Gravel - Cycle Oregon

Photos, recap, and your comments on Sunday Parkways Northwest

Posted by on September 26th, 2010 at 3:30 pm

NW 13th Avenue was flooded with people on bikes and on foot during Sunday Parkways today.
– Watch slideshow below –
(Photo © J. Maus)

The City of Portland brought Sunday Parkways to the west side of the river for the first time ever on Sunday. Rain and drizzle fell for the first hour or so, but dry skies prevailed and a healthy crowd enjoyed a carfree loop through the Pearl District and downtown.

Sunday Parkways NW-12

These little tykes were tearing up the bike skills park set up by Northwest Trail Alliance.
Sunday Parkways NW-40

Future pedestrian mall?
Sunday Parkways NW-3

Sunday Parkways NW-38

At the outset of the event, the Portland Police closed down part of the route for a homicide investigation (a shooting occurred early Sunday morning), but eventually the route was re-opened with SW 4th being used instead of Naito.

Sunday Parkways NW-15

This little guy loves
Sunday Parkways.

My crew and I made our first stop at Couch Park, where the kids filled up on Clif bars and jumped in a rocket ship bouncy thingy. We then pedaled up to Wallace Park, which was set up with the Northwest Trail Alliance bike skills area, soccer games, hula-hoops, a climbing wall, and more. We could have stayed there all day, but we also wanted to explore more of the loop. So on we went to NW 13th, which was the busiest street on the route.

13th goes through a former industrial area that is now full of shops and cafes. Seeing it full of people walking and biking was very inspiring and made me wonder why we can’t make this street carfree permanently. Seriously. 13th north of Burnside would make a fantastic pedestrian mall.

Besides 13th, the crowds were definitely not as thick as previous Parkways events. This had something to do with the early morning rain showers, but the route itself also wasn’t nearly as densely populated as others. The loop on Stark and Couch streets was downright empty in some stretches when I rolled down it.

Even without the throngs of Parkways past, the streets were still filled with lots of smiles and spirit. Here are a few examples…

Ben “Sauce” Applebaum (a.k.a. “Gaydolf Shitler”) rocked out on his keyboard at the North Park Blocks as part of the Tall Tour

Sunday Parkways NW-47

Portland Pedal Power founder Ken Weatherell showed off the new shelves on his delivery bikes. Thanks for the excellent chips and salsa Ken!…

Sunday Parkways NW-25

PBOT employee Timo Forsberg (L) and Esther Harlow (R) get a lift from Splendid Cycles owner Joel Grover (L) and his wife Barb on a stylin’ pair of cargo bikes…

Sunday Parkways NW-23

Fresh off riding all of Cycle Oregon on his fully operational coffee cart bike, Charlie Wicker of Trailhead Coffee Roasters pours free drinks at Wallace Park…

Sunday Parkways NW-10

Waterfront Bikes employee Joe Flanagan rode the shop bike (a custom Metrofiets) around delivering free water, snacks, and air…

Sunday Parkways NW-29

Huge thanks to PBOT and all the volunteers (a.k.a. Intersection Superheroes) for making this event happen. We’re already looking forward to next year!

For more faces and scenes from Sunday Parkways Northwest, watch the slideshow below…

— Relive your Sunday Parkways memories by browsing our previous coverage.

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21 Comments
  • Chris Smith September 26, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    I both rode the NW part of the loop and did a stint from 12-3 at an intersection.

    Traffic was lighter than at some of the other events due I’m sure to the weather, but everyone I saw was having a great time.

    A little trickier managing the cars in the denser environment (“No sir, ‘local access’ does not mean you can drive five blocks to the freeway entrance.”), but entirely doable.

    Can’t wait to have it back in my neighborhood next year on a sunny day!

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  • kiel Johnson
    kiel Johnson September 26, 2010 at 4:15 pm

    Led a Bike Train there from Northeast in the morning at around 10:30. It was still a little misty but not a lot of people at the Sunday Parkways. I really enjoyed the route though. Made me imagine what the Pearl District would be like without cars.

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  • Michweek September 26, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    I loved it. If attendance was down due to the weather I’m a little scared to think of what being a intersection superhero would have been like on a sunny day!! So many people were out, it was amazing! I was stationed on 13th and Johnson at a round about, directing people was a bit of challenge before our signs arrived.

    I really think that all of 13th from Burnside to the end of the pearl should be a pedestrian plaza only. No cars, slow moving bike traffic, just like the one we hung out on in Amsterdam! There were a ton of people just out walking the route in that area it was very exciting!

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  • Travel Geek September 26, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    We attended as pedestrians, and the event up at Wallace Park was terrific! We attended the SE event, and the vendor tables at Laurelhurst park were disorganized and mostly unattended, and this was before noon! At Wallace Park, the music was great, the vendors were organized and energetic, and I was amazed at how many people were there, despite the rain. Go Portland!

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  • Daniel F September 26, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    It was a nice route. Northwest Portland has some beautiful old architecture The free coffee at Wallace Park was much appreciated! Does anyone know why they moved the eastern edge of the route off of Naito Parkway so the it didn’t connect with Saturday Market? It looked as though the police were doing something.

