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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Here come the road blocks

Portland's talking about banning cars from parts of Old Town. Just during the heavy drinking hours on the weekends, for now. But if the idea takes hold, you can just see the car haters at City Hall making it a 24/7 program.

Having done a lot of downtown carousing in our day, we're not buying the pressing need for this. Bars whose patrons can't stay out of the streets used to be closed, not specially accommodated. But hey, anything to make it harder for cars.

Comments (17)

I think the corner of NW 2nd and Couch is the real problem area here. On the weekend there are scores of scantily clad women and Jersey-shore looking dudes stumbling from the Dixie across to that other godforsaken place -- "Dirty" or whatever it's called. Sometimes it takes 5 minutes to get a break in the drunken herd in order to get your car through. I think a better solution would be to have a traffic cop *stopping* the pedestrians in this area, but then that'd be too logical.

If drunken pedestrians are the problem, than deal with the drunken pedestrians.

It's a fair guess that the readers of this blog have never ventured into this area on a friday or saturday night. Come on down and watch the show and you'll see why its a good idea. I'll even buy a long island ice tea for ya !!

That is going to make it very difficult to get from the Burnside bridge to Naito southbound. Will this also create a dedicated Police detail?

In a major expansion of the experimental Street Seats program, all of the Old Town public streets will be permanently covered in wooden decking.

The new promenade will offer bar seating, urban chicken coops, solar panels, bicycle jousting, and plenty of sawdust (from the SW Lincoln street trees cut down for Orange Line) for the convenience of the perpetually inebriated.

Enjoy a night out in your city!

How will the crack dealers cope?
Another good reason not go downtown.

If they brought back bus service that they used to have in the 70s, where you could get a bus as late as 2:30 AM, you wouldn't need to drive.

Did the proposal also include bikes and skateboards?! Say it ain’t so Sam. Say in ain’t so.

One only has to travel to Europe to see that closing downtown streets at times when large numbers of pedestrians gather, especially after dark, is a common practice with some common sense behind it. And, there the cars are not the gargantuan petroleum guzzlers we have here in the land of "exceptionalism." Besides, these SUV's going "from the Burnside bridge to Naito southbound" do not support local merchants, the pedestrians do.

One bite at a time.

The same way you eat a Sayler's 72 ounce steak ... or an elephant.

Ooooooh Europe!
Maybe, just maybe Portlandia is NOT Copenhagen or Amsterdam.
Of course unicorns poop rainbows too!

One only has to travel to Europe to see that closing downtown streets at times when large numbers of pedestrians gather, especially after dark, is a common practice with some common sense behind it.

Out of desire or necessity? Closing down streets might be the only option when the "pedestrians" are smashing windows and throwing Molotov cocktails...especially after dark.

I'm all for it and say lets close down the streets 24/7 in Portland. The sooner Portland finishes dying off the sooner the rest of the state can quit dancing to their tune.

I have a compromise solution:

Turn Davis and Flanders into pedestrian malls. 24/7.

West/East traffic is already accomodated on Burnside to the south (bi-directional, and Couch is still available for King Sam's grand "couplet" wet dream), eastbound traffic can still use Everett and westbound on Glisan.

These two streets are already minor two-way streets that serve no larger, broader purpose.

Main streets are retained for vehicular purpose; Portland gets their car-free zone.

There's no need for a north-south pedestrian area, since that role is already covered by the North Park Blocks, the Transit Mall (which already has wider sidewalks) and Waterfront Park. If pressed, then maybe N.W. 2nd and 9th Avenues (between Burnside and Glisan) could do that. Vehicular access is preserved on the main streets of Naito, the 3rd/4th couplet, the 5th/6th Transit Mall couplet, Broadway, Park Avenue, and the 10th/11th Streetcar Couplet.

Portland Native - Exactly my friend. Our cities are set up differently and our culture is radically different than that of Europe. I think this is a bad thing, but it's not up to the freakin' city to change us.

An organic change would be much better.

The real fear is that this little program is going to work well. It probably will, and then it will serve as a rallying cry for what they've been trying to do for the last several years. Shut down car traffic to downtown.

How can you do that when you are also cutting buses? Oh yeah...


Downtown European streets tend to be closed off because they were built 800 years ago, are windy, narrow, and are just about wide enough for one small car or ox-cart. They get turned into pedestrian/tourist zones because tourists like to come look at the old buildings and architecture and few modern businesses can survive in zones cut off from modern transport. I know because I've visited them several times.

The argument that "Europe does it" has little relevance in Portland.

You don't have to go to Europe to see this. Vancouver, BC does this on Granville during the evenings and it works fine. During the day it's a normal street for traffic and during the night it's a pedestrian only zone.

If you've ever biked or walked through that area on a Friday or Saturday night you might have noticed Portland Police camp out just outside this area, generally across the street from Voodoo, so I don't think it'll cost much extra. Plus I think it's good for downtown to offer a pedestrian space and experience that suburbanites that come down to those clubs can't get in Beaverton or Gresham.

I'm only surprised it's taken the city this long to try it out. Possibly because it's a dirt cheap way of making Portland more livable without costing millions and filling the pockets of a friend of city hall.

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