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.
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.