Better Block PDX

Better Block PDX will team with PSU to create annual street demos around town

by on January 21st, 2016 at 9:46 am

Better Naito demo
Fun on a better Naito, 2015.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

One of Portland’s most interesting annual traditions just got a little more official.

After three years of doing short-term demos themselves, the volunteer-led street reinvention group Better Block PDX has struck a formal partnership with Portland State University’s Toulan School of Urban Studies and Planning. With the help of PSU planning and engineering students, this new partnership means Better Block will constantly churn out a pipeline of projects that temporarily re-envision public spaces around Portland.

The new agreement will create one of the only academic programs in the country to integrate hands-on uses of “tactical urbanism,” as these lightweight, flexible projects are often called, directly into a student curriculum.


Looking beyond city core, Better Block PDX wants your ideas for 2016

by on December 22nd, 2015 at 12:13 pm

Better Naito pilot project-15.jpg
Naito Parkway last summer.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

The volunteer organizers of Portland’s three-year-old team of street rethinkers say they’re in the “off season” but getting ready to scale up.

Better Block PDX is the group behind a much-praised temporary redesign of NW/SW 3rd Avenue that led to rapid installation of crosswalks and a buffered bike lane and (more recently) a two-week test of walking and biking lanes on SW Naito Parkway that has some in the city talking about permanent changes.

They’re about to begin considering temporary street demos for 2016, and plan to hold a public meeting this February to start the selection process.


PBOT plans to stripe new 3rd Avenue bike lane this weekend

by on October 16th, 2015 at 12:40 pm

Image from PBOT website showing new configuration of SW 3rd just south of Burnside.

The new lane will be a wide, buffered bicycle lane to increase comfort for all ages and abilities of bicycle riders, such as tourists and families.

The demonstration that inspired it happened one year ago, the compromise among stakeholders that confirmed it happened four months ago, and it was first promised to be on the ground one month ago.

Now, at long last, the Bureau of Transportation has made an official announcement that they plan to “reconfigure” 3rd Avenue this weekend.

As we reported back in August, the plan is to re-stripe nine blocks of 3rd from NW Glisan to SW Stark in order to make room for a bicycling-only lane. The new bike lane will be installed in place of the existing standard lane and it will be seven-feet wide with extra “buffered” space on boths sides.


SW 3rd Avenue is about to get downtown’s only buffered bike lane

by on August 28th, 2015 at 8:39 am

SW 3rd at Oak
Earlier this year, bike markings unexpectedly appeared on 3rd Avenue. Now we know why.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)


Better Naito is back: Bike/walk path will return for Brewfest

by on July 17th, 2015 at 11:49 am

Better Naito pilot project-1.jpg
People got a lot more room to ride, walk and breathe on Naito Parkway during the Rose Festival thanks to a temporary lane. Now the lane is coming back.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)


Old Town businesses and residents endorse buffered bike lane on 3rd Avenue

by on June 23rd, 2015 at 12:03 pm

Mystery of spray-painted bike lane now revealed. The proposal, which would also improve crosswalks across 3rd, aims to make the area more walkable.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Nine months after a three-day event that tested a single southbound lane of auto traffic on a few blocks of NW and SW 3rd Avenue, a group of stakeholders on the street has endorsed a middle ground: two lanes.

Checking in on the ‘Better Naito’ pilot project

by on June 5th, 2015 at 2:02 pm

Better Naito pilot project-15.jpg
Temporary two-way biking on Naito.
(Photos J. Maus/BikePortland)

Today is the last day — at least for now — to experience a ‘Better Naito’.

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

by on May 22nd, 2015 at 8:47 am

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.


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

by on May 19th, 2015 at 8:42 am

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.

The Friday Profile: Boris and Melissa Kaganovich, Portland’s merry pranksters of street reinvention

by on May 8th, 2015 at 1:34 pm

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…)