Joe Bike

Who’s mad and who’s glad about ‘Better Naito’?

Posted by on July 29th, 2016 at 4:19 pm

Naito Parkway traffic observations -13.jpg

Naito Parkway on Thursday afternoon as seen looking north from the Morrison Bridge.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

This weekend, the City of Portland plans to remove the temporary multi-use path from the eastern side of Naito Parkway so the space can be used by cars instead.

It slowed rush-hour northbound auto trips somewhat: by about 1.5 minutes in the morning and between 30 seconds and two minutes in the evening, according to an independent analysis requested by The Oregonian and published Friday. (That’s for someone traveling all the way from I-405 to NW Everett.)

On the other hand, the project vastly improved the experience of biking or walking on Naito, especially during the summer festivals in which Waterfront Park is fenced up to the edge of the curb. In past years, people typically spill into the bike lane, forcing bikes into the auto lane, and the waterfront path regularly becomes almost impassable by bike because so many people are walking there.

So for politicians, here’s the question: How do you weigh the benefits of depressurizing the waterfront path and increasing the appeal of biking and walking downtown against the costs of increasing delay for people driving?

In short: how much were people who drive ticked off by those additional minutes of delay?

Well, out of the 10,400 people who drive northbound on Naito on the average weekday, exactly 45 sent either a voicemail or an email to the city opposing the project’s congestion effects. Just for fun, let’s look at that on a chart:

did not complain

“I work in Portland Monday-Friday,” wrote Paula Beard. “I drive North on Naito Parkway to Davis, then to 8th and Glisan. My evening commute has not been impacted by the Northbound Naito lane closure, but my morning commute time is greatly increased. I timed it today—25 minutes from the time I merged to Naito on the South end to when I arrived at the Davis Street stoplight. Without the lane closure it is about 5-10 minutes.”

Now, obviously there were many people annoyed by the Naito change who didn’t take the time to contact the city about the plan. Feedback like this is a better indicator of how many people are passionate about a policy — potentially to the extent that it’d influence their vote.

But in that case, we also need to consider the number of people who sent emails or voicemails supporting the project’s biking and walking benefits. We don’t have good data on how many people bike or walk on Naito, unfortunately, but a total of 65 people contacted the city since Better Naito was installed to express support for the idea. So here’s another chart:

direct feedback

The city also got a handful of letters and voicemails from people discussing design issues with the temporary path, such as trucks parking there or confusion about where bikes should turn. Those aren’t counted in this analysis unless they also mentioned general support for or opposition to the general change.

To be fair, all but nine of those positive comments came over the last week, when some biking advocates organized a letter-writing campaign in anticipation of the project being removed. But of course that only happened because someone was motivated to take the time to organize a letter-writing campaign … and because 56 people apparently cared enough to join that campaign even before the trial was removed.

“I’ve heard rumors that Better Naito is being torn out this weekend,” wrote Evan Heidtmann in an email to the city Tuesday. “Why would this happen? It doesn’t make any sense to me. I enjoyed riding on Naito this summer and I don’t know of anyone who wants it to go back to the way it was. Our waterfront is one of the best things going and we need to make it a great place to be, not a giant sewer for people driving fast in their cars. Everyone has already figured out how to use the street in its new configuration. Changing it now will just lead to confusion, frustration, and increased dangers for everyone on the street.”

By contrast, most of the negative feedback arrived at the start of the project; only nine of the 45 negative comments arrived in the last week.

Here are 19 more examples of things people had to say to the city about Naito, released to BikePortland after a public-records request. We’re publishing positive and negative feedback in the same ratio that the city received: about 60 percent positive.

Subject: Better, Better Naito

Dear Mayor and City Council – I have been loving the Better Naito project and had no idea it wasn’t going to become permanent! If there is a jewel of downtown Portland, it is the waterfront. I have taken family and friends there from Ohio, California, Colorado, Iowa and of course Portland, and everyone loves it. Having the security to ride and walk along more safely has been a great improvement, especially when there are thousands of people at the many events there.

What other city would do this grand experiment with traffic control? I congratulate you for conducting experiments like this and risking the wrath of other commuters. The investigative work is essentially done, and now we need to take it to the next step and make it permanent.

I love that we live in a city that is so progressive and tries things like this. And I agree with people who say we can’t really pave our way out of our new traffic problems, so where we can, let’s continue facilitating active transportation so that it becomes part of our lives.


