1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 800, Portland, OR 97204
Will provide a safe place to travel for the 15,000 people per day attending events at Waterfront Park during festival season
The largest temporary street transformation in America – both in size and duration
For public safety, speed limit on Naito Parkway will be reduced to 20 mph for the project’s duration
(May 3, 2016) – Commissioner Steve Novick, Portland Bureau of Transportation Director Leah Treat and representatives from Better Block PDX and seven festivals and events taking place at Tom McCall Waterfront Park this summer gathered at Salmon Street Springs this morning to inaugurate the 2016 Better Naito Pilot Project.
The Better Naito Pilot Project, a partnership between Better Block PDX and the Portland Bureau of Transportation, creates a safe way for people to get to and around Portland’s summer of festivals at Waterfront Park. The project was first piloted in June 2015 during the two weeks of Rose Festival City Fair and returned for the Oregon Brewers Festival the same year.
This year’s iteration of Better Naito, which will open one northbound motor vehicle lane to a two-way walking and biking facility nearly a mile long, is the largest temporary street transformation to take place in America in both its size and duration.
Data collected during the 2015 Better Naito found that during non-peak hours, motor vehicle travel times were not significantly affected. Morning and evening rush-hour motor vehicle traffic was delayed by less than a minute throughout the area. The report by Better Block PDX can be found on the Better Naito website: www.betternaito.com
As a result of Better Naito 2015’s success, the Portland Bureau of Transportation is granting Community Event Permits to the festivals and events taking place at Waterfront Park. The organizations will implement placemaking features along the Better Naito corridor and create a physically separated space for people walking and biking in order to help everyone safely and comfortably access the waterfront.
“Safety is the highest priority behind every PBOT project. After a successful pilot period last year during the Portland Rose Festival, I am delighted that Better Naito will return for the safety of the thousands of people biking and walking to the waterfront this summer,” said Commissioner Steve Novick, who oversees PBOT.
Transportation Director Leah Treat said, “Summer in Portland is all about people getting outside and taking to the streets to experience our city in creative and fun ways. Better Naito exemplifies that spirit and we are thrilled to have it for three months this year.”
“Better Naito is a living demonstration of how we can make Naito Parkway a better space for people,” said Gwen Shaw, a Better Block PDX Volunteer, “The design is temporary, but the concept is permanent.”
The Portland Rose Festival was the first organization to pilot Better Naito in 2015 and is returning again as a major supporter of the project. Rose Festival’s CityFair serves 25,000 to 30,000 people daily and generates more than $100,000 per day in revenue. As part of its placemaking within the Better Naito space, the organization will be creating a “living room experience” every Saturday and Sunday of CityFair, offering entertainment and activities in the space, such as chalk painting for kids.
"The Better Naito Project offers the Rose Festival safer and more inviting options for visitors to enter the CityFair and RoZone events at Waterfront Park," said Jeff Curtis, Portland Rose Festival Foundation CEO. "Pedestrian access along Naito will be much more protected and comfortable for families during all our opening hours."
A special edition of Better Naito will be added from July 1 to July 4 to accommodate people traveling to or around the Waterfront Blues Festival at the southern end of Waterfront Park. Owned and operated by Oregon Food Bank, the Waterfront Blues Festival is Oregon Food Banks’s single largest fundraising event and the largest blues fest west of the Mississippi. Since 1988, the festival has raised over $10 million and 2 million pounds of food for individuals in Oregon and SW Washington.
Said Oregon Food Bank’s CEO, Susannah Morgan, “As the owner-operator of Waterfront Blues Festival, Oregon Food Bank supports this plan because it promotes public safety and enhances access to Portland’s waterfront events for everyone.”
Portland’s new bike share program, BIKETOWN, will also participate in Better Naito from July 8 to 25. The program will use space on Better Naito as an open-air office to showcase its smart bikes and for people to sign up for membership.
“Well-designed, inviting infrastructure is a great complement to bike share systems,” said Dorothy Mitchell, general manager of BIKETOWN. “We’re pleased to support Better Naito, which will make our waterfront a great place to walk and ride this summer. We’ll be there offering a sneak preview of BIKETOWN and letting folks take our new orange bikes for a spin."
From May 2 to July 31, 24 hours a day, one northbound travel lane of SW Naito Parkway from SW Main Street to NW Davis Street (an almost 1-mile-long distance) will be opened for two-way walking and bicycling. Additionally, from July 1 to July 4 ONLY, the lane conversion will extend from SW Clay Street to NW Davis Street to accommodate people traveling to or around the Waterfront Blues Festival at the southern end of Waterfront Park. As part of the lane conversion and to make Naito Parkway safer for all users, the speed limit will be reduced to 20 mph for the length of the project.
