City of Roses still
The family spent a couple of hours today over at the car-free event in North Portland. Actually, we walked along the route only for around four blocks. But we had a spectacular time based on what we did before and after that brief stretch.
First, we took Tri-Met to get up there. Two buses, but the connection between them wasn't that long, and it was a nice enough day to lounge around in between. We had two day passes from the Chinook Book and so we had to buy only one additional fare. From the bus windows, we discovered some places we hadn't seen before, and we were surprised to pass by some familiar places that we hadn't even pictured being served by a bus near us.
We hopped off the 72 at Killingsworth and Kerby and walked our four blocks, north on Kerby to Peninsula Park. The street was basically a bicycle freeway, but everything was moving along at a mellow pace. Walkers were relegated to the sidewalk, which seemed a little out of the spirit of the day. Far from being a hostile group, the residents along the route seemed in pretty good spirits, even blasting some music out the windows here and there for inspiration.
We stopped our walk at the park, which I do not believe I have ever visited previously in my 30 years of living in this town. What a gorgeous place -- a stunning rose garden at the height of its powers, big rolling fields, a first-rate playground, and we're told a nice swimming pool, but we didn't get a look at that. We were too distracted by everything else that was going on.
In the span of an hour and a half, we caught a jazz band, an acrobatic act, a gaggle of bike-dancers called the Sprockettes, and a corny rapper guy. They were handing out Clif bars, the Zoo was there with some pettable critters, the kids did some art work, and there were all sorts of mechanical assistance and instruction available for cyclists. I guess there had been more substantial food around in the morning, but it was nowhere to be found by the time we made the scene.
Just as we reached the point at which we wanted to leave Peninsula, the clock struck 2 and the streets reopened to gas-powered vehicles. So much for our making a dent in the six-mile course. We caught a ride back to our bus in a couple of pedi-cabs that were winding up their day -- the only way to travel, my friends -- and during our bus connection we hit a taqueria on Alberta for some belly-expanding grub. When Tri-Met deposited us a few steps from our door a while later, we had had a nice afternoon indeed. So had our cars, which hadn't moved.
From this family's perspective, there was not much to criticize in Sunday Parkways, and a lot to praise. It was amazingly well attended -- obviously, there is a "market" for this sort of thing. One fellow we chatted with allowed as how "they ought to do this once a month all summer." Assuming that they moved it around to bring it to different parts of the city, I'd have to say I agree.
But even if they don't, here's a tip for you Portlanders who, like I, haven't seen Peninsula Park: Head up there and check it out while the roses are still in their full glory. We're told that it was the original Portland rose garden -- even before Washington Park. The century it's been there has been kind to it -- it's quite the classic.