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Better Block PDX

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.

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