Major changes coming to Naito Parkway with $6M repaving project

Images of the plans for Naito Parkway

A $6 million repaving project is set to transform a major arterial of Portland's waterfront.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation announced its plan that will narrow the four car lanes and add a protected two-way bike lane and pedestrian path.

A stop sign at the on-ramp to the Hawthorne Bridge will be replaced with a stop light.

"It'll allow cars to access the Hawthorne Bridge so they won't back up and block the lane on Naito Parkway," said PBOT spokesperson Dylan Rivera, who called the project a "win-win."

Rivera says the back ups along Naito routinely cause the Portland Streetcar to get stuck in traffic, increasing wait times for riders.

PBOT hosted an open house to discuss the project with the public Wednesday. The project is expected to start by the end of the year and will take 9 months.

For the past two summers PBOT has put in place "Better Naito," which temporarily eliminated a lane of car traffic and put in a protected bike path.

Critics complained it slowed down car traffic during the evening rush hour. PBOT officials said the increase in drive times was less than a minute per trip.

"Better Naito" drew criticism from safe street advocates, who wanted a permanent solution and insisted on having a permanent, protected bike lane.

Gwen Shaw was a volunteer on the original "Better Naito" project in the summer of 2015.

"I was stoked, I'm really excited to see the combination of it hits what we were trying to do with our demonstration project but it does it one step better," Shaw said.

PBOT said part of the need for the seasonal "Better Naito" was that the bike path along the Willamette River was taken away by the series of festivals and events that call the Waterfront Park home during the summer.

KATU News reached out to organizers with the Oregon Brewers Festival. They say while their festival may be hampered a bit by the construction, they welcome the changes.

"I've been asking for a pedestrian path for years," said organizer Art Larrance.

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