Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Sunday Parkways heads to North Portland for fifth year

Posted by on June 22nd, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Sunday Parkways North 2011-69-68

This is what the largest Sunday Parkways crowd ever looks like.
— See photos from the 2008 edition below. —
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been five years since the first Sunday Parkways. I can still remember how absolutely thrilling it was to finally get a ciclovia event all our own.

My report of the event was downright giddy and even a bit corny in retrospect:

Early this morning, as drizzle and cool winds blew, I could not have foreseen the perfect day that was to come. Not only did the sun and blue skies eventually break through, but masses of people turned out. I could not believe how many families and children I saw riding bikes and in the parks. It was simply a magnificent sight to behold.

A few hours into the event, I bumped into PDOT’s Linda Ginenthal. Ginenthal is the one who spearheaded the year-long planning effort to bring this event to Portland. I don’t remember what we said, but I remember a long hug and a lot of smiling…

Today was an historic day in Portland, and it wasn’t about being anti-car or making a statement about the price of oil or any other “cause”. Today was about bringing people together, building community in our public spaces, and turning exercise and recreation into a free and accessible celebration of our city.

On Sunday, the Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) returns to North Portland, where the event was held for the first time in 2008 and where the current attendance record was set. Last year, PBOT estimated a crowd of 31,600 people at the North Portland Sunday Parkways.

Bigger crowds isn’t the only thing that’s changed in those five years. Sunday Parkways has gone from experiment to a huge success that wins accolades from civic leaders, citizens, and even a growing sector of the business community.

On that note, Sunday’s ride will feature a special gathering of notables to demonstrate just how much support the event now enjoys. Mayor Adams and other local politicians will join “prominent Northwest business leaders” for a special ride led by Kaiser Permanente executives and physicians (Kaiser is the event’s presenting sponsor).

Check out the City’s website for the route map, full list of activities, and other details. I hope to see many of you out on the streets. Pray for sun and let’s break the record!

And just for fun, below are some of my favorite shots from the first-ever Sunday Parkways in 2008…

Sunday Parkways-70.jpg

Sunday Parkways-38.jpg

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  • Kristen June 22, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    It’s been four years, but yes, this is the fifth.

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  • daverave June 22, 2012 at 10:08 pm

    CANDYMAN Party!!!

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  • Chris I June 23, 2012 at 8:12 am

    They still need volunteers!

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  • oskarbaanks June 23, 2012 at 8:51 am

    Do you have any pics of the first one to share?

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  • Suburban June 23, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    Pedestrians may walk the route; Bikes n’ stuff must yield to them.

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  • Esther June 24, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Not corny. That day was magical! So glad Parkways has grown and spread its wings under its fine management.

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  • Paul June 24, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Jonathan, not corny at all. I just got done volunteeriung, as i have every year, and must admit that I feel as though I am part of one of the greatest community events ever conceived. It doesn’t matter if you bike,walk, rollerskate, rollerblade, skateboard, wheelchair or tankchair, I saw a wheelchair with tank rollers today, it is about connecting with your community. I smiled from start to finish, even when a few annoyed drivers were cussing us out.

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  • Ted Buehler June 25, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    I had a fabulous day at Parkways yesterday.

    * Crowds were a little lighter than NE in May, so it was easier to ride a bike, enjoy the scenery.
    * Riding a car-free Willamette Blvd was a blast! Imagine if Portlanders had car free streets like that to commute on. We’d convert 10,000 drivers almost instantly.

    Thanks much to PBOT and Kaiser for making this happen,

    Ted Buehler

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