Wednesday, September 28, 2022
HomeCyclingMayor Wheeler reinstates Previous City carfree zone to cut back violence

Mayor Wheeler reinstates Previous City carfree zone to cut back violence

SW Third Avenue in Previous City. (Photograph: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)
(Supply: Mayor Wheeler’s Workplace)

Beginning tonight, a 12-block part of downtown Portland will likely be off-limits to vehicles two nights per week.

It’s a part of an effort from Mayor Ted Wheeler’s workplace to enhance security and cut back gun violence in Previous City Chinatown’s leisure district. Wheeler hosted a press convention Tuesday at Kells Irish Pub to announce the plan. “As we emerge out from the pandemic, the crowds in Previous City have returned by the tens-of-thousands. The streets are jamming up — significantly on weekends — and folks want extra room to unfold out,” Wheeler stated. “We’d like greater sidewalks. We’d like extra room for pedestrians. In lieu of that, we’re going to shut lanes and streets to present individuals the elbow room they should transfer round extra freely and luxuriate in themselves.”

If this feels like deja-vu, that’s as a result of the Metropolis of Portland first made the connection between crime and vehicles on this space in 2009 after which expanded it additional in 2012 on the behest of former Mayor Sam Adams. Final summer time, Adams discovered himself engaged on the problem once more as a prime Wheeler advisor. In response to The Oregonian, when the carfree zone and added safety element lapsed throughout the pandemic, security in Previous City plummeted. After a back-and-forth with the transportation bureau and native enterprise house owners over allowing of barricades to forestall the violence, a brief resolution was discovered.

Wheeler’s announcement this week marks a extra everlasting resolution to the continuing considerations.

The brand new leisure district will likely be twice the dimensions of the earlier model. Wheeler has given authority to the Portland Police Bureau to ban autos between NW 1st Avenue and NW fifth Avenue and West Burnside to NW Everett on Friday and Saturday evenings. The carfree zone will probably be in impact from round 9:00 pm to three:00 am (I haven’t heard again on requests to make clear the precise occasions).

Along with not permitting autos into this 12-block space, Wheeler stated the PPB will deploy a “small” staff of officers to patrol the realm and can set up extra lighting. It additionally “builds upon work to take away problematic encampments that block the right-of-way,” Wheeler stated Tuesday. In addition they hope the brand new carfree zone will encourage individuals to experience transit into the realm as a substitute of driving.

Lacking from the story to date is any phrase of involvement from Metropolis Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, who oversees the Portland Bureau of Transportation. The trouble appears to completely align with a number of of her prime priorities, together with the use of street-based interventions to cut back gun violence and the creation of carfree zones downtown.

Again in July, Wheeler’s workplace validated some elements of Hardesty’s method to street-related violence when he introduced a brand new gun violence discount plan. His new plan additionally echoes an method endorsed by the Previous City Group Affiliation in September 2021 to do extra public area activations of streets and sidewalks within the space.

Earlier iterations of the leisure district didn’t enable bicycle riders by means of the zone. Now that it’s twice as massive, and would impression main biking routes like SW third and 4th avenues, we’re curious if bike site visitors will likely be permitted. We’ve reached out to Hardesty and Wheeler’s workplace to seek out out extra and have but to listen to again.



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