Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

East Portland Sunday Parkways: Photos, recap, your feedback

Posted by on May 22nd, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Sunday Parkways got off to a solid start in outer East Portland yesterday.
(Photos © J. Maus)

[Skip to community feedback on the event.]

East Portland did a stellar job kicking off the Sunday Parkways season.

The weather held up for the most part, with just a light drizzle hitting just before the end of the event. The turnout wasn’t the full-street mobs we’ve seen at Parkways events in closer-in neighborhoods; but given the weather and the fact that bicycling isn’t as common in outer East Portland, the crowds were very respectable.

As is usual when a safe, carfree environment is created, the diversity of people on bikes flourishes. I saw many senior citizens and tiny kids pedaling away with big smiles; I also saw many families walking and biking together.

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Portland City Commissioner Nick Fish and his son Chapin.

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Another thing that caught my eye were the new marketing posters attached to A-board signs and placed throughout the route. I assume these were paid for by presenting sponsor Kaiser Permanente. They were emblazoned with messages like, “Stretch”, “Sunday Parkways Everyday”, or my favorite; a photo of a guy in a wheelchair and the tagline, “Keep Portland Moving.”

But not everyone got the message.

I saw one man in a pickup drive through the course, willfully oblivious to the closure. A nearby volunteer intersection monitor said she’d seen him before doing the same thing. I chatted with a Portland Police officer who said they’d given a ticket to a man who drove over a traffic cone into the course. In the comments below, one intersection volunteer reported that she encountered “many angry residents.”

“I’m not used to being yelled, cussed at and blamed for the event… By the end of my shift, though uneasy leaving my intersection without a replacement, I was so on edge I wasn’t being an effective helper and decided it was best that I not continue and possibly get into a fight… I’m not sure I’ll be volunteering for this particular Parkways in the future, the way these neighbors react to bikes (Holgate included) is very discouraging and I did not feel safe.”

On the brighter side, in a challenging traffic environment, the Portland Police did a great job handing some of the trickier crossings.

And how about the Springwater Corridor?! I happened to be on it during the only real sunny part of the day and I saw packs of happy people walking about biking on the two-mile stretch of greenery and smooth pavement.

Were you out there? What did you see? How do you think the event went? How did the crowds compare with last year? Please add your reports to the many comments that have already come in (this post was updated Monday morning after being first published Sunday evening).

Check out more images in the photo gallery.

And one more thing, if you haven’t contributed to the Sunday Parkways fundraiser on Kickstarter, there’s only a few hours left and they’re just a few hundred dollars short of their goal. Head over and donate to send a clear message to City Council that the community supports this great event!

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.

  • Spiffy May 22, 2011 at 7:22 pm

    I was there… I think the crowds were smaller this year… or maybe there were less attractions gathering them… seems like they could have used more food carts… I had to go eat at Burgerville…

    it was nice that the loop was longer… although some of it was way too remote…

    and one of the parks had absolutely no booths…

    I think the weather kept some people at home… although I didn’t get rained on at all… I was only there from 12ish to 2ish…

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  • amy bee May 22, 2011 at 7:25 pm

    Thanks for snapping our pic, we are famous now!

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  • Chris Smith May 22, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    I thought this instance of the event was extraordinarily well done. The number of activity centers along the route was tremendous, as was the featuring of the Springwater corridor.

    I particularly liked the A-board signs along the route (provided by Kaiser, the season sponsor, as I understand it). They created a wonderful tone for the event.

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    • Spiffy May 23, 2011 at 8:08 am

      I also liked all the A board signs… it really made you feel that the event was everywhere…

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  • Hart Noecker May 22, 2011 at 7:42 pm

    Definitely saw some angry residents try ramming their cars through barricades again this year, but I still had just as much fun. The rain definitely thinned the crowds. I’d still like to see Holgate get used as part of the route (split in half) so those bike lane haters can see just how many of us there actually are out there.

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  • John Lascurettes May 22, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    It was interesting that some residents weren’t even aware what this was. Two early-teen boys on bikes riding up to one of the barricades asked me, “what are these for?” When I incredulously said, “what?” They asked, “what’s going on?” Sad that kids on bikes had no clue about the Sunday Parkways in their own neighborhood.

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    • BURR May 23, 2011 at 12:27 pm

      I guess they just don’t read BikePortland.org.

      I wonder what the actual ratio of neighborhood residents to imported transportation activists was?

