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

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

(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.

It’s intended as a response to thick pedestrian spillover during the Rose Festival that starts this weekend, but will double as a way to test whether Naito would experience any traffic problems if the space were permanently dedicated to human use.

Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick and Better Block have described it as a way to improve safety on Naito, reduce biking-walking conflicts in the park’s existing riverside path and to build on the legacy of Gov. Tom McCall, who in the early 1970s backed the plan to build the park in place of the former Harbor Drive expressway.


The Better Block installation team.

Both Jonathan and I happen to be out of town today, which is sort of killing us, but we’re eagerly watching photos come in over social media. Here are a few from during and after installation.

Got shots of your own? Share with the hashtag on Twitter or Instagram and we’ll get some more up.

Update 2 p.m.: Here are some more:

Oh hey guys! Check out these colorful #betterblockpdx volunteers who stopped by to give us a hand tonight for #betternaito.

A photo posted by Yelena Prusakova (@yesthatmountain) on

A cargo bike volunteer moves supplies along Naito Blvd. #betternaito #betterblockpdx

A photo posted by Yelena Prusakova (@yesthatmountain) on

Disclosure: My other day job is as a staff writer for Colorado-based advocacy group PeopleForBikes, which has become a lead sponsor of the BetterNaito project thanks to support from Clif Bar. I didn’t make any funding decisions but will be minimizing my own coverage of this on BikePortland to keep things as clean as possible. Expect more coverage once Jonathan is back in town next week!