The Worst Day of the Year Ride is February 11th

Sunday Parkways leaves its mark on Southeast Portland

Posted by on August 16th, 2009 at 8:26 pm

Sunday Parkways Southeast-51

Oh, the things people will do when
they can play in the streets. Jumping
over a kiddie pool at SE 47th and Taylor.
-Slideshow below/Gallery
(Photos © J. Maus)

Southeast Portland received the gift of Sunday Parkways today. And — like they have in the previous two events this summer — people turned out in droves to enjoy the perfect weather and serenity of carfree streets.

At Colonel Summers Park, kids flocked to the skills course put together by the Northwest Trail Alliance. Set up on a baseball diamond, the kids couldn’t get enough of the teeter-totter and narrow, wooden tracks.

Sunday Parkways Southeast-1

Jay Sycip and his boys at the off-road
skills park at Colonel Summers Park.

Our family didn’t make it up to Mt. Tabor, but we heard rave reviews. Instead of Tabor, we camped out for an hour or two at the intersection of SE 47th and Taylor. Several members of the Dropout Bicycle Club live there and they served as hosts to many people throughout the day (they were also official event volunteers). There was a kiddie pool, a bikini bike wash, hula hoops, home-made cherry wine, a BBQ, and more.

Sunday Parkways Southeast-56

Bakfiets ahoy!

While we hung out, someone spotted an amazing, custom cargo bike adaptation. James Newman has built a full, wooden boat in the front of his Harry vs Larry Bullitt bakfiets. He told me his wife didn’t feel safe with their boy Gavin riding in a trailer, so James went a little crazy and spent three months making this most excellent cargo bin.

Sunday Parkways Southeast-71

Smooth sailing down SE Ankeny.

Out on the course, it felt much less crowded than last month’s Sunday Parkways in Northeast. I chalk that up to wider streets, more hills, and a longer route — all of which helped spread people out.

The parks were another story. The street adjacent to Laurelhurst Park was absolutely jam-packed. But once inside (most vendors were on the street), its sprawling open space and towering shade trees offered plenty of spots to relax, listen to music, or have a picnic.

Rolling down SE Ankeny (which, by the way, has newly rounded curbs on the medians at SE 20th!) near Citybikes Co-op, we came upon the Ginger Ninjas band. A guy on guitar/vocals and a cellist played as they rolled in a big Dutch cargo trike, while fellow band members rode Xtracycles packed with drums, sound equipment and other instruments.

Sunday Parkways Southeast-15

Celebrating 12 years of marriage.

Other highlights of the day were; free root beer with the Easyriders, an amazing fish-bike, pirates on recumbents, a Batman and Robin sighting, and a couple on a tandem in wedding attire celebrating their 12th anniversary.

Toward the end of the day, I ran into Susan King from San Francisco. Susan is part of the two-person non-profit that puts on Sunday Streets San Francisco. To say Susan was impressed with Portland’s event would be an understatement. The word she used was “humbled”.

This is also San Francisco’s second year of a ciclovia-type event. They will have six Sunday Streets this year (we had three), but the hours (10-2pm) and the route lengths (3-5 miles) are much shorter than ours. One thing they do that we don’t is to remove car parking during the event. Susan said this really transforms the streets, but acknowledged that it also makes for a more “protracted battle politically”. They towed 80 cars the first event (which I’m sure made a few folks pretty unhappy).

Here in Portland, there doesn’t seem to be any shred of unhappiness with Sunday Parkways. To the City’s credit, they’ve created a well-oiled event machine that just keeps churning out successes.

On that note, Mayor Sam Adams announced this morning that next year there will be five Sunday Parkways events. We’ll share the location and details of the routes as soon as we find out.

We’d love to know what you thought of today’s event. Share your memories in the comments below…

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • amos August 16, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    SWEET! We had such a great time at all three events this year. I can’t wait for all 5 next year.

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  • Anne August 16, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    I’m visiting Portland from Brooklyn NY, and had a fantastic time at Sunday Parkways today!! What a beautiful community event.

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  • Steve Durrant August 16, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    Yup, thanks Portland for another great Sunday
    Parkways. Thanks Mayor Adams for five+ next year. It was happy day for so many relaxed people. Thanks staff and volunteers and the police and all the welcoming neighbors and even motorists. Can’t wait to see your photos Jonathan. Thank you everyone.

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  • […] took it extremely seriously.) The weather was sunny, and a series of streets were closed off for Sunday Parkways, a program the city initiated to block off streets and allow for a bike zone. There were thousands […]

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  • P Finn August 16, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    Love the Bobby Jindal-style entrance. Not.

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  • Matthew August 16, 2009 at 11:13 pm

    My fourth Sunday Parkways and second volunteering. Wonderful as always, although the route this time was far less leisurely given the ascents involved around Laurelhurst and Tabor. Activity at the parks didn’t feel as cohesive as the previous events, perhaps because of their larger size and the curbside-only permit for food vendors.

