Equity, public access concerns delay carfree Ankeny plans – Updated

Portland Car Free Days (Day 2)

Ankeny during a carfree event
in 2006.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Last month we shared the news that the City of Portland, with full support from adjacent businesses, planned to move forward with a pilot program to make SW Ankeny Street carfree between 2nd and 3rd Avenues.

The City plans to re-program the space by prohibiting motor vehicles and effectively turning the narrow street into an extended sidewalk with seating for nearby cafes. Business owners love the idea (they even agreed to pay the City for lost parking revenue) because Ankeny’s narrow sidewalks make outdoor seating impossible.

With support from businesses and PBOT, a grand opening was slated for June 21st, the official start of summer.

But when the ordinance came up at City Council this week, the plans hit a snag. City Commissioner Amanda Fritz voted against it and since it was proposed as an “emergency” ordinance (in order to meet the June 21st date), it had to pass unanimously. With Fritz’s no vote, it failed 4-1.

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City of Portland poised to make carfree Ankeny Street a reality

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Portland Car Free Days (Day 2)

One block of SW Ankeny will be carfree
for four months starting in June.
(Photo © J. Maus)

The Oregonian reported yesterday that the Portland Bureau of Transportation has worked with business owners to negotiate a permit that will make SW Ankeny Street between 2nd and 3rd Avenues carfree from June 21st to October 21st.

This block of SW Ankeny was the site of Portland Carfree Days back in 2006. Back in October, we flagged it as a perfect place to try a carfree street. Then, a few months ago, the Willamette Week reported on business owners on the street who also supported the concept. With full backing from new PBOT Director Tom Miller, The Oregonian reported yesterday that PBOT has granted a four-month permit to make it a reality:

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PBOT director in full support of carfree SW Ankeny

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward
Portland Car Free Days (Day 2)

Carfree SW Ankeny, as seen during
a special event in 2006.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Director of PBOT Tom Miller told us today that he supports making a block of SW Ankeny Street carfree.

Miller said he met with business owner Dustin Knox yesterday and the two, “sketched out a potential pathway to success.” Knox owns a bar on the stretch of Ankeny between SW 2nd and 3rd and he was featured in a story in Willamette Week on Wednesday. In that article, Knox said he and other business owners wanted more space for tables and chairs for their customers, but that people on the street are too cramped by cars. (This stretch of Ankeny is very narrow (therein lies its charm) and has a parking lane and one through lane.)

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