Friday, June 11, 2010
Sunday Parkways Preview: North Portland Sunday Parkways
The second of five iterations of Sunday Parkways arrives in North Portland on Sunday, June 27. Having a full battery and some time on my hands, I recently set out to check out the route. I've also added some highlights I'll be checking out along the way.
Overall, I really like the route. It does a good job of largely sticking to signed bike boulevards, highlighting existing bike infrastructure you may not be familiar with, and connecting the parks with very convenient routes. The route itself is flatter than the NE version, so I didn't really see a preferred direction to ride.
I began heading W on Ainsworth. The MAX tracks shouldn't be a big issue, but for inexperienced riders, it's worth being careful. The Delaware-Willamette Blvd section is wide and tree-lined. Willamette Bluff is not to be missed - the view is incredible, and the folks at North Portland Greenways will be soaking it in, and sharing their vision of an Esplanade-like bike trail from downtown to Kelly Point Park. Kaiser Permanente will also be handing out free pedometers, to help you track your recommended 10,000 steps/day.
The transition from Willamette to Villard and Bryant may be a bit tricky, but there will be police manning the intersection. The west end of Bryant is probably the roughest pavement on the course; indeed, there are freshly paved alleys within view of the cracked roadbed of Bryant that are in better shape. The long northern leg on Wabash is a wide and sharrowed bike boulevard. I'd highly recommend a stop halfway for a refreshing Mug'o'Pickles at the Mock Crest Tavern on Lombard Street.
There isn't anything published regarding activities planned at Trenton Park, but I imagine it will be crowded. Winding through the northern vestiges of Portland brings us to Kenton Park. Kenton Park was crazy-busy last year; I'm sure it will be again this year. The eBike Store and Kalkhoff will be there demoing electric bikes, and the CRC will be giving away Portland/Vancouver bike maps. If I don't make the Fort/Ford/Fort Ride during Pedalpalooza, I plan to pick up a map and finally make the ride across the Columbia.
Leaving the fun craziness that will be Kenton Park, the route parallels downtown Kenton for a ways; these are some of the narrower streets on the route, but they feel wider than 37th Street on the NE route last month. Realigning with the east end of Bryant (which is in remarkably better shape than the west end), we arrive at Arbor Lodge Park. Singing Planet will be here demoing their Pedego electric bikes, and talking ebike tours.
Heading east on Bryant, there are a couple turns that bring us to the Bryant Street pedestrian overpass. This bridge is frequently a choke point on other rides, but I think its worth it for the cars on I-5 below to see the segregated bike traffic. And if you're looking for off-road riding in Portland, the alleys in the area offer some challenging double-track trail riding.
Bryant and Congress bring us to Peninsula Park, after a policed dogleg crossing over Rosa Parks Way. Peninsula Park, like Kenton, is going to be hopping. While there, check out Best Buy's tent, where they are demoing electric bikes and scooters.
Its a Sunday Parkway.
Maybe the rain will have stopped!
___(insert your favorite here!)___
"Maybe next time"
None. What's not to like? (that said, be careful on MAX track crossings, at the Bryant St Ped bridge, and the Congress/Rosa Parks intersection).