Monday, August 21, 2017

Ride report: Sunday Parkways Outer Northeast

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.

So I 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.

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