    But these are quibbles. Sunday Parkways remains one of my favorite events in Portland, to explore neighborhoods and share in community. Looking forward to the five-event upgrade for next year…

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  • Greg Raisman August 16, 2009 at 11:52 pm

    Another magical day on Sunday Parkways! I’m excited there’s going to be 5 next year.

    I got to spend the day sharing Sunday Parkways with two guests from Utrecht, The Netherlands. Talk about a special treat!

    Here’s some photos and one video from today.

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  • ethan August 17, 2009 at 6:28 am

    I loved the impromptu parkway-side commerce. i think that as these days become more established, impromptu events like the hot-dogs and pears on lincoln will become more commonplace, enlivening the entire route. the bike-share comparison at laurenhurst was illuminating – the local folks are already doing it, which is quite exciting!

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  • Terri August 17, 2009 at 6:39 am

    We happened upon San Francisco’s Sunday Streets (with our bikes) last weekend. Although it was fabulous to ride Golden Gate Park and the Great Highway along the ocean to the Zoo without cars and with thousands of others, I must say the charm of our Sunday parkways is the riding through neighborhoods and neigborhood parks.

    There’s such a sense of exploration and community, lolly gagging around looking at folks gardens, and talking with kids selling lemonade and cookies. Everywhere we went there were folks kicking back on porches and in lawn chairs watching (and welcoming) people go by.
    Kudos to all those who volunteered and organized, the PDX PD for keeping everyone safe, families for coming out, the SE neighbors for welcoming us and Mayor Sam for committing for next year.

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  • cupcake August 17, 2009 at 7:14 am

    I OWNED that kiddie pool!!!!

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  • Susan Kelley August 17, 2009 at 7:42 am

    Great event, wonderful volunteers. After visiting Denmark and Sweden, however, I wish we had separate, elevated bike lanes like they do.

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  • PDXbiker August 17, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Sunday Parkways is flatout the best community event to come along in years. What better way to see our neighborhoods in a street party atmosphere with no auto traffic to deal with. Kudos to Sam Adams and the city for planning even more next year. Finally, something besides Rose Festival. And thanks to the cool dude for handing out all those free hotdogs at his house. We had a great time.

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  • […] See more coverage of the event over at […]

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  • nuovorecord August 17, 2009 at 9:44 am

    5 in ’10! W00T!!!

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  • Ken Wetherell August 17, 2009 at 9:51 am

    The Portland Pedal Power team had an awesome time! Next year, I think we will provide free water bottle refills or put our delivery bikes to some other use that fits the Sunday Parkways vibe. Looking forward to next year!

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  • Al August 17, 2009 at 10:20 am

    I was visiting a friend this weekend, who lives in the area, and we “stumbled” across this. It was freaking amazing. The amount of bikes, the breadth of the cycle circuit, the popularity of it really puts Seattle to SHAME.

    You are very lucky; bike parking everywhere (it was incredible – no searching for a bike rack), a good amount of bikes on the streets so vehicles seem prepared for it (I didn’t witness one single road rage incident except for my friend getting aggravated at one point to the detriment of a couple cyclists and I really got all over her for that), bike lanes and routes all over the place (not just one or two routes but multiple routes in multiple directions, good installation of lanes and routes with well marked pavement and signage. However, your hills have nothing on Seattle – downtown is flat and so is north/south/east. That really does make a difference between taking a causual ride to another neighborhood or having to plan it out with the least hilly route, sweat from hill climbing and clothing choices.

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  • She August 17, 2009 at 10:35 am

    This event was phenomenal! I loved it. My dear husband wore spandex for the first time. We outfitted the family in matching jerseys!

    We participated the ways throughout the day.

    We walked our Dog over to Sunnyside to check out the festivities.

    We rode the flat loop w/o Mt. Tabor.

    Then after lunch we went and did the entire loop and included Mt. Tabor this time.

    It was soooo much fun. I am looking forward to next year and looking forward to a volunteer shift or two!

    Thanks to Sam and the City for this fabulous day and the increasing bikability of Portland!!

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  • Michael M. August 17, 2009 at 10:46 am

    I volunteered at the info booth in Mt. Tabor Park and was really surprised at how many people … and especially how many families and children … made the car-free climb. Very inspiring. I was also pleased that so many people came up to our booth expressing interest in volunteering if these events happen next year. These events really need volunteers … I heard 1,200. They just wouldn’t be possible without help from the community.

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  • Corey August 17, 2009 at 10:55 am

    Very excited to hear about getting 5 next year.

    I was looking forward to this one all summer after breaking my arm and shoulder in June and losing 6 weeks of prime riding time. While I only got about 15 minutes of actual riding in this was my 10 month olds debut on the bike. He was all smiles for about 6 blocks and then conked out. He did great for a 10 month old and I can’t wait for next year when hopefully we can make it a full day.

    Unfortunately we did run into a car or two on Lincoln who were complaining to the volunteers about how “f’in retarded” it was that the street was shut down, but everyone else we saw had a smile on their face.

