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City counts record 31,600 people at North Portland Sunday Parkways

Posted by on June 27th, 2011 at 5:22 pm

Sunday Parkways North 2011-37-36

Record crowds.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Last night I went out on a limb and said the North Portland Sunday Parkways was the largest ever. Well, turns out that it wasn’t much of a limb.

According to PBOT’s official count, an estimated 31,600 people were at the event yesterday.

Linda Ginenthal, a Program Manager for the Transportation Options Division within PBOT said she did the number twice, just to make sure they weren’t mistaken. “But this is the real number,” she exclaimed via email a few minutes ago, “This is amazing! Wahoo!”

I asked Ginenthal how they do the counts and here’s what she said:

“We have our Superhero Volunteers count at 7 intersections spread out throughout the route for 10 minutes on the 1/2 hour. That gives us information for 4 of the 5 hours (11:30, 12:30, 2:30 and 3:30). I then estimate 1:30pm by adding up the 12:30 and 2:30 numbers and dividing by 2. This is a low estimate because 1:30 is our peak, but I like to err on the side of a conservative number.

With that I have 5 hours of 10 minute counts. I multiply that number by 6 for the 60 minutes. I add these counts up for a grand total. I make one more assumption that we count everyone twice – so I divide this number in half for our participation estimate. Twice is because participants are there for about 2 to 3 hours. The counts are spread out far enough mileage-wise which also cuts down on the triple counts.

We miss some people altogether. But generally we are pretty solid with our counts.”

For comparison, Ginenthal said they counted just 19,000 people at this same event last year.

It’s amazing what some great weather will do, but you shouldn’t chalk this up to simply sunshine. PBOT staff has worked incredibly hard in the neighborhoods where the routes go through to spread the word and sell the benefits of this event. This is also likely a word-of-mouth phenomenon as this is the fourth year in a row that Sunday Parkways has gone through North Portland.

This is great news for PBOT as it should make their search for continued City Council support and sponsorship of the event that much easier.

Speaking of sponsors. Kaiser Permanente is the title supporter of the event and they couldn’t be happier with Sunday’s turnout.

Dan Field, head of Community Benefit for Kaiser Permanente Northwest tells us, “The partnership with the city is working out great. And when you look at the goals we have for Sunday Parkways: helping to increase physical activity for Portland residents, re-orient folks to use bikes instead of cars for transportation, and reach out to a diverse population with that health message, we hit them all in North Portland on Sunday.”

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Fix On Your Bike
Guest

Sweet!

Toby
Guest
Toby

That’s a pretty big increase from last year. Wonder how it compares to other locations?

Hart Noecker
Guest

Yeah, and most of them drove their bikes there inside their car.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Hm. Travel across the existing I-5 bridge is dropping relative to CRC projections; Sunday Parkways participation is up, way up, relative to projections.

Paula
Guest
Paula

Hart Noecker
Yeah, and most of them drove their bikes there inside their car.

Would be interesting to know how many did drive to the event. Personally, I biked from the Mt. Tabor area. Wasn’t that far and it was an awesomely beautiful day.

matt picio
Guest

Congratulations to Linda, her staff, and the countless volunteers that made this event happen – Sunday Parkways is really taking off, and it’s great to see the city not only continue the event and expand it, but also to continue to find ways to support and promote it. Job well-done, folks!

RC
Guest
RC

I biked about 9 miles one way to get to the event. As I got closer more and more bikes were on the same path. I saw a few people getting bikes out of cars, but far more were riding to the event.

Jason Brune
Guest
Jason Brune

It was a great community building event no matter how one got there.

Ted Buehler
Guest

Great work PBOT and volunteers!

At the Bike Temple’s corner (N Ainsworth and Delaware) we had a steady stream of bicyclists and walkers all day long. I only recall one time when we could look for a block in both directions and not see anyone.

It was a great event, and many of these people are now well positioned to become regular bicyclists, thanks to Sunday Parkways.

