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Equity, public access concerns delay carfree Ankeny plans – Updated

Posted by on June 16th, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Portland Car Free Days (Day 2)
Ankeny during a carfree event
in 2006.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Last month we shared the news that the City of Portland, with full support from adjacent businesses, planned to move forward with a pilot program to make SW Ankeny Street carfree between 2nd and 3rd Avenues.

The City plans to re-program the space by prohibiting motor vehicles and effectively turning the narrow street into an extended sidewalk with seating for nearby cafes. Business owners love the idea (they even agreed to pay the City for lost parking revenue) because Ankeny’s narrow sidewalks make outdoor seating impossible.

With support from businesses and PBOT, a grand opening was slated for June 21st, the official start of summer.

But when the ordinance came up at City Council this week, the plans hit a snag. City Commissioner Amanda Fritz voted against it and since it was proposed as an “emergency” ordinance (in order to meet the June 21st date), it had to pass unanimously. With Fritz’s no vote, it failed 4-1.

“… the ordinance… walls off what is currently public space for the exclusive benefit of a handful of business owners, while making no provision for the benefit of anyone who can not afford to patronize these businesses.”
— Michael Moore, Sisters of the Road

Fritz, who was recently named to head the newly formed Office of Equity, has concerns that the new arrangement might impact access to the street for members of the public who cannot afford to eat at one of the restaurants.

Michael Moore is on the Board of Directors for Sisters of the Road, a local non-profit that works to reduce homelessness. He testified at the Council hearing yesterday and found an ally in Fritz.

Here’s an excerpt from Moore’s testimony which outlines his concerns with the ordinance:

“…Promoting equity starts with city government policy itself, which must put equity foremost in all applicable decision making. We at Sisters do not believe this ordinance, as currently conceived, does that.”

Specifically, Moore said that the ordinance “walls off what is currently public space for the exclusive benefit of a handful of business owners, while making no provision for the benefit of anyone who cannot afford to patronize these businesses.”

Writing after the meeting on a local transportation activism email list, Moore said, “Fritz indicated support for our issues with all this. She said she would not vote for it unless some provision is made for seating being available for people who are not customers of the businesses along that block.”

At Council’s afternoon session, Commissioner Randy Leonard worked some procedural magic. He introduced a motion to remove the emergency clause from the ordinance and then called another vote. That motion passed and then the ordinance passed 4-1. Since yesterday was its “first reading,” the ordinance will have to come back to Council next week where it’s expected to pass again. It will then go into effect 30 days later, which would be July 23rd.

While Moore and Commissioner Fritz feel like the plan sends the signal; “If you don’t have money, you aren’t welcome here” (according to Moore’s testimony), PBOT sees the proposal as an overall benefit to the community.

PBOT spokesperson Dan Anderson told us today that if passed, the proposal, “Would be a net gain for the public and not have an adverse impact on the movement of people and goods.”

Anderson says people will still have room to pass through the street on the sidewalks (just as they do today), but instead of parked cars and motor vehicles in the street, “The public will have cafe space.”

As it stands now, this will be a pilot program and the permit will expire on November 1st. I’ve asked PBOT if bicycle access would be maintained once the new seating is put in place. I’ll update this story when I get the answer.

PBOT says they continue to work closely with the businesses along Ankeny and they remain supportive of the project — even with the extended timeline.

Commissioner Fritz, who I just heard from via telephone a few minutes ago, said she has no problem with the proposal in general. “We’re working on the detail of whether we can add a bench or something so that people who are not in the restaurant can also have a place to sit in the right of way,” she said, “And I’m looking forward to another hearing next week.”

UPDATED, 5:45pm: According to PBOT, once the plans are in place, there will be no dedicated space on the roadway set aside for through bike traffic. Bike traffic will be expected to walk on the street and treat it like a large sidewalk.

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  • Don June 16, 2011 at 4:14 pm

    We should help the homeless, but what the heck are these guys going on about here? It’s like they picked a pet project to help them spread their message rather than having a legitimate issue.

