A plan being proposed by the Portland Police Bureau (through the Office of Neighborhood Involvement) to improve safety on the streets of Old Town/Chinatown would come with seven blocks of downtown streets being closed to, “all vehicular traffic, including bicycles and skateboards.” The plan aims to create a carfree “Entertainment District”.
The plan is “at the very early stages” says Mike Boyer, the Crime Prevention Coordinator with the Office of Neighborhood Involvement (ONI). An outline of the plan was shared today on the Active Right of Way email list. According to a PDF from the Office of Neighborhood Involvement (uploaded by Portland Afoot) the closure zone would be active only on Friday and Saturday nights from 9:00 pm to 3:00 am and on selected major holidays.
The streets that would be included in this closure would be:
- NW 3rd Ave between Burnside and Everett
- NW Couch from 2nd to 4th
- NW Davis from 2nd to 4th
During the closure periods, only walking traffic will be allowed in the area. Parking will be prohibited as well. There would be a “Pedicab zone” on 3rd between Burnside and Couch as well as a taxi and limo zone on NW Davis between 3rd and 4th.
Here’s more from ONI:
“The pilot program to establish an expanded pedestrian-only Entertainment Area is a vital first step in moving forward to a dedicated Entertainment District for the City of Portland. In addition to enhancing public safety by establishing formal boundaries and reducing incidents, establishing a true Entertainment District has the potential to increase patronage, draw new business, and act as a catalyst to revitalize Portland’s Old Town/Chinatown neighborhood. Businesses within and nearby the pedestrian area will benefit from increased visibility by pedestrian traffic and additional draw of out-of-town visitors to the area.”
The City implemented a similar closure in the area back in 2009. This effort would expand that closure.
Boyer at ONI says they’ll be having more community meetings about the proposal. As far as when it could take effect, he said it’s too early to say (he also said it’s too early to say how it would be funded).
If you have feedback on this proposal please contact Boyer via email (email@example.com) or phone 503-823-5852.