Ted Buehler

Ted Buehler
Guest

At the “Sunday Parkways” tables at each of the main parks they have comment cards for feedback. I suggested that next year they close Willamette Blvd going in both directions so people can stop and enjoy the views.

I’d suggest that everyone fill out a comment card at future parkway events, if nothing else to give them a written note of appreciation.

Ted Buehler

Joe Rowe
Guest
Joe Rowe

31,000 people who vote with their wheels if our society gives them a safe space. Think of the potential if bike and buses had more of the road and more equitable funding.

Ben
Guest

Excellent…. thats a good healthy amount of people.,…nice!

Erinne
Guest
Erinne

That’s amazing. That’s over 5% of the population of Portland! Glad I got to be a part of it!

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

I think it’s awesome that so many people showed up. Sure, it would be nice if it were truly a “car-free” event and no one drove to be there, but that’s just not realistic considering the type of people that this event is aimed at.

Not everyone has biked across the city, or has the stamina to do so, and they may have little kids with them that would be unable to make the trip, do the loop, than bike all the way back home.

mmann
Guest

I rode to the event from east of Tabor with my 2 daughters. The 10-year old rode the whole way & back for a total of about 24 miles – her longest ride to date. The 5-year old was on the tag-a-long. Both were still smiling at the end of the day. Saw a lot of “car-toppers” loading up after 4, but I agree; at least they participated. I would encourage others to make a day of it and try to ride to future events.

9watts
Guest
9watts

“The 10-year old rode the whole way & back for a total of about 24 miles – her longest ride to date.” Hats off to you and your daughters!
About the folks who drove there, well when gas becomes too expensive perhaps they’ll remember that most of the folks at the North Portland Sunday Parkways were on bikes, got there without the aid of a car, and they’ll know what to do.

Not everyone biked to the naked bike ride naked. Some took their clothes off once they got there.

PDXbiker
Guest
PDXbiker

I personally know of an extended family and friends , 21 total , that all drove in together with a pickup truck and trailer full of bikes. All from Hillsboro. Just as the popularity of the Bridge Pedal has attracted many from out of Portland, Sunday Parkways is beginning to do the same. They participated, had a great time, and hopefully left with a greater awareness of how a bicycle can be more of a viable transportation alternative. Who cares how they got there.

FrenchieinPDX
Guest
FrenchieinPDX

Me and my husband rode our bikes from SE Portland and met up with our friends and their children in NE. It was a wonderful event. Lots of people and bikes of all sizes, shapes. Enjoyed the route and discovering parks I had never been to. Well done. Can’t wait for the next event in SE this time.

roger noehren
Guest
roger noehren

the Oregonian virtually ignored this event (after the fact) and the photo makes it look as though there was a paltry turnout: http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2011/06/first_experience_at_sunday_par.html
they did post bikeportlands’ excellent feature however.

Liz
Guest
Liz

I biked up with a friend and had a blast!

I do agree with others above however that biking to the event is not for everyone. It’s not even so much a matter of distance.

Honestly? If I had a young family for instance, I would not feel one iota safe biking to north Portland, even on our bike boulevards. Despite a few tokenistic traffic calming measures once in a while, streets like SE Ankeny, & SE 41st still carry FAR too much auto traffic for a two year old to feel at all safe on a bike.

That’s the reason Sunday Parkways is so successful, after all. There’s NO traffic on the streets. If only we could mimic that kind of environment on our bike boulevards, perhaps we would achieve that kind of bicycle critical mass seen at Sunday Parkways on THEM, too.

J_R
Guest
J_R

My family and I participated, riding from SE Portland. I like that it helps get people out and introduced us so some parts of Portland with which I’m not very familiar. It was nice to have the help from all the volunteers and the PPB.

The methodology for estimating participants needs some work. I’m afraid there are some flaws in the methodogy. I’m hoping for a return call from Linda.

Whatever the actual numbers, I hope it keeps going and becomes a more frequent series of events. Participation is so much better than observing.

dmc
Guest
dmc

These are the reasons why I do not waste my time reading and posting on certain issues.