If you showed up at the first-ever Spokane Summer Parkways event back in July, you might have been a little underwhelmed. It wasn’t the awesome collective crush of Bloomsday, or the sprawling spectacle of Hoopfest. It was just a lot of people meandering aimlessly along Howard Street on bikes for a couple hours.
But that was kind of the point.
The event was patterned after ciclovía, a phenomenon born in Bogotá, Colombia, where the city first closed certain downtown streets to motorized traffic in 1974, as a means to reduce congestion and pollution. They did it just for a day, at first. Then it became an institution. The idea has recently spread to cities like Seattle, Portland, El Paso and now Spokane.
Of course, the local version was no Bogotá. Organizers estimate some 1,500 people showed up to ride, walk, jazzercise and decorate between Riverfront Park and Corbin Park (a distance of around a mile and a half). But what participants witnessed may be just the beginning of a new sporting institution in Spokane.
Check out this video on the birth of the ciclovia movement.
The second (and last, for 2010) of the Spokane Summer Parkways • Sunday, Aug. 22, from 9 am-1 pm • Free • Howard Street, between Riverfront Park and Corbin Park • Visit: summerparkways.com