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  • Schrauf June 16, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    I can see both sides, but this is only a trial closure – until October.

    Although ideally a 10-foot wide corridor would be left in the street for peds and bikes. If the businesses take up the entire street with tables and seating, there won’t be much room for peds on the existing narrow sidewalks, and bikes apparently will not be allowed access at all, since bikes cannot be ridden on sidewalks in the downtown core.

    This could have been done so much better.

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  • Paul Souders June 16, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    What a bizarre non sequitur.

    Will the street be closed to non-patrons?

    Do I currently have the right to sit in someone else’s parked car on Ankeny St.? What, just because I can’t afford a car, that means I don’t get to sit in YOUR car? It’s on the PUBLIC street.

    And I can totally just go sit at the sidewalk tables in front of Shanghai, even if I don’t eat there, right?

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    • ED June 17, 2011 at 11:24 am

      Exactly, it’s a PUBLIC street, so I would encourage using it in ways that benefit the PUBLIC. It seems odd to me to just hand it over to the adjacent business owners simply because they were the first to ask (as A.K. seemed to suggest). On the other hand, we shouldn’t necessarily hand it over to homeless people either. I appreciate the business owners, the City and Sisters of the Road getting involved and coming up with new ideas for reconfiguring public space, and would like to see something work that provides a PUBLIC benefit.

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  • A.K. June 16, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    I understand the concern for people who have no voice, but seriously – right now the space is taken up by cars. Can they hang out there right now? NO.

    There are plenty of parks and places in downtown to sit if you want to. And the sidewalks will still remain open and accessible.

    Seriously. It’s one street. There are plenty of places I can’t afford to eat or go to in this city (Waverly Country Club, anyone? The MAC. Etc. Etc.) – I have no problem that they exist or that others can go there and I cannot.

    I guess this means Rock Bottom, and many other places, can no longer have sidewalk seating, because some people cannot afford to eat there?

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  • velowocky June 16, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    I’m confused. The plan is to simply bar auto traffic and expand the footprint of local businesses? Does that preclude people from walking or biking through that stretch of the street? I assumed the street would remain open to the public general and passable to any non-motorized traffic. If that’s the case what is the equity issue in question? I must be missing something.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 16, 2011 at 4:57 pm

      Pass through traffic isn’t the issue (although I’ve asked for clarification on how much room would be available for bike traffic)… What Fritz and Sisters of the Road are concerned about is that there won’t be any seating available unless you are a paying customer of a business.

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      • David June 16, 2011 at 5:07 pm

        Wouldn’t it have been more effective for Fritz et al to bring this up and work with PBOT to develop a solution in advance, rather than waiting until the City Council meeting to vote no? The avenue she’s chosen sure seems to be making a mountain out of a mole hill.

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      • A.K. June 16, 2011 at 5:11 pm

        So why is a Sisters of the Road board member wasting their time on this? Does it serve to end the root cause of homelessness? Not in the slightest.

        I donated a large chunk of time this year on a project that raised money to donate to Sisters of the Road, and I can think of a lot better ways to help end homelessness than putting the kibosh on a street closure.

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        • Erinne June 17, 2011 at 11:57 am

          There are many things that Sisters’ community members work on, and none of them are a waste of time. Yes, we work towards solving root causes of homelessness, but we also look to make changes that will positively affect the day-to-day lives of people experiencing poverty and homelessness. This particular issue is tied to so many other issues of public access, especially in the downtown/Old Town areas. We can’t ignore that our public spaces are being privatized. You should not have to have privilege (ie – a home and money) to be able to share in public spaces.

          Also, this issue isn’t only about access for people experiencing homelessness. Everyone, including our neighbors with disabilities, elders, families with children, & even able-bodied bicyclists need to have the ability to rest, and further limiting access to public places we can do that (without spending money) is worrisome. Since this is a timely issue that is currently being discussed in City Council and other forums, Sisters will rightly be involved in advocating for the rights of all people to have access to this newly car-free space.

