Weekender Ride

Portland announces 10th anniversary Sunday Parkways season

Posted by on February 14th, 2017 at 12:00 pm

See detailed maps below.

We love Sunday Parkways, so what better day to announce the 10 anniversary season than Valentine’s Day!

The Portland Bureau of Transportation is bringing back the events for the 10th time with a new route and a special birthday celebration.

In a statement today, new Transportation Commissioner Dan Saltzman touched on the Valentine’s theme when he said, “In every neighborhood and at every event, we discover a new reason to fall in love with our city all over again.”

Saltzman seems to have come around to the event since he last spoke up about it in 2012. “I’m not OK with guaranteeing support for funding Sunday Parkways,” he said back then, “there are a lot of other pressing transportation priorities.” Saltzman was speaking at a City Council meeting during a time when the city’s funding of the events came under fire. Saltzman did not see Sunday Parkways as a core city priority and felt paving and bike/walk safety projects should come first (note: they always have and always will). Satlzman even suggested a reduction in Sunday Parkways events or a “hiatus” until funding recovered.

We’re glad he’s a big fan now!

And thankfully our budget is stronger, not to mention the fact that Sunday Parkways is such an unqualified success that questioning the relatively paltry amount Portland pays to make it happen (about $150,000 or one-third the entire annual budget), makes even less political sense now than it did then. (Or about as much sense as having the transportation commissioner question its value.)

This year’s schedule will once again include five events. The kickoff will happen in southeast Portland in May and will end with a Sellwood/Milwaukie loop (on the new 17th Avenue path) in September. Here’s the full schedule:


Southeast Portland
May 21, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (7 miles)

North Portland – Tenth Anniversary Celebration
June 25, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (9.5 miles)

Northeast Portland
July 23, 11a.m. to 4 p.m. (8 miles)

Outer Northeast Portland – New Route for 2017
Aug. 20, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (6 miles)

September 24, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (8 miles)

PBOT says the official birthday celebration will happen at the North Portland event on June 25th.

Perhaps the most eagerly anticipated event will be on July 23rd August 20th when a new route heads to outer northeast Portland. This will give the city a chance to showcase the Gateway area — which has made lots of exciting news lately. Last month we shared how a national organization chose PBOT’s “Gateway to Opportunity” project for a grant that will help the city boost biking in the neighborhood. The project could help trigger over $20 million in infrastructure spending including 39 miles of new bikeways. Gateway’s major commercial couplet – on NE Halsey and Weidler — is also slated to get high-quality protected bike lanes as part of a Portland Development Commission project that’s already underway.

And when you attend the July Sunday Parkways make sure to leave extra time in your day (and bring extra wide tires!) to ride the dirt trails at Gateway Green (which will open June 23rd).

PBOT says over 690,000 people have enjoyed Sunday Parkways at the 38 events we’ve had since 2008. That’s a lot of happy people. Here’s to 10 more years!

Learn more and view higher-quality maps on the City’s website.

CORRECTION, 2/16 at 8:53 am: This story originally published with the wrong date for the outer Northeast event. It will be on August 20th. We regret the error.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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  • Mark February 14, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    I can’t read the map on the new NE route. Any better quality ones?

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  • maccoinnich February 14, 2017 at 12:27 pm

    Sixth year in a row where Sunday Parkways doesn’t even touch the Neighbors West / Northwest area.

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    • rick February 14, 2017 at 1:14 pm

      There was a SW Sunday Parkways in 2014. SW Terwilliger would be awesome for a Sunday Parkways.

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      • Alan Love February 14, 2017 at 2:14 pm

        I believe that one was cancelled due to weather, and Sunday Parkways hasn’t been back since. Logistically, any Westside event will be tougher to organize because of hills, etc., but I’m quite disappointed that there is a roughly 15:1 ratio of events divided by the Willamette.

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      • maccoinnich February 14, 2017 at 5:26 pm

        Most of SW Portland isn’t in the Neighbors West / Northwest coalition area (I chose my wording carefully).

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        • One February 15, 2017 at 1:46 pm

          I had a wonderful time at the 2014 Sunday parkways, which was located in Southwest Portland. That was only 2 1/2 years ago (Also choosing my words carefully) 😉

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          • AnnieG February 16, 2017 at 5:18 pm

            My whole family rode the first Sunday Parkways that was in SW Portland several years ago. We giggled mightily at our east-side neighbors complaining bitterly about our hills. Yep, welcome to biking in SW Portland!

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      • Eric Leifsdad February 15, 2017 at 9:59 pm

        Portland’s actual parkway.

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  • jake February 14, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    It’s great to see this event garner so much support, and more every year.

    I have to say though: I’m bummed we’ll be missing a SW Portland event yet again. I know it’s not the most family friendly area to bike in and it can be challenging to get to, but I don’t think that should preclude having an event. In fact, if anything it might make it even more important to have an event there, so we can demonstrate the potential of the area.

    Still, looking forward to attending events this year.

