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

Posted 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.

“The ideas of tactical urbanism are meant to be shared, and imitation is the highest compliment.”
— Ryan Hashagen, Better Block

“Let us know your dream projects,” said Ryan Hashagen, who said he’s been chairing Better Block’s volunteer meetings. “We’re always looking for good ideas, and we’d love to hear BikePortlander or community-inspired projects. … We are inviting everyone to join us at our February meeting.”

The date for that meeting isn’t set yet, but if you’re interested you can stay up to date by joining Better Block’s Google Group to get emails about its news.

Hashagen said Better Block hopes to move beyond the central city this year. So far, it hasn’t worked on any street farther-flung than the corner of SE 26th and Clinton.

“The ideas of tactical urbanism are meant to be shared, and imitation is the highest compliment,” Hashagen said. “We’d love to see this style of public engagement — of cheap, quick and easy — tested out for projects throughout the region and beyond.”

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hashnovick

Hashagen (right) walking on Naito with Transportation Commissioner Steve Novick in June.

He said Better Block will be “reaching out to community groups to let them know about the possibilities of better-block style events in their neighborhood.”

He said the group has already been offering advice to the Pacific Northwest College of Art and with neighborhood groups in Goose Hollow and Cully.

In the short term, Better Block PDX is preparing to file paperwork to become an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit. Until now, it’s operated with the local group Umbrella as its fiscal agent.

“It’s just time for us to spread our wings and learn to fly,” Hashagen said. “That will allow us to take on tax-deductible donations and will allow better block to take on larger projects and expand our capacity.”

It’s also possible that Better Block will tighten its association with Portland State University. Before moving to Toronto last year, Better Block PDX co-founder Boris Kaganovich said he hoped to institutionalize it as part of PSU’s education programs for future engineers and urban planners. Last summer’s Better Naito demo was co-created and evaluated by PSU students.

As for the longer-run goals of Better Block, Hashagen cited a speech by Kaganovich at an Oregon Walks fundraiser in 2014, in which he said that Better Block’s projects show “how to reinvigorate our historic commercial districts” and that it should be possible to “fix our city in three to four years.”

“I want to take it back to what Boris said at the Weston Awards last year: transforming the city block by block,” Hashagen said.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 – michael@bikeportland.org

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Terry D-M
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Terry D-M

Sounds like we should talk with them about NE Oregon and the North Tabor Promenade…..

ethan
Guest
ethan

Protected lanes on N / NE Skidmore. I know it’s not far-flung, but it would help a lot of people get around.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Barbur – Naito – Front road diet to a west side 3-lane section with leftover space on the east side changed to 2-way protected bike lane.
SW 65th to Kittridge.

Bill Stites
Subscriber

Thanks to Ryan and crew for this important work. I look forward to the February meeting to learn more about about how we can contribute.

Teaser idea: SE 34th ave. between Belmont and Morrison to the north. This is one block that could easily be converted to pedestrian space. It’s actually an idea that had a surprising level of support from the business community a while back … around the time we put in the bike corrals on Belmont at 33rd and 34th [2007].

Andy K
Guest
Andy K

How about a right side bike lane on SW 4th, between Hall and Clay, or longer if you can do it.

Ryan is the man and I really enjoy working with him.

SilkySlim
Guest
SilkySlim

I know there might be environmental concerns, but I’d love to see an experiment in lighting some section of Springwater corridor (maybe just a 1/4 mile?). I’m picturing some tightly focused lights that just point at the paved trail.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Pedestrian level LED lighting 10 ft off the ground, with sensors that turn the lights on as someone approaches, then off as they pass. A radar chip, or similar.

Hopeful
Guest

I’d like to see better use of space on the north side of Dekum at Durham and Oneonta. The Woodlawn Plan was never built, but now that the Woodlawn Triangle is built out, it’s ripe for Better Block.

Lenny Anderson
Guest
Lenny Anderson

Something creative on NE/SE 28th to make it a truly shared ROW between NE Sandy and SE Stark. Do it in combination with some kind of festival to celebrate a thriving commercial street.

ethan
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ethan

My personal opinion is that 28th should be completely pedestrianized with no cars at all.

Kiel Johnson (Go By Bike)
Guest
kiel johnson

check out the above article on powell!

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

Skidmore from Williams to Mississippi! Or maybe a bridge intervention like changing the outermost lanes on the St Johns for people- could use jersey barriers spaced out every 25′ or so and set up chairs on the sidewalk. Also the entry to Forest Park on the West side of the bridge could be celebrated with maps and snacks to encourage people walking or biking to Forest Park.

mark
Guest
mark

Seems straight forward to block off the right lane with Jersey barriers on Naito. That would take what..a day?

Let me know where to send money for the Gofundme.

Randy
Guest
Randy

How to prevent rat running…
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Okb63flApDY

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

In SW, maybe couple the demonstrations with loaning electric bikes and trikes to residents so they can realize it’s actually possible to get to a local business without a car? Sure, you can “just ride a bike” if you’re “young” and “healthy”, but electric bikes can actually get people out of their cars.

paikiala
Guest
paikiala

Pop up protected bike lane/protected intersection demonstration. Maybe Division near 162nd. anywhere there is a bike lane, a parking lane and a large on-site parking lot that doesn’t need a parking lane.
Hay bales in the bike lane, no parking signs, and a bike symbol chalk stenciled onto the parking lane.

lahar
Guest
lahar

A safer Burnside Bridge would be great or at least some law enforcement of the speedlimit.

Aurelia Dalek
Guest
Aurelia Dalek

These aren’t the big ideas you’re looking for, but I think that we (well, the city) could easily implement a bunch of small tweaks to the existing infrastructure that would help a lot. I bet plenty of people could think of similar “small adjustments” for their neighborhood.

Here are mine:

I’d love to see a redesign of the esplanade approach at NE Oregon and NE Lloyd blvd to allow for better access. (Lessen the number of curbs in the upper plaza area and provide a gradual slope, to allow for more direct access & stop the current need to ride on the sidewalk along NE Lloyd blvd)

I’d like to see more caution stripes on N Williams — I still see many people treat it as “3 bike lanes” instead of buffer + bike lane + buffer.

More signals/signs at weak points in the bike network. For instance, I think the city should add flashing beacons at MLK & Going to make crossing MLK easier.

Aurelia
Guest
Aurelia

These aren’t the big ideas you’re looking for, but I think that we (well, the city) could easily implement a bunch of small tweaks to the existing infrastructure that would help a lot. I bet plenty of people could think of similar “small adjustments” for their neighborhood.

These are mine:

I’d love to see a redesign of the esplanade approach at NE Oregon and NE Lloyd blvd to allow for better access. (Lessen the number of curbs in the upper plaza area and provide a gradual slope, to allow for more direct access & stop the current need to ride on the sidewalk along NE Lloyd blvd)

I’d like to see more caution stripes on N Williams — I still see many people treat it as “3 bike lanes” instead of buffer + bike lane + buffer.

More signals/signs at weak points in the bike network. For instance, I think the city should add flashing beacons at MLK & Going to make crossing MLK easier.

Mark
Guest
Mark

I find it most interesting there is a mural on 3rd St in downtown proclaiming Portland gods gift to biking or something like that. Right in between the worst road design for urban use ever devised. The multi lane one way. Talk about the elephant in the room. That pile of trash needs to be dealt with. Ditch multi lane one ways.

xSxam
Guest
xSxam

The first commercial strip to go pedestrian only will be a boon to businesses on that street and a pilot for the city.
Imagine NW 23rd or Mississippi St without cars, ala Pearl St in Boulder, CO.
Big, bold, different.