Rob Hertert

Subject: Commuting from SW to NE


Just some feedback about clogged arteries. I am sure your office is aware of the worsening of traffic conditions in the past few years. I live in NE Portland and work on SW Macadam, a 6 mile commute by car. Whether due to new residents or tourists, the traffic on I5 and 405 has ramped up considerably. It can take 45 minutes for me to get home in the worst of the traffic jams. Naito Parkway has been an alternative option for me to use when the freeways are at a standstill. The blocked easternmost lane has created yet another traffic log jam. I see drivers taking unnecessary risks. The other day I saw a van driving down the blocked lane. The pedestrian flow was in Waterfront Park with people crossing Naito at lights or marked crossing points. I did not see people using the blocked lane as a walking space. The lane was empty. This experiment in blocking a lane of a main artery seems frivolous and potentially dangerous.

I have lived in NE Portland since 1980, long before it became trendy, and love its walkability. However, I am increasingly concerned about the liveability of the city as a whole. We have had a huge influx of people without the transportation infrastructure to move them quickly.

Jan Volkin
NE Portland

Subject: Commuter Experience

Heya! I heard your soliciting feedback on the Naito bike route.

I am a 100% car commuter. I drive from North Portland into SW downtown for work, dropping my kids off at school and daycare on the way. I don’t have time to bike to work, regardless of how nice or big the bike is …

… And I *LOVE* the bike path. It doesn’t significantly impact my commute time, I see tons of cyclists using it every day, it helps keep the waterfront pedestrian path clear and safe, and I think it’s the right thing for out growing city!!

Regarding the folks who complain about traffic snarls: in my experience, the #1 jam is the Hawthorne bridge on ramp from Naito. Everything else moves at a pretty steady clip. Opening up the Naito bike line to vehicular traffic isn’t a solution to any of the traffic problems I’ve seen. At best it’s a short term solution to the same congestion, whereas a bike path can accommodate many, many more commuters!

I’m thinking about the continuous development in the north Pearl, the south waterfront, and the upcoming inner SE — all need access, and all are extremely bikeable. Let’s set the right precedence and make our city even more friendly to cyclists …

And I say this as a 100% downtown car commuter!

-Peat Bakke

Subject: Please keep BetterNaito!

I’ve followed the instructions on your website and tweeted my thanks for #BetterNaito, but tonight I’ve learned that there is a chance that we can keep it.

Please, please, please! This would be great for family biking. Just last week we had a biking family visiting from Seattle and it was wonderful to be able to get to the BoltBus stop easily from the Hawthorne Bridge and then use it to connect to the path to the Tillicum. Lots of visitors want to ride the Tillicum and BetterNaito was a great, low-stress way to get there on our cargo bikes.

For those of us that don’t venture over the river to the westside very often, it’s hard to find a low-stress way to get where we do need to go. This is so helpful. My bakfiets weighs 90 pounds before the kids get in it with all their gear, so we need a flat or downhill route to get where we are going. BetterNaito lets me ride at my speed (I average 4 mph) without inconveniencing people walking or people biking faster than that. And it’s so flat!

I’m looking forward to taking the kids to Jamison Square if you keep it. I hope you do.

Thank you,
Kathleen Youell

Subject: A Joy


Thought I’d take a moment to say how much this project means to me. Traveling between SE to NW Portland is made easier when I can stay on the East side of Naito. This makes getting on and off the bridge easier. I wish it would carry on through the winter. I typically take the Eastbank home after work in the summer but when winter rolls around it’s too dark and I take Naito. Riding South on the West side of Naito, I have to watch the parked cars since they may pull out or open doors without warning. Also, it can be stressful to get across Naito at the Salmon St fountain to get to the Hawthorne bridge.

Thank you for taking the time to read my message. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Be well,

Subject: Please make Better Naito permanent

I just heard that the opening of Better Naito to pedestrians/cyclists/skaters is coming to an end this Sunday. This lane has made life better for so many at so little a cost. Walking down on the shared path by the water is so much safer and more welcome for the elderly and families and tourists. Meanwhile faster moving thru-cyclists, runners and skaters have taken to Better Naito to move through more efficiently without disturbing their fellow Portlanders. It really has been marvelous. I drive through here too and I have not noticed any significant change in the driving time.

There is limited capacity and growing demand for human-powered movement in this area. Better Naito eases both problems elegantly and inexpensively. This is future thinking. Please make it permanent.

William Rausch

Subject: “better naito” is not better

Regarding “better naito.” It seems like a nice idea, but really, it is a mess.

