Weekender Ride

28,000 Portlanders in the streets at Sunday Parkways season opener

Posted by on May 22nd, 2017 at 5:06 pm

Laurelhurst Park

Laurelhurst Park was swamped with cycling sun-seekers Sunday.
(Photos: Kevin Koch)

Sunday was a glorious day by all accounts. The weather was sublime and the streets were full of everything we love about Portland. It couldn’t have been more perfect for the first Sunday Parkways event of the season.

And guess what, the City of Portland says a record 28,000 people turned out! (Keep in mind that’s a record only for the southeast Portland event. As far as we know, the 2011 north Portland event with over 31,000 people is the most ever.)

It was the first of five events this summer. The next one is June 25th.

Here are a few more images of the action thanks to photographer Kevin Koch

Colonel Summers

Colonel Summers


Free ice cream!

Laurelhurst Park

Laurelhurst Park

Laurelhurst Park

En route

Shakespeare Opsfest in Laurelhurst Park

It’s clear that the demand for carfree streets has outstripped the supply! Hopefully someday soon we’ll have these every summer weekend.

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

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  • Ted Buehler May 22, 2017 at 5:52 pm

    I went with a friend and her mom. Her mom hadn’t ridden a bike in 30 years. She did the entire loop yesterday, and had a great time.

    If you were one of the 28,000, or even if you weren’t, and you support Sunday Parkways as a way to get Portlanders more comfortable and enthusiastic about bicycling, consider sending a thank-you note to Commissioner Dan Saltzman. Include anecdotes, smiley faces, etc.


    Ted Buehler

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    • SurleyDave May 25, 2017 at 9:40 am

      Thank him for his role as PBOT commish? It’s a good idea, just wanted to know what to thank him for. We were out there and had a great time. One of my favorite summer events.

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      • Ted Buehler May 25, 2017 at 1:39 pm

        SurleyDave —

        Yes, happy to clarify.

        Each Sunday Parkways event costs $95,000 to put on.
        https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/549399 (page 22)

        In the past there has been pressure to cut the Sunday Parkways budget when times were tight

        PBOT and Commissioner Saltzman are always wondering if their money is well spent. Should they be cutting some program budgets, or expanding them?

        I think Sunday Parkways is one of the best things PBOT has going, and I think it’s important that they keep it up or expand it. So, if we shower them with “thank you” notes, then they know that people appreciate it, and are likely to maintain or expand it.

        And if we give them anecdotes as to how constituents think it helps to promote and enable use of bicycles for transportation as a whole, then they not only know that we approve, but they have stories to share when justifying this and similar programs to the budget bean counters. (For instance, they budget hawks might say “this is a carnival-type event, and it shouldn’t warrant funding from the overall transportation budget”)

        So, a note like
        “I rode in Sunday Parkways and enjoyed it, and it gave my 11 year old niece the confidence that she needs to ride her bike instead of get a ride to her kickball games at a park 3 miles from her house.”
        is the sort of message that helps Saltzman and others know that the event is appreciated and is effective at enabling bicycling for transportation post-event.

        Ted Buehler

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      • Ted Buehler May 25, 2017 at 4:11 pm

        As a matter of fact, Saltzman himself raised the exact scenario I described in January, 2012.


        “Saltzman simply doesn’t feel that Sunday Parkways should be considered an essential, core mission of PBOT. At Council today, Mayor Adams and other PBOT staff disagreed, saying that it is a core city priority.

        “Saltzman says he thinks it’s a “great event” (he even said, “I love it”); but he added,

        ““it’s not as essential to me as bike safety improvements or paving roads… The point is, we need more and safer routes for pedestrians and cyclists and a dollar spent there is more important to me that Sunday Parkways.”

        “Looking forward to 2012-2013, Saltzman said if the money isn’t there for Sunday Parkways, he’d advocate for a reduction in the number of events or even a “hiatus” of it altogether. “It’s going to have to bear a certain level of scrutiny in my mind… Everything has to be looked at by the Council and judiciously decided. We must focus on core priorities.”

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  • David Hampsten May 22, 2017 at 6:01 pm

    Looking at the photos, I keep forgetting that warm and sunny weather typically doesn’t come to Portland until late May or June. Here in NC we get it in late March and by April it’s already hot and muggy. Hope y’all had a great time! Any BBQ pulled-pork and hush-puppies?

