This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 22, 2008 5:16 PM. The previous post in this blog was "What are we going to do with these guys when we get them?’". The next post in this blog is Troublemakers. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

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.

Comments (17)

As an aside, Jack, the pool at the north end of Peninsula Parl was used to house the Portland Zoo's penguins in the 1960s while the new zoo was being built. It is a GORGEOUS park!

I understand this was an effort to emmulate Bogata, Columbia. Did you notice and evidence of the 80 murders per 100k population, massive drug trafficing or the squatters that are common there?

It sounds as if you were impressed enough to be moving your family to this area? Any word from the business owners on Interstate yet?

I'm curious how a lawyer would defend a person that refused to obey a non sworn volunteer. When this exercise comes to my neighborhood, I'll be needing to be represented by counsel.

In the meantime, you may want to consult with a shrink. I think you may have issues there as well.

I used to play hide and seek with my brothers and my dad in the Peninsula Park Rose Garden. That was in the 80's. And back then it wasn't such a great part of town, and most of the park was quite sketchy. But for whatever reason, the Rose Garden was always safe and clean. ...good times... Anyway, glad you had fun. As someone who jogs regularly, a 6 mile stretch of road with no cars would be a dream.

I just don't trust such events to be confined to a brief period and flexible enough to permit residents in and out. As I walked around our neighborhood today I notice block after block of cars parked. I'm in a pretty deep blue neighborhood in the SE Clinton and 26th area. The spokesman for today's event talked about how cars are a "problem." If they're such a problem, why do even brain dead yuppies own one or two each. Be very, very suspicious of city planners. They want us to become their plebs in their commune.

A car free day! FUN! Ride the bus, eat some new tasty food, see the bike riders, enjoy a new park. Great on a Sunday afternoon....completely unrealistic on a normal day of work, kids, weather, chores, commutes, and time constraints.

I never said anything to the contrary. Please stop arguing with someone who isn't here.

Peninsula Park is great! I'm glad you and your family discovered it. It is a real gem in neighborhood parks. The rec center is super cool for kids and adults alike--you can play foosball and air hockey, AND they have a full court basketball court and two nice tennis courts. We go there frequently. The rose garden is absolutely spectacular. It's like Washington Park on the eastside.

This event was great - much better than the Bridge Pedal, which I also like (haven't heard people bitch about that one yet - but it's a few month's away).

I live in North Portland. We didn't live in the vortex of the 6-mile course, but not too far off of it either. My 5 year-old daughter was on a bike extension hooked up to my bike while my wife had our two-year old son in a bike seat. The turn out was great and the route was nicely laid out. At some of the pedestrian bridges it got a bit congested, but everyone was friendly and it wasn't too tough to hop off the bike and walk it over.

We got to see streets and neighborhoods, I have driven by in the 16-17 years I have lived here, but never taken the time to really check out. And there really was a nice "welcome to our neighborhood vibe." Some folks had a free hot dog stand right on the other side of the Failing Street pedestrian bridge, which my kids very much appreciated.

I also had never been to Peninsula Park - although I had been to the pool and I had only driven by the rose garden. It was fantastic. The band was fun. My daughter struggled with the hoola hoops that were available - she didn't quite get it, but had fun anyway. She had more fun with the zoo exhibit, the playground and swings. I liked listening to a band take a a respectable attempt at Miles Davis in A Silent Way as well as some Neville Brothers. As Jack stated, the roses were absolutely gorgeous. I wish we got there an hour or so earlier so we could have hung around longer before having to get my son home for his nap.

Anyway, my family had a great time - and it looked like there were a lot of others also having a great time. It was great to see people of all ages and body types out biking around as walking. Also, it was also a great reminder that so much of the area where my family and I live (North Portland) is easily accessible by a bike. I realize this event might be harder to hold in parts of SW Portland, but I think it could have just easily been held in SE, NW or NE Portland. Hopefully, it will be in the future. I think this event was worthwhile and I also did not see inordinate problems with fallout from traffic congestion. We had a blast and I am looking forward to next year.

Lastly, I just re-read some of the comments and JD, you do indeed have issues. Am I allowed to call someone an "asshole" on this site? What about "butt-head?"

Peninsula Park is one of the best parks in Portland. Many years ago, I spent many a lunch hour sitting in the Rose Garden. Now, I make sure I walk through it at least one time during prime rose season. I'm glad the event made you visit it.

My bride, who grew up down the street, tells me that back in the day, the Rose Festival knighting ceremonies, etc., were held in Peninsula. Why they changed to Washington Park, I don't know. But it is a beautiful neighborhood.

Maybe the greatest benefit of this Sunday event was exposing Peninsula Park to more Portlanders. What a jewel in the city's park system.

Now if you rode your bike from home to the parkway, you also might have noticed that there's practically no traffic anywhere on Sunday. Sunday bicycling is a walk in the park, as Yogi might say. I'm not sure this cool event is going to translate into any more people commuting by bike on Monday morning, though.

It doesn't matter if you are a bike commuter or someone who can't stand bikes. This was a great community event. It brought a lot of people from different backgrounds together for a safe, fun activity. It also reminded us all that there are gems like Peninsula Park in our city.

I don't look at this as a tool to get people to bike every day. Rather it is a tool to get people out meeting their neighbors and to enjoy their community. I hope this is the start of a regular tradition.

I also discovered Peninsula Park fairly recently and was blown away. You can sense how old and historic it is. We've been thinking about moving a bit closer to DT, and when I saw the park, I thought, I want to move up here.

Our family biked the route and enjoyed the countless stops along the way. We had a wonderful time. We live in NE and biked to the event from our home.

I would love to see this become a Portland summer tradition. Ideally with five summer sundays organized each year so that residents in each area of the city can enjoy a nearby parkway event (N, NE, NW, SE, SW).

As an aside, Jack, the pool at the north end of Peninsula Parl was used to house the Portland Zoo's penguins in the 1960s while the new zoo was being built.

Yep, it did hold the penguins - but the new zoo was completed in 1959.

I'm sorry you felt relegated to the sidewalk. I rode my bike and felt that there was enough room and a slow enough pace for the walkers I encountered to share the street despite the inherent conflicts of speed between these two groups.

If you want to see what they do in Bogota, you can check out some footage here:

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