A project that offers a major update to SW Naito Parkway will get it first official public viewing this coming Wednesday (1/10).
A quarter-mile of Portlanders lined Southwest Naito Parkway’s temporary protected bike lane Thursday evening to form bollards with their bodies and call for the next “Better Naito” to be permanent.
As Portland prepares to remove a temporary protected bike lane on Monday and biking advocates prepare to call for permanent improvements with a human-protected bike lane demonstration tonight, a separate discussion has been going on.
As part of last year’s voter-approved Fixing Our Streets program, the city has promised to reconstruct and repave Naito Boulevard between the Hawthorne Bridge and Interstate 405. But state law requires reconstructed roads to add bike facilities — and that stretch of Naito has never had bike lanes.
The result: The city has worked up a rough engineering concept that includes a bike path and protected two-way bike lanes between Salmon Street and Harrison Street, including on-street protected bike lanes beneath the Hawthorne Bridge onramp that would permanently repurpose one of Naito’s four auto traffic lanes for biking, at least at this crucial pinchpoint.
This is a subscriber post by Kiel Johnson of Go By Bike.
At 6 p.m. tonight, join me and your fellow bike enthusiasts for what could be, if we want it to be, the biggest bicycling demonstration in Portland’s history. Together we will stand against the complacency that has told us that more biking is inevitable if we only do nothing.
We all know how to get more people biking, but it will only happen when enough people in Portland stand and demand it as loudly and as often as they can.
Each bike lane that we add or take away tells a story about who we are and what kind of place we want to live in. Are we a city that fosters health, community, and environmental stewardship? Or are we a city that breathes the same polluted air and sits in the same traffic as most of the rest of the United States? Tonight, I choose to help make a city where biking is accessible and safe for all; where we prioritize people who move through our city in ways that make us appreciate one another; where we build bridges that connect communities instead of rivers of cars to separate us.
As the City of Portland prepares to remove the temporary protected bike lane along its downtown waterfront, some Portlanders see a one-time chance to grab the public imagination.
A group of residents and others who support protected bike lanes in the central city and elsewhere are planning to line up along the soon-to-be removed Naito Parkway protected bike lanes at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28, to touch arms and create a half-hour “human-protected bike lane,” complete with music, then capture the image for a crowdfunded advertising campaign in support of permanent bike lane protections.
“I think it’s gonna be awesome,” said Emily Guise, the co-chair of advocacy group BikeLoudPDX. “We’re taking inspiration from people who have done them around the globe: Dublin, San Francisco, New York. … It’s going to be a really positive event.”
(Publisher’s note: This article was submitted by BikePortland subscriber Joan. It comes the day after the Portland Business Alliance launched an email campaign against Better Naito. The campaign appears to have backfired as it has spurred dozens (if not hundreds) of emails to city council and social media comments in support of the project.
We shop, patronize, attend, work for, and support the organizations that comprise the PBA. It’s time to talk to these businesses directly. Do they know about this campaign PBA is running in their name?
As Jonathan wrote in BikePortland last month, the Portland Business Alliance (PBA), which bills itself as the chamber of commerce for greater Portland, has an aggressive campaign against Better Naito, the temporary lane change to SW Naito Parkway along the Waterfront Park that makes bicycling and walking and visiting festivals safer and better during the summer months. As the Portland Mercury notes in the headline to a story about this very topic, the PBA ‘is weirdly obsessed with ‘Better Naito.'”
This campaign has taken several forms, including a misguided editorial in the Portland Tribune and multiple contacts with elected officials. The Mercury said, “PBA brings Better Naito up in meetings with elected officials, and earlier this month, the organization drafted a strongly worded letter to Transportation Commissioner Dan Saltzman attempting to bring its monied heft to bear on the issue.”
Sorry Portland Business Alliance, but the evolution of downtown streets will continue with or without your approval.
The business lobbying group (known around here as “the PBA”) that used to have considerable sway over downtown decision-making, made their opposition to the Better Naito project clear last week. And while the PBA might feel better when the temporary biking and walking-only lane gets removed in September, they’ll soon realize it’s just one of many moves the Portland Bureau of Transportation is making to update downtown streets. And those updates are all aimed at doing the same thing as Better Naito: create more space for biking so it becomes safer and more convenient for more people.
With Better Naito, a new (permanent) path to connect to the Steel Bridge, and several other recent developments, the future of Portland’s downtown bike network is taking shape and Naito Parkway plays a leading role.
Here’s how just a few parts of this emerging bike network figure into that future…
What does the Portland Business Alliance think about Better Naito; the city’s reconfiguration of Naito Parkway to include a two-way protected bike lane and sidewalk? It depends on who you ask. Or more precisely, it depends on which of their positions will face more public scrutiny.
The PBA, Portland’s most well-established business lobby group with over 1,800 member companies, has issued two official statements on Better Naito. One came in the form of an op-ed from PBA Board of Directors Chair Jim Mark published in the Portland Tribune on Tuesday; the other came from PBA President and CEO Sandra McDonough in the form of a letter dated May 9th and addressed to Portland Bureau of Transportation Commissioner Dan Saltzman. I obtained that letter (PDF) via a public records request along with 12 other emails sent to Saltzman’s office regarding Better Naito over the past month.