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.
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