Next week’s ‘Better Broadway’ trial aims for better shopping environment

better broadway plan
(Images: Broadway-Weidler Alliance)

Nine months ago, one of the city’s top experts on the Lloyd District predicted to us that any changes to inner Northeast Portland’s main east-west arterial were 10 years away.

“I think people need to realize that Broadway doesn’t know what they want to do yet,” said Rick Williams, the founding director of the Go Lloyd business association, in an interview. “Broadway is kind of where we were 10 years ago: in the planning phase.”

But if an on-street trial next week of improved crosswalks and a protected bike lane do well, the planning phase could move pretty quickly.

The design being tested by Better Block PDX from May 9-15 will add temporary crosswalk markings and traffic islands as well as in-street cafe seating on the north side of Broadway by removing one of the street’s two passing lanes and reversing the position of the parking lane and bike lane.


“There will be outdoor seating, music, activities, art, and more.”
— Broadway-Weidler Alliance

“There will be outdoor seating, music, activities, art, and more,” the Broadway-Weidler Alliance explained in a press release Wednesday. “It will be like a street fair but for an entire week. This project came about after asking ‘How can NE Broadway become a thriving retail destination?’ Neighbors and businesses then gathered together to put on this exciting project to show that we can turn a mean street into a main street where families can walk to meet their daily needs, share a meal, and support their local businesses.”

The Northeast Broadway Business Association will join the city, Better Block and the Broadway-Weidler Alliance at noon on Monday to show off the project to the media. Before that, at 10:15 am, AARP and Oregon Walks will co-lead a walking tour of the 0.8-mile project, which is expected to run from 7th Avenue to 24th Avenue.

A man bikes on the Broadway sidewalk, presumably to avoid riding alongside traffic.

Like the Better Naito trial happening across the river all summer and the Better Burnside Bridge trial planned for next month, the idea is to test whether the changes bring more foot traffic to Broadway storefronts and whether having one fewer passing lane on Broadway would cause any traffic backups.

Want to help set the trial up? Better Block is also inviting volunteers to deploy cones for the trial at 5:15 pm on Sunday.

Disclosure: My other employer, PeopleForBikes, put up some of the cash to support this demo as part of its National Protected Bike Lane Week. I wasn’t directly involved in that decision.

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 –

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