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News Release: Commissioner Novick, community dedicate city’s first creative crosswalk; Portlanders walk on raindrops in Old Town

Creative Crosswalk(June 9, 2015) – Commissioner Steve Novick and Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah joined Old Town business leaders and community members on Tuesday, June 9 to dedicate Portland’s first pair of ‘creative crosswalks,’ an eye-catching pattern of raindrops with a giant umbrella that guides pedestrians across NW Third Avenue and Davis Street.

The raindrop installation, planned and designed with community input, is intended to improve pedestrian safety and contribute to the district’s vitality.  It is one of several crossing improvements in Old Town Chinatown but the neighborhood and city’s first artistic crosswalk.

“I am proud that PBOT could deliver this crosswalk based on the strong community input in Old Town,” Commissioner Novick says. “Portlanders have long recognized that a quality pedestrian atmosphere is the backbone for a vibrant downtown retail environment.”

The project originated when members of the Old Town Chinatown Community Association approached the transportation bureau for ways to foster a more vibrant and attractive pedestrian atmosphere. PBOT Director Treat, familiar with creative crosswalks in San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver B.C., introduced that concept, which the community adopted.  

“Our streets are the largest public space in our city, representing one quarter of our land.  They should be pleasant and safe places that foster community and business, and that’s what we are doing here through this public-private partnership,” says Treat. “Together, we are delivering a safer and more inviting crossing. This creative project is a small investment with a big return.”

Creative CrosswalksJake Kaempf from Ampersand Content, an experience design firm in Old Town, led the design process as a contribution to the community. “Portland is a creative town and Old Town Chinatown is the historical center of Portland. I am extremely proud of contributing to the betterment of the city I grew up in and where I own a business,” Kaempf says. “It was a wonderful experience to work with the city, my neighborhood, and local businesses to come up with a new, iconic installation that we expect will improve safety and draw positive attention to the neighborhood and businesses here.”

"We at The Society Hotel are so thrilled to be part of the revitalization of Old Town/Chinatown,” said Jessie Burke, co-owner of the Old Town hotel that opens this fall. “We've seen in the almost two years since we purchased The Mariner's Home on NW 3rd and Davis, that it's the little things - like safer crosswalks - that have made the biggest difference.  And it makes it all the more fun to see these safety measures being made more creative by neighborhood design firms like Ampersand Content.  It's projects like this that make me love this city - getting to be a little more creative, and in turn, bring the community even closer."

The installation is part of a series of crosswalk improvements to the neighborhood.  PBOT recently installed conventional crosswalk markings in surrounding blocks, including SW Davis Street and Fourth Avenue one block away.  PBOT, in partnership with the Portland Development Commission, also is installing curb extensions at SW Third Avenue and Burnside Street.

Photos from the event can be viewed and downloaded from PBOT's Creative Crosswalk Flickr album.

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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             

Media Contact: Diane Dulken 503-823-5552 diane.dulken@portlandoregon.gov