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After 3-day demo, city council moves to ‘next phase’ of rethinking 3rd Avenue

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014
Sped-up version of a video of Northwest 3rd Avenue just after midnight on Sunday, Oct. 5.
(Original video: Better Block PDX)

The widely praised experiment that created a temporary protected bike lane and big new pedestrian areas on 3rd Avenue in Old Town this month seems to be reshaping the way the city sees the street.

“For the last 20 years, I’ve noticed the extraordinary width at that point on 3rd and I should have noticed an obvious use for all that space was ping pong tables,” Commissioner Steve Novick, who had enjoyed a game of table tennis during the demonstration, joked at a city council hearing on the subject Wednesday.

(more…)

Rave reviews roll in for temporary ‘Better Block’ on 3rd Ave

Monday, October 6th, 2014
3rd Avenue Better Block PDX
The temporary plaza in front of Ankeny Alley and Voodoo Doughnut was bustling with commerce and enjoyment for most of the weekend.
(Photos: Greg Raisman unless noted)

This weekend in downtown Portland’s slightly seedy north side, a citizen group temporarily converted two lanes of auto parking, a big expanse of empty pavement and two traditional travel lanes into a huge new pedestrian plaza, rows of street seats and ping-pong tables and a protected bike lane.

And it was, more or less, a huge hit.

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First look: Better Block re-imagines 3rd Ave with protected bike lane, new crosswalk

Friday, October 3rd, 2014
Better Block demonstration project on 3rd Ave-8
There’s a new protected bike lane on 3rd Ave!
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Early this morning, Better Block PDX took the wraps off its largest project yet: They’ve transformed three blocks of 3rd Ave from Davis (in Old Town) to Ash (near Voodoo Doughnut) from a bloated, auto-centric thoroughfare into a a more humane street with a protected bike lane, on-street bike parking, a new crosswalk and ample plaza space for sitting and enjoying a doughnut or three. (more…)

Volunteers prep for Friday’s three-day ‘Better Block’ demonstration on 3rd Ave

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014
boris in hallway
Boris Kaganovich of Better Block PDX with a half-built planter in the rooms where he and other volunteers have been preparing for a “pop-up” plaza and protected bike lanes on 3rd Avenue.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Working every evening for two weeks in a warren of unfinished rooms three stories above Old Town, more than a dozen enthusiastic volunteers have almost finished building the street features that will remake 3rd Avenue for one weekend, starting Friday morning.
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For one weekend, Old Town will test a huge plaza, bike lanes and cafes along 3rd Avenue

Friday, September 19th, 2014
dan and boris
Dixie Tavern owner Dan Lenzen, right, with Boris Kaganovich of Better Block PDX.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Frustrated by city officials’ estimates that it’d take several years to even consider a major redesign of 3rd Avenue through Old Town, a group of neighborhood businesses is teaming up with a team of livable streets advocates to create their own three-day demo of what a better street could look like — two weeks from today.

Inspired in part by the “pop-up” street projects that have helped reshape New York City in the last five years, organizers say Old Town’s three-block project will be one of the country’s largest such projects ever.

It’ll use wooden planters in the street to create more than a thousand square feet of new pedestrianized space between NW Davis an SW Ash, a protected bike lane, a series of new sidewalk cafes, a marked crosswalk and a huge new public plaza in front of Voodoo Doughnut adjoining Old Town’s thriving Ankeny Alley.

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‘Popcorn plaza’ video shows off benefits of reusing underused street space

Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

One of the organizers for local group Better Block PDX has made a nice video of how Portlanders responded to two temporary public spaces the group created over the weekend at one of Portland’s most interesting intersections.

After securing city permits and a green light from nearby business owners, the Better Block PDX team marked off an underused turn lane at Southeast 26th and Clinton and turned it into a public plaza (or technically, Portland architect Don Arambula observed, a “forecourt”) for two days.

(more…)

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