The events and organizations participating in Better Naito 2016 are: Cinco de Mayo, Better Block PDX, the Portland Rose Festival, Portland Pride, the Waterfront Blues Festival, BIKETOWN Portland Bike Share and the Oregon Brewers Festival. Travel Portland, the Portland Police Bureau, Portland Fire & Rescue and Portland Parks & Recreation are also Better Naito partners.
Summer events at Waterfront Park have become so popular that they draw, on average, 15,000 people a day to the waterfront. Better Naito follows in the historic footsteps of other Portland public space transformations in the same location. In 1974, Portland demolished the Harbor Drive expressway and replaced it with Waterfront Park - 36 acres of tree-filled public space voted one of America’s ten greatest public spaces by the American Planning Association in 2012.
All participating Better Naito organizations have obtained Community Event permits from PBOT which require them to implement placemaking features along the Better Naito corridor and to create a physically separated space for people walking and biking in order to help everyone safely and comfortably access the waterfront.
View photos from the event on PBOT's Flickr page: www.flickr.com/photos/pbotinfo/albums/72157667925388915
The public is encouraged to comment on this pilot project by email, Twitter and a phone voicemail box set up to receive comments.
Leave a message by phone: (503) 823-4321
About the Portland Bureau of Transportation:
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
About Better Block PDX:
In the tradition of the Better Block Project, the open source Better Block PDX has come together to create inviting and interactive places that challenge the notion that streets are only for cars. Join us as we gather people to experience their city in attractive, engaging new ways long thought impossible. www.betterblockpdx.org
About Cinco De Mayo:
Portland's Cinco de Mayo Fiesta is the largest multicultural festival in the state of Oregon and is held at beautiful Tom McCall Waterfront Park in downtown Portland, Oregon. Now in its 32nd year, the festival is presented by the Portland Guadalajara Sister City Association (PGSCA). www.cincodemayo.org
About the Rose Festival:
The opening day of the Portland Rose Festival is one of the first signs of summer. People come from far and wide to revel in the variety of culturally rich events happening during the months of May and June. Whether you are craving cotton candy and a spin on the CityFair Ferris wheel, want to dance your cares away at a RoZone Concert, or bask in the sun as amazing, all-floral floats drift through downtown in the Grand Floral Parade, there is an event for festival lovers of any age.
Today's major Rose Festival events continue to offer myriad opportunities to congregate and celebrate. They include Rose Festival CityFair, an urban entertainment fair and carnival and three distinctive parades; the Starlight Parade, (300,000 attendance) a fun and funky nighttime event; the Junior Parade, (50,000 attendance) a kid-centric procession; and the Rose Festival's cornerstone, the Grand Floral Parade, which brings 400,000 to the streets of Portland, many of whom camp overnight to await the annual extravaganza. CityFair serves 25,000 to 30,000 people daily generating more than $100,000 per day in revenue. It is estimated that the Rose Festival generated $97.25 in direct spending by each visitor that attends the Portland Rose Festival. www.rosefestival.org
About Portland Pride:
The Portland Pride festival is the single, largest visibility avenue for the region’s LGBTQ community organizations and businesses, where they can attract new supporters and clients, increase their volunteer base, and raise much needed funds. In addition, the festival attracts thousands of visitors to Portland each year, bringing significant revenue to the local LGBTQ business community and to the city, as a whole. www.pridenw.org
About the Waterfront Blues Festival:
The Waterfront Blues Festival is a unique, internationally recognized music festival focused on the blues. Owned and operated by Oregon Food Bank, the Waterfront Blues Fest is OFB’s single largest fundraising event and the largest blues fest west of the Mississippi. Since 1988, the festival has raised over $10 million and 2 million pounds of food for our neighbors in need. If hunger were a disease, it would be considered an epidemic because 1 in 5 individuals in Oregon and Southwest Washington struggle with getting enough to eat. Oregon Food Bank is grateful to our sponsors, longtime attendees and more than 2,000 volunteers for making this event possible. www.waterfrontbluesfest.com
About BIKETOWN Portland Bike Share:
BIKETOWN bike share is a public bike rental system for short trips from point A to point B for a small fee. It's like transit and bike rental got together to give residents and visitors a convenient and fun transportation option. BIKETOWN, a partnership between the Portland Bureau of Transportation and Nike, will offer 1000 bikes, at 100 stations, giving residents and visitors an active, easy and accessible way to get around Portland. BIKETOWN launches this July. www.BIKETOWNpdx.com
About Oregon Brewers Festival:
One of the nation's longest-running craft beer festivals, the Oregon Brewers Festival is considered a destination, and 80,000 craft beer lovers annually make the pilgrimage to Beervana to drink up what the festival has to offer. www.oregonbrewfest.com