Your website has too much positive spin and doesn’t speak realistically. Fact is, delays are more like 10 minutes – you cite 45 seconds to 1 minute. Try again. I take the route daily and know this for a fact. Your website states there is a sign alerting drivers ahead of time – barely noticeable. But again – the alternate route adds 10 minutes.

Your solution only help bikes/peds even though you say “more connected way for all Oregonians.” What about people who are trying to get to work DURING A REGULAR MORNING WHEN THERE IS NO FESTIVAL? It is a ridiculous concept to create a traffic jam and a mess of construction cones during these times. How did anyone think this was smart?

A better solution that would indeed benefit all Oregonians using downtown would be to erect the lanes during festival HOURS only. Simple, efficient, smart for all.


Subject: Better Naito
Hello Mayor and City Commissioners;

I am an internal medicine physician at OHSU and bike to the tram every day from my home in NE Portland. I am writing to express my sincere and heartfelt support for the Better Naito project. Although there are certainly other areas of the city which sorely need bike infrastructure attention, I have personally experienced how the conversion of Naito the last several months has benefited a huge number of Portlanders and visitors to our great city- bicyclists and pedestrians alike. I can’t help but smile every time I bike down Naito now. Seriously!

I appreciate the hard work you all do on a daily basis for Portland (despite the complaints and grumblings of many). This project is important for you to support and I feel that it (and other bike and pedestrian friendly projects across the city) enhance what is already such a great place to live.


Joe Hardman, MD

Subject: Make #BetterNaito permanent!

Hello City of Portland representatives,

Today I write you to make my appeal for keeping the #BetterNaito changes permanent. It has been absolutely wonderful to have this dedicated cycle and pedestrian path for the last few months. I ride my bike five days a week from Inner SE to Naito and NW 9th Ave and this segment is crucial for my commute.

It has been wonderful to have this alternative bike path available, especially in the summer time. There is no easy traffic-free way for me to make an efficient north/south commute from the Pearl to the Hawthorne bridge except on this path. The festivals that take place on the Esplanade during the summer months make riding near impossible with people who are leisurely trying to enjoy those festivals and the park. Similarly, riding on the East side Esplanade is also extremely difficult. There are many people enjoying this space in a leisurely way and it does not feel very safe for me or for them to use these paths for my bicycle commute where I am often riding very fast.

Having said that, I’ll leave you with a few more points for consideration

– The four permanent lanes of auto traffic on Naito have access to the road for 8760 hours a year. I’m sure traffic volume studies show that this road can certainly afford to permanent lose a lane. Let’s get real and give cyclists a piece of that 8760 hour pie.

– The distance we’re talking about is a mere 0.70 miles. In the grand scheme of trips via automobile on this road, that is like a drop of water in the ocean. For cycling commuters, that can be a much more significant percentage of their commute.

– I ride five days a week all year long. I see the volume of traffic every day on Naito during peak hours. Northbound traffic can certainly support the change. Congestion is not that bad.

– I’ve also ridden for the last eight years using the Esplanade. I can tell you having more cyclists on this pathway will NOT work. I’ve seen it from both perspectives – as a pedestrian trying to dodge cyclists and as a cyclist trying to go to and from work. If it were not for #BetterNaito, I would simply divert to another street (3rd Ave). Riding on the bike path on Naito now really sucks, as there are at least nine traffic lights that kill my trip.

– This would be a tremendous sign of support from the city about taking cycling seriously. You’ve already got some great momentum with Biketown, closing the Naito gap, Ankeny Plaza. Keep the transformations coming!

– I’m invested in my city and my community. I am a tax-paying homeowner in Portland that wants to see my city work for me

Thank you for your time,
Evan Reeves

From: Jared Lorz
Subject: You suck
I have had to walk on dirt sidewalks and unpaved dilapidated streets for 30 years because you bastards won’t improve southwest Portland. Screw downtown and your little initiatives.

Subject: Bike lanes vs cars. Naito Parkway and foster and holgate.

You guys are idiots. If you want people to come to the festivals, more parking for CARS and lanes for CARS are needed. I used to live in portland and now won’t come to any of your festivals nor will any of my friends of family because you have let the bicyclist take over the roads that we ALL pay for. And yes I still work in portland and still pay taxes there but have moved across the river to a state that is CAR friendly for commuters.

Jason Lind

Subject: Please Keep #BetterNaito!

Hello oh transportational powers that be!

I heard through Twitter that #BetterNaito is scheduled to end on 7/31. I think this a terrible idea and here is why:

1) BetterNaito has helped to reduce car/bike and bike/ped conflicts on Naito and the Waterfront Path.

