Takin' it to the streets

We had a great time participating in Portland's Sunday Parkways event. For six hours, this past Sunday, approximately 150 city blocks of streets in North Portland were closed to automobile traffic. With "street closed" signs in front of our home, drivers started parking cars in our neighborhood, with numerous bikes in racks, in the light pre-8:00 AM drizzle. Within a short period of time the sun broke through the clouds and literally thousands of people took to the streets - on bicycles, tricycles, roller blades, unicycles and a few more unusual contraptions. Many others were running, walking or pushing baby strollers. (Check out the great short film, by Clarence Eckerson, Jr., about the successful day.)

The Sunday Parkways event was based on the similar weekly Ciclovia event held in Bogota, Colombia where 70 miles of roads are closed. The Portland event was paid for by a variety of local and corporate sponsors, with the added bonus of an $87,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency. The City of Portland Office of Transportation and Portland Parks & Recreation did an incredible job of coordinating the activity. Traffic control was conducted by the Portland Police (who must have enjoyed participants repeatedly yelling "thanks yous") and event volunteers posted at each intersection.

A couple weeks ago, my partner Ed - and friends Lisa and Bev - got me a new bicycle for my birthday. With my previous vertigo issues it had been nearly five years since I had been able to ride a bike. It was a real treat to be able to go to our friend Steve's St. Johns bike shop, Weir's Cyclery, to pick out my new form of neighborhood transportation. I was really looking forward to the Sunday Parkways.

We began the suggested six-mile route for the event at Arbor Lodge Park, just a block from our home. The festivities at the park - live music, food vendors, information booths, free valet bike parking and more - were mirrored at Kaiser Permanente near Overlook Park, Uthank Park with the fantastic Beaterville Band, and Peninsula Park where the amazing Rose Garden is in full bloom.

We saw several friends and neighbors riding along through the great neighborhoods of North Portland. It was also great to see people sitting on their porches watching the "live entertainment" passing by, little kids having curbside lemonade sales, the well-organized "Bake sales for Obama," busy garage sales, a bike-riding Santa, the thousands of smiling people, and all of the media covering the event.

At one intersection, while we were waiting for police to stop traffic allowing us to cross a major road, I heard someone say, "I love Co-Motion Cycles." I turned to see a couple next to me sitting on a beautiful Co-Motion tandem bike. On the frame of the bike was the Co-Motion logo I designed back in 1998, with my friend Jerril Nilson as Creative Director for the project.

I smiled and said, "I designed that logo."

As they rode away the guy on the front of the bike said, "And a very good job you did, too."

© 2008 Jeff Fisher LogoMotives

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