(May 19, 2015) – Commissioner Steve Novick and community partners today announced the Naito Pilot Project, a temporary safety solution that will create a pleasant route for people to get to the Rose Festival’s CityFair at Gov. Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
Better Block PDX, a local group of public space advocates, has obtained a permit from the Portland Bureau of Transportation to implement a design developed by a team of civil engineering students from Portland State University to provide one northbound motor vehicle lane that is physically separated from a protected bicycle and pedestrian space to help everyone safely and comfortably access the waterfront.
“Pilot projects such as this one highlight how we can use our streets to foster economic development, livability and tourism,” said Novick, who oversees PBOT. “In the downtown waterfront, we have become a victim of our own success. The waterfront path exceeds its capacity during peak tourist season. We need to provide a safe space for people to travel.”
“The Naito Pilot Project is a quintessential example of how transportation infrastructure plays a critical role in strengthening the social fabric of our city. It is one of many ways PBOT continues to be a partner in creating a livable city and providing opportunities for our residents to become actively engaged in the public right of way,” said PBOT Director Leah Treat.
Waterfront Park and the Rose Festival have become so successful and popular, they draw hundreds of thousands of people to the waterfront. But to reach the festival, Oregonians are too often forced to squeeze into narrow sidewalks, walk in a bike lane, or bike in a travel lane with high-speed traffic.
Starting Friday May 22 and lasting through June 5, the four-lane SW Naito Parkway will have three travel lanes, plus a lane of open space for the public to walk and bike safely to the festival. The pilot project will open nearly a mile of street, 15 feet wide, to public use, from SW Salmon Street to NW Couch Street.
“Better Block is excited to continue the conversation about public space on our downtown waterfront that was started by Gov. Tom McCall,” said Ryan Hashagen, a volunteer with the group.
Earlier this spring, the Office of Commissioner Novick, Better Block PDX, PBOT and the Rose Festival had all identified the need to make access to the park more comfortable during the festival’s CityFair, which draws an estimated 20,000 people a day to the waterfront.
“As a permanent resident of Waterfront Park, we see a remarkable diversity in transportation methods used here daily,” said Rich Jarvis, Portland Rose Festival Foundation Public Relations Manager. “We know that special events like the Festival can impact how people get to and around the park and we are excited to partner with PBOT and Better Blocks PDX to help make it a safer and more accessible experience for all.”
Portland State University President Wim Wiewel said he is excited about the project. “For a university that strives every day to heed the motto, 'Let Knowledge Serve The City,' there is no clearer sign of success than a student project being brought to life in the heart of our city."
Better Block PDX has obtained funding for this project from People for Bikes and Clif Bar.
This innovative pilot project will allow the community to provide feedback on potential changes to the Naito Parkway street design. The public is encouraged to comment on the project by email, Twitter and a phone voicemail box set up to receive comments.
Have your say about the Naito Pilot Project:
Email comments: NaitoParkway@portlandoregon.gov
Facebook: Portland Bureau of Transportation
Leave a message by phone: 503-823-4321
News media and the public may access photos at PBOT’s Flickr page.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the City’s transportation system, and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility. www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation