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Better Block PDX

#BetterNaito demo kicks off two-week trial of multi-use path west of Waterfront Park

Friday, May 22nd, 2015
Better Naito Set Up
(Photos: Greg Raisman)

Backed by a slightly bleary-eyed team of Portland State University engineering students, community volunteers and city staffers, local street redesign group Better Block PDX brought its latest city-approved demo to the easternmost lanes of Naito Parkway at 6 a.m. Friday.

The temporary treatment will convert the bike lane and rightmost mixed-traffic lane alongside Waterfront Park to a multi-use path for northbound bike traffic and for people walking.

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With pilot project, City will turn Naito Parkway into public space for all

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015
naito-lead
It’s coming!
(Graphic: Better Block PDX)

Starting this Friday morning, the non-profit Better Block PDX, the Bureau of Transportation and its commissioner-in-charge Steve Novick will embark on perhaps the boldest experiment we’ve seen in years: the creation of public space on Naito Parkway in what are currently standard travel lanes.
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The Friday Profile: Boris and Melissa Kaganovich, Portland’s merry pranksters of street reinvention

Friday, May 8th, 2015
pranksters
Four years after coming to Portland from New York and two years after co-founding Better Block PDX, the Kaganoviches are moving to Toronto on Monday.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland unless noted)

Boris Kaganovich was talking quickly, as he often does, when he walked past the button-activated pedestrian signal at Northeast 60th and Glisan. Without breaking stride, he slammed the heel of his hand into the button and kept walking in another direction.

The lean, curly-haired 30-year-old grinned a little too widely.

“I just hit those whenever I walk past them,” he explained cheerfully.

It was August 2014, and if Kaganovich was acting a little like a cat who had eaten the canary and gotten away with it, he could probably be forgiven. (more…)

Proposed plaza outside Voodoo Doughnut could be permanent by year’s end

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015
ankeny alley rendering
Removable bollards would pedestrianize the road bed on 3rd Avenue outside Voodoo Doughnut.
(Image: Ankeny Alley Association grant application)

One of Portland’s top tourist attractions seems poised to become dramatically less car-oriented by the start of 2016.

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After success of 3rd Avenue demonstration in Old Town, real changes are coming

Thursday, December 4th, 2014
Better Block
A temporary crosswalk across 3rd Avenue, crossing one lane of mixed traffic and one protected bike lane, on Oct. 4.
(Photo: Greg Raisman)

Two months after a three-day demo of a human-oriented 3rd Avenue captured many visitors’ imaginations, permanent changes are afoot.

The city is proposing to spend $10,000 next spring to add paint to 14 unmarked crosswalks on NW 2nd, 3rd and 4th between Burnside and Glisan. Several nearby properties have just changed hands. And Howard Weiner, chair of the Old Town Community Association, is working on plans that could bring much larger changes to the area.

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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.

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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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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