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Portland’s Sunday Parkways

Despite a very dreary and damp first half of the day, Portland's first Ciclovia-style street closure, Sunday Parkways, was a smashing success with countless thousands of city residents participating. It was like a giant community block party with walkers, bikers, joggers, bladers, families, and pets filling the 6 mile course.

There were plenty of fun activities in four northeast parks that were linked by the circuit, which was opened to bikes and pedestrian traffic only from 8 AM to 2 PM. For cities planning their own Ciclovias, here are some things I liked about Portland's event: knowledgeable volunteers, lots of fun chalk messages on the ground, easy to follow directions, lots of music & entertainment, and a huge number of bike stations for bike repair.

[0:02] [music]
Linda Ginenthal: [0:19] We were inspired by the Bogota example where they close their streets every weekend and we just thought that would be a perfect fit for Portland. So we've closed six miles of streets for cars and opened them up for bikes and walking, and the neighborhood just loves it. We've got four parks with lots of activities. We've got jump roping. We've got hula hooping. We had tango dancing this morning. It's just been a party in the park.
Timo Forsberg: [0:45] We've got six miles of streets that we've got closed off. We've got a lot of volunteers out there that have been doing a great job. We call it a soft closure so folks who live on the route, if they need to get their car out of the driveway and get downtown, they can do that. But, by in large, there's no cars along the route. It's just folks on bikes, on roller skates, walking, strollers, you know folks out having a great time. [1:06] [music]
Speaker: [1:09] We love it!
Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [1:09] Yeah?
Speaker: [1:10] We're calling Jane, too. [1:12] [horn blowing]
Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [1:14] You guys got matching outfits?
Speaker: [1:16] Yeah, I have a sewing machine at home. [1:18] [laughter]
Clarence Eckerson Jr.: [1:19] Wow that's a lot of kid right there. Do you actually have three children on?
Speaker: [1:25] I do, I do and one in front.
Clarence Eckerson Jr: [1:28] How do you accomplish such a feat?
Speaker: [1:30] Biking to work every day. [1:32] [music]
Speaker: [1:36] You know now because of global warming, I had to be on the bike. Here we are in Portland for the first Cyclovia Sunday Parkways, and merry Christmas [laughs] [1:47] [music]

[1:55] [horn blowing]

Andy Thornley: [2:04] I think this is really a fantastic thing. You can see the whole neighborhood has come out to meet the people, be a part of it. This is definitely the future of cities of civilization, frankly. Cities that aren't doing this yet are missing the bet.
Speaker: [2:17] All cities should try something like this. Just the idea of getting people with their families out doing something different than what they normally do. Child: [2:25] I think it's great because it provides a safe way for the bicyclists and people can get more exercise, and they don't use gas.
Speaker: [2:32] I don't bicycle, but I walk and run most of the time. So that's what I'm getting out of this. [2:39] [music]
Speaker: [2:46] I think it's really great. It kind of just brings together the community and gets everyone out, having an active lifestyle. It's really good for just getting out and experiencing the city without having to worry about your safety.
Speaker: [2:58] Yay for Portland! Yay for no cars on the road!
Speaker: [3:02] Everybody from Brooklyn comes to Portland and brings a camera. This is my magic wand! Three, two, one someone from Brooklyn!
Speaker: [3:09] Hey, I'm happy because I'm driving less and saving more, and I'm saving hundreds every week by riding my bike to work and riding my bike to the store and walking when I need to go places. It's awesome!
Speaker: [3:21] Can I get a ride?
Speaker: [3:22] Yes you can get a ride. Hop in.
Speaker: [3:23] How great is this to use for filming because you can just sit in the back.
Speaker: [3:27] Hello. Happy peddlepalooza!
Linda Ginenthal: [3:31] We've had tremendous positive response from the public. We have had just a tremendous response from the neighborhood associations. Our Portland police have been fantastic in helping us.
Timo Forsberg: [3:44] The great thing about it is it's like creating a huge park. If the city tried to build a park as big as the road system, they would never be able to do it. So all you have to do is close the roads and suddenly you've got a great flat space for people to get around.
Speaker: [3:56] It was awesome, total success. I can't believe how many people were here. Beautiful day, beautiful activities, tons of kids, tons of happy people.
Jonathan Maus: [4:05] This is fantastic! I think it's great what Portland is doing on the Sunday Parkways. IAs you can see here, we have everybody, the young children, older people. This is fantastic. I think it's spectacular that Portland's doing the Sunday Parkways. My only problem is I think it should be every Sunday. They need to do this every week of the month for the rest of the summer. [4:27] [music]