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      • April May 23, 2011 at 9:41 pm

        Are those my only two choices? I ride Sunday Parkways whenever I can, whether in my neighborhood or not, but I’m not a transportation activist.

        Actually, this one was in my neighborhood, as I live maybe a mile or so from the route.

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  • John Lascurettes May 22, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    … Also, I saw more recumbent trike there a day than I’ve ever seen in 7 years in Portland. The tadpoles looked like a lot of fun.

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    • Spiffy May 23, 2011 at 8:09 am

      yes! I also saw a ton of ‘bents…

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  • borgbike May 22, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    We rode there from NE Alberta via the East Side Esplanade and the Spring Water trail. It was a long haul for our 10 year old. This made for a good excuse to check out the Spring Water Trail. I’m disappointed it’s taking so long to fix the connecting points from OMSI and than also just past Oaks park where the trail turns east.Thought this stuff would be done by now.

    From 205 we took the Max to near home at the Skidmore stop in North Portland worked out well for our kid who had crashed from the long ride.

    Props to the vendors and volunteers who showed up and helped make this party happen. Everyone’s contributions is so critical to the success of this event. Nossa Family Coffee: you were there when I needed you.

    Even though I’m a big supporter of doing this in outer SE Portland, I’m a little disappointed the magic of the usual Sunday Parkways wasn’t really there this year. Some of it was certainly the weather which affected the attendance (stupid long cold spring) and spirits. However also I didn’t have the sense the streets were ours, that divine sense of freedom when people take to the streets and stroll causally without concerns of a getting somewhere or worrying about car traffic. A number of the stretches divided the street in half, half for cars and half for bikes and peds. This constrained movement, was a little confusing and made me keep my guard up about cars.

    I think if some of the event/vendor park stops had been more concentrated (given the light attendance) the fun carnival-like atmosphere would have been there more. In spite of this there was still a very positive neighborly vibe to the hole thing.

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    • Spiffy May 23, 2011 at 8:11 am

      I also didn’t like that so many streets were split in half… and some of them I wasn’t sure which side of the street I was supposed to be riding on… I’d suggest finding new routes in the future so there doesn’t have to be so many split roads…

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  • Paul Hanrahan May 22, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    A lot of neighborhoods had dead ends, that is why there had to be split lanes, so the residents could have access in & out. The bikers seemed happy for the most part, the volunteers were great, and the weather, well at least it was pretty dry. The outer areas are a little harder to work , but i think the more we do it the better it will get!

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    • Esther May 23, 2011 at 9:44 am

      Yes, and there were also several churches/iglesias which had services which would be getting out during Sunday Parkways.

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  • MK May 22, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    We were there…I’ve never seen springwater so packed.Volunteers did a wonderful job and many of Portland’s finest were smiling too..I think we recognized J. Maus but didn’t get a chance to say hello,maybe Next time… and yes,could have used more food carts.

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  • Linda Ginenthal May 22, 2011 at 8:44 pm

    Thanks for the photos Jonathan. You got some great shots. Looking forward to more feedback and suggestions from BikePortland.org east Portlanders. Whaddya like? What could we look at improving or doing differently?

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    • eli bishop May 23, 2011 at 1:01 pm

      more food carts, please!

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  • Michweek May 22, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Scariest Intersection Superhero day I’ve had in two years. So many angry residents… I’m not used to being yelled, cussed at and blamed for the event. I just want people to be safe and happy. For many of these people A. English was not their first language, B. Didn’t know about the event… I think the mailers that went out a month ago got dunked into the junk mail pile. By the end of my shift, though uneasy leaving my intersection without a replacement, I was so on edge I wasn’t being an effective helper and decided it was best that I not continue and possibly get into a fight. :/
    I’m glad to hear people had fun though, that makes it worth while. I’m not sure I’ll be volunteering for this particular Parkways in the future, the way these neighbors react to bikes (Holgate included) is very discouraging and I did not feel safe.

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    • Linda Ginenthal May 22, 2011 at 10:06 pm

      Thanks for the feedback. Let us know which intersection you had so we can see if there are ways to make it safer, easier and do better neighborhood communication.

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      • michweek May 23, 2011 at 11:43 pm

        87th and Rural. Let me be more clear I had people telling me they lived on the street only to have them use it as a through fare to bybe and beyond. And again for many people english was not their first languge so even if they got the mailers they didn’t understand them. Having super heros on bike helped with escorting people though. I find I can’t walk fast enough people and in the past had a person swerve aroundme and race the half block home. Makes my heart jump when there are kids on the route!