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  • Adam
    Adam February 14, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    All of these routes purposely avoid streets that would interfere with motor traffic. When is PBOT going to have the guts to do a Sunday Parkways Hawthorne, or Sunday Parkways Outer Division? How are people supposed to see how transformative cycling can be if we never show them what a car-free world truly looks like? Most every other city that does Ciclovía-style events take major streets – why is Portland so afraid to?

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    • Middle of the Road Guy February 14, 2017 at 1:08 pm

      Perhaps you can discuss the route selection with the folks at PBOT and offer your advice about what a proper route would be. Your goals and desires towards the event may be different than theirs. I suspect they have many things to consider that you might not be thinking of.

      Anyway, it’s a good opportunity for you to volunteer and give back to the cycling community. I’m sure I’ll see you there 🙂

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    • Spiffy February 14, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      I agree that they need to do more major roads…

      I’m surprised that these routes include Burnside, SE 17th, Willamette, and Ainsworth… but I assume that’s only because they’ll still be open to cars at the same time they’re shoving 10,000 bikes through…

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      • Adam
        Adam February 14, 2017 at 2:47 pm

        Yes, typically there is a single coned-off lane for all the cyclists to bottleneck into, with cars getting the remainder of the space. Also the portion of Burnside on the Gateway route is no longer a major car thoroughfare that far east – it’s one lane in each direction. The major arterials are Stark and Glisan a few blocks north and south, which predictably, are not part of the route.

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        • David Hampsten February 14, 2017 at 3:19 pm

          I’m surprised they don’t have a major stop at the Trimet park & ride at 122nd at Burnside, where the Blue MAX meets bus 71.

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    • GlowBoy February 14, 2017 at 3:41 pm

      Echoing Adam, here in Minneapolis our Open Streets events are on major commercial streets. We shut them down to cars and open them up to everyone else, with the businesses along them playing major roles. Many of them set up tents and tables. It’s good business.

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  • David February 14, 2017 at 1:10 pm

    There are already comments about the lack of events on the Westside of town, particularly SW, however it doesn’t really do this omission justice. This really feels like the city is basically throwing up its hands and saying that biking in SW is not really worth pursuing – or at least not recreationally.

    If they can’t shut down enough roads/lanes to make it happen in SW more than once every five years (technically it was scheduled twice but they like putting it in September for some reason so the first one was rained out, it was a pretty bad storm) then it’s not a priority. While it’s great that they are coming to the Outer Eastside every other route is pretty much the same as last year.

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    • rick February 14, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      The cold shoulder to the west side. Not even one, smooth street for a skateboard party.

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  • rick February 14, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    Great tax dollars from the west side.

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  • Austin February 14, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    It is amazing that no matter what, people have just got to complain.
    Cripes, I love Sunday Parkways. Is there a Sunday Parkways in my neighborhood? Nope, but I love the chance/excuse to roll out to some unfamiliar part of town with my family and have a good time. Everyone I see out there looks like they are having fun, too.

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    • Adam
      Adam February 14, 2017 at 1:34 pm

      Complaining is fundamental to a functioning democracy. Otherwise, how will elected officials be notified of problems? IMO, scolding people for complaining is simply a tactic used to shut down conversation – and is often maliciously deployed by the ruling class against marginalized or otherwise ignored groups that have legitimate issues to complain about.

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      • Austin February 14, 2017 at 1:40 pm

        Well, I apologize, I wasn’t trying to shut down the conversation or the democratic system. And if complaining is fundamental, certainly my complaining about the complaining must be needed to some extent. Otherwise the initial conversation is pretty one-sided, right?

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        • Adam
          Adam February 14, 2017 at 1:42 pm

          Wasn’t necessarily accusing you of that, I’m just tired of hearing people telling me to stop complaining about things. Complaining is an important first step for solving problems.

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          • Middle of the Road Guy February 14, 2017 at 2:51 pm

            It depends what the complaining is about. One can complain about their own wants not being met, or about the needs of others not being met.

            In other words, one style is selfish complaining and another is constructive.

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          • Austin February 14, 2017 at 3:51 pm

            That’s a very good point.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy February 14, 2017 at 2:49 pm

        “legitimate issues” is the key concept here.

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    • David February 14, 2017 at 1:37 pm

      There’s a difference between exploring another part of town and having a program skip your part of town almost systemically. The complaints about nothing on the Westside are nothing new, you’ll find the same thing last year. If there was some kind of rotation it would be much easier to accept but the whole process feels quite arbitrary.

      One of my favorite routes was the ride through NW/Downtown because it showed how close things really were and how safe it felt to ride when there weren’t cars trying to nudge you along. Living in SW Portland there are generally no sidewalks, limited bike lanes and if you have a stroller then it’s easier to just drive somewhere. Sunday Parkways is the only time you can walk or ride around the neighborhood and feel somewhat safe. At least we can drive our bikes around this summer to places where this isn’t the case.

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      • Austin February 14, 2017 at 3:54 pm

        I hear ya. I really enjoyed the SW one a few years ago. Another one on the west side would be cool for sure (I’m waaaaaaay out in Beaverton, although I think they had a similar event in 2016, I missed it). I guess I just feel lucky to be able to participate in these events at all.

