(July 17, 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 and enjoy the Oregon Brewers Festival (OBF) at Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park.
The Oregon Brewers Festival is one of several major summer events in Portland’s waterfront park. The festival attracts some 85,000 visitors, with more than 30 percent coming from out of state. But to reach the festival, visitors and tourists are too often forced to walk in a bike lane, or bike in a travel lane with high-speed vehicle traffic.
“The safety of residents and visitors is our top priority,” said Novick, who oversees the Portland Bureau of Transportation. “That’s particularly true for events and festivals along the waterfront. We want everyone to have a great time, be safe and enjoy some of Oregon’s finest beer!”
Starting Tuesday, July 21 at 6pm and lasting through Monday, July 27 at 6pm, 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 SW Ankeny. The Brewers Festival has in the past used parts of SW Naito for loading.
The pilot project will be similar to an opening of Naito conducted during the Rose Festival in June. To help keep visitors safe, Better Block PDX, a local group devoted to creating temporary public space, worked with PBOT to create the project. Better Block volunteers will build safety barriers and pedestrian lanes, monitor traffic, and count people walking and bicycling along the waterfront.
Unlike the Naito pilot project in June, people on bicycle will be able to travel in both directions of the public space. During the weekend, the northern end of the project will begin at SW Ash Street in order to facilitate Saturday Market activities.
“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. “The legacy of Gov. McCall and Waterfront Park has proven so successful and is often at peak capacity, Better Block PDX is happy to partner with Oregon Brewers Festival to create a safe space for all Oregonians to enjoy our downtown Waterfront.”
Transportation Director Leah Treat said PBOT is collaborating with the festival and Better Block on their request to create safer public access to the waterfront. “We are eager to help create a safe, enjoyable experience for the thousands of people walking and biking to this great event,” she said.
“We are excited to partner with the City of Portland, Better Block PDX, Oregon Walks, and Portland State University to create a safe space for our patrons as they come to the waterfront to enjoy some of the best tasting beer in the world,” said Art Larrance, director of the Oregon Brewers Festival.
Portland State University engineering students designed traffic control measures for the project, which were reviewed by PBOT staff. “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," said Wim Wiewel, president of PSU.
An economic analysis conducted by Eastern Oregon University during last year’s festival found:
- Women accounted for nearly half (44%) of OBF attendees.
- Nearly half (42%) of the attendees utilized public transit to reach the festival.
- 41% of OBF patrons were attending the festival for the first time.
- The largest demographic of attendees are 21-29 year olds (29%) followed by those over the age of 50 (25%).
- 290 jobs were created as a direct result of the economic impact of the Oregon Brew Festival.
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
Better Block PDX has obtained funding for this project from Clif Bar.
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