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    • timbo May 23, 2011 at 1:01 pm

      This was the first time I volunteered as a street corner super hero and I can say it was for the most part very enjoyable. I had to improvise a bit though and move some of the street closed signs around and stole one of the A boards to act as a deterrent to entering the street. However one guy actually drove on the sidewalk to get around it. These were people that typically did not live on the street they just wanted to cut through. My suggestion is more street closed signs. It seems if the driver see’s day light between the signs they interpret that as “street open” if you can fit your car through.

      All in all a good day and I really enjoyed interacting with the kids in the neighborhood.

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  • Paul Manson May 22, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    It was great- and a great way to explore a portion of Portland I would not otherwise get a chance to know. Thanks to all the volunteers!

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  • dmc May 22, 2011 at 9:19 pm

    I would really like to thank all the volunteers that helped make this possible. Thank you so much.

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  • Jeff Bernards May 22, 2011 at 11:06 pm

    The sandwich board sign with the photo of a person in a wheelchair participating in Sunday Parkways was super inclusive & awesome! Everyone is welcome to participate in Sunday Parkways and that’s what makes it Portland’s best biking event! (and it’s free)

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    • Esther May 23, 2011 at 9:56 am

      I agree, I saw several sandwich boards featuring people with disabilities. The only issue I had: I’ve noticed during Parkways that a lot of pedestrians still use the sidewalk, because they feel nervous about getting rolled over by bikers. The sandwich boards were placed ON the sidewalks. I was working at an intersection and we moved the sandwich board out into the middle of the road instead, to act as a traffic slower for bikes. (Sorry if we weren’t supposed to do that! 🙂
      When a neighbor using a wheelchair came up to the route, which she had no idea what was going on. I explained Parkways to her and she seemed happy to hear about it and started to head towards the next park- on the sidewalk. I warned her that we had moved the sandwich board but there might be others on the sidewalk, so she might want to take the road. I just feel awkward about making people use the road who still don’t want to despite it being Parkways.

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  • wade hainlne May 23, 2011 at 12:44 am

    i had such a great time. i saw my picture made the flicker page. i was riding my friends casket cargo bike

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  • OnTheRoad May 23, 2011 at 5:58 am

    I go to the Parkways more to ride in neighborhoods I’m not as familiar with, than for the family events and booths.

    The riding portion of this one had a different feel.
    Several places you were instructed to walk your bike. Several streets were only closed on half the width, with car traffic still using the other side. And the Springwater was rather clogged, which was expected, but when groups are riding 2-3 abreast going BOTH directions, it makes the ride less enjoyable. You’re more worried about colliding than enjoying the scenery. And no i wasn’t riding fast – a quite leisurely pace.

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  • Paul Manson May 23, 2011 at 7:34 am

    There are some real challenges to making the East Portland Sunday Parkways more like the closer in ones. The existing street network limits what can be closed to maintain access for residents, and the lack of sidewalks also adds to congestion in some areas.

    The take away from this is shows the challenges for adding high quality bike access in East Portland. If you’ve never visited before, help advocate for improvements for your neighbors to the east. If this one Sunday Parkways seemed a little unlike the others, that is the same feeling for someone trying to start daily commuting there too! Lets spread the bikey love east.

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    • Esther May 23, 2011 at 10:05 am

      If this were facebook I would give this a big LIKE! No, East Portland Sunday Parkways is not like the others. It shares positive aspects (lots of diversity, lots of families) and negative aspects (a disconnected street network) with the area itself.

      But, for all the people complaining about the neighbors: I was working at a difficult intersection, and I found my attitude with the neighbors who needed to get in or out in their cars, or who didn’t know what was going on, made all the difference. If you approach them wary that they are going to create a fuss, well, people will take your cues.
      I approached them with the attitude that I understood the event and was ready to help them get where they needed to go, and that they were especially encouraged to join in the event, and I felt that that made all the difference. Most of them returned my smiles, waves, and prolific “Thank you for sharing your neighborhood with everyone.” Several neighbors who came home in their cars later came out of their houses and hung around outside enjoying the people watching, or playing in the street.

