Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on August 16th, 2009 at 8:26 pm
they can play in the streets. Jumping
over a kiddie pool at SE 47th and Taylor.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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…