Nine months after a three-day event that tested a single southbound lane of auto traffic on a few blocks of NW and SW 3rd Avenue, a group of stakeholders on the street has endorsed a middle ground: two lanes.
One of Portland’s top tourist attractions seems poised to become dramatically less car-oriented by the start of 2016.
Two months after a three-day demo of a human-oriented 3rd Avenue captured many visitors’ imaginations, permanent changes are afoot.
The city is proposing to spend $10,000 next spring to add paint to 14 unmarked crosswalks on NW 2nd, 3rd and 4th between Burnside and Glisan. Several nearby properties have just changed hands. And Howard Weiner, chair of the Old Town Community Association, is working on plans that could bring much larger changes to the area.
The widely praised experiment that created a temporary protected bike lane and big new pedestrian areas on 3rd Avenue in Old Town this month seems to be reshaping the way the city sees the street.
“For the last 20 years, I’ve noticed the extraordinary width at that point on 3rd and I should have noticed an obvious use for all that space was ping pong tables,” Commissioner Steve Novick, who had enjoyed a game of table tennis during the demonstration, joked at a city council hearing on the subject Wednesday.
This weekend in downtown Portland’s slightly seedy north side, a citizen group temporarily converted two lanes of auto parking, a big expanse of empty pavement and two traditional travel lanes into a huge new pedestrian plaza, rows of street seats and ping-pong tables and a protected bike lane.
And it was, more or less, a huge hit.
Early this morning, Better Block PDX took the wraps off its largest project yet: They’ve transformed three blocks of 3rd Ave from Davis (in Old Town) to Ash (near Voodoo Doughnut) from a bloated, auto-centric thoroughfare into a a more humane street with a protected bike lane, on-street bike parking, a new crosswalk and ample plaza space for sitting and enjoying a doughnut or three. [Read more…]
Working every evening for two weeks in a warren of unfinished rooms three stories above Old Town, more than a dozen enthusiastic volunteers have almost finished building the street features that will remake 3rd Avenue for one weekend, starting Friday morning.
Frustrated by city officials’ estimates that it’d take several years to even consider a major redesign of 3rd Avenue through Old Town, a group of neighborhood businesses is teaming up with a team of livable streets advocates to create their own three-day demo of what a better street could look like — two weeks from today.
Inspired in part by the “pop-up” street projects that have helped reshape New York City in the last five years, organizers say Old Town’s three-block project will be one of the country’s largest such projects ever.
It’ll use wooden planters in the street to create more than a thousand square feet of new pedestrianized space between NW Davis an SW Ash, a protected bike lane, a series of new sidewalk cafes, a marked crosswalk and a huge new public plaza in front of Voodoo Doughnut adjoining Old Town’s thriving Ankeny Alley.
A coalition of 30 Old Town bars, restaurants and entertainment venues is proposing adding a quarter-mile of planter-protected bike lanes and street cafe seating to 2nd and/or 3rd avenues.
Inspired by nearby projects on SW Ankeny and NE Multnomah, the six-month-old Old Town Hospitality Group sees their experimental road diet concept, which could narrow the streets’ car-oriented area from three travel lanes to one or two and might remove some on-street auto parking, as a way to make the neighborhood safer, more comfortable and better to do business in.