2) We are all used to it already. I drive 60-70% and bike 30-40%, and Naito seems fine to me. I often have to visit hotels on the waterfront for my job, and I haven’t seen any unusual or commerce-ending congestion, just the typical rush hour stuff that passes if you just chill for a few minutes — as we all should.

3) We don’t want to backslide into a car-centric downtown. It doesn’t make sense to say Portland is committed to #VisionZero if we are going to take away something that creates bike/ped safety!

4) There isn’t another really good north-south bike path in downtown until 14th Ave.

5) There are so many upcoming events on the waterfront throughout the fall, winter, and spring — from Portland Marathon, to Jingle Bell Run, to Shamrock Run — it doesn’t make sense to make everyone unlearn BetterNaito when it’s just going to go back in again in the summer, and when we have so many downtown events that BetterNaito helps. Let’s keep our vibrant downtown a year-round vibrant downtown!

Please — make BetterNaito permanent and help make Portland, Oregon into the multimodal utopia we want to be.

Thank you!

Emee Pumarega
Business Owner
Car Driver



I’m writing to ask that you strongly consider keeping Better Naito permanently. I’ve worked downtown for over a decade & often bike commuted from Milwaukie to downtown on a daily basis. Although the frequency of my commute has lessened I still commute using the same route every other week and often ride downtown for errands or shopping (Powell’s Books!). Riding my bike on Naito has been way too frightening so the majority of the time I’ve used waterfront park to connect from Hawthorne bridge to the US Bancorp Tower. Riding the sidewalks with pedestrians, which has become more crowded over the years, is not ideal and poses its own dangers to cyclists, pedestrians, and the wildlife (I’ve personally witnessed a goose getting caught in wheels of a passing cyclist in waterfront sidewalk)! Additionally, at lunch time I often walk down waterfront park & experience from a pedestrian standpoint the stress of having cyclists passing, especially when large groups of people are congested in particular spots. Riding waterfront park during any event is almost impossible with limited access to reach the streets, fence obstructions, and vendor trucks/cars on sidewalk.

I had actually forgotten Better Naito was set up this year when I commuted into downtown one morning. How refreshing to be able to safely ride down Naito all the way to work (while shaving several minutes from commute time)!! I have since been able to enjoy Better Naito with my 8yo son, with groups of friends riding to events at Powell’s Books, and many other regular commutes to/from work. I have twice helped lost strangers find & ride Better Naito with me as a better way to reach Hawthorne Bridge or the Tillikum Crossing. Their response has always been “this is great!” and my reply is always “yes, it is!”

I do own & sometimes commute into downtown by car. There’s always the “change pains” as people get used to anything different but people adjust quickly & I’ve experienced little change in my car commute due to Better Naito. Additionally, I have other options in my car but I don’t have many other options on my bike!

Keep the positive change momentum going for our city & allow Better Naito to stay. Safe streets & spaces for PEOPLE (not just people in cars) is important to me.

Thank you.

~Kelly Williams

Subject: Better Naito

Dear Portland,
I want to throw my support behind better naito, the expanded bike lanes and pedestrian access has been awesome.

Let me start by saying I am not a Portland resident. I am a frequent (monthly visitor to Portland because I LOVE what an amazing city the people of Portland have created.

Why do I come every month and stay downtown and spend money?
Do you realize that in the last 25 years Portland has transformed into one of the most unique and amazing North American Cities?
1. I can take MAX from PDX to downtown and then get around on public transit
2. I can now get bikeshare, but before rent bikes and get all over most of the central city without any hassles
3. I can walk to a lot of areas of downtown easily and without hassle.

Do you realize how UNIQUE that is in north America? Only New York City and Chicago offer those same options.. possibly San Francisco, but they’re Californians.

Please keep on being amazing and keep Naito with less cars.. it is an obstacle for bikes and pedestrians to get to the waterfront and yes that bike lane is an awesome North-South route between bridges.

Thanks for being awesome and please stay that way! Keep or reinstate better Naito!

Mike Cipriano


Subject: Naito Parkway Lane Closure

Dear City of Portland Officials,

I am a 21 year resident of the City, having lived in SW Portland (close-in) for the first 9 years, and in the Alameda neighborhood for the past 11 years. When my wife and I were looking for a home in close-in NE to raise our children, we chose to live on bike way – we are proud supporters of shared transportation resources, and appreciate the relatively new bike/ped-only arrangement the City constructed next to the Madeleine School. For years, I commuted to work by bike whenever possible. Now, I work in SW Portland close to Lake Oswego, and must commute by car.

