Sunday Parkways pumps up happy, healthy Portland families
A street party on wheels made tracks into Southeast Portland — as thousands walked, gilded and rolled during the first Sunday Parkway of the year.
The foot-and-pedal tradition, now in its twelfth year, was expected to attract similar numbers to last year's attendance of 24,000. On May 19, the winding, seven-mile loop was anchored by festivities at Laurelhurst Park.
"I like riding, and we're doing a sticker hunt," said Una, a 10-year-old fourth-grader at Laurelhurst School.
Her dad, Ted Sawyer, is a daily bike commuter making the four-mile trek from Laurelhurst to Bullseye Glass Co. in the Brooklyn neighborhood.
"I stay off a lot of busy roads. I find a route that's safe," Sawyer said. "I think the city is making a great effort."
Organized by the Portland Bureau of Transportation, Sunday Parkways offers locals the chance to explore the city on car-free streets. Kaiser Permanente returned this year as the founding and presenting sponsor.
"This is our prescription for wellness. It's all about prevention and total health: mind, body, spirit," said Dr. Imelda Dacones, President and CEO for Northwest Permanente, which encompasses about 1,700 physicians and clinicians.
Decked out in cycling Lycra and a helmet with an attached rearview mirror, Loren Eriksson, 69, was riding a '82 Trek 720. The retired firefighter has been biking for 40 years, once going the distance between Canada and Mexico.
"It's important to be able to stay healthy, flexible and strong," Eriksson said. "It's a happening. It's fun to see all the families."
Fun days, someday
Sunday Parkways will return for four more events this summer. Routes feature food carts, music, games and information from city bureaus, businesses, nonprofits and cycle advocates. All parkways run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Here's what's on tap for each upcoming Sunday Parkway:
• Sunday, June 30: A 9.5-mile route in North Portland
• Sunday, July 21: A 4.8-mile route in Outer Northeast Portland
• Sunday, Aug. 25: A 7-mile route along the Green Loop downtown and Central Eastside
• Sunday, Sept. 22: A 7.6-mile route in Northeast Portland