I’ve been out on NE Broadway several times this week. And I love what Better Block has done with the place. The transformation of the street from auto-centric thoroughfare to a pleasant street that welcomes a mix of uses has been nothing short of amazing.
But I’m here to let you in on a secret: Not everyone is pleased. I’ve heard from several sources that the project is coming under fire by people whose hate equals my love.
Much of the anger is apparently coming from people think Broadway should remain a fast, crowded arterial mostly for driving on. While people out on the street are supportive and Better Block PDX has many fantastic neighborhood partners, there are some (who just so happen to have very powerful voices) who see this temporary street transformation as evil incarnate.
Got plans tonight?
Dispatch from Better Broadway: More bike parking, better auto parking, a transit island video and more
As promised, the Better Broadway project got a few improvements since our post yesterday. I went out there again this morning to take a second look at how things were shaping up.
The gutsiest tactical urbanism project Portland has ever seen is officially underway.
Nine months ago, one of the city’s top experts on the Lloyd District predicted to us that any changes to inner Northeast Portland’s main east-west arterial were 10 years away.
“I think people need to realize that Broadway doesn’t know what they want to do yet,” said Rick Williams, the founding director of the Go Lloyd business association, in an interview. “Broadway is kind of where we were 10 years ago: in the planning phase.”
But if an on-street trial next week of improved crosswalks and a protected bike lane do well, the planning phase could move pretty quickly.
The Better Broadway project is one of the most ambitious temporary space activation projects ever attempted in a US city. If it is successful the door will be opened to an entirely new narrative in Portland around auto space on our busiest roads. The scope of the project is ambitious. From NE 24th to 7th the entire north side-parking lane will be moved to the other side of the bike lane. This will create a parking protected bike lane with 5 temporary pedestrian crossings and islands alongside transit islands. It involves over 50 businesses and unlike the SW 3rd project, which ran for a weekend, Better Broadway will last for an entire week.