Due partially (perhaps mostly) to people moving to the Portland area, my evening commute has, rather quickly, worsened from about 40 minutes (1 1/2 years ago) to about 50-55 minutes today. I select my route depending on the day, but find that the Interstates have become unbearable, particularly when I-5 is backed up from Barbur Blvd to the Washington border. One of the routes I take is North on Naito Pkwy, crossing the river at the Steel Bridge. Unfortunately, the summer lane closure on Naito Blvd has created traffic congestion that has worsened commutes even more.

I have been an ardent supporter of the City, and have never complained. However, the Naito Pkwy lane closure does not make good sense to me. I have read through the Better Naito materials, but can’t understand why closing one lane to vehicle traffic solves the problems that the closure is intended to solve. A wonderful bike/ped facility already exists along the river bank, very close to Naito Pkwy. Why do we need two North-South bike paths so close to one another? My experience has been that the bike lane next to me is rarely used. I believe that this is a poor use of a valuable and important transportation resource.

I have witnessed many times pedestrians gingerly walking on the curb or in the painted bike lane during waterfront events. This is obviously a dangerous and unacceptable situation. But, the question is; why not move the barrier on the West side of the event venue farther to the East, creating a path in the park for pedestrians to safely travel to/from the event? Why does the event venue barrier have to abut the roadway? Bikes can continue to use the river side path. Further, the event venue can be reduced in size to accommodate a pedestrian path along side Naito Pkwy. A fence could even be erected to keep pedestrians from wandering into the roadway.

In light of the ever increasing gridlock around this City, closing important arterial streets to vehicle traffic should be avoided. In the case of the Naito Pkwy lane closure, a valuable and needed roadway is being blocked to address problems that could be addressed in other, more effective, ways. I request that the City reconsider this short-term and potentially, long term lane closure, and look at other options for addressing pedestrian and cyclist safety during summer events.

David Carter

Subject: Naito Pilot Feedback

I would like to provide feedback on the Naito pilot. While I respect and understand the concept of increasing the ease for bike commuters, it is not possible for all of us to bike to work. Even though I am a resident of Portland and Multnomah County, I need to drive to work due to job requirements (the ability to travel to meetings in Salem and other locations with little notice) as well as childcare restrictions/hours. The lane closure has nearly doubled my commute time and increased my carbon footprint notably. Alternative routes require me to backtrack and idle more than the commute I previously took via two open lanes on Naito.

I find it additionally frustrating that I have been run off the sidewalk twice and hit by one bicycle while jogging on the waterfront during the lunch hour in the past two weeks. Even with the loss of the lane and increased commute time to give the bicycles an alternative route, I do not see bikes using the lane when I do take Naito and I have not seen a decrease in bike traffic along the waterfront walkways.

Please consider what the convenience of even more bike lanes (there are already bike lanes on both sides of Naito and a bike/walkway through the park) is doing to hard working families who are already doing what they can within reason for the environment and attempts at reducing road time. I hear my shared frustrations regularly from coworkers and friends. – I beg you not to chase honest hard working people and families out of Portland.

Thank you for providing the opportunity to voice my concerns and frustrations as a Portland native, Multnomah County tax payer/homeowner, and participant in paying the increasing fuel tax.

Gail Hammer

Subject: Naito Parkway Improvements

Hi Commissioner Novick,

I am very excited to see the improvements made to Naito Parkway! Thank you and PBOT for your support on this project. I do think it is essential to make the Better Blocks project permanent as well, even if it is temporarily just paint and/or cones. I envision an easy to use bikeway for all ages starting from the S. Waterfront extending all the way to Naito and NW 17th. This would enable easy access from east of the Willamette to anywhere on the west, whether it be NW 21st/23rd, the Pearl, Downtown or the South Waterfront. Essentially, this would form the backbone of downtown’s protected bicycle network. Maybe this is your vision too. I’m excited for the many great things coming to Portland. Thanks for your leadership.

Alex Gerace

Subject: Stop the insanity!

Seriously……A group of PSU students come up with a concept plan which calls for the closing of ½ of one of our city’s major arterials. The arterial which allows drivers to bypass the city’s congested core. It is tested last summer during three weeks of generally lower traffic volume due to summer vacations and such. The “Better Naito Summary Report” indicates that north bound traffic is only affected by 45 seconds to 1 minutes with the heaviest delay between Clay and Main due to the merging traffic.

