How Sunday Parkways helps bridge Portland’s racial divides (video)

When I started getting seriously interested in bicycles a few years ago, I already knew they were pollution-free, cheap, healthy, quiet, nonlethal and space-efficient.

What threw me for a loop, when I was talking to other Portlanders who were already interested in bicycles, was that they kept talking about community. Biking (and walking, and public transit) connected them with their neighbors and surroundings in a way that driving can’t.

The idea, it turned out, is backed up by science.

This week, two of the first Portlanders who I first heard talking about this concept, Elly Blue and Joe Biel of local company Microcosm Publishing, released a compelling short video about Portland’s Sunday Parkways open-streets festival that captures the idea and its relationship with one of Portland’s longstanding challenges: racial segregation, both socially and spacially.


Linda Ginenthal, the Portland Transportation Bureau staffer who created Sunday Parkways, is one of several community voices here explaining how it works.

The piece is especially powerful if you know that one of the people behind this video is Phyllis Porter, a Seattle-based biking advocate who has been a force behind her city’s effort (so far with mixed success) to replicate Sunday Parkways there. Porter, who is black and lives in Seattle’s racially diverse Rainier Valley district, can be heard conducting some of the interviews.

This video (which actually premiered online yesterday on Seattle Bike Blog) is the latest in Microcosm’s Groundswell film series highlighting underappreciated participants the national biking movement. We covered an earlier Portland-based piece in the series here, and you can check out the full series so far here.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 –

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