Better Naito gets backlash from some commuters

Better Naito will end in September

One lane of SW Naito Pkwy is closed through September. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – An entire vehicle lane through Naito Parkway downtown has been converted to an additional bicycle lane for the summer months, but some are questioning if “Better Naito” really is better for Portland commuters.

The goal of Better Naito is to make room for cyclists and pedestrians during festival season, but it does mean more traffic backups for those in cars.

Portland cyclists want to make roads safer for people on bikes. (KOIN)

Marion Haynes with the Portland Business Alliance said she believes that the project was good in theory but businesses in the downtown area want it to end.

“Commute times have been impacted and in some cases transit may be impacted as well,” Haynes said. “We should be striving to accommodate everyone as safely and efficiently as possible.”

However, Jonathan Maus of BikePortland.org was quick to point out that the road isn’t just meant for motorists.

“There’s this implicit thing in my way that they talk about people and the way they use Better Naito,” Maus said before adding opponents treat cyclists as if they aren’t commuters.

According to a tweet by City Council Commissioner Dan Saltzman, his office has been receiving e-mails at a 10 to 1 ration in favor of Better Naito.

The program will end in September and traffic will return to normal. But come January, a new debate will rage on: whether or not to make Better Naito a permanent project.

“Once you give people something like this that is very popular,” Maus said. “If you try to take it back there will be backlash.”