Well, I would like to share with someone my experience of yesterday and today since the closing of Northbound Naito. I work in the Koin Tower on Clay. I commute in my car via Barbour Blvd. I use Front/Naito and turn right onto Clay. Yesterday the traffic northbound was stopped and heavy just north of SW Sheridan at 8:02am. I was able to finally turn left onto Clay at 8:15am. 13 minutes. Today, same route, traffic stopped and heavy just south of SW Sheridan at 8:12. I turned left onto Clay at 8:27. 15 minutes. There is a very large amount of traffic now attempting to turn off of Naito onto Clay and the other westbound streets leading into the core area to apparently attempt to avoid the delay on Naito.

$1.5 in the Mayor’s budget to screw things up. Here is a concept. Spend the money on……wait for it……a sidewalk next to the roadway. Why have we always had grass right up to the curb? Don’t take the road away. Lose ten feet of the grass and make everyone happy.

I can appreciate the difficult job you folks at PDOT have trying to make everyone happy, while at the same time building and providing a system that functions well.
I am certain that your department is monitoring the situation. Please use my input as constructive criticism.

Neil Jaques
SW Portland Resident


Dear Mayor Hales and Commissioners Fish, Fritz, Novick, and Saltzman:

With only a week left before it is scheduled to be removed, Better Naito pilot project should be retained indefinitely. Further, I encourage you to find and allocate the funds to permanently transform as much of Naito Parkway as possible for safe use by non-motorized transportation modes (pedestrian, skateboard, roller skating, bicycling, etc).

Tom McCall Waterfront Park is emblematic of our City’s historic efforts to reclaim auto thoroughfares for non-motorized public use. Extending this into Naito Parkway today extends our commitment to Portland’s car-free future.

Making Better Naito permanent is also desirable for the following reasons:
• The existing multi-use path along the waterfront is increasingly overcrowded. An alternate pathway will prevent potentially dangerous collisions between pedestrians and more quickly moving skaters and cyclists.
• Naito Parkway eventually narrows to one-lane only 7/10 of mile further down the road; we’re not reducing congesting, only postponing it.
• This is a low-investment infrastructure project with immediate, high-visibility benefits.
• The economic impacts will undoubtedly be net positive for merchants on this street and connecting streets on the eastern edge of downtown. Very little freight passes through this corridor. • • Locals and tourists alike will enjoy Naito Parkway as a recreational promenade, which is far more lucrative for our city than a commuter thoroughfare.
• Our streets in the city center should be for people first, not cars. Single-occupancy vehicle driver preferences should no longer be prioritized in our city’s transportation decision-making.

This repurposing of Naito Parkways is in line with our Comprehensive and Climate Action Plans; please, let’s put our words into action.

Thank you for your service to our city and your consideration in the matter,
Sarah Iannarone

— Michael Andersen, (503) 333-7824 –

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  • Avatar
    Todd Boulanger July 29, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Michael – thanks for digging into the details of this important and urbane project.

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    Allan Rudwick July 29, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    If the Hawthorne bridge is such a bottleneck, maybe all traffic from Madison st downtown should go to left lane, Naito to right lane. That would reduce delays on Naito quite a bit, no? I realize it might be slightly more complicated than that but not substantially

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      Social Engineer July 31, 2016 at 4:07 pm

      It is more complicated, because buses can only operate on the outside lanes of the bridge.

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    pooperazzi July 29, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    Agreed – or a light on the bridge where Naito merges, which would have the added bonus of allowing bikes to safely cross the on-ramp

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    rick July 29, 2016 at 6:16 pm

    Make best Naito ! Not old status quo Harbour Freeway with painted bike lanes.

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    dan July 29, 2016 at 6:33 pm

    I would be willing to accept burying the through auto lanes and turning the above ground lanes into woonerf-style slow driving zones as an alternative.

    However, I think the current execution is a lot more fiscally prudent. 🙂

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    Ted Timmons (Contributor) July 29, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    Repeating myself: there are full bridge connections on 2nd. Only about half of the 5 bridges (10 ramps for west/east) have ramps on Naito.

    Among a zillion other things. Sure, cyclists can use the park itself (with many drawbacks). Drivers could go to 2nd (with many drawbacks).

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    B. Carfree July 29, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    Those were some very entertaining letters of opposition, in a watching a train wreck sort of way. They do, however, let me see where a certain presidential candidate is drawing his support from.

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  • Anne Hawley
    Anne Hawley July 29, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    As always, the underlying assumptions of the anti-Better-Naito writers seems to be that there’s some fundamental right to move swiftly and unimpeded through the city in a private automobile.

