Better Block PDX

Bus-only lane advocates have a proposal to improve SW Madison

by on September 6th, 2017 at 11:12 am

The parking on the left would be removed, giving this bus its own lane.

Physical separation is to bicycling what reliability is to transit. If we don’t have it, the masses will never switch from driving and our transportation system will never reach its potential.

That’s why an idea for a “pop-up” bus-only lane is worthy of your attention.

Our friends at the all-volunteer Portland Bus Lane Project have pitched an idea to Better Block PDX that would reconfigure SW Madison Street between 5th and the Hawthorne Bridge. Their idea comes in response a request for proposals that Better Block launched back in July.

PBLP was hatched in May by a group of transit advocates that are frustrated with how auto-congestion during peak hours is killing bus reliability. Their solution is to create dedicated bus-only lanes which they see as an inexpensive way to prioritize mass transit and improve bus reliability while getting more people to their destinations on time.

Their proposal is currently being vetted and considered by Better Block and they’ve given me permission to share it with you.[Read more…]

Want to transform a street? Propose your idea to Better Block PDX

by on July 24th, 2017 at 1:38 pm

Get the lowdown in this PDF.

Ever since Better Block PDX popped onto the scene in 2013, this all-volunteer group of tactical urbanists has captured our imagination. Their daring and creative street transformation projects have had a real impact on how we experience transportation. And more importantly, their projects have influenced hearts and minds of thousands of Portlanders, including many of whom work at 1221 SW Fourth Avenue.

Long before Better Naito became a City Hall darling, the idea was hatched by Better Block volunteers over beers and pizza. In years past, the group would choose its projects based on an internal and informal process.

Now for the first time they’ve opened up the decision-making to the public. If you have an idea for how to make a section of streetscape better, Better Block wants to hear from you.
[Read more…]

A protected bike lane is born: ‘Better Naito’ is being installed right now

by on April 20th, 2017 at 5:02 pm

Posts were erected today on Naito. They’ll be in place (barring destruction by careless drivers) through the end of September.
(Photo: Timur Ender)

From now until the end of September, all Portlanders will benefit from a much more humane Naito Parkway. Along a busy section of our marquee riverfront street usually held hostage by speeding motor vehicles spewing toxic fumes into the air we breathe, people will drive more slowly and there will be much more room to walk and bike and roll.

As I type this, transportation bureau crews are installing the plastic wands and other elements that will help re-allocate space on the northbound (east) side of Naito for about 3/4 of a mile between SW Main and NW Couch. The $350,000 project was supported by City Council last October. Former Mayor Charlie Hales was an ardent supporter of improving vehicle access on Naito. Prior to voting on it last fall he said, “Expanding the public realm for bicycles in this city, and is something we’re still committed to.”
[Read more…]

‘Spirit of Portland’ awards include PBOT staffer, CCC CEO, and Better Block

by on December 7th, 2016 at 1:15 pm

2016 winners include PBOT's Janis McDonald (lef), Community Cycling Center CEO Mychal Tetteh (right) and Better Block PDX.(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland and Better Block)

2016 winners include PBOT’s Janis McDonald (left), Community Cycling Center CEO Mychal Tetteh (right) and Better Block PDX.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland and Better Block)

The 32nd annual Spirit of Portland Awards have been announced and the 2016 winners include three names you’re probably very familiar with.
[Read more…]

Call to action: Let’s make ‘Seasonal Better Naito’ a reality

by on October 21st, 2016 at 10:08 am

Naito Parkway traffic observations -14.jpg

We can set this in stone every summer for five years if we let City Council know we want it.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Bicycle access through and to Waterfront Park is in dire need of help. And ‘Seasonal Better Naito’ — a project proposed by the Bureau of Transportation and supported by Mayor Charlie Hales — is our best chance to get it.
[Read more…]

Old idea of a human-centric, carfree downtown will be brought to life Saturday

by on August 17th, 2016 at 1:55 pm

Flyer for Saturday's big event.

Flyer for Saturday’s big event.

The crew that brought us the 3rd Avenue plaza, Better Broadway and Better Naito are about to embark on yet another ambitious project: this Saturday Better Block PDX will connect the north and south Park Blocks to create a one-mile stretch of carfree streets and plazas.
[Read more…]

At just $20,000, Ankeny Plaza is Portland’s cheapest “bridge” project ever

by on August 9th, 2016 at 4:12 pm

Ankeny Plaza ribbon cutting-13.jpg

Cheap. Fast. Popular. Now let’s do another one.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s the cheapest bridge project ever completed in the Portland region. For just $20,000, the city’s Bureau of Transportation has changed the face of an iconic and historic part of town. And they’re sort of bragging about it, which is awesome.

At the ribbon-cutting event for Ankeny Plaza today, City Commissioner Steve Novick delighted in how his Bureau of Transportation has radically transformed the streets between 2nd and 3rd Avenues in Old Town/Chinatown. “This is incredibly awesome,” he bubbled, before making a reference to Martha & The Vandellas’ classic tune, “Dancing in the Streets.”
[Read more…]

Who’s mad and who’s glad about ‘Better Naito’?

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on July 29th, 2016 at 4:19 pm

Naito Parkway traffic observations -13.jpg

Naito Parkway on Thursday afternoon as seen looking north from the Morrison Bridge.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

This weekend, the City of Portland plans to remove the temporary multi-use path from the eastern side of Naito Parkway so the space can be used by cars instead.

[Read more…]

First look: The new public plaza on SW 3rd

by on July 22nd, 2016 at 3:11 pm

New public plaza on SW 3rd and Ankeny-7.jpg

Looking south north at Burnside from SW 3rd near Ankeny.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

You know Portland is getting its groove back when the Bureau of Transportation creates a large new public plaza and it takes us nearly a week to get it up on the front page.
[Read more…]

Portland Underground Grad School class will cover tactical urbanism

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on July 20th, 2016 at 8:44 am

NE 85th & Milton & Beech

An “intersection repair” at NE 85th Avenue, Milton and Beech.
(Photo: Greg Raisman)

A local organization that arranges for Portlanders to teach one another niche skills and information is offering a four-week introduction to do-it-yourself street transformation.

From Better Block’s temporary bike lanes to City Repair’s beloved intersection murals to Depave’s manually removed asphalt, Portland is rich with the spirit of “tactical urbanism,” an umbrella term for fast, flexible changes that make city streets better for people.

Now, Portlander Claire Vlach is offering a four-session crash course through the year-old Portland Underground Grad School. Cost: $99 for the eight-hour class.

[Read more…]