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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…)

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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Seeing business upsides, Old Town retailers propose protected bike lanes on 2nd, 3rd

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014
Old Town Chinatown-2
Inspired by the changes on NE Multnomah in the Lloyd District, a new proposal would transform SW 2nd and 3rd avenues.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

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.

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‘Know Your City’ wants to build a pedal-powered local history kiosk

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013
A rendering of the planned mobile kiosk.
(Image: Know Your City)

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.”

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City Council extends carfree SW Ankeny permit through January 2012

Friday, October 14th, 2011
Carfree SW Ankeny-10
Carfree SW Ankeny.
(Photo © J. Maus)

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…)

Impressions, photos of carfree SW Ankeny

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011
With the entire roadway roped off, foot traffic (and the occasional person on a bike) crowds onto the SW Ankeny sidewalk.
(Photos © J. Maus)

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First look: SW Ankeny is now carfree

Monday, July 18th, 2011
PBOT has installed a bike corral to deter vehicles from SW Ankeny between 2nd and 3rd Aves.
(Photos © J. Maus)

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Council passes carfree Ankeny ordinance; effective immediately – Updated

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
Portland’s new carfree street.

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.

Businesses pushed for the plan and it got full support from PBOT. However, some concerns came to light from homeless advocates and Commissioner Amanda Fritz that delayed their plans.

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…)

Commissioner Fritz wants changes to SW Ankeny proposal

Monday, June 20th, 2011
City Commissioner Amanda Fritz
Commissioner Fritz.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz has further explained her concerns with the existing carfree SW Ankeny proposal. Last week we shared how Fritz threw a wrench in PBOT’s plans to convert one block of Ankeny between 2nd and 3rd Avenues downtown into a sidewalk cafe — making it a carfree street.

The ordinance came up last week but failed to pass unanimously (which was required due it having an “emergency” clause) with Fritz being the only no vote. At the meeting, she heard testimony from a representative of Sisters of the Road, a non-profit that helps Portland’s homeless. We reported that Fritz’s concerns were based on how the proposal would impact access to the street by citizens who were not paying customers of the businesses.
(more…)

Equity, public access concerns delay carfree Ankeny plans – Updated

Thursday, June 16th, 2011
Portland Car Free Days (Day 2)
Ankeny during a carfree event
in 2006.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Last month we shared the news that the City of Portland, with full support from adjacent businesses, planned to move forward with a pilot program to make SW Ankeny Street carfree between 2nd and 3rd Avenues.

The City plans to re-program the space by prohibiting motor vehicles and effectively turning the narrow street into an extended sidewalk with seating for nearby cafes. Business owners love the idea (they even agreed to pay the City for lost parking revenue) because Ankeny’s narrow sidewalks make outdoor seating impossible.

With support from businesses and PBOT, a grand opening was slated for June 21st, the official start of summer.

But when the ordinance came up at City Council this week, the plans hit a snag. City Commissioner Amanda Fritz voted against it and since it was proposed as an “emergency” ordinance (in order to meet the June 21st date), it had to pass unanimously. With Fritz’s no vote, it failed 4-1. (more…)

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