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          • A.K. June 17, 2011 at 2:54 pm

            Hi Errine,

            Thanks for your reply. I guess what really got me is that right now, this street is little more than a one way alley, with parking on one side and a driving lane on the other, sandwiched between two skinny sidewalks – a ‘low value’ public space for pedestrian use unless you want to park your car.

            I certainly understand the worry about public spaces being turned essentially private “pay to play” areas by businesses who hope that this will benefit them by bringing more paying customers. To be fair, I always assumed that there would be more than just restaurant seating, available for anyone to use.

            However, from an advocacy standpoint I can see how that assumption may not always be correct, and that since I do have a job and a home, my thought processes rarely, if ever, involves thinking “will I be allowed here because of my economic status”. Thanks for forcing me to think about that viewpoint as well.

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  • Tim Trautmann June 16, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    What about existing establishments that have sidewalk seating? They don’t offer seating to non-patrons either. This whole issue seems rather contrived to me.

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    • dan June 16, 2011 at 6:56 pm

      Exactly, how is that different from current sidewalk seating? Don’t see that this is the best place for Amanda Fritz to push the equity agenda. How about forcing the MAC club to allow non-members to view Timbers games from their balcony? That seems about as high a priority as this issue.

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  • velowocky June 16, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I accept the argument that we should expand benefits to as many as possible when making changes to public areas- especially if it involves extra perks for private (pay-to-play as it were)businesses. “Extra perks” being customer-exclusive seating in a public way.

    I don’t see this as a case of one group (with money) gaining an advantage at some cost to another group (less/no money) however. The benefits to those who will use the area won’t come at a cost to anyone else as far as I see.

    Maybe there is a greater demand for sidewalk seating on that street than I’m aware of. I wonder if simply adding a picnic table or two at one end of the street would be a workable solution.

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  • cyclist June 16, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Amanda Fritz is an absolute waste of space as a council person. She thinks she’s done her job when she votes “no” on something she disagrees with, but she seems to be absolutely unwilling to work with the rest of the City Council to find a suitable compromise. She could have spoken to the other council members before this came to a vote so that they could work out some sort of deal, instead she casts a “no” vote and gets left out of the conversation altogether. Way to go Amanda!

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) June 16, 2011 at 5:53 pm

    Just to let folks know, bike traffic will be expected to walk on this block once the new plans are in place… since the entire street will be a sidewalk. To be clear, there will not be dedicated space for bicycle traffic to pedal through.

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    • David June 16, 2011 at 7:04 pm

      Jonathan,

      Thanks for the clarification.

      So, especially after yesterday’s excellent APBP webinar on bike/ped facilities in constrained rights-of-way (which showcased a number of NYC’s new public spaces designed for people), I’m left wondering if this space will simply be filled willy-nilly with a bunch of restaurant tables, or if there will be any sort of formal design. It seems like a choice opportunity to rethink, redesign, and reuse the entire space, rather than just plopping down some bollards and restaurant tables and calling it good.

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    • cold worker June 17, 2011 at 10:09 am

      fine. close the street anyway.

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  • wsbob June 16, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    People closely associated with this idea of Ankeny St being closed to motor vehicle travel and parking of them on Ankeny, have been vague on specifics as to what form use of newly made available space might be.

    This has put people who’ve been wondering what those specifics might be, in the position of having to speculate somewhat on just what form new use of the street might be.

    If the idea is that all the area of the street and sidewalks, with the exception of the area of the street required to be left open and accessible to emergency vehicles, is all to become ‘outside restaurant, cafe, coffee shop, beer garden’, I can certainly understand that Moore and Fritz, having had to presume this a possibility would be adverse to going with the idea until questions about this were resolved.

