Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Over 28,000 turn out for first Sunday Parkways of the year

Posted by on May 14th, 2012 at 4:31 pm

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NE Simpson Street in the Cully neighborhood has never seen bike traffic like this before!
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Sunday Parkways got off to a great start yesterday as throngs of Portlanders enjoyed the warm sun and rolled through eight miles of carfree northeast neighborhoods.

The City of Portland put the total crowd at an estimated 28,250, which makes it just a few thousand shy of the record (31,600, in North Portland last summer).

Here are a few more crowd shots…

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The route stretched from Woodlawn Park to the new cycletrack on Cully Blvd, and south to the neighborhood greenway on NE Going. Along the way, the parks were filled to the brim with people and bikes. One popular attraction was a bike polo demonstration going on at Fernhill Park. Portland United Bike Polo had matches going on throughout the day and lots of kids and families staked out a spot in the shade to watch. After the matches, they let kids come onto the court to ask questions and give the mallet and ball a try.

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And I couldn’t resist this shot (thanks Drew!):

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Also in Fernhill Park, several candidates took advantage of the crowds to do some last-minute campaigning. I saw both Jefferson Smith (and his little pooch George) and Charlie Hales working hard in the heat…

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Jefferson Smith answers a woman’s question.
Charlie Hales at Sunday Parkways

Charlie Hales standing in the middle of NE Ainsworth.

It was a real treat to head east onto the quiet country-like streets of the Cully neighborhood. At a few spots along the way I stopped to get a better look at who was out biking…

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What a glorious start to the Sunday Parkways season! Where you out there? How was it? Share your experiences…

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  • daisy May 14, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    Great photos, Jonathan! Thanks so much for sharing them. This was my family’s first Sunday Parkways, and we had a great time. I was also amazed that my kids could bike so many miles.

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  • andy May 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    I’m amazed that the Oregonian didn’t provide any coverage of the event on their website. As anti-bike as the Oregonian is, you’d think they’d consider 28,000 people out at a community event more newsworthy than a dog in a sinkhole (http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2012/05/dog_in_sinkhole_wonder_northwe.html).

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  • The Daily Cycle May 14, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Makes me wish I was living in Portland. Looks like an amazing event! Great photos too.

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    • Ryan Good May 15, 2012 at 9:50 am

      Start one in your town! There are a lot of great resources for getting something like this going.

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  • Hart Noecker May 14, 2012 at 6:47 pm

    Had a great time, but was kinda shocked at the lack of water provided. Where were the Water Bureau tap stations that have been set up in the past?

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  • daisy May 14, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    I agree re water. Maybe no one expected it to be so hot?

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    • Alan 1.0 May 15, 2012 at 11:09 am

      I saw several official Parkways “thirst-aid” bikes with 5-gal jugs and cups in either trailers or on cargo bikes. They seemed to be circulating along the route and stopping for anyone who flagged them down or looked thirsty. Saw several dog watering stations provided by neighbors, and was offered water by a resident where we took a sit-down on the grass by the curb, in the shade. Enjoyed the mister near the Bike Church and got super-soakered by request a bit further down Going.

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  • Gregg May 14, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    What a great event! This is one of my favorite days of the year. Sunday Parkways is the best opportunity for my neighbors to get the dust off of their Huffy’s, pedal around the neighborhood, beam from ear to ear about what a great time they had, and then talk about how they want to get a better bike/ they start riding for fun with their family.

    Every journey begins with the first step.

    How many days until Pedalpalooza?

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    • A.K. May 14, 2012 at 9:41 pm

      Yeah Sunday Parkways isn’t my bag of tea personally (too many folks!) but nothing bad can come from getting nearly 30,000 people out on bikes. Love it!

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  • Alan 1.0 May 14, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Had a wonderful slow ride. Especially liked the bike polo, saw the first match and learned about a shuffle and tapping in. Excellent sport to watch: lots of action, plenty of scoring, and obviously takes practice and skill to get proficient. The crepe stand at Woodlawn Park was most worth the wait. Hope our bike blessings work as well as they have in years past.

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  • dmc May 14, 2012 at 11:27 pm

    Had a lot of fun. Was very warm outside and I appreciated every sprinkler/hose that was aimed in my direction. Road down from Vancouver. Sunday Parkways are my Superbowl!

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  • rebecca May 14, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    Cyclofemme ride in the morning and then just rode around the route with some of my best friends. Beautiful day, big smiles, slight sunburn 🙂

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  • John Lascurettes May 15, 2012 at 12:14 am

    28,000? Wow. No wonder booths were running out of food. Wonderful.

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  • Gasper Johnson May 15, 2012 at 2:05 am

    it seems the demand for safe streets would imply we should be doing this kind of thing every week.

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  • Spiffy May 15, 2012 at 7:56 am

    one of these days I’ll make it up to a NE one… this time I played LOTRO instead and then ventured out in the evening after it started to cool off…

    what? I had a long weekend and needed to chill… c(:

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  • redhippie May 15, 2012 at 8:24 am

    Great time as usual,

    A couple of criticisms
    1. Very crowded. I think this was excentuated by seemingly narrower streets. I noticed both booths projecting out into the traffic flow and more cars parked on the street. I wonder if temp signs could go up a week before “asking” people to voluntarily park off street.
    2. Very, Very crowded around parks. After noon, we didn’t even try to get off the bikes and let the kids play. Way to hot and crowded, resulting in us just finishignt he route and riding to another park farther away.
    3. Divided streets. They tend to be narrow and create great confusion on where to go.

    Great event though and looking forward to NoPo’s.