      One thing that could significantly improve the volunteer experience, is getting more local volunteers who know the streets. I felt awful trying to redirect people, but since many of the streets deadend, I had to fumble a map and do some guessing, to tell them how to get around their own neighborhood. What would have been helpful on my superhero handout woudl be to have the throughroutes for CARS highlighted (instead of just difficult intersections) so I could know which streets to point them to.

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  • Kathleen McDade May 23, 2011 at 9:13 am

    As an intersection superhero, I had only one really angry person, but it’s really scary when that happens. Most people were cooperative, few were even surly about it.

    Paul’s comments about challenges to biking in East Portland are spot-on. It’s difficult to bike around on a daily basis, let alone close streets for an event.

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  • Indy May 23, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Westside is jealous of your corridor. What I wouldn’t do to get a dedicated corridor on Barbur…

    🙂 It’s actually the only reason I bike over to the Eastside.

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  • BicycleDave May 23, 2011 at 9:40 am

    I wished it could have lasted later into the afternoon, but my family was ready to go home at 3. Sun would have kept them out longer. We were grateful to the church giving away hot dogs and water.

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  • G. Tyler May 23, 2011 at 10:29 am

    It was sad passing by Glenwood park an no events where there. I would have liked to see the events at the Ron Russel school moved there to use more parks along the route but perhaps they had logistic reasons for not having anything there. Was fun volunteering to set up at Gilbert Heights Park, will be looking to help with that at the next event. I felt bad for some of the intersection superheros, I think if there were more of them at each intersection it wouldn’t have been so bad with the upset drivers giving them grief. Hoping the Kickstart campaign goes through, I want some spokecards!

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  • RC May 23, 2011 at 10:39 am

    I enjoyed myself. I volunteered at Ed Benedict and all went very smoothly. Please persist in this event in Southeast. I think it will get better.

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  • Mike Hand May 23, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Linda G: Intersection of 87th and Knapp had much vehicle traffic from south and west throughout period 11 to 2, many understanding when the event was explained, but higher than average sample of impatiient and/or angry drivers unwilling to listen. Surprised that majority of local residents either driving or walking said they were unaware of the event happening, what is was about, or that their streets would be closed.
    On personal note, I was surprised at lower than usual number of food carts/stall at the parks on the circuit.
    BUT……. a great event as usual, loads of happy smiling people cycling/walking/skuuting/ skating/walking/whatevering. Thanks, keep up the great work.

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  • Stig May 23, 2011 at 11:59 am

    My son and I rode the circuit clockwise. Lots of fun and the intersections were safe and well controlled. He had the most fun on the bouncy castle.

    The police and volunteers were very cheery, especially waving kids through.

    It was cool to see so many customized bikes. There was a recumbent tandem with opposite facing riders and a bike modeled after Thomas the Tank Engine.

    Thanks very much to the organizers and volunteers.

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  • spare_wheel May 23, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    attendance seemed sparser but the slightly longer route was appreciated.

    although many of jonathan’s pics show riders sans helmet, i was amazed at how few people felt comfortable enough to ride appliance free.

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  • Martha R May 23, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    It was fun, if a bit damp at the end. There were definitely more cars (both escorted and unescorted) on the route than I’ve experienced before. Probably a combination of not enough volunteers (okay, I’m guilty on that front) and a challenging street network.

    Linda — our downloaded map didn’t include information about where the activities were. Adding that to the maps would really help riders allocate their time. Because we lazed about at the first couple of parks we encountered (fun!), we had to whiz by other activity stations because it was getting late (and wet). Other than that, it was yet another fun Sunday!

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  • Larry Beach May 23, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    What’s up with the people in the pictures not wearing bicycle helmets?

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    • dmc May 23, 2011 at 4:54 pm

      I always wear my helmet… but if there was a time and a place to exercise your right in Oregon to not have to, Sunday Parkways is the place. Cheers!

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    • Chris Smith May 23, 2011 at 5:24 pm

      This may be a controversial perspective, but I make a point of NOT wearing a helmet during Sunday Parkways (the helmet goes back on when I leave the route).

      My view is that helmets are a mitigation necessary for risks created by inadequately safe riding conditions. In the great cycling cities in Europe, you don’t see people wearing helmets.

      If ever there were a time/place where the risks go away in Portland (because cars or gone or moving very slowly, and where folks on bikes are traveling at low speeds) it’s Sunday Parkways.

      And I like to celebrate the absence of those risks!

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    • Duncan Idaho-Stop May 23, 2011 at 6:06 pm

      It was excellent to see so many people of all ages and abilities riding without helmets, like we all used to.

