Sunday Parkways in Portland

July 5, 2010 at 10:08 am Leave a comment

On June 27 I enjoyed the Portland tradition of brunch before biking to the Sunday Parkways route in North Portland. This ciclovía, unlike Sunday Streets in San Francisco, went primarily through residential neighborhoods. The route linked a few parks where there were tents set up and activities going on, but most of the route itself wended its way through typical Portland neighborhoods of bungalows from the early 1900s.

Many, many families rode along together in the crowded street, with very few people on foot. Some enterprising residents along the route set up yard sales for the passersby, but most lawns and porches sat empty as we rode past.

I saw many volunteers directing people along the route, and the ones I spoke with seemed knowledgeable about the area and the event. I noticed that some participants took the time to thank the police officers directing traffic through intersections.

The sheer number of families enjoying themselves impressed me. In LA, where so many people consider biking unsafe, CicLAvia will provide a space to try it out without worrying about drivers. I hope we see lots of little ones on bikes!

Portland’s event did not have as much of a festival vibe as San Francisco’s, perhaps it made its way through quiet neighborhoods. There were no pianos on wheels that I saw, and no costumes. A friend who lives in another part of Portland told me that when the route goes through his neighborhood later this summer he and his housemates plan to have a party in their yard, and pointed out that each route attracts a different crowd of cyclists. This is the beauty of Portland: there are so many people on bikes, they don’t always overlap!

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