What’s the status of Better Naito Forever?

Barrels block the Naito bikeway just south of SW Morrison.
(Photos: Taylor Griggs/BikePortland)

The Better Naito Forever project, intended to make Naito Parkway a safer place for people to bike and walk, was “substantially complete” when we last took a look at it in December.

This project broke ground one year ago and because it was built in tandem with the SW Naito Improvement Project, people biking in the central city will soon have access to a new two-way bikeway on Naito Parkway from SW Lincoln to NW Davis streets.

However, while Naito is now open for people driving cars, the Portland Bureau of Transportation still hasn’t given bike users the green light to roll on the new green lanes.

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Naito bikeway south of Salmon St

PBOT originally said the bikeway would be open by mid-February, but as of now, people biking must take a detour onto the Waterfront Park path from SW Salmon to SW Ankeny streets. According to Hannah Schafer, PBOT’s Interim Director of Communications, supply chain issues are to blame.

“We have not opened up the Better Naito Forever cycletrack due to a handful of final construction tasks that were impacted by supply chain issues. Bollards still need to be installed, bike signals need to be activated, and some striping needs to be completed. We hope to have these remaining tasks complete by the end of the month,” Schafer told me in an email.

I rode through the area earlier this week to take a closer look. I was out there during a rainy weekday morning when the streets were pretty empty. There were a lot of large orange barrels blocking the bikeway, but I could easily navigate around them because I was the only person using the path. The detour onto the Waterfront Park path wasn’t that bad – there were only about two other people strolling on it, so I was free to go at a typical commuting pace.

But I can’t imagine it’s that simple during a rush-hour commute or – now that cherry blossom season is now almost underway – on a sunny weekend afternoon. It’s unfortunate when bike users have to dodge sightseers and tourists on the path. This is why a designated bike lane on Naito will be such a game-changer.

There’s also a secondary reason for the detour: Multnomah County’s Morrison Bridge painting project is staging work in the closed bikeway through this month.

With luck, the projects will finish in a similar timeframe so we can fully utilize this important new bikeway.

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hamiramani
3 months ago

Thank you for keeping this in the fore. I really don’t understand why these massive barrels need to be strewn about in the bikeway at all. Why not just install a few detour signs and allow people riding to use the usable part of the cycletrack? Also, it’s hard to believe that a lack of bollards is preventing the opening of the bikeway.

The usable parts of the Naito bikeway ought to be cleaned up and decluttered, detour signs installed where needed and people allowed to ride their bikes so that folks walking at the waterfront are not disturbed by bike riders.

kbrosnan
kbrosnan
3 months ago
Reply to  hamiramani

I expect the barrels are to stop cars from driving on Better Naito. With the wand setup for the last few years I would see a car driving or nearly driving on it every few months.

Eli
Eli
3 months ago
Reply to  kbrosnan

more like every few days. :/

maxD
maxD
3 months ago

This is a 100% pattern with PBOT. For all of their talk about supporting bike infrastructure, their actions speak louder than words: They are 98% car-centric. Greeley was the same way: the project schedule is urgent and closely monitored until the auto lanes are operational, then they stop paying attention. schedules slip by months, detours are not maintained, and final punchlist items are forgotten.

X
X
3 months ago

And the construction access is the best use of the bikeway? That has a familiar ring.

Jrdpdx
Jrdpdx
3 months ago

It gets better incrementally. The Hawthorne Bridge / Naito/ Jefferson / 1st Ave section is a huge improvement.
I am remaining patient. I only ride the waterfront in the winter and will switch when foot traffic picks up. Happy for the change

Eli
Eli
3 months ago

Thanks for the update. I ended up dodging the barrels myself last weekend when I was trying to get to inner SE after work at OHSU. There’s really no good way to get through downtown and across the river, but what am I supposed to do? I guess PBOT would like it if I just drove instead. I hope they wrap this up soon. I’m still riding, I just have to dodge either downtown drivers (who cannot seem to follow any signs related to turning or bus lanes) or barrels.

fishyfishy123
fishyfishy123
3 months ago

Thanks for the update – I was trying to figure out how to legally cross Naito from the bike path. It’s not clear which intersections are open and which aren’t. I’ve also noticed the bike lane for part of Barbur going into the city was closed for a few days. The first time I did it was pretty horrible as they just had one “bikes on the road sign” and expected me to successfully merge with 45mph traffic. Anyone know anything about that? Is that finished? Since I can’t tell if it’s open or not, I’ve been avoiding it as there is no other way to go once I’m on it.

Jo
Jo
3 months ago

Oh good. More bollards that will collect tree material and never be cleaned (like the ones on Broadway between the Broadway Bridge and Burnside).

fishyfishy123
fishyfishy123
3 months ago
Reply to  Jo

Yeah, all those protected bike lanes are just filling up with debris like crazy.

Tomas Pasternoster
Tomas Pasternoster
3 months ago

Too bad there are no more downtown workers to use this! I suppose it will be good parking for the Rose Festival semi trucks.