One of Portland’s top tourist attractions seems poised to become dramatically less car-oriented by the start of 2016.
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.
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.
A coalition of 30 Old Town bars, restaurants and entertainment venues is proposing adding a quarter-mile of planter-protected bike lanes and street cafe seating to 2nd and/or 3rd avenues.
Inspired by nearby projects on SW Ankeny and NE Multnomah, the six-month-old Old Town Hospitality Group sees their experimental road diet concept, which could narrow the streets’ car-oriented area from three travel lanes to one or two and might remove some on-street auto parking, as a way to make the neighborhood safer, more comfortable and better to do business in.
Two years after Old Town’s Southwest Ankeny Street closed to cars and became Portland’s first human-only street, it continues to overflow with cool new ideas.
The latest is a tricycle with a built-in kiosk that’d provide a public face for Know Your City, Portland’s independent civic education nonprofit. The trike would be constructed by local frame-maker Oscar Camanera of Simple Bicycle Co and Brennan Conaway of Micro-Structures, with components from Chris King Precision Components.
“Artist-designed and artist-made in Portland OR, the kiosk is an embodiment of all things local,” the organization writes in its Kickstarter pitch. “From here, we’ll sell tickets to tours as well as books on Portland’s history and culture. The kiosk will also provide information about the city, particularly independent businesses in the Old Town area.”
On Wednesday, the Portland City Council decided to extend the temporary permit for a carfree SW Ankeny Street between SW 2nd and 3rd Avenues through January 31st of next year.
The project is supported by adjacent businesses, who have agreed to pay the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) for lost parking meter revenue. The initial permit was granted on June 20th and was set to expire on November 1st. (more…)
Portland City Council voted 5-0 this morning to grant a temporary permit that will turn one block of SW (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues) into a carfree street. The ordinance passed with an “emergency” clause which means it goes into effect immediately.
On Monday, Fritz detailed changes she wanted to see in the proposal before she’d be willing to vote in favor of it. Specifically she wanted public seating to be installed, potentially a lane for pass-through bike traffic, and a report at the end of the pilot to assess how well it worked. (more…)