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      Eric Leifsdad July 30, 2016 at 12:38 am

      …and the importance of being able to cut through a crowded city to get ahead of those clogged freeways. The drivers in opposition seem to make a great case in favor of it.

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      James Sherbondy July 30, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      It’s so they can reduce their carbon footprint. I almost spat out my coffee reading that one.

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    devograd July 29, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    I’m glad that so many people took the time to write level-headed and well-thought-out emails in support of Better Naito. Seeing the kinds of opposition emails the city received is a good reminder (as Mayor Hales and this website have noted recently) that if we want something to happen, the city needs to hear our support. I do plenty of “liking” things on the PBOT twitter feed, but this article reminded me that taking the time to compose an email has a much greater effect.

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    Bill Sherrett July 29, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    As a car commuter using Naito occasionally from the North or South ends, I have learned to avoid it during any time of congestion. Traffic funnels in from the side streets and stops any forward progress on green lights, and there is mostly no place to escape. For bikes, it has only a few bridge on ramps and less contact with foot traffic crossings than the lower-numbered streets to the west. Also, it’s worth noting that a bike lane on Naito would be an even more fitting tribute to Bill Naito, the reluctant car owner.

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      Naito Curious July 30, 2016 at 12:28 am

      Please tell us more about Bill Naito, the reluctant car owner!

      Seriously, please share the history!

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      • Anne Hawley
        Anne Hawley July 30, 2016 at 3:50 pm

        The Wikipedia article on Bill Naito indicates that he was basically too frugal to buy new cars. Not sure that made him a reluctant car owner, but there’s no question that he was a major driver in the rise of streetcar and light rail, and a walkable, livable downtown.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. July 30, 2016 at 11:21 pm

        He was so frugal, that when he acquired the old Montgomery Ward warehouse in NW to convert to office space, he changed the name to Montgomery Park, so that he only had to replace two letters of the neon sign atop the building.

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          Bill Sherrett July 31, 2016 at 3:39 pm

          He was known for driving an Isuzu Trooper, which he bought later in life, and which was known for its mismatched rear door. This was a very visible sign of both his frugality and poor eyesight. He could afford any car, but he even took the cheapest option for body repair.

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    charlietso July 30, 2016 at 11:34 am

    “By contrast, most of the negative feedback arrived at the start of the project; only nine of the 45 negative comments arrived in the last week.” – This is usually the case when a project or policy changes how people experience their city. Public backlash is usually the strongest in the beginning when all people see is unwanted change and the benefits are not evident yet. Bikeshare is a good example.

    The key is getting our elected officials to understand it. I was there when Mayor Hales said advocates need to be louder. I agree. But I think our elected officials need to show stronger leadership to carry good projects and policy through for the city even when back lash to change is loud in the beginning.

    Portland needs to not settle into this “tallying policy-making” model. Should we improve experience of the waterfront park the safety of vulnerable road users on Naito? Well, let’s count how many people said they like or dislike the idea and make a decision based on that. I’d really like to see City Council stop thinking about how many people might not like a policy and start thinking about how many people can benefit from a policy.

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    Gerald Fittipaldi July 30, 2016 at 12:35 pm

    To anyone who wasn’t written an email to the city on Better Naito yet, please do so. It doesn’t have to be long. Even one or two sentence is very valuable. Those emails count as a “vote” every bit as much as the lengthy ones. …

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      Gerald Fittipaldi July 30, 2016 at 12:56 pm

      Also, note that Sarah Iannarone’s email is addressed to the mayor and the five commissioners. This is great to do. For everyone’s convenience, here are their email addresses:,,,,

      Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if additional people who drive on Naito come out of the woodwork next week to email the city about how much they hated Better Naito, so be ready to send more emails. There is no time limit. Twitter is another option which is often more convenient than emailing, especially if you’re on the go. I’ve gotten responses from Mayor Hales on Twitter.

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    Dan A July 30, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    I like the anecdote about it taking 45 minutes to drive 6 miles. There are more fun ways to travel 8mph.

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      Mark Smith July 30, 2016 at 10:35 pm

      Guessing there was a slight exaggeration.

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      John August 1, 2016 at 10:30 am

      My bus takes 45 minutes to travel about six miles every morning and even longer in the evening due to excessive car traffic, which is why I now either ride a bike or walk further using a MAX connection and save about 10 minutes each way. We need bus-only lanes in addition to physically separated bikeways if we are going to make a dent in the mode split. Accommodating car traffic is self defeating and ruins all the experience of everyone else trying to take another mode.

