S’mores in the street! A carfree SW Montgomery St photo gallery

Posted by on December 3rd, 2021 at 9:39 am

This is what carfree streets are all about! Bringing people out to enjoy our public spaces together.
(Photos: Tim Davis/Places for Everyone)

Thursday’s inaugural “Wintermission” event on a carfree block of SW Montgomery on the Portland State University campus looked to be a huge success.

Portland advocate, man-about-town and Places for Everyone founder Tim Davis stopped by and snapped photos of the action. There was a badminton court, fire pits and free marshmallows to roast, live music, food vendors, and plenty of friendly faces to talk to and hang out with.

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As Portland moves forward in our quest to create more carfree spaces like this downtown — which happens to be one of City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty’s top priorities — it will be crucial to make sure the spaces are activated. It’s not enough to simply prohibit driving on a street: Great carfree spaces, like any public space, need attention and quality programming to reach their full potential.

The students and PSU staff who helped make Wintermission happen have much bigger plans and they want to hear your ideas about carfree space. Make sure to take their quick survey to share your thoughts.

NOTE: Thanks for sharing and reading our comments. To ensure this is a welcoming and productive space, all comments are manually approved by staff. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for meanness, discrimination or harassment. Comments with expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia will be deleted and authors will be banned.

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Tim Davis
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Tim Davis

Thank you SO much, Jonathan, for sharing these photos of this wonderful event and for ALL that you do! There is NO other cycling-oriented reporter on the entire planet who compares to you and whose site even *begins* to compare to BikePortland! 🙂

I’m super excited about the future activation of this block, as well! Some amazing plans for next spring are already being worked on. Hopefully they will rival the *incredible* month of May 2019, when this block had its grand opening! I still need to post photos from that spectacular month. 🙂

*Every time* I enjoy the short walk to the PSU campus or the PSU Farmers Market, I walk right down the CENTER of this block to remind those nearby that this is a beautiful corridor for PEOPLE and that it still has tremendous potential to become much more of a campus focal point! 🙂

This block is a key part of what could be a signature east-west axis of the beautiful PSU campus; I wrote about this block and its relation to the rest of Montgomery, as well as the entire campus, in this admittedly huge blog post (but with LOTS of cool photos to make it super fun to check out!): http://placesforeveryone.com/index.php/2018/04/12/psu

Wonderful folks like Professor Ellen Shoshkes and PSU’s chief planner, Liz Hoekstra, along with many others, are working hard to keep this block activated and to eventually get PBOT to change the classification of the block, so that cars can *never* return to it. It’s in the center of a campus of 30,000, and it’s hard to believe that cars were *ever* allowed on this block. No one missed driving on this former “Electric Avenue” block when the Karl Miller Center was under construction for two years. 🙂 So, keeping it closed to cars and open to PEOPLE is only natural!

Nearby SW 4th Avenue will soon undergo a major transformation; it will become much, much safer for those biking/rolling along it, as well as those crossing 4th (which is currently VERY dangerous at the intersection of 4th & Montgomery!). And there are tons of bus, MAX and streetcar lines within 1000 feet of this stretch of Montgomery that many of us worked for four years to make car-free.

So, I’m hoping that the Central City in Motion project on SW 4th (along with the exciting CCIM upgrades to SW Broadway, which borders the west end of this block), along with a hopefully near-future post-pandemic era, will help facilitate a huge increase in the percentage of people who use *active transportation* to reach the Portland State University campus. If the City cannot make biking to a major *downtown* campus more simple, logical, cost-effective and *enjoyable* (and safe!!), then there’s little hope of significantly increasing the bike mode share city-wide.

And I like to remind people that 41% of central Portland is STREETS. This is due to our incredibly short blocks, which result in a VERY high number of intersections per square mile. Even Salt Lake City, with its insanely long blocks, has a MUCH lower percentage of city land that’s consumed by streets. So, let’s just reclaim 10% of our street space for *fully protected & separated* cycling/rolling infrastructure! We’d still be left with more street space (i.e., CAR space) per square mile than most other cities in the U.S. But we could end up with an INCREDIBLE cycling/rolling network almost overnight. 🙂

Thanks again for sharing these, Jonathan!! 🙂

Joe Friday
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Joe Friday

While I love a good roasted marshmallow, that wood fire is releasing CO2 into the atmosphere, making global warming worse. Let’s all walk our talk on the climate emergency of climate change.