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  • Harald June 16, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    So are the businesses going to pay for the use of this space or not? And will anybody be allowed to sit there? It didn’t become clear to me from the article. If they’re not going to pay (at market rate) for the use of public space, I’d be somewhat skeptical of the project, too. Reclaiming streets from motor vehicles is great, but you don’t want to reclaim space only to then turn into a new private space. AFAIK in NYC their “pop up cafés” (i.e. parking spaces converted into seating areas) are considered public seating and customers of the adjacent cafés can sit there, but don’t have any more rights to get a seat than non-customers. That sounds like a good model to me.

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  • Paul Tay June 16, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Don’t sit. Don’t sleep.

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  • Dave June 16, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    The thing I don’t get about this, is that this is not a park, it’s a street. People don’t complain about there being no seating on most other streets, because a large part of the purpose of a street is to allow people to go somewhere. As long as this street will still be a walkable right of way for anyone who happens to walk through, I don’t see any issue at all. If businesses put out seating for their business, as long as it isn’t blocking the entire right of way, I don’t see a problem with that seating being just for customers. If the city wants to put in seating that is not for patrons of the businesses, I think that would be awesome, but I hardly see it as a deal-breaker for the project.

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    • wsbob June 17, 2011 at 12:10 am

      “The thing I don’t get about this, is that this is not a park, it’s a street. …” Dave

      The situation with Ankeny St is a bit unique in that the street happens to be rather short in length and not very wide. The sidewalks are narrow; with small tables located against buildings, there’s barely enough room for people to walk by the tables single file.

      Closure of the street to most motor vehicle travel likely means that at least part of the area of the street assigned to on-street parking in its motor vehicle travel/on-street parking configuration, will become occupied by tables. How much of this newly made available space businesses will be allowed to use and have routine on the spot authority over, is what I imagine people are having questions about.

      Along streets where people on foot are apt to congregate, public seating is often part of the infrastructure. Being able, if need be, to actually sit on the sidewalk for periods of time is a legitimate use of public sidewalks.

      Another question others, I think, have asked: Will people be able to ride bikes along this closed to motor vehicles street? Will the standard speed limit for this type of street apply, or will the presence of cafe tables and people walking about back and forth require that a lower posted speed limit be put in place?

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  • el timito June 16, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    I think our current paucity of car-free space in the city has clouded folks’ imaginations a bit.

    When you close a street – public right-of-way, space that belongs to all of us – to cars, you are effectively transforming it into the equivalent of a park. That’s the beauty of what NYC’s been doing, that’s the beauty of Sunday Parkways. By removing the cars you are allowing people to reclaim their property and use it for recreation, contemplation, socializing – however they see fit.

    Unless of course you assign all that space for the use of the patrons of the adjacent businesses. I love sidewalk cafes as much as anyone, but I don’t see that they should be the sole purpose of this trial effort.

    Sorry things are delayed a little bit, but Amanda got it exactly right. If you are in favor of creating carfree space, please remember it’s not the same as a sidewalk.

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    • Chris I June 17, 2011 at 7:46 am

      Isn’t it just as exclusive when used as a street for cars? I doubt that the people they are concerned about (low income, homeless) have cars…

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    • A.K. June 17, 2011 at 8:39 am

      I think that if a private group of citizens or “people activists” want to raise money and pay the city to close the street to auto traffic and set up seating and tables that can be used by ANYONE, great!

      But in this case, it’s a group of businesses doing it. Since they are paying for it and putting in the time and energy to push it through city hall, I don’t see an issue with them getting to use the space for more patron seating.

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  • David June 16, 2011 at 11:14 pm

    hmmm…yes and no. there are tons of car-free spaces in portland. some of the best parks in the country, really. what there IS a paucity of, is car-free streets. which is what makes this street closure such a great opportunity to rethink what streets ought to be for. restaurant seating is a good start, but shouldn’t the City reach a bit further and do something truly special?

    the NYC redevelopments you mention, for example, are more than just establishment seating. they’re transforming their streets into parks, but they’re intensively programmed parks, available and catering to an array of demographics.

    that’s why i’m eager to see some detailed design plans for this car-free public right-of-way, and hope that it includes more than just restaurant seating and, “a bench or something.”

