by Wm. Steven Humphrey
Heads up, cyclists and pedestrians! The Eastbank Esplanade that runs alongside the Willamette on the east aspect of the river can be closed for repairs between the Metal and Hawthorne bridges beginning February 1 and can reopen on April 1. In accordance with a press release from the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), the repairs will embrace changing damaged concrete, putting in new lights, cleansing up trash and graffiti, taking down lifeless crops and changing them with wholesome ones, and spiffing up public artwork pieces.
“WELL, YEAH, OKAY, BUT HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO RIDE MY BIKE TO WORK?” you unnecessarily scream. While the repairs are happening, bike commuters and pedestrians will get an early treat: the triumphant return of Better Naito on January 28—which often does not show up until late Spring!
Better Naito is the annual undertaking that commandeers the only automotive lane on Naito Boulevard that runs alongside Waterfront Park. This eases congestion on the Waterfront for summertime beer and music festivals, and makes it a lot safer for many who journey bikes or scooters downtown (in addition to the mobs of blissfully wandering vacationers). AND LET ME TELL YOU, IT IS GREAT. (Unfortunately, not everyone thinks so—primarily the Portland Business Alliance who inexplicably throws a hissy fit about it every year, because apparently they assume it retains automotive-sure buyers from arriving at Nordstrom two minutes later than needed. Poor babies. Anticipate a teary-eyed, annoyed rebuke from the PBA about Higher Naito any second now.)
Anyway, since this winter has been exceedingly delicate (thanks, international warming!), it is a great time to tug your bike out of storage and start driving once more. This is a map depicting the part of the Esplanade that shall be shut down, and how you can entry Better Naito—which, as soon as once more, shall be reopening early on January 28, and IS GREAT.
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