A few years ago, not long after Sunday Parkways expanded into East Portland, I got an email soliciting volunteers for the event. “Don’t you think that out of this entire great city of ours, East Portland most deserves to experience Sunday Parkways?” it said.
Though there’s nothing wrong with that sentiment, it clearly wasn’t written by an East Portlander. The crowds enjoying the seven-mile loop during Sunday’s streets-as-parks festival made it perfectly clear: East Portlanders don’t just need Sunday Parkways. They want Sunday Parkways.
Though it wasn’t being promoted in any way, the route actually included a temporary redesign of Southeast Holgate Street to include a protected bike lane alongside the auto traffic. The people on bikes used it without even thinking, and the people in cars seemed plenty calm, too.
Much of the fun, of course, came in the events at the four parks, school and natural area along the route.
At Glenwood Park, Original Practice Shakespeare (“because Shakespeare should be a little dangerous”) performed The Comedy of Errors, mostly unrehearsed, with scripts in hand and a referee on stage blowing her whistle when they messed up:
As usual, there were plenty of unofficial vendors, including one man selling jewelry. “Even the display box is handmade, man,” he said proudly.
Though we’re right in the middle of a city election, I only saw one council candidate with a presence:
Brandon Rhodes of Rolling Oasis was riding the route with his trailer for his new home-delivery produce business. (In the middle of our brief exchange, a woman biked up to him and asked for more information — she’d written her thesis on bike-powered food delivery, she said. Portland!)
Sunday Parkways season will continue (PDF) with North Portland June 22, Northeast July 27, Southeast Aug. 24, and finally Southwest Sept. 28.