Portland Sunday Parkways rolled out a new route in Outer NE yesterday.
I signed on as
a mobile mechanic.
I did nor repair a single bicycle.
Instead, I spent
two and a half hours being a mobile traffic cop.
Because of the
eclipse, many regular volunteers weren't available. Which meant that
many intersections along the route simply couldn't be staffed.
I found out later that there was almost NO Police presence along the route, either, because of budget constraints. Every high-traffic intersection was staffed by one or two professional flaggers in safety vests. In a couple of cases, volunteers helped control traffic flow at these intersections as well.
spent a lot of time helping motorists get in or out of the neighborhood,
escorting their slowed cars across the route. And while most were
patient, one was aggressive and threatening, even charging three of us
on our bikes when he sped down the closed street toward us. Thankfully,
there were three of us so we were able to block the car while one
snapped a photo of his license plate.
Eventually we were able to
divert the car off the course, but it was the scariest moment, and the
hardest day I've ever had in ten years of volunteering at Parkways.
Hopefully PBOT will learn from this and have a plan for dealing with this kind of volunteer shortage in the future.
I will say that all the other volunteers I saw along the route were
glad to be there, and so was every walker and bike rider. That gives me
hope for the future of this nice residential route.
Next month -- Parkways Sellwood/SE on Sept. 24th. Be nice to each other and travel safely.