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  • Travis A. Wittwer September 26, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Great day. Even though it rained, in many ways, that added to the experience. Would have been better with sun but I was impressed with the numbers. Certainly this SP was the most difficult logistically with car traffic, but it was smooth. Everyone was polite and beaming with smiles.

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  • trail abuser September 26, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    I saw a 4runner driver go ape#$%@ because he refused an escort back to his house and was reprimanded to stop. Great show!

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  • pdxebiker September 26, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    I led a group in from Woodlawn and then met up with some ebiking friends. There wasn’t as much bike traffic, and the shorter blocks and increased police presence changed the timbre somewhat, but we had a great time, and I heard some runners say this iteration seemed much more ped-friendly. This seemed to be the hilliest of this year’s routes.

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  • Joshua Cohen September 26, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    I was biking down NW 13th Ave with my son at 3:00pm. Cars filled the street as soon as the barriers came down. Not that I expected anything different… it was just interesting to see how sudden and completely the dynamic of a street changes when it stops being car-free.

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  • Chris Smith September 26, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Does anyone know why they moved the eastern edge of the route off of Naito Parkway so the it didn’t connect with Saturday Market? It looked as though the police were doing something.

    There was a fatal shooting outside a nightclub at about 2am, the Police still had the area closed off for the investigation.

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  • Joe September 27, 2010 at 8:21 am

    #9 always interesting how some places transform back into car soaked streets.

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  • Amos September 27, 2010 at 8:36 am

    What a blast! The Bike Temple filled ten intersection superhero positions this year, and it was amazing to see each neighborhood and its people transformed for a few hours into a fun and happy place. Thanks, Portland! Let’s do 10 next year!

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  • Stripes September 27, 2010 at 9:02 am

    This was such a fun event!

    It did get me thinking though, why do we still have zero bike boulevards in our NW quadrant? 🙁

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  • Jessica Roberts September 27, 2010 at 9:09 am

    I was at the Couch/13th info booth, and I didn’t see anything like the crowds you show in your photos. I’m really glad to hear that the main loop was well-attended.

    I also hope that next year PBOT can come up with a route that doesn’t require part of it to open late – people really didn’t understand why the NW Couch route they had seen on the map wasn’t open at 10 like the rest of the route.

    As usual, though, the event was very well organized and the staff and volunteers were cheerful and friendly!

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  • Oliver September 27, 2010 at 9:27 am

    I ended up here mostly by chance and then rode two circuits, and back across from the watefront up to 23rd later in the afternoon. Quite a difference.

    Got some coffee (Thanks Charlie) Talked to Joe about his shop bike.

    Thank you to the volunteers. It was fun.

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  • Alexis September 27, 2010 at 9:29 am

    I did my volunteering at one of the intersections on Raleigh (one block from my office) and afterwards walked down the route toward the Pearl. I was initially surprised to find that the route used Raleigh instead of Overton and remained surprised after checking out the transition from 13th in more detail. It was a bit of sub-freeway industrial wasteland over there — not the best way to show off the area. Overton is more of a neighborhood street and is what I generally take when coming up from the Pearl by bike.

    The crossings at 18th and 19th saw a lot of traffic, but I got good backup from roving volunteers which helped things run smoothly — much appreciated. Most people were confused and some driving on the route definitely happened but I only ran into one really angry driver.

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  • spare_wheel September 27, 2010 at 10:22 am

    spare_wheel – I’ve deleted your comment because it contained an insult. Your name-calling is not appreciated by me or by other readers. If you want your comments to stand, simply make sure they do not include any personal insults. Thanks — Jonathan Maus.

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  • Tiffany September 27, 2010 at 10:31 am

    I did the whole route on Sunday including the detour down 4th. It was great, the PPD managed traffic really well and the volunteers on the route were friendly. Met some other cyclists. Amusingly my only encounter with someone that was hostile was a pedestrian who crossed in front of two bikes and then shouted. Still a decent turnout with the rain!

    Looking forward to next year.

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  • Ed September 27, 2010 at 10:33 am

    I commute on bike everyday and I feel like sunday parkways are kind of boring. I do like the part that everyone is out biking and little events happening here and there. I guess I wish this is everyday. I hope eventually everyone commute on bike. They should turn that 13th street into pedestrian and bike and truck only street.

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  • Steve Hoyt-McBeth September 27, 2010 at 10:43 am

    As a PBOT staff person (and one of the very small percentage of folks working the event that was on the clock), I want to give another well-deserved shout-out to all of the volunteers that make Sunday Parkways possible.

    The volunteer group that I had to help me break down and clean up at Couch Park was off the hook – just a great group of folks who made picking up garbage bags and slugging tables seem like a breeze.

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  • Linda Ginenthal/PBOT September 27, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    We, here at Transportation Options, had an absolute soggy blast yesterday! We started on site at 5am and ended at 5pm making the program smooth and joyful. Love these pictures – smiling, happy people.

    Wanted to let folks know why we needed to open the Couch/Stark loop at 11am instead of 10am. There was another, long-standing event – a Memory Walk for Alzheimer – held that morning that crossed Stark. The walk organizers were great in helping us create a doable route and making sure we could open as early as possible at 11am and the police crew worked the very long day doing both events.

    Thanks for all the ideas and suggestions (and constructive criticisms too). Looking forward to 2011!
    Linda Ginenthal

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