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(Aug. 14, 2017) – PBOT Director Leah Treat, Will Naito of Naito Development and Better Block PDX announced the completion of traffic signal improvements, a new bicycle connection to the Steel Bridge, and safer access to Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park at a news conference today.
The new signals at the NW Naito Parkway and NW Davis Street intersection and the SW Naito Parkway and SW Main Street intersection were funded by the Fixing Our Streets Program. In May 2016, Portland voters passed Measure 26-173, Portland’s first local funding source dedicated to fixing our streets.
"This project helps everyone enjoy safe, comfortable access to downtown Portland and the beauty of waterfront park," Treat said. "Portlanders will need more biking and walking transportation options as our population continues to grow and we work to reduce carbon emissions and pollution. Thanks to the Fixing Our Streets Program, we have funding for essential maintenance and safety projects that will improve the quality of life for people across the city."
Will Naito, grandson of downtown business leader Bill Naito, said the crossing improvements will help grow the economy by connecting businesses and residents.
"A thriving downtown depends on great biking and walking connections," Naito said. "I personally enjoy biking to work, and I'm grateful for these crossing improvements. We need world class biking and walking routes, so thousands of people can come to work and shop downtown without traffic congestion. When the Grove Hotel opens later this year, we expect thousands of guests to use these improved bike and pedestrian crossings."
Better Block PDX, the non-profit group that started the Better Naito multiuse path pilot project, supports the safety improvements PBOT has completed.
“As an Old Town business owner, I hear people asking about how to get to the waterfront almost every day," said Ryan Hashagen, a volunteer with Better Block PDX. "These new signals and safer active transportation route will make it easier for visitors and downtown workers alike to have a more predictable, understandable route to the waterfront. Better Naito is becoming a spine of active transportation from the Steel Bridge to the Hawthorne Bridge.”
The improvements provide a connection that reduces conflicts along waterfront park and at the Japanese American Historical Plaza, a monument to the Japanese American experience. By providing an adjacent cycling facility, PBOT intends to reduce cut-through bike traffic through the historical plaza and to encourage bike commuters to take advantage of Better Naito during the busy summer festival season.
Located at NW Naito Parkway and NW Davis Street, an updated signal, path, and related cycle track provide bike commuters coming from the east side of the Willamette River a safe and convenient route to Better Naito and the year-round bike lanes on Naito Parkway. An updated traffic signal controls the right turn onto the Steel Bridge on-ramp, making that connection more predictable for people driving. It also includes new bike signals that allow people on bicycles to safely cross the ramp, north or south, when the right turn signal onto the Steel Bridge ramp is red.
Another crossing of Naito Parkway, at SW Main Street, has a new pedestrian signal that makes it safer for people to cross the busy street and access the park. Later this year, PBOT will also install a crosswalk on the Steel Bridge on-ramp.
Lean more about these bike and pedestrian improvements at the PBOT web site for Naito Parkway Riverfront Access Improvements.