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    Eric Leifsdad July 30, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    Note the letter from Jared Lorz isn’t so much in opposition to improving naito as wishing for a safe place to walk in SW. I read that as support for slowing auto traffic and/or closing and restricting streets to make them safe in locations where there isn’t enough traffic to justify spending more money.

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    Mark smith July 30, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Institutional racism protected by the law used to be accepted and cool too. Then we got collectively smarter. The same will happen with complete streets.

    Looking at your Mr 6 mile commute guy and Mr never come to festival guy.

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      Mark smith July 30, 2016 at 1:56 pm

      You are welcome world.

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    fat spandex dude July 30, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    Naito is always a headache on my evening commute from my job in Tigard to my flat in SE (having my workday bookended by 20 mile rides with lots of climbing is fun, but time consuming, so I usually drive), but the cause of it seems to mostly be due to traffic backed up from the Hawthorne Bridge onramp, as things get moving again right after the bridge.

    Putting a signal there is an idea, but I don’t think that it’s the best idea. Having an onramp cutting through a heavily-used sidewalk is bad, signal or no. Worse, the sightlines are terrible for drivers coming onto the bridge and those already on the bridge. Combined with the slippery metal grating, I’m amazed that there aren’t more crashes there.

    I’d rather simply see that onramp closed with the creation of a permanent N/S bike lane. I suppose that the old onramp that resembles the Morrison bridge one could be restored, but I honestly don’t like that onramp, either, because the entry is confusing and dangerous, and it’s cutting through heavily-used sidewalks at its entry and exit points. Maybe it would be best to turn Naito into a bike and automotive arterial that cuts around the downtown core with no bridge onramps.

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    Chris I July 31, 2016 at 8:05 am

    I like that Jan in NE talks about how much they love the walkability of the city, and then complains that they are upset about not being able to drive 6 miles quickly during rush hour.

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    Spiffy July 31, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    the comments from people using Naito as an alternate to the freeway want me to make Better Naito permanent even more… this kind of intentional abuse of the interstate freeway system is a main cause of congestion…

    I don’t think Better Naito goes far enough… another lane on the southbound side needs to be converted…

    people should know by now that with as dense as a downtown area is that a car will always be the worst option for getting there…

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      Bankerman August 1, 2016 at 11:03 pm

      Built a house in North Portland near the New Seasons on Interstate back in 1980 for $57k (eat your heart out). Leave home at 9:00am to cruise down I-5 to the I-405 split, exit on Burnside, then south on Broadway to the KION Tower; about five miles in 20 minutes. After work it’s over to Naito, onto the Morrison Bridge and merge onto I-5; home in about 25 minutes. If that’s the worse option. tell me about how it would be better via bike. Yea, didn’t think so.

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        dwk August 2, 2016 at 10:51 am

        You drove 5 miles in 25 minutes or a bit faster than 10 mph.
        I could jog faster, let alone bike. ***This portion of your comment has been deleted because it was insulting, unproductive, or just plain mean. Please be more considerate next time. Thanks. — Jonathan. ***

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    dunzo August 1, 2016 at 5:14 am

    thanks for those email addresses, just sent off a few missives in support of a permanent return of Better Naito.
    fingers crossed, every little bit counts

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      I wear many hats August 1, 2016 at 9:37 am

      yup, missed the letter campaign the first time, but now they have 5 more supporting ‘ticks’.

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    I wear many hats August 1, 2016 at 9:41 am

    yup, missed the letter campaign the first time, but now they have 5 more supporting ‘ticks’.

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    bikeninja August 1, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    If it is a good idea to get rid of the Naito improvements to help commute times ,lets just bring back the old harbor freeway. Think how fast we could drive our motorcars back and forth to work if we paved all the parks, and turned the sidewalks in to extra lanes all over town. Why do we need those things when real americans drive straight from the office to home so they can watch TV and eat cheeze doodles. (sarc off)

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    J-P Voilleque August 2, 2016 at 10:07 am

    I’ll be interested to hear the full study numbers. As a downtown resident, Better Naito *seemed* substantially worse this year. To be clear, I don’t think people have the right to drive their car at a specific speed through downtown. We are a one car family and use TriMet a lot. That said, I don’t see the bike/walk lane as solving what appear to be real troubles with the waterfront pathways.

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    Ben Schonberger (@SchonbergerBen) August 2, 2016 at 11:41 am

    “Subject: You Suck” would be a great name for a blog.

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