News

'Better Naito' project returns for Oregon Brewers Festival, with 1 automobile lane dedicated to bike, pedestrian use
Author: by Andrew Theen, The Oregonian
Posted: July 24, 2015

Click here for the original article.

Portland transportation officials are once again temporarily closing one northbound lane of Southwest Naito Parkway to all automobile traffic for nearly a week, converting the lane to a pedestrian and bicycle pathway.

The closure begins Tuesday at 6 p.m. and will continue until 6 p.m. Monday, July 27.

Instead of two northbound traffic lanes, the 15-foot easternmost lane will be converted into a pedestrian and bicycle pathway.

Dylan Rivera, Portland Bureau of Transportation spokesman, said the closure coincides with the 28th annual Oregon Brewers Festival.

"We see this as really a way to provide a safer more comfortable experience of access to the waterfront," Rivera said, citing the estimated 85,000 visitors who attend the five-day beer festival at Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

The lane closure is the second in recent weeks, following a similar pilot project that closed one lane of the thoroughfare during the Portland Rose Festival's City Fair in late May and early June.

Both bicycle traffic and pedestrians will have two-way dedicated pathways in the closed lane, Rivera said.

Rivera said PBOT received "very few" complaints from motorists about the previous closure. He said the comments were "overwhelmingly positive" on social media and through emails to city officials.

The Oregon Brewers Festival and Better Block PDX approached PBOT to request another pilot project. Portland State University engineering students are contributing to the project, according to a press release, by designing traffic-control measures.

Officials said Better Block volunteers would count the number of pathway users and construct safety barriers and pedestrian lanes during the closure.

City officials are adding three signs south of the area to notify motorists of the  closure, from Southwest Salmon Street to Ankeny Street.

Rivera said PBOT would analyze traffic patterns to see how motorists respond to the closure, including adding Bluetooth sensors to track travel time on Naito and measuring how much traffic diverts off Naito to surrounding streets.

Portland has no plans to make "permanent changes" to Naito, Rivera said, but officials want to hear what the public thinks of the closure.