A bike advocacy group showed support Thursday for a temporary protected bike lane in downtown Portland.
From summer to fall, the Portland Bureau of Transportation converts one northbound car lane on southwest Naito Parkway to an open space for people to walk and bike safely.
PBOT installs white posts, dividing car traffic from bike traffic downtown. It’s called “Better Naito.”
One group, Bike Loud PDX, demonstrated to push for that lane to stick around permanently.
“This is important to me. I go to work this direction. I come home this direction,” said Christine, a supporter of Better Naito, who says she commutes on her bike through downtown.
Around 100 people participated in Portland’s first ever human protected bike lane Thursday night.
They stood together, bikes in one hand and signs in the other, receiving honks of support from drivers heading home from work.
While this isn’t the first human protected bike lane around the world, organizers say they’ve been in touch with demonstrators in other cities and Portland’s human chain may be the biggest.
“New York, San Francisco, Berlin, Dublin, it’s all over the world!” said Bike Loud PDX Co-Chair Emily Guise.
On Sunday, bike commuters will lose the extra space and move many riders to the waterfront sidewalk.
“In the winter, now I have to go back over on that sidewalk and I don’t ever want to get in the way of people who are walking or jogging because that’s important, too,” said Christine.
“To encourage people to want to get on their bike and ride to work, I mean, I think that you have to put in place an infrastructure that makes them feel safe. To be honest with you, I have two kids and I just want to get home and have dinner with them,” said Isaac Zak, who participated in the human chain Thursday night.
One participant, Mike Ard, says he drives to work but bikes between places downtown. He says he cares about the safety of people, no matter what mode of transportation they’re taking.
“I certainly don’t mean it to be a diss for cars. It really is about just making sure everybody can get where they’re going. Let’s bring the fatalities down,” said Ard.
Bike Loud organizers are hoping to raise money for a billboard that will say: “Portland Supports Protected Bike Lanes,” and display it somewhere on Naito Pkwy.
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