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Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

Fax: 503-823-7576

1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204

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Better Naito FAQs

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How did Better Naito start?

Every year the festivals in Tom McCall Waterfront Park draw hundreds of thousands of people. During the peak season between April and November an additional 15,000 more people per day visit the Waterfront.

The Better Naito project was first piloted in 2015 to help manage this influx of visitors, create a safe space for people to travel to these events, and to reduce conflicts between people walking and biking and driving along the Waterfront in the summer months. The first Better Naito was a 2-week pilot project developed by Better Block PDX, Portland State University, and a host of community partners.

Prior to Better Naito, people were often forced to walk in the bike lane, squeeze into narrow dirt paths, or bike in a travel lane with motor vehicles to reach Waterfront events. The volunteer-led effort championed by the non-profit Better Block PDX improved the Waterfront Park experience during its busiest season and was implemented again in the summer of 2016.

Why is the PBOT implementing Better Naito?

After the project showed success in terms of providing increased safety, better mobility, and provided strong data for decision making, City Council unanimously voted in November 2016, to make Better Naito an official City program, directed PBOT to implement it, and provided funding to sustain the project for 5 summers. 2017 is the first summer that Better Naito will be installed by the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

What does Better Naito look like?

PBOT installed removable white plastic posts to delineate one northbound motor vehicle lane on SW Naito Parkway, converting it to open space for the public to walk and bike and roll safely to Waterfront Park’s festivals and community events. The posts are installed between SW Main and NW Couch. Better Naito will run from April 28th to September 30th in 2017. In October, the posts will be removed and stored for use next summer.

How do I use it?

Better Naito creates a new multiuse path on the west side of Waterfront Park, providing another connection for people walking and biking between the Hawthorne and Steel bridges.

People walking can walk north or south in the facility and should follow the pedestrian markings and walk along the eastern side of Better Naito, adjacent to Waterfront Park.

People biking can also travel either north or south in the facility and should observe the pavement markings. People riding bicycles in either direction on Better Naito must stop for red traffic signals. For southbound travel, we have placed traffic signals on a number of intersections on Better Naito. Where there is no specific signal for Better Naito, people are expected to obey the existing traffic signals on Naito.

Is PBOT doing anything else to improve safety on Naito?

In related efforts, PBOT will also install a new pedestrian signal at SW Naito and Main to improve the safety of that crossing. PBOT will update the traffic signal at NW Naito and Davis to reduce conflicts at the Steel Bridge ramp, installing a right turn signal and bike signal. PBOT will also install white plastic posts to the north of the Better Naito installation between NW Davis and NW Ironside Terrace to better delineate the existing bike lanes.

What impacts to traffic can I expect due to Better Naito?

During the 2015 and 2016 Better Naito installations, PBOT and Better Block PDX collected a significant amount of traffic data and found that during non-peak hours, motor vehicle travel times were not significantly affected. The travel time from the half mile stretch of SW Clay to SW Stark increased most dramatically during AM and PM peak travel hours between 7:00-9:00 AM and 4:00-6:00 PM, with typical increases in motor vehicle travel times during peak hours in the 45 second to one minute range.

In addition to the City’s two years of traffic data, The Oregonian contracted with the traffic analysis firm Inrix to collect their own traffic data. The results of that effort were consistent with the City’s findings.

Where should I park if I'm driving to events at Waterfront Park?

There are a number of affordable and convenient SmartPark parking garages located nearby.

Where should I drop off or pickup people near the Waterfront?

PBOT has designated a passenger drop off and pick up zone on the north side of SW Taylor, closest to SW Naito. We chose this location because it offers access from both southbound and northbound Naito, is in close proximity to the festival event entrances, and has signalized crosswalks.

These spaces are available for passenger loading and unloading only, and are open to the public (including personal vehicles, taxis, shuttles, and transportation network companies) for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Vehicles staying for longer than 3 minutes are subject to a citation.

Vehicles may not enter the Better Naito lane without a permit. Vehicles unloading passengers in Better Naito are subject to citation.

Are there any guidelines around loading in Better Naito?

Vehicles may only load in Better Naito if they are associated Portland Saturday Market or with a permitted Waterfront event and are displaying a Better Naito loading permit issued from PBOT. Better Naito loading permits limit loading to 30 minutes in duration. Loading is prohibited weekdays from 7-9 am, 12-1 pm, and 4-7 pm.

PBOT’s Parking Enforcement officers will be citing vehicles that fail to abide by permit requirements. If you have concerns about a vehicle loading in Better Naito, contact Parking Enforcement on the enforcement request line: 503-823-5195.

How can I share my thoughts with the City?

Feedback is welcomed via email at NaitoParkway@PortlandOregon.gov. You can also leave a voice message at 503-823-4321. Finally, we encourage you to share your feedback on social media with the hashtag #BetterNaito.