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Better Block PDX

Old idea of a human-centric, carfree downtown will be brought to life Saturday

by on August 17th, 2016 at 1:55 pm

Flyer for Saturday's big event.

Flyer for Saturday’s big event.

The crew that brought us the 3rd Avenue plaza, Better Broadway and Better Naito are about to embark on yet another ambitious project: this Saturday Better Block PDX will connect the north and south Park Blocks to create a one-mile stretch of carfree streets and plazas.
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At just $20,000, Ankeny Plaza is Portland’s cheapest “bridge” project ever

by on August 9th, 2016 at 4:12 pm

Ankeny Plaza ribbon cutting-13.jpg
Cheap. Fast. Popular. Now let’s do another one.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s the cheapest bridge project ever completed in the Portland region. For just $20,000, the city’s Bureau of Transportation has changed the face of an iconic and historic part of town. And they’re sort of bragging about it, which is awesome.

At the ribbon-cutting event for Ankeny Plaza today, City Commissioner Steve Novick delighted in how his Bureau of Transportation has radically transformed the streets between 2nd and 3rd Avenues in Old Town/Chinatown. “This is incredibly awesome,” he bubbled, before making a reference to Martha & The Vandellas’ classic tune, “Dancing in the Streets.”
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Who’s mad and who’s glad about ‘Better Naito’?

Michael Andersen (News Editor) by on July 29th, 2016 at 4:19 pm

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Naito Parkway on Thursday afternoon as seen looking north from the Morrison Bridge.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

This weekend, the City of Portland plans to remove the temporary multi-use path from the eastern side of Naito Parkway so the space can be used by cars instead.

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First look: The new public plaza on SW 3rd

by on July 22nd, 2016 at 3:11 pm

New public plaza on SW 3rd and Ankeny-7.jpg
Looking south north at Burnside from SW 3rd near Ankeny.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

You know Portland is getting its groove back when the Bureau of Transportation creates a large new public plaza and it takes us nearly a week to get it up on the front page.
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Portland Underground Grad School class will cover tactical urbanism

Michael Andersen (News Editor) by on July 20th, 2016 at 8:44 am

NE 85th & Milton & Beech
An “intersection repair” at NE 85th Avenue, Milton and Beech.
(Photo: Greg Raisman)

A local organization that arranges for Portlanders to teach one another niche skills and information is offering a four-week introduction to do-it-yourself street transformation.

From Better Block’s temporary bike lanes to City Repair’s beloved intersection murals to Depave’s manually removed asphalt, Portland is rich with the spirit of “tactical urbanism,” an umbrella term for fast, flexible changes that make city streets better for people.

Now, Portlander Claire Vlach is offering a four-session crash course through the year-old Portland Underground Grad School. Cost: $99 for the eight-hour class.

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Discount ends tomorrow for the International Open Streets Summit in Portland

Michael Andersen (News Editor) by on July 14th, 2016 at 3:20 pm

Sunday Parkways northeast 2014-28
Northeast Portland Sunday Parkways, 2014.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

The biggest conference about open-streets events (like Sunday Parkways) and tactical urbanism (like Better Block) is coming to Portland next month.

The International Open Streets Summit will bring many people who work to humanize street space to Portland State University from Thursday, Aug. 18 to Saturday, Aug. 20. The draft program includes speakers from Philadelphia; Dallas; Los Angeles; Missoula; Toronto; Cape Town, South Africa; and Santiago, Chile, among others.

The “tactical urbanism” thread is newly added to this conference, reflecting the fact that fast, flexible changes and demos on city streets are a growing trend among community groups and city governments alike. Mike Lydon, a planning consultant helping produce this conference, literally wrote the book on that subject.

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Coming soon: A new protected bike lane on 2nd Ave and a plaza near Voodoo Doughnuts

by on June 9th, 2016 at 5:28 pm

Mock-up of what 2nd Avenue will look like by the end of July.(Images: City of Portland)

Mock-up of what 2nd Avenue will look like by the end of July.
(Images: City of Portland)

The City of Portland Bureau of Transportation will make significant changes to 2nd and 3rd Avenues in downtown Portland this summer.

2nd, which is one-way northbound, will be re-striped with a parking-protected bike lane from SW Stark to NW Everett and there’s a new public plaza coming to the intersection of SW Ankeny and 3rd.
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Lovers of great streets: Better Broadway needs our help

by on May 13th, 2016 at 1:31 pm

This is worth fighting for. Please take the survey and email the mayor and Commissioner Novick about it. (Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

This is worth fighting for. Please take the survey and email the mayor and Commissioner Novick about it.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

I’ve been out on NE Broadway several times this week. And I love what Better Block has done with the place. The transformation of the street from auto-centric thoroughfare to a pleasant street that welcomes a mix of uses has been nothing short of amazing.

But I’m here to let you in on a secret: Not everyone is pleased. I’ve heard from several sources that the project is coming under fire by people whose hate equals my love.

Much of the anger is apparently coming from people think Broadway should remain a fast, crowded arterial mostly for driving on. While people out on the street are supportive and Better Block PDX has many fantastic neighborhood partners, there are some (who just so happen to have very powerful voices) who see this temporary street transformation as evil incarnate.

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Dispatch from Better Broadway: More bike parking, better auto parking, a transit island video and more

by on May 10th, 2016 at 4:17 pm

Thanks OnPoint!

Thanks OnPoint! One of the new bike parking corrals that went up last night.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

As promised, the Better Broadway project got a few improvements since our post yesterday. I went out there again this morning to take a second look at how things were shaping up.
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‘Better Broadway’ is off and running: Here’s what it looks like so far

by on May 9th, 2016 at 4:33 pm

Better Broadway opening day-14.jpg
The new NE Broadway has a protected bike lane. The auto parking lane on the left should be in the buffer zone near the auto traffic. Organizers will work to tweak the signage and markings tonight.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The gutsiest tactical urbanism project Portland has ever seen is officially underway.
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