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    • spare_wheel May 23, 2011 at 9:19 pm

      actually that is a very good question. unlike other sunday parkways there were very few people not wearing helmets. not sure why…

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    • April May 24, 2011 at 10:03 am

      I tend not to wear my helmet when riding a route that’s car-free, for much the same reason I wouldn’t wear a helmet if I was cycling in Copenhagen.

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  • Stripes May 23, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Things I liked: 1) later start time at a decent hour! 2) Good route!

    Things I didn’t like: 1) cars driving through “barriers” that weren’t really barriers at all. If the street is supposed to be blocked off to motor traffic, then actually block it off! 2) The date? Why hold it in May, when we all know, the weather is still crappy? Why not wait til June?

    Other than that, great event!!!!

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  • Cora Potter May 23, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    I made a couple of passes through the route between 11 and 2. It was great! I had a lot of fun just seeing my neighbors out and about, and I would venture that for every grumpy car driver I encountered, there were at least 10 homeowners that were just hanging out in their yards and waving hello or chatting with folks on the sidewalks.

    Things I particularly enjoyed:

    1. Riding against the main flow on the Springwater in the morning and seeing the looks on people’s faces when they experienced how great that corridor is east of 82nd, for the first time. People were particularly agape in the areas where Ed Kerns has been doing so much work to restore the habitat.

    2. Dropping off my milk bottles right along the route on 87th and reflecting on the awesomeness that 87th is going to be a neighborhood greenway soon.

    3. Taking the brief out of direction diversion to get some pasties at Cartlandia.

    4. Delivering pasties to hungry volunteers.

    5. Running over a (remote control) car with my bike! Fat tires rule. The car was none the worse for wear, but I’d have to say this was one car-vs-bike crash where the bike came out victorious.

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  • Kevin Wagoner May 23, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    Where is the like button?

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  • JD May 23, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    It was a great kick off. I saw no angry upset people and smiles everywhere. J Maus was grinning ear to ear snapping photos and as usual Officer Hoesly smiling and keeping the peace. My family had a blast.

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  • drew May 23, 2011 at 8:18 pm

    I volunteered to work a morning shift at the intersection at 88th and Duke. Was great to be involved in this kind of event, which I 100% believe in as having a positive effect on the community.

    Most drivers were understanding and not unpleasant. But by 2pm I was emotionally exhausted dealing with the dozen or so motorists who ranged from angry to furious to crazy. A couple of motorcycles ripped right thru, ignoring my waving arms. We could have used more barricades; I think 2 down the block and 3 at the intersection was not enough. I used my cargo bike as a barricade which helped. One fellow who lived directly on the course claimed to be unaware of then event, and many pedestrians walking thru did not know about it either. Several motorists would not tell me exactly where they were going; and after they said yes to my question of “are you going less than one block” I found they were going 2 or 3 blocks down the course, and I had to divert them.

    Once, a bike rider made an anti-car comment to a driver I was trying to get thru the course, which just made my job harder. Another time a biker slapped a car, and I had to deal with the furious driver (of aforementioned slapped-car) who was leaving his house which was on the course. If you are on a bike and you feel like slapping a car please think again; the outcome is always lousy. I had to become strident and put my body in the way of a woman who insisted on driving headlong down the course by herself, after listening to how she felt her tax dollars were misspent on the event. Good grief, I could have come up with a lot of genuine examples of how her tax dollars are misspent.

    It was a good education, and I will volunteer again, and I will be more effective. Sob storys of being late for a wedding will no longer move me. Fewer drivers will be allowed thru the barricades, and I will essentially follow the guidelines to the letter, of what the organizers asked us to do.

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    • dmc May 24, 2011 at 2:51 am


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  • Darren May 24, 2011 at 11:10 am

    What a fun event! Kaiser had some absolutely incredible volunteers working at Gilbert Heights park leading kids in all kinds of games. They were wonderful! Kudos and many thanks to them and all the other volunteers that helped to make this happen. My family and I are full of gratitude.