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  • Ryan June 17, 2011 at 12:35 am

    Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill.

    I get the equity point. But, really, this consortium just needs to do something to get the ball rolling. The City seems caught up in these mental exercises ad infinitum. Let’s start doing something and see what works and fix what doesn’t. It’s a small project; tweaking it will be easy. Just have the City or Ankeny businesses provide some tables/benches/chairs.

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  • efairlay June 17, 2011 at 6:24 am

    I think the objectors have good points but I’m still excited to see what happens. I’m siding with PBOT and looking forward to this project and will definitely bike there this summer to check it out.

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  • bumblebee June 17, 2011 at 6:43 am

    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
    Just to let folks know, bike traffic will be expected to walk on this block once the new plans are in place… since the entire street will be a sidewalk. To be clear, there will not be dedicated space for bicycle traffic to pedal through.

    And since plenty of cyclists flout the law prohibiting cycling on sidewalks downtown they will probably flout this one.

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    • spare_wheel June 17, 2011 at 10:27 am

      its hilarious how the the law and order types are often completely clueless about THE LAW.

      City of Portland Title 16
      16.70 Miscellaneous Regulations
      16.70.320 Operating Rules
      No person may:
      ride a bicycle on a sidewalk, unless avoiding a traffic hazard in the immediate area, within the area bounded by and including
      3. in the area from the west property line of SW Ninth Avenue, to the east property line of SW Park Avenue; from the property line of SW Jefferson to the south property line of SW Salmon Street; commonly known as the South Park Blocks.

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  • Paul Tay June 17, 2011 at 7:20 am

    bumblebee

    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
    Just to let folks know, bike traffic will be expected to walk on this block once the new plans are in place… since the entire street will be a sidewalk. To be clear, there will not be dedicated space for bicycle traffic to pedal through.

    And since plenty of cyclists flout the law prohibiting cycling on sidewalks downtown they will probably flout this one.

    Rule of law, over-rated. http://www.thenewspaper.com/rlc/docs/2008/vanderbilt.pdf

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    • wsbob June 17, 2011 at 11:04 am

      The full meaning of the update maus made to his story, where he notes “… Bike traffic will be expected to walk on the street and treat it like a large sidewalk.”, somehow was lost on me.

      If an area of the street will be maintained free of obstructions to allow emergency vehicle passage, it seems that people traveling by bike and on foot would also be able to safely use this area of the street for travel. People traveling, at for example, 7mph on a bike should not pose a major threat to people lounging about at tables to either side of this free travel area.

      Entirely barring general vehicle travel from Ankeny St essentially turns it from being a street of any kind, into a big patio/sidewalk. To do that may be going a little too far with this idea.

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      • naess June 18, 2011 at 1:37 am

        and what is the likelyhood that cyclists will merely putt along at a mesely 7 miles an hour? if their going to close the street to traffic, then that should include ALL traffic.

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        • wsbob June 20, 2011 at 12:19 am

          On the special use street street that a closed to motor vehicles Ankeny St would become, 7mph is not “…measly…”. 7mph is approximately twice the speed people walk. For this short street, that’s more than fast enough for people to travel the length of it. The fact is, most people that ride bikes are able to ride a bike as slow or slower than people walk.

          If travel on bikes on the street were to be continued, I’m sure the city would post signs at entrances to the street, advising people of whatever conditions for travel must be observed. If that didn’t work out…then, if necessary, steps could be taken to disallow travel on bikes on Ankeny.

          It strikes me as a bit of a strange turn-around of events, that this idea of closing Ankeny St to motor vehicles and motor vehicle on street parking would be reported here on bikeportland…be generally supported by people commenting to stories published here, only to somehow morph from being a closed to motor vehicle travel street, to a closed to all vehicle travel street.

