Friday, May 4, 2007

Bloomsday Weekend

I went down to the new convention center this morning and set up the Bicycle Advisory Board table for the Bloomsday convention. Dang me and my habit of forgetting my camera. I hauled our stuff down on the Xtracycle and was able to ride it right onto the convention floor. After setting up and handing the table off to another BAB'er, I set off to pick up Maddie from school.

The traffic downtown was insane. Crazy insane. I think Bloomsday is now up to about 50,000 runners. All runners must go to the convention center on Friday or Saturday to pick up their race packets. The majority of the people, of course, drive their cars to pick up their packets. Parking is basically non-existent, unless you want to pay a $5 event fee to run in and pick up your packet. Therefore, most folks drive down with a partner and drop the partner off. The driver then (theoretically) circles the block and then comes back and picks up the partner. Well, it looks like approximately 2 or 3 thousand people decided to try this when the convention opened. Traffic was pretty much solid on all down town streets. Division was stacked all the way up to 5th Ave!

On the day of the actual race, the Spokane Bike Club will watch your bike in a secured location; the buses run special routes to get folks from outlying areas into the core; and the entire downtown area is blocked off. It's wonderful.

How about we do that for 3 days next year? Make the entire weekend a no-car event.
This would give folks a temporary alternative vision of what our city core could look like: walkable and human-scale -- a place you want to be. A place that encourages people to walk and cycle and enjoy.

1 comment:

BobG said...

great idea John! Its for sure Bloomsday isn't going away :) - wonder where the best places to stage traffic from might be? I usually walk by the convention center around noon but today had a special lunch. I'm walking the trail from park to GU around 5, so maybe I'll get a feel for the congestion your talking about.
One time I worked the Convention Center trade show and registration (1991) I rode my bike down. I'd forgotten until you brought this idea up. Keep up your good work to make Spokane better than it already is!