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PBOT announces early end to Better Naito

Posted by on September 4th, 2018 at 5:59 pm

The protected route has become a lifeline for many Portlanders.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland Bureau of Transportation announced today that Better Naito will come to an early close this year. The city will take down the plastic wands and signs and remove the pavement markings on the weekend of September 22-23rd — one week before it was scheduled to end.

Here’s more from PBOT:

Another successful season of Better Naito will draw to a close on September 23, 2018. The seasonal protected space for people walking, biking and rolling is ending one week earlier than initially planned to accommodate Multnomah County’s Burnside Bridge Maintenance Project. The project will repair sections of the Burnside Bridge during September and October, including the sections that are above Naito Parkway as well as the bike lanes, sidewalks and driveways under the bridge.

Since 2015, Better Naito has provided a protected space for pedestrians and cyclists traveling along Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park during its busiest season: summer. Every year the park hosts many of the region’s largest festivals, drawing almost 700,000 visitors during the spring and summer, and over 15,000 people on the busiest days. In 2017, cyclists took almost 400,000 one-way trips on Better Naito. Better Naito will return for another season in 2019, with the installation tentatively scheduled for the last weekend of April.

“Multnomah County has worked with its Burnside Bridge contractor, neighbors and PBOT to coordinate work on the bridge above Naito Parkway in September,” said Multnomah County Spokesperson Mike Pullen. “The schedule change minimizes impacts on the University of Oregon facility on the northwest side of the bridge and reduces costs and schedule impacts for the bridge repairs. We’re thankful for the City’s flexibility as we complete this important maintenance work.”


Signs informing the public of the closure and detour route will be installed in the coming weeks. The bollards delineating Better Naito from the adjacent northbound travel lane will be removed during the weekend of September 22-23.

While it’s just one week and probably not a bad decision given the County’s upcoming project, this is a reminder that despite all our accolades, Portland still struggles to make some of the easiest shots in the game of transportation.

Even with its bare-bones budget and temporary implementation, Better Naito has been a resounding success for the past four years. It has survived funding votes at City Council, it has captured enthusiasm of electeds, and it has been a shining example of government working with activists for the greater good.

Unless something changes (or someone at City Hall gets enough spine to stand up to the Portland Business Alliance — which remains the sole voice opposed to the project), our best chance to make Better Naito permanent now lies with the Central City in Motion (CCIM) process. Better Naito is one of 18 projects under consideration for $9 million in-hand and an estimated $30 million total expected budget. PBOT will launch another online open house for CCIM feedback tomorrow morning (Wednesday, September 5th).

If Better Naito makes the cut as one of the first CCIM projects, PBOT says it could start construction by next year.

For now, enjoy your last few weeks of stress-free riding on Naito.

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

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Avatar
    Andrew Kreps September 4, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    Why in the world are they removing the entire stretch because of work going on above 1% of it? This is bull crap.

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    resopmok September 4, 2018 at 8:02 pm

    Make it permanent. Re-stripe Naito, end of story.

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    Mike Quigley September 5, 2018 at 6:17 am

    Just a local example of how the American system is hopelessly rigged. Simply because the people keep electing and re-electing the riggers!

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      Alan Love September 5, 2018 at 8:49 am

      That’s quite a broad statement regarding a temporary traffic pattern change.

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        Erik Harper September 14, 2018 at 11:55 am

        It’s true regardless.

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    Dawn McNeill September 5, 2018 at 8:53 am

    Gone too soon. 🙁

    Better Naito is the only thing that makes navigating the waterfront a tolerable exercise (especially during summer). I run as well as bike and my Saturday runs are much more pleasant when I don’t have to weave through the market during set-up…despite the fact that I still have to dodge vans unloading in the Better Naito lanes.

    How do we advocate for permanence?

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    Shoupian September 5, 2018 at 9:01 am

    Since 2015, the City of Portland has repeatedly removed a tested and popular improvement that enhances the safety of people walking and biking.

    Since 2015, the City of Portland has again and again failed to demonstrate the necessary commitment and leadership to create a quality and world class facility on the waterfront for people walking and biking.

    Since 2015, the City of Portland has again and again reverted back progress made by the support of community members.

    All the meanwhile, every year PBOT gives lunch talks and presentations about the success of Better Naito. Real success does not get undone every year. Real success needs commitment for permanent change.

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      eawriste September 5, 2018 at 11:55 am

      Miles of on-street protected bike lanes installed by Wheeler: 1 mile
      Number of months he has been in office: 20

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  • TonyT
    TonyT September 5, 2018 at 10:00 am

    So lame. Our leadership really is just so afraid to take on the PBA et al. Lip service all day long to combating climate change but where the rubber meets the road, they just fold.

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    beba September 5, 2018 at 10:49 am

    Better Naito has been a resounding success for the past four years.

    But fails to become a year round success.

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    Galavantista September 5, 2018 at 3:22 pm


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    GlowBoy September 5, 2018 at 3:26 pm


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    well thenne September 8, 2018 at 9:06 am

    only 11 comments, huh??
    i guess that says everything about how much impact Better Naito had.

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      GlowBoy September 11, 2018 at 7:13 am

      Or, maybe it did have an impact, but this is just the same thing that’s happened five years in a row, and we have other, bigger battles to fight.

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    mark smith September 9, 2018 at 5:36 pm

    PBOT has done so little for so long. And now their war cry is anti walking and biking and pro monster vehicle.

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