A neighborhood along Southeast 111th Street known as Starkwood is a great alternative to Peacock Lane for a holiday bike ride. Nearly all of the houses on several cul-de-sacs off 111th are decorated!
From inner neighborhoods you can take MAX light rail and the route is a short, three-mile round trip from the SE Main Street station. This station also has a Park & Ride lot and a carfree bridge over the freeway to the I-205 bike path.
The 3-mile route (see it on Ride with GPS below) begins on SE Main Street at the spiral ramp of the I-205 pedestrian bridge. Riding east, the first bit holiday cheer is a row of about a dozen decorated trees at Adventist Health (10000 SE Main St). The route then veers left onto SE 106th Avenue and then right onto SE 108th into the entrance of Floyd Light Middle School. A paved path connects this school to SE 111th Avenue, but you’ll want to turn right onto 111th to work you way over to the crosswalk at 113th. This crosswalk has a rapid flash beacon to help you cross Stark so you can then ride the sidewalk into Starkwood.
The entrance to Starkwood has a welcoming green sign, but the neighborhood initially doesn’t look like much. But once past the sign, the decorated houses come into view. I usually ride all the way to the north end of 111th, and then roll leisurely through each of the three cul-de-sacs on the way out. On my past visits to Starkwood, I’ve never seen people walking around looking at the lights, and there’s usually no more than a handful of drivers in cars at any given time. Many people driving by on Stark have no clue this place even exists.
When you’re ready to go, use the parking lot of the apartment building, which drops you onto the Stark Street sidewalk at 110th. Ride the sidewalk to 108th and use the stop light signal to cross Stark and make an immediate right into the Stark Street Island. This island is a park formed where one-way SE Washington Street and one-way Stark Street combine into the busy two-way Stark Street further East. Riding through the small park you wind up back on SE 106th Avenue for the remainder of the ride along the same route back to the MAX station.
(Note to families: Given the short distance and flat terrain of this ride, it fits the Madi Carlson definition of a family-friendly bike ride, but there’s still busy SE Stark Street to cross to get into Starkwood itself. To deal with that street, the route uses two signalized crosswalks and four blocks of sidewalk to avoid ever riding directly along Stark itself.)
Another prominent neighborhood similar to Starkwood is Ridgewood, which is all the way across town down in the Gladstone area. Coincidentally, Ridgewood also consists of a larger main street and three cul-de-sacs. Please post in the comments any other bikeable groupings of holiday-decorated houses you’re aware of. Enjoy the season… by bike of course!
— Tom Howe
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