eateries…” make it easy to “jump-start” your New Year’s resolutions.

After pointing out how many daily bike commuters glide by Williams (2,745 according to Sunset), they say that the “dress code” is a “Waterproof jacket and jeans with right leg rolled up”. The “Hot wheels” for your time in and around North Williams? That would be a Strida folder from nearby Cascade Cycling.

Hottest Day of the Year Ride

Wide bike lanes and lots
of bike traffic help make
riding on Vancouver/Williams
enjoyable.
(Photo © J. Maus)

After splurging on some fine treats at Pix Patisserie, the Sunset reporter says the “best way to burn it off” is “five laps of the North Williams/North Vancouver Avenue bike corridor” (I wonder if the Sunset editors realize that the Williams/Vancouver couplet have been voted the best bike lanes in the city?).

Want to be “native chic”? Then get yourself a custom-made, waterproof bag from Lemolo.

The Van/Will corridor (as it’s known locally) is one of the busiest in the city and the area is seeing a lot of new development. The other day I spoke with the developer of the former Kinesis/Mountain Cycle factory building (in the photo above). He said he’s working on another building nearby and he has some interest in creating a bike business hub (more on that later).

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Tim K
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No comment on what it means to be in Sunset (Does the Sunset stamp of approval mean the neighborhood has peaked or is up-and-coming?), but as a biking Seattleite I can’t help envy the vision of your developers.

That work on the old Mountain Cycles factory is amazing. When we were down in the fall, we totally drooled over the great indoor-outdoor, ped- and bike-friendly spaces.

In fact, we just assumed the building where we had the amazing coffee (Ristretto) was in was new construction (which in itself would be impressive, but to redevelop a factory and get that? Wow!). The beauty is, this isn’t just _one_ example. You’ve got it going on all over the city.

Meanwhile, a couple hours north in the “emerald city, Seattle’s short-sighed developers seem to take their design cues from Starbucks, Marshall’s, and the University Village shopping Mall. Of course, it doesn’t help that their preferred method of construction begins with “raze everything in sight, then build parking lot.”

Congrats, Portland! Relish your people-scale spaces. It will be years (if ever) before we catch up!

GLV
Guest
GLV

“the building where we had the amazing coffee (Ristretto)”

You’re right about the name of the coffee shop in that building, but if it was good, you must have been somewhere else.

Tim K
Guest

Maybe I got lucky? I’ve had more than a few espresso macchiatos in my day and this one was good.

180mm_dan
Guest
180mm_dan

Groan. The Happy Shiny People at Sunset Mag have blessed this area.

The Portland Mythology grows! New construction and new trees will make everything right again. Until we decide it’s OLD and tear it down again…

p.s. Ristretto roasts their own coffee unlike most of Portland’s cafes…

Ron
Guest

Interesting. North Williams (at Mason) is where I was t-boned by a car darting east across Williams in heavy traffic, about 2 years ago. I was lighted, reflective, and heading North in the bike lane. Enjoyed the ride in the ambulance and the subsequent x-rays 🙂

While I agree Williams has nice, wide continuous bike lanes, I don’t use it much any more because of all the cars that do often dart across in a hurry during rush hour. I prefer Interstate (if you can believe it) because the Max tracks block that kind of thing and reduce it to controlled crossings only.

Still, great to see a nice up and coming area highlighted with respect to biking!

Jessica Roberts
Guest
Jessica Roberts

Ivy’s a local, so no surprise she got it pretty right-on. I didn’t realize she was a cyclist though, but it sure seems like it based on this article. Good for Lemolo!

Zaphod
Guest
Zaphod

What is up with the smack talk about Ristretto? They do nice work and really focus on origin in their roasting. If you don’t like a particular coffee it’s probably because you don’t like the origin versus it being a bad roast. There are lots of very expensive high quality wines that I don’t like (this is conjecture as I cannot actually afford such “research”) and coffees should be thought of similarly. If you want the differences between say a Sidamo and a Guatamala to be muted or wholly absent, roast it into oily oblivion.

I was there a few hours ago and had this espresso chocolate cake thing that was truly epic. Combine that with the Mexico from the press pot and I was pretty much dialed in culinary bliss.

Zydebetes
Guest
Zydebetes

Nice catch, Jessica. Ivy is a nice woman, freelance writer living nearby, who does not ride a bike.

RJ
Guest

Bicycling around a city as a tourist attraction?

I say,

WOOT!!

I’ll take it!

Better than smoggin’ up the Parks with the RVs, eh?

Nickey Robo
Guest
Nickey Robo

Any mention of how the non-profit that (arguably) started all the development, SCRAP, has been pushed out due to raising rents? Or how the neighborhood has gained the “assets” of a pubic hair waxing spa, countless bars, expensive yoga, and over priced restaurants? All with the added benefit of rising housing costs! Just what a formerly affordable, low income neighborhood needs!

That said, I do really like the bike lanes, but I’ve never heard them called “Van/Will” and I’ve lived in the area for six years.

chelsea
Guest
chelsea

I ride Williams home everyday in rush hour and it doesn’t seem that great to me. I would feel safer if there was no bike lane so I could take a lane. There is heavy car/ bus traffic and many near dooring experiences. I am glad for heavy bike traffic, but cars often still seem oblivious.

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