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  • bikeyvol May 15, 2012 at 9:29 am

    I volunteered for the event and noticed a few things – along NE 17th, there was one SUPER AWESOMELY HELPFUL neighbor helping us to talk to local residents regarding detours around the route (there were church services nearby and some very decidely unChristianlike reactions to having to turn around or being asked to not drive down the street.)

    One woman drove through a barricade and down NE 17th at a pretty good clip – most of the riders on the route yelled at her to slow down. She darn near ran me over in disregard. Thankfully it was at a moment when the bike/ped traffic was light and there weren’t a thousand kids riding down the street.

    Goes to show that not everyone is a supporter of the event – I am hoping in the near future we can get local residents to be more supportive.

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  • J-R May 15, 2012 at 10:17 am

    I attend with spouse and kids to support the event, to show cycling is a family activity, and to model good cycling etiquette. I’m surprised that a few parents seem to think no cars means no rules.

    For most of the ride i simply accept that there are many novice cyclists and many actions that cause inconvience, but few serious safety issues. On one, and only one, occasion, I called out the warning, “keep right, please” to a youngster in th middle of the lane coming right at me. His mother responded, “don’t yell at them.” I really didn’t know where he was going. Certainly, I could have stopped, but what about those behind me who may not have seen him yet?

    I’m glad the mother and kids were out there, but doesn’t she recognize the danger? Was I out of line? It rather disturbed me that I was trying to demonstrate good behavior, safe riding, etc., but she probably thinks I was being a jerk.

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    • A.K. May 15, 2012 at 10:41 am

      You weren’t out of line from the sound of it (though I wasn’t there, so only you know for sure!). That being said, “entitlement/helicopter parenting/my snowflake can do no wrong” thing is getting a bit out of hand these days. Makes me scared for the future.

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    • Alan 1.0 May 15, 2012 at 11:00 am

      Doesn’t sound to me like you were out of line. That mom may not have understood cycling etiquette and somehow thought that rules-of-the-road were cast aside for the day. I’d shrug her off and remember all the happy, fun & safe families going past.

      I heard many more “on your lefts” (I was really slow, so I held right) than in previous years, and a majority of them were either parents teaching their kids or kids practicing their lesson with considerable glee. Nothing like being dropped by a 5-y.o. :o)

      Overall I saw less aggressive riding than I have in years past. Maybe the crowd made it obvious that there wasn’t room to go faster. As someone else noted, the vender areas were very crowded, walking room only, and some riders didn’t seem to notice that until they were wheel-to-wheel in the crowd, but the speed was so slow there wasn’t any harm. I saw a couple differently-abled kids on recumbent trikes who needed guidance from a companion adult, and they sometimes meandered where they shouldn’t, but the companions kept them generally in line and out of harm’s way, and it was pretty cool to see their smiles.

      I saw more motorcycle cop presence on the actual route (not just intersections) than I have in the past. Excellent riders, of course, and they went very slow, it felt fine and we shared smiles and waves all around, but just something I hadn’t seen much of before. I also saw a few neighbors’ cars escorted in or out by Superheros but all the ones I saw went smoothly, according to plan. (Thanks, Superheros!!)

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  • Greg May 15, 2012 at 11:06 am

    As one of the people not participating by bike but skates instead I constantly had to keep yelling two way traffic please to keep from getting run over. It was also frustrating that some of the turns got narrowed out leaving little direction where to go. Along Cully and some of the other thoroughfare crossovers it would have been nice for the city to have used street cleaners to remove winters gravel for us as well, while not on my bike this year it sucks getting flats from it. Also to those of you who yelled at me bikes only or this is for bikes please get a clue.

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    • peejay May 15, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      I’m really glad it wasn’t bikes only, since two cute roller skate girls hitched a lift on my cargo bike all the way down Going. Smiles all around!

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  • Jeremy Cohen May 15, 2012 at 2:03 pm

    I had a great time! This was my first Sunday Parkways and I thought it was great. I was riding a Bike Friday tandem (well represented, those Eugene bikes were!) with a baby up front and trailer behind–and we weren’t even in the top 100 interesting kid carriers out there. Amazing, inspiring and once again reaffirming that for all the grousing in the comments on this blog, Portland is an AMAZING place to ride a bicycle, and the community puts their bikey-love into action. Anyone that didn’t ride this, but saw the people streaming by would have to be dead in the heart to not see/feel the joy throughout the course. And for those of you that think Parkways is a waste of money, if happiness and community pride could be quantified this is likely the best investment we have–I have yet to see a single motorist (let alone 28,000) vocally thank police officers at every intersection for helping with traffic. Well done Portlanders!

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    • Alan 1.0 May 15, 2012 at 2:32 pm

      “I was riding a Bike Friday tandem…with a baby up front and trailer behind–and we weren’t even in the top 100 interesting kid carriers out there.”

      *laf!* Well, you’re a contender in my family-hauler category (or would have been if I’d noticed). But yeah, an awesome array of human-powered transport. I especially liked all the kickbikes carried on kid-trailers or longtails…somehow reminded me of motorhomes towing second cars.

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  • Mark McClure May 16, 2012 at 9:41 pm

    My spouse and I did a volunteer shift at the Alberta Park Info Booth. For three hours, we saw thousands and thousands of smiling people. Wow! It’s hard to beat an experience like that. We’re already looking forward to doing it all over again on June 23, and we’ve got our fingers crossed that the roses at Peninsula Park will be in bloom. After our shift on the 23rd, we hope to walk the route. I did that on one of the Parkways last year, and enjoyed the “slower” pace very much.

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