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  • Racer X May 22, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    I think I saw a tweet from trump saying he saw 100,000 attendees at this Sunday Parkway!

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty May 22, 2017 at 9:12 pm

      Wow… that’s even bigger than Obama’s Sunday Parkway!

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  • Paula F. May 22, 2017 at 8:44 pm

    Sunday’s weather was a great way to kick off the parkways season. So many happy faces, and great to see so many friends.

    One thing they could have used more of was volunteers. Several stepped up to do double shifts.

    Also, this year the plan calls for no police – so the crossing intersections are set for intersection signals. The downside is some of the signals were extremely short which caused some break up of some of the riding groups. Be nice if they could afford to change the signal timing for the day to prioritize the parkway traffic, which would be what the police would have done.

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    • mh May 23, 2017 at 10:30 am

      Maybe not police, but some individuals in uniform were directing traffic at at least one crossing. Deputized contractors?

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. May 22, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    The combination of sunny weather and the fact that the event was held in inner SE combined for a great turnout! However, I saw a ton of rogue drivers on the route. Most were driving unescorted through crowds of kids. I had to stop a few drivers to direct them off of the route. The intersection people need to be more vigilant in preventing this behavior, and the city needs to actually ban parking the night before. So many people parked their cars on the route not knowing there was an event that day, and had to drive on the route to get their cars out.

    I have no idea why PBOT allows people to park their cars on the Sunday Parkways route. When I attended open streets events in Chicago, they did not allow anyone to drive or park on the route, posted signs the night before, and towed the illegal parkers! PBOT needs to step up their game and deal with this issue. The solution is really quite simple.

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    • Patrick May 23, 2017 at 8:12 am

      In the past the city has towed cars but only to a nearby street. That seemed to work well and everyone is happy.

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    • Chris I May 23, 2017 at 8:12 am

      You should volunteer as a “mobile superhero”, someone with a bike that covers multiple blocks of the route. I did it a few times in prior years, but have been unable to since. They always need more volunteers, especially those with bikes who can be mobile.

      And I agree on the parking issue. If residents moved their cars the night before or even the morning of, there would be significantly fewer conflicts. They could even sell it as a “street sweep” day, and have the trucks come by first thing Sunday morning before the event.

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      • fourknees May 23, 2017 at 8:25 am

        The street sweep service is a great idea! I’m guessing it would need to be done at somepoint anyways?

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. May 23, 2017 at 9:52 am

        You should volunteer as a “mobile superhero”

        I mean, I basically did do that, just in an unofficial manner. I was working the BikeLoudPDX booth all morning and ended up having to escort a bunch of drivers off the route. It turns out that a nearby church service ended around noon and everyone drove there and parked on the route before Sunday Parkways had started. All ten-ish of them left at the same time and it was a challenge to get enough people to direct them off the route. I also directed a bunch of drivers as I was riding home in the afternoon.

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    • Middle of the Road Guy May 23, 2017 at 8:12 am

      The people are legally allowed to drive on the route if they live on the route. The goal is to minimize how much time they spend on the route, however.

      Towing cars is only going to create antagonism with the people who live on the routes.

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      • Slammy May 23, 2017 at 9:36 am

        Totally… the problem I saw was that once they were behind the wheel, they instantly flipped into “I now have the right of way and need to move RIGHT NOW” mentality. Homies in civilian clothing putting their hands up so you have to stop so their friend can continue pulling out of their parking space… I’m like, “Yo, I don’t know you, you’re not wearing a volunteer shirt, I’m not stopping, sorry.”


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      • mh May 23, 2017 at 10:34 am

        Well, if Adam was an official volunteer and had taken the training, he’d know that what they most drill into you is “keep residents on the route happy.” Also, that you walk in front of the car and don’t let it go anywhere but the nearest exit street (even if that doesn’t make them happy).

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty May 23, 2017 at 10:42 am

      Towing residents would be a great way to end the program. It’s already on the knife’s edge of being cut, and a litany of complaints from residents would surely push it over the edge. It really is quite simple.

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  • Greg Spencer May 24, 2017 at 9:36 am

    This was our first Sunday Parkway in Portland and the experience could hardly have been better. My hope is that it leads to permanent measures that make major commercial strips around town a lot more bike and pedestrian friendly.

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