        The downtown one sounds cool.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy February 14, 2017 at 2:54 pm

      Austin, it is easy to criticize when one is not responsible for the delivery of a project.

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  • Kittens February 14, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    I think SP has become a lost opportunity for nontraditonla neighborhoods to see how fun and easy it is to bike.
    I remember the first one. Despite being a very confident biker I was sort of excited about the idea of exploring a new neighborhood and place I had never ridden. In this way, I would encourage more further out events to demonstrate the bikeability of far SW or SE or way out on the edge of Portland on the east side. These are the places people are unsure of biking.

    Everyone knows how easy it is in inner SE. Though even these “tried and true” parkways routes are important to show people how easy it is to get around their own neighborhood. Unfortunately with (artificially) limited resources we should focus on outreach not affirmation.

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    • J.E. February 14, 2017 at 2:44 pm

      I would not say “everyone knows how easy it is in inner SE.” I would not even say, as a current cyclist in SE, that it IS easy. In fact, I would say that calling cycling in SE easy is actually a huge part of why it isn’t. Easy is when you can send a beginner cyclist off on their own with no worries or any warnings. No neighborhood in Portland is even close to that point; something I am painfully reminded of every time out-of-towners come to visit and I have to go through a long laundry list of “how to cycle in Portland and come out in one piece mentally and physically.” As long as we keep calling cycling in inner SE “easy,” we’re never going to be able to make any substantial improvements toward a truly “easy” system. We should be comparing our infrastructure against the best that’s out there, not the worst.

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    • jake February 14, 2017 at 2:52 pm

      This sums up my feelings pretty well from above. It’s not that it’s _bad_ to have an event in inner SE, but is Sunday Parkways about exploration and potential and activating new spaces for pedestrians and bicyclists, or is it about reinforcing the spaces we already have?

      I don’t know the answer, but I think Sunday Parkways organizers should reflect on the question to figure out what it is we’re trying to DO with the events. Going to Outer NE and Sellwood are great steps, so it’s not that they got it wrong, I just think they’re missing a chance to say hey, SW and NW can be great for bicycling too. Perhaps it’s time for more events 🙂

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  • David Hampsten February 14, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Jonathan, both the city website and the maps show the outer northeast event on August 20th, not July 23rd. You might want to correct your story.

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  • GlowBoy February 14, 2017 at 8:04 pm

    … also adding on a very non-critical note: I’m thrilled to see an Outer East Portland event this year.

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  • 9watts February 14, 2017 at 10:37 pm

    I will note with some chagrin that we collectively (city, bikeportland, readers) seem to have forgotten the original framing of this event. It was not just about fun, though that is of course a useful dimension. It was focused on reducing auto dependence, improving air quality, and fighting climate change (then still global warming).

    Here’s the unedited list of goals from 2008:
    “The primary Sunday Parkways goals were to:
    • Reduce auto trips and improve air quality
    • Increase the health and activity of residents
    • Increase awareness of global warming and the role transportation plays
    • Increase neighborhood awareness and raise acceptability of bicycling and walking as modes of travel
    • Increase trips by walking and biking
    • Increase neighborhood mobility and livability
    • Create community within neighborhoods
    • Provide residents an opportunity to discover and appreciate neighborhood Parks

    Global warming is mentioned throughout this document, and was specifically emphasized in the surveys that preceded Sunday Parkways’ launch.
    “Given the large amount of media and outreach conducted for this project, it is expected that there will be a significant shift in awareness of air quality issues among Portland residents and an increased likelihood of behavior change stemming from the increased knowledge of global warming and peak oil.”

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    • maccoinnich February 14, 2017 at 10:51 pm

      Those are all great goals. It’s a shame that they city isn’t showing themselves to be interested in pushing them west of the river.

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      • 9watts February 14, 2017 at 10:53 pm

        I’m not convinced they are (present tense) pushing them on either side of the river. Perhaps you know otherwise?

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        • maccoinnich February 14, 2017 at 11:04 pm

          Well, if you want to argue that the city isn’t meeting pushing those goals where it is holding Sunday Parkways that’s certainly your prerogative. But I think that doing literally nothing is certainly evidence that the people organizing these events aren’t taking the goals listed above seriously west of the river.

          For instance: one might think that that the goal to “increase trips by walking and biking” would be easiest to achieve in the neighborhoods closest to downtown. Apparently not.

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          • 9watts February 14, 2017 at 11:07 pm

            You’re focused on the fact that SP doesn’t happen on the West Side; I’m focused on the fact that it appears to have morphed into a fun event without any political content. I think both are issues; all I was trying to say is that the fact that they are being held on the East side doesn’t ipso facto suggest to me that there is any political content over here (either).

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  • Lenny Anderson
    Lenny Anderson February 15, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    I have long lamented the timidity that characterizes SP…highlighting neighborhood Greenways (aka Bikeways) is OK, but failing to make a strong statement about the transformative impact of turning major commercial streets, dominated by motor vehicles, over to people for just a day is a missed opportunity.

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    • Eric Leifsdad February 15, 2017 at 10:03 pm

      critical mass

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  • bikehead February 16, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    critical mass +1

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