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City says five month ‘Better Naito’ will start May 1st

Posted by on March 6th, 2018 at 12:38 pm

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland – Graphic: PBOT)

With just two months before they re-implement Better Naito, the City of Portland has released a 26 page report (PDF) touting its successful run last year.

The reconfiguration of Naito Parkway — which includes a protected spaces for biking and walking on the east side of the street — will return on May 1st and will run through September 30th. Better Naito begain in 2015 as a demonstration project of volunteer-led Better Block PDX. 2017 was the first year the project was fully under City of Portland purview.

The City is eager for Better Naito season because analysis from the Bureau of Transportation shows it’s working very well. “The project was incredibly popular with people walking and biking. In just one day, over 12,000 people walking used Better Naito to access the Waterfront Blues Fest,” PBOT wrote in a press statement. “What’s more, a total of 393,173 one-way trips were taken by people on bikes on Better Naito over the five-month project period.”

Many Naito users were happy with the additional safety for biking and walking. Thanks to the (locally-developed) Ride Report app, PBOT can claim that people bicycling were twice as likely to ride Better Naito than the Waterfront Trail. Bicycle users were also 3.5 times as likely to ride on Naito Parkway during the Better Naito season than during the off-season.

Key findings from the report.

And for people who drove cars and trucks, the impact of the reconfiguration on their travel times was “minimal”. Citing their own analysis and observations, PBOT says driving times for northbound auto users during the morning commute (7:00 to 8:00 am) increased by just 1 minute and 28 seconds (between Clay and Stark). Travel times were similar for the evening commute (4:00 to 5:00 pm), where it took drivers an additional 1 minute and 33 seconds to move through the street.

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To put the popularity of Better Naito into perspective, PBOT counts showed that bicycle users accounted for nearly one-third (31%) of the total northbound traffic volume in the PM peak.

Here are a few other charts from the report:

Learn more about Better Naito at the official website and check out the full report here.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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soren
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soren

“increased by just 1 minute and 28 seconds”

but those seconds were excruciatingly traumatic because, sometimes, people driving had to watch people cycling pass them (on a bike!!!).

J.E.
Guest
J.E.

There were rumors circulating that this was the year Better Naito was going to become a permanent installation, due to the hard data on its successful use and implementation last year (featured here), as well as an expired agreement with Saturday Market to use the bike lane for loading and unloading. Looks like we’ve gotta keep waiting…

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

A 1.5 minute increase on a 2 minute trip is a big jump.

Allan Rudwick
Subscriber

What about the 1.5-2 minute decrease in travel time for people on bikes? After all avoiding all those pedestrians along the waterfront path has a time cost

Shoupian
Subscriber
Shoupian

This project should have been permanent after the first or second trial. There was overwhelming public support last year and the year before that and the data collected showed that it imposes no significant delay on motor vehicles (not that it’s important IMO). One of the downsides of tactical urbanism is that it can easily become a temporary spectacle, a seasonal victory that involved parties can claim year after year.

The short-term and low-cost nature of tactical urbanism helps bring easy political wins for progressive public agencies (PBOT in this instance) to show that they are the champions of active transportation without real capital investment and political leadership. But to really move the needle, to really prioritize active transportation, temporary and seasonal projects will never be sufficient.

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

It would surprise me that the increased time included the twice daily train breaks coming off the Steel bridge. These typically are a minimum of 1/2 hour. In the car I only notice them when the bikeway is in place. The trains just do not stop unless the bikeway is in place.

Old Town
Guest
Old Town

If you like Better Naito and want to see it made permanent, please email City Council!

Getting political support behind it is the only thing missing from making it permanent!

mayorwheeler@portlandoregon.gov
dan@portlandoregon.gov
nick@portlandoregon.gov
amanda@portlandoregon.gov
Chloe@portlandoregon.gov

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

The statistics are misleading.

There are a lot more cyclists and fewer drivers in general in combination with how the waterfront park is used (i.e. festivals, relaxing, etc) during that season which make the impact look much bigger than it is. The reality is that there was little bike traffic on BN the final week and it wasn’t because the quality of BN had deteriorated.

The delay reported is even more misleading. First off, Clay to Stark is the fastest part of the whole road and a third of the segment they were measuring is before BN even starts. In addition, traffic is not spread anywhere close to evenly throughout the hour so the average delay among all drivers for that short and relatively fast section is not representative for what many drivers experience. When things are moving (which is a lot of the time), a lot of drivers get through and which dramatically lowers the average time.

If you tell people they’re only sitting in the traffic for a minute in a half, they won’t take you seriously. And why should they? The reason everyone here chuckles about the traffic is they know it’s awful.

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

And Better Naito will only be in place for five months because why? Car traffic is higher in the winter??

eawriste
Guest
eawriste

# of miles of permanent PBLs installed while Wheeler has been in office: <1

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

Why does this particular section of Naito gets so much attention compared to other areas? This specific mile already has a bike lane with virtually no hook threats and is among the easiest sections of busy road in Portland.

The section before “Better” Naito also passes by a popular park and with orders of magnitude more threats than “normal” Naito. Why is practically nothing said about that? And while Naito north of BN has a bike lane, it’s still not nearly as friendly from a riding perspective as “normal” Naito.

I’m enjoying the end of the winter riding. I personally think it’s a shame to wall off all that space along the waterfront and mess up a beautiful area — which is the whole reason BN is necessary. Nothing says progress like amplified noise, clouds of dust, and throngs of people.

Scott Kocher
Guest

Sunny today on the the waterfront path. Overcrowded. A few people with mental illness who I worried about. One guy sitting unsteady on a cleat waving his arms, yelling. People on bikes and jogging and walking steering clear. One standing on the river side of the railing (!) smiling, shaking badly and talking to a police officer. Whose SUV made a bottleneck. A guy (on the safe side of the railing) in a bright green dinosaur costume. More T-rex than vegetarian. Hundreds of commuters on bikes, going 8 mph. Normal cruising speed would be twice that. Add 4 minutes to your trip time? Oh no! Naito bike lanes getting… barely any takers. Because they’re wretched and smelly and narrow and dangerous with people driving dump trucks, garbage trucks, semi trucks, Highlanders and “Armadas” fast, within inches. “Fast bikes use Naito Bike Lanes”! http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2015/03/man_dies_after_truck_strikes_h.html
Better Naito even with its unheeded 20mph signs and run over candlesticks can’t come back soon enough.

maxadders
Guest
maxadders

Once again “Better Naito” misses most of why the existing bike infrastructure is inadequate: crossing the damned street. A few hundred feet of N/S buffer means little to me when I still have to choose between several bad, uncomfortable intersections to get between Waterfront Park and downtown, where I work. None of these intersections have much, if any, facilities for bikes. I cross 82nd every day on my bike as well, and honestly think it’s more predictable than the signals on Naito. Unless Better Naito is “phase one” in getting rid of automobiles on the street all together I still really don’t see the point of it all. It’s a solution looking for a problem.