          I think it’s been suggested/reported here once in earlier stories, but again, how wide will the emergency access area of the street that must be maintained, be? 10′…or will the city slim this down to 8′ or 6′ to allow more room for tables? 10′ seems about right…11′ or 12′ would be better. That should be enough room for people to both walk and bike from one end to the other of this street that’s probably 200′ long or less.

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  • Todd Boulanger June 17, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Other regional examples can be found in the Financial District of San Francisco.

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  • Kristen June 17, 2011 at 11:12 am

    The idea of a car-free street is awesome.

    However, this idea is basically the neighboring restaurants purchasing the public right-of-way for their own purposes.

    I could see if there were tables and chairs, and benches for sitting and people-watching were set up like a mall food court, with space left down the middle for people to walk and ride through.

    That to me is what a car-free street should be, a place where PEOPLE can gather, stroll, sit, enjoy a people-oriented space like a park.

    I applaud the neighboring restaurants and cafes for their enthusiasm and willingness to pay the city the amount of missing revenue from parking on that street. But not at the expense of a livable area where EVERYONE can enjoy the area, and not just the patrons of the businesses.

    There are a lot of places around town that I cannot afford to eat at; where’s my lobbyist group to make those restaurants give me consideration?

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  • Michael M. June 17, 2011 at 11:37 am

    I’d like to offer a few clarifications to my testimony, Fritz’s position (as I understand it, anyway), and Sisters’ position on this.

    1) This isn’t strictly about helping “the homeless,” it’s about recreating public space that anyone, including people experiencing homelessness and/or living in poverty, feel welcomed and part of our civic life. A big part of Sisters’ mission is building community, a cornerstone of Sisters’ philosophy of nonviolence and gentle personalism is that if we take opportunities to talk and listen to each other, we stand a much better chance of understanding one another. Public spaces that are inclusive can facilitate that process; public spaces that are exclusive can not.

    2) No one thought this was a big deal, nor did we approach it with intention of making a mountain out of a molehill. We thought it was simple “molehill-type” request — that some provision be made for a place anyone could sit. No one, certainly not Sisters nor Fritz, wanted to delay the project, no one wanted to “put the kibosh on” the project. All we were asking was that the arrangement include a few tables or benches or something — probably at one end of the street — where people could sit even if they couldn’t afford to be customers. It didn’t seem to any of us, nor I don’t think to Fritz, to be a huge thing. PBOT had not shared the drawing of what the space will look like with anyone, not with Fritz, certainly not with anyone at Sisters.

    3) Two of the business owners, Bruce Carey (the new restaurant opening across from Voodoo Doughnuts) and Tres Shannon (Voodoo Doughnuts), both indicated they didn’t think it would be a problem to work in some seating for non-customers, but felt uncomfortable speaking on the spot for the rest of the business owners, three of whom are out of town. It was the other Commissioners and Mayor Adams who seemed uninterested in pursuing this option, and it was Commissioner Leonard in particular who pulled the legislative maneuver that will end up delaying the project for a month. Please don’t blame Fritz or Sisters for that — it’s not what we wanted.

    4) No one thinks that everybody should have the right to sit anywhere they want to. We do feel strongly that when the city converts public space where, currently, no one can sit into public space where lots of people will be able to sit, it should not be space that limits seating only to people of means. This will be a unique space in Portland, it won’t be like any other sidewalk cafe or any other street or park in the city. The city still owns the street — they aren’t selling it to private interests. The businesses will be paying for their tables, they are paying for lost parking revenue, but they aren’t buying the space. We all hope they will profit from the space above and beyond what they’re paying the city for the privilege of using it. We think they will be able to do that and still make a small provision for free public seating.

