So Sunday night was that supermoon eclipse, huh? I, like millions and millions around the world, went outside to catch this rare event. (Next one in 2033!) And it was cool to watch. The major glitch for us in the Pacific Time zone was that when the moon rose, it was already eclipsing, so it made the moon hard to see. But see we did. I took many a photo, only three were any good.
Before the event, a bunch of us decided we would go view the eclipse from Mount Tabor, since it was a high point that has good east views (from certain points) and not that hard to get to. But of course, LOTS of people had that same idea. I figured it would be a popular spot, but not until I was riding up shortly before moonrise did I realize HOW popular it was. Droves of folks were heading up! While it would have been nice to have the park to ourselves, I get it. In a city of 600,000 there’s only so many “good spots” to go for something like this, and they are pretty obvious.
But what really irritated me was how many people were DRIVING up. Mount Tabor is a large city park with several service roads and a few parking lots, so there’s not a heck of a lot of parking capacity. Still, people came in their cars. As I was grunting up the steep grade towards the top, scores of cars were crawling up behind me and the sides or the road were lined with parked cars. And rather than parking where they could find a spot at the bottom of the hill, many people were still driving up, past all the parked cars, in that always futile hope of finding a “better” parking spot, vs. walking a few extra minutes.
And this is what really pissed me off: The need for people to drive here anyway. I don’t own a car, but even if I did, knowing what kind of cluster-you-know-what the parking sitch would be for an event like this, I would never choose to drive since there’s other options. Mount Tabor is not a bad walk from most parts of SE. There’s loads of transit options around the hill, whether bus or light rail. In fact, the 15 bus drops you off practically at the top of the hill, and it’s less than a five minute walk from the best viewing spot! And of course, you can bike, which I obviously did. And rather than aimlessly circle around in a car, looking for a spot to park, I rode past those folks and parked my bike a few feet where I’d spend the next few hours watching the moon eclipse, and then come out of earth’s shadow.
I try not to get smug about biking, but at times like this, it’s hard not to.
Anyways, earlier in the day, I had the opportunity to check out Portland’s newest bike bridge. No, not the Tillikum Crossing, which I have already checked out, but the new Lafayette St bike/ped bridge. There had been a bridge here over the Southern Pacific (now Union Pacific) tracks since the 1940’s, since SP didn’t want a grade crossing there. But even then, it was a rickety wood structure. Surprising that it survived for over 70 years! Since SP/UP had no interest in replacing, much less maintaining the span, Trimet took it over and built a new bridge as part of the new Orange Line MAX project. So now a spangly new bridge with both stairs and an elevator to get to the top! (Originally a ramp was planned, but it would have taken up too much space.)
The old Lafayette bridge was hardly used, partially because it was quite hidden, and partially because most people were just scared to use the thing, since it looked liable to collapse. But this bridge was being used a nice sunny day. I get that it can be more annoying to use elevators instead of ramps, but I don’t think you’d save that much time. And now there’s a nice new connection between the Brooklyn neighborhood and the rest of SE.