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  • Katy May 24, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    This Sunday Parkways was my fourth time volunteering as an intersection superhero, and sadly it was the most nerve-wracking. Contrary to what Esther said, a positive and accommodating attitude as a volunteer is not enough to quell the rage of angry people in cars. The truth is that there are angry people in the world and these people are carrying anger from place to place, letting that anger be stoked by whatever they might encounter. Some angry people drive cars, some ride bikes. Angry people on bikes do things like slapping cars (as volunteer Drew witnessed) or yelling at drivers. Angry people in cars yell at volunteers and cyclists, and at worst drive on or through the route ignoring safety protocols. The problem is that the “worst” for angry drivers doesn’t just bruise egos–it endangers lives. Thrice during my shift cars came riding down the route after misinforming volunteers of their destinations, and thrice during my shift I felt a surge of desperate emotion: fear. Cars do not belong on a street thick with unprotected bodies. Perhaps I am too sensitive, but for me all the smiling faces and kids having a wonderful time are over-shadowed by the intense fear of an angry person driving a car on or across the route.

    In my opinion, the most important part of an intersection superhero’s job is not to assist residents in cars and keep the neighbors happy, which is the point most stressed during volunteer orientation. I believe the first concern should always be safety, and the language should always be safety, and every interaction between a volunteer and person driving a car should be Safety First. Volunteers need to be firm in explaining and carrying out the maneuvers that allow people who live on route to use their cars. Perhaps in the future event coordinators can outfit volunteers with techniques for clear communication and maintaining safety.

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  • Esther May 24, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Katy, I agree that safety is the first concern. But I think people don’t respond well to being told “that isn’t safe,” but by being told “here is how I can help you do what you want/need to do.” People respond to feeling heard/validated, and having their needs met. If you just tell them “You can’t do that,” they get angry and irrational.
    I agree that there are bad actors (I certainly witnessed one or two people who ignored me or other volunteers) but generally I felt that my attitude made a huge difference, even with those individuals. And yes, I have some skills around working with people in crisis/anger mode, thanks to my day job.

    However, that is why, in my feedback, I suggested that the Parkways staff familiarize volunteers with the neighborhood through routes for cars. People don’t respond well to “No, you can’t get to 92nd and Flavel by driving on Knapp, GET OFF THE ROUTE.” They DO respond well to “Great! You can get to 92nd and flavel by going on 86th, then taking Flavel to 92nd.” I suspect that a lot of volunteers were in the same boat as me, not knowing how to redirect people with all the dead ends and just not knowing the area well.

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  • Katy May 24, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    Esther, it seems to me like there is a bit of misunderstanding between us as well. I’m not suggesting volunteers start limiting their responses to “You can’t do that” and “GET OFF THE ROUTE” and “No.” As anyone who has ever tried to convey useful information to another person can attest, that wouldn’t be helpful. Additionally, I didn’t say that volunteers shouldn’t assist residents trying to access their homes, I just said that shouldn’t be the top priority. You agreed that safety is the first concern.

    People who are angry and irrational have almost always arrived at the situation in that state. My hope is for volunteers to be equipped with the communication skills and safety techniques to prevent anyone from getting hurt. This does not exclude Sunday Parkways staff from familiarizing volunteers with the neighborhood through-routes for cars. It might include an explanation of how to successfully escort a vehicle down the block at a walking pace, and could also include how to successfully escort that car off the route when it is discovered that the person driving has misinformed volunteers about his/her destination.

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    • Alexis May 25, 2011 at 8:05 pm

      I have a number of concerns related to my experiences as an Intersection volunteer, but I want to lend my voice here to what Katy says. Helping neighbors get where they want to go is the main TASK that volunteers have, but the main AIM is safety for everyone (participants, neighbors, and volunteers alike), and I hope the message changes to reflect that.

      I was at the same intersection as Drew above. It seems like what (inter)section you are at has a huge influence on what experience you have. Higher-traffic streets tend to have higher volumes of frustrated drivers.

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  • Ryan Marquardt May 27, 2011 at 6:54 pm

    My wife and I were intersection superheroes on Sunday. I have to agree with Katy that there were a number of people who were angry before you even said a word to them. About half of the folks in cars were good natured, but the other half were not fun to deal with at all. I agree that being able to give detour directions was helpful when I was able to. We were happy to help out with the event and happy to see so many smiling riders. I’m mixed about having volunteers controlling intersections and acting as de facto traffic police. It works well for most cars, but it creates an angry and dangerous situation when PO’d drivers lie about where they are headed, yell at volunteers, and drive on the route in an angry state of mind. Not sure if I’ll volunteer for that again. I think I’m of the mindset that if the route is truly going to be closed, then the proper personnel (police or police cadets) should be the ones doing it.

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