    5) All this comes in the context of the Sidewalk Management Ordinance, an ordinance that Sisters, the city’s own Human Rights Commission, and numerous others oppose. Were it not for that ordinance, we might not have spoken up about the plans for SW Ankeny. But we have to live with the consequences of that ordinance on our community and we believe, given how much that ordinance limits the options of people who have no where else to go, that we should take every opportunity to advocate for a comfortable, pleasant, legal place to sit, especially for people who have no home other than the street. As someone with personal experience of homelessness, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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    • Erinne June 17, 2011 at 11:57 am

      Thanks for your work on this and your reply Michael!

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    • Paul in the 'couve June 17, 2011 at 12:26 pm

      Excellent reply! I share all of your concerns and now that you’ve explained how the events came about I think Sisters of The Road handled this very well and the commissioners botched it – badly.

      Another example is the reclaimed public space on Broadway through Times Square NY which actually started with the idea of creating PUBLIC space and the local businesses were mostly actually opposed to it. Now those businesses have set up their own outdoor seating, but there is also publicly provided seating in the area and the businesses don’t really enforce any purchase requirement on using their seating anyway. It’s become a very vibrant public space.

      The bicycle lane through it has been rendered completely useless. Although it remains legal to cycle down Broadway through the space, the green painted bike bath is full of Starbucks tables and tourists. I don’t think cyclists should be expecting this particular street closure in Portland to be a car-free bike route whether it is legal to bike their or not.

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      • wsbob June 17, 2011 at 4:31 pm

        “… I don’t think cyclists should be expecting this particular street closure in Portland to be a car-free bike route whether it is legal to bike their or not. …” Paul in the ‘couve

        Doesn’t have to be a bike route, or even part of a bike route, like for example the streets through Ladd’s Addition, that are marked on maps as a bike route.

        Use of the physical space along the closed to motor vehicles Ankeny St should be arranged so that people traveling on bikes don’t have to dismount and walk them instead of cruising along at a modest speed astride their bikes. If that’s asking too much, I invite anyone to explain why they think so.

        Michael Moore, thanks also from me for your June 17, 2011 at 11:37 am comment. It helped to clarify things.

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        • A.K. June 17, 2011 at 4:46 pm

          How about this – the street is too narrow to safely accommodate people walking, tables, and bikes? Seriously, it’s one block, go around. It won’t kill you. :)

          As a cyclist I have absolutely no desire to ride though such a street. Why would you insist on it?

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          • wsbob June 17, 2011 at 11:39 pm

            If Ankeny St is too narrow to safely accommodate people walking, tables, and bikes, this is something the city has not sufficiently explained. Questions about whether or not the street’s available space can be utilized to allow all of those activities haven’t been adequately addressed.

            If, as has been reported on earlier bikeportland articles about the Ankeny St idea, an area of the street must be left open for emergency vehicle access, it seems likely that this space would also be wide enough for bikes to travel on, at least one-way only. If the city doesn’t think so, let it explain its view in some detail.

            Why would someone riding a bike possibly want to ride an Ankeny St that’s closed to motor vehicles? Because it’s a unique, interesting street. People on their bikes cruising by on 2nd or 3rd might want to dodge onto Ankeny to check out what’s going on…then, maybe find a place to park the bike away from Ankeny, come back and patronize one of the businesses.

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    • A.K. June 17, 2011 at 2:40 pm

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for your reply. I think you made some very good points, and I can certainly see your point of view on this now. As some who has posted above in opposition to this project being delayed, it really sounds like this got caught up in silly political timing (like having to put it off for another month, really?) and that wasn’t your intent at all. Thanks for the clarification.

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  • long crank June 17, 2011 at 11:52 am

    The business owners have to go through the OLCC and the Fire Marshall for seating numbers and placement. Well Voodoo won’t have to go to the OLCC if they don’t serve alcohol.

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  • Pandora June 23, 2011 at 2:08 pm

    I think cafe tables and planters will brighten up this bland little street. I don’t mind walking my bike through. It will give me a chance to relax and enjoy seeing folks enjoying a meal in community.

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