Portland’s latest attempt to centrally plan transportation patterns is backfiring

By Jessica Miller

Portland has a longstanding history of attempting to socially engineer people’s transportation patterns, and the “Better Naito” project is no different.

In 2015, a group of students from Portland State University created the idea of “Better Naito” as their capstone project. From April 28th until September 30th each year, Portland planners intend to enhance the lives of pedestrians and bikers along the Waterfront by reducing car capacity from two lanes to one on SW Naito Parkway and transforming one lane into an open area for walkers and bikers. The project was implemented and paid for by the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), Portland State University (PSU), Better Block PDX, and $350,000 from the Portland City Council.

Advocates of “Better Naito” claim that “[f]eedback from the public was very positive,” but there is more to the story. After receiving copious amounts of negative feedback from business owners who see fewer shoppers, employees who experience longer commutes, and shoppers who can’t reach desired downtown destinations, the Portland Businesses Alliance created a petition to the Portland City Council in opposition to “Better Naito.” They claim the project is “harmful to our city’s economy and extremely disruptive to commuters.”

It’s no surprise Portland’s latest attempt to centrally plan commuters’ lives is backfiring, but that hasn’t stopped advocates from making the project annual. To voice your opinion on “Better Naito,” visit the Portland Business Alliance’s online petition.

Jessica Miller is a Research Associate at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Eric Shierman

    Thank you for sharing this petition Jessica!

  • Granola girl

    i just tried to submit my petition, and it came up “an error has occurred processing your document. Please contact site administrator.” If they want feedback, they might want to make sure the website works!

    • I just submitted my petition and it seemed to work just fine. Please try again.

      • My petition was delivered, stating that “Better Naito” is actually pushing people out of the city.

        I got this response back from city commissioner Eudaly’s Constituent Relations Specialist: “Thank you for sharing your concerns about Better Naito, that is it pushing out people in cars.”

  • IhateLiberals

    Too bad these bright lights at PSU weren’t making some sort of effort to upgrade Portland’s totally antiquated 1980s era freeway system. Compared to cities like Sacramento and Phoenix it’s an embarrassment and totally outdated,

  • Eddie Sarphie

    If only there were a big, wide park with sidewalks and paths to walk or bike on that was right next to Naito and ran the length of downtown…. then there’d be no need. Ah well, one can dream.

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