Clarence Eckerson, Jr. has been making fantastical transportation media in NYC since the late 1990s. He's never had a driver's license and never will.

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  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/timolandia Timo

    Wow! As Gil Penalosa would say, "It's fantastic!"
    Leave it to Streetfilms to 'veni, vidi, video'.
    Love your work, and link to it shamelessly over at http://www.GettingAroundPortland.org .
    Thanks, and good luck with Summer Streets in August!

  • http://www.gettingaroundportland.org Steve Hoyt-McBeth

    Great job Clarence! We've still got smiles on our faces here at PDOT about the event.

  • Ron

    Nicely done! Thanks for putting this together!

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/bikeportland bikeportland

    great video Clarence... it does as good of a job as possible to capture the magic of this historic event.

    i miss sunday parkways already and it's only been a few days. I sincerely hope Portland finds a way to make this a regular occurrence.

    hopefully, your video will help inspire our city (and others) to find the political will to do just that.

    "Can you imagine!"

  • Dan I

    Now I can't wait for our own NYC version - Summer Streets! Coming in August!

    Grumpy car-addicts, be gone!

  • http://www.streetfilms.org Clarence Eckerson, Jr.

    Yeah, don't you just love Jonathan's impersonation of Gil? Best one I have heard, ever!!

  • http://www.walkroll.com Lois Moss

    Sunday Parkways was amazing, the people of Portland are incredible and Clarence is the best videographer on the planet. Streetfilms communicates the message better than any medium I've ever seen. Print articles are good, websites are better but nothing says it like Streetfilms! I'm sending it to everyone I know so that Walk+Roll Cleveland and Walk+Roll Lakewood can see the vision and be the vision.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/npGREENWAY Scott for npGREENWAY

    Thanks Clarence! As I've come to expect from you--this is FANTASTIC work! You know your art form well.

    I wish you could have been here last night when we watched it at home and my son said with gleeful discovery, "That's why that man with that big camera kept showing up in the same places as us! He made a video! There we are again!"

    Looking forward to your Portland Bike Box video. My family and I still love the NYC bike box video. It's now a classic. --see ya on the streets!

  • Joe Adamski

    A great event,and a wonderful comnunity builder. Its a pleasure to watch so many people having a great time, focusing on fun, not consumption. It also shows how many people would be out there if they felt as safe on the streets as they did during Parkways.

    Great video work. I very much enjoyed watching it, not only for the subject,but the quality of work!

  • http://www.zoobomb.net Carl

    I'm so glad that Coach Dan brought his magic wand. Our favorite Brooklynite might never have witnessed this otherwise!

    Thanks Clarence. I trust you'll be on hand to document New York's upcoming parkways and help fuel what can only be a beneficial rivalry.

  • http://www.outdoormobileadvertising.com Paul Tay

    Clarence, you NEED Aaron's tandem 'bent. It's the PERFECT shooting platform for low-speed work that's faster than a dolly. Imagine outfitting it with SteadiCam!

  • http://www.asmithphotography.com Angela

    This is a great event!

  • http://www.asmithphotography.com/main.html Brandon

    My wife and I participated in this. It was wonderful!

  • http://www.thousandwordsphotographymt.com shannon

    i wish we were closer..this looks like a really great event!!!

  • Paul

    Wow. Thanx 4 the Filmin @ the rides. I saw me in there and it was good. I was the Rider behind the drummer lady in my purple camo and pink hat there. Paul

  • Paul

    Lookin forward to the NW ride. Blessings, Paul

  • Cheri Donohue

    I want to start this project in my town - Temple Terrace Florida