A few days ahead of schedule—and a few days before Waterfront Park will be taken over by Cinco de Mayo—Better Naito is back, reserving one lane of Naito Parkway for bikers, pedestrians, and... uh, anybody else, I guess? As long as they aren't in a car? Everyone's absolutely welcome! (Fuck rollerbladers.)
Much to the consternation of the hissy-fitting Portland Business Alliance (which hates Better Naito almost as much as they hate the sight of homeless people), the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) has found that Better Naito is used by more than a thousand bikers and pedestrians on an average day—and on days where there's an event downtown or at Waterfront Park, it's used by way more people than that. In addition to reducing pollution and making biking on the West side dramatically more safe and welcoming, the city's also found that closing one of the street's lanes to cars has a negligible impact on traffic.
This is the second year Better Naito has been directly overseen by PBOT as part of a "five-year seasonal implementation plan," and this year, it'll be in place until September 30. For now, the idea of a permanent Better Naito, an expanded Better Naito, or the Better Naito model being implemented on more of Portland's high-volume streets remains a beautiful dream.