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  • Shoemaker August 17, 2009 at 11:01 am

    Incredible how many people will ride around on bikes when the threat to their lives by doing so is removed.

    Permanent Parkways. Let’s make some Permanent Parkways!!

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  • John McLaren August 17, 2009 at 11:02 am

    Hats, er helmets, off to the nice lady in –I believe– the 3700 block of Lincoln St. who passed out a heaping platter of hot dogs (with buns)to hungry cyclists.

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  • GlowBoy August 17, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Had an awesome time. Sunday Parkways is one of the coolest things Portland has ever done, and that’s saying something.

    We were also fortunate to be able to bring our child (and, for part of the route, a second child as well) in our new Madsen cargo bike — and went with our neighbors who rode their Bakfiets. Cargo bikes rule! So much easier than dealing with trailers, and we were able to stop by New Seasons for our week’s groceries on the way home.

    By the way, the Madsen is currently on a wicked sale at Bike Gallery ($850), making me wonder if they’re closing them out.

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  • martina August 17, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    We combined my 7-year olds birthday party with the Parkway: Free climbing wall, free obstacle course and lots of fun riding with 8 kids and some wonderful parents through the SE.
    After the birthday party, we joined the party at the (in)famous corner of 47th and Taylor and had to remind the kids that the streets were no longer closed off… which was kind of sad!

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  • becky August 17, 2009 at 1:08 pm

    I got my out of shape self up Mt. Tabor with on a tiny bit of walking! yeah!!!!

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  • Hart August 17, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    I live directly on yesterdays route.

    Somebody decided it would cute to write “RECALL SAM ADAMS” in giant chalk letters in the street in front of my house in response to me still having my “SAM ADAMS FOR MAYOR” sign up.

    I got out a bucket of water and a toilet brush and erased it. Other than that, it was a perfect day 🙂

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  • JR August 17, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    A completely awesome event. I was up at Mt. Tabor and it was incredible to see the participation up there. I think everyone who made it up felt a sense of accomplishment.

    It was certainly ironic to see the “recall sam adams” chalk and a petitioner on the route to Mt. Tabor… Maybe they’re desperate for signatures?

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  • Jeff Bernards August 17, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    The is Portland’s best community event ever, everyone is included. I volunteered on Mt. Tabor. One Cyclist told me it was only the 2nd time she’d been on her bike in 25 years. She screamed “I Love It” as she rode down Mt. Tabor. At the NE Parkways I had never seen so many training wheel riders in my life. The best part was the atmosphere that existed even with the absence of a beer garden. As a tea toadler it seems every event serves alcohol, not so. This event bonded very well without being lubricated (except for the chain)
    I hope SW and NW Portland & east of 82nd are included in future Parkways.

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  • Bob New August 17, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    Yes, Permanent Parkways… It’s time Portland has bike only streets.

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  • brettoo August 17, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    Big shout out to Linda Ginenthal and the other folks at the city who worked so hard to make the whole thing flow so smoothly. I saw volunteers at every possible point of confusion or need (especially the steep downgrade coming down Tabor), and everyone was so friendly all day. Very cool to intersect with the Hawthorne Street Fair and to see the excellent Persian band Shabava at Laurelhurst Park at the end.
    The only downside for me was my knee tendonitis flaring up as I tried to ride up Tabor — had to walk a stretch till it calmed down. I brought a visitor from Austin who’d like to see something like this happen there. Loved seeing all the kids and parents enjoying the safe, car-free experience. Made me very proud of my city. Thanks to all who made it happen!

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  • red hippie August 17, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    I wonder how the Portland Century did. I bet next year they schedule it on a different weekend.

    Cheers to everyone who was there

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  • rev August 18, 2009 at 1:47 am

    thanks to everyone who signed the anti-CRC cards we were handing out.

    Stop and ask me for one if you see me in the next couple weeks. I have a small stack of them left. Thanks to Portland Peace Coalition for the free mailing!

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  • Laura August 18, 2009 at 7:56 am

    I know of at least 15 SE residents who committed to the PDX Century as riders or volunteers, who also wanted to participate in Sunday Parkway as a volunteer, rider or sideline entertainment. I hope the scheduling works better for next years 5 Parkways events!

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  • Hart August 18, 2009 at 9:38 am

    Big thanks to all the anti-CRC volunteers who spent the day educating the public about the 12 lane nightmare.

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  • BigMarty August 18, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Bring one to Southwest Portland next year. We’ll get you east-siders a good workout!

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  • BURR August 18, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    the only downside I saw was how crabby all the cops corking the major intersections seemed to be…

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  • martin August 18, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    true up burr, having ppd stoping trafic on se 28th and ankeny was so cool. that is such a bad crossing on any other day. I had a great time.

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  • n8m August 29, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    that was a blast!
    thanks for documenting it in the history books jonathan — & grabbing a fun shot of suzanne and I cruising through laurelhurst (pic #59).

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