A Vision for Old Town

A Vision for Old Town
Posted by on October 6, 2014
Posted in: built projects, creative community, projects, transportation

Over this past weekend, Old Town business owners worked with a coalition of transportation activists and community organizers known as Better Block PDX put on an impressive demonstration of how a redesign of NW/SW 3rd Ave in Portland could radically change the character of the neighborhood. Third Ave usually handles three lanes of southbound traffic and two lanes of parking. But for three days, car traffic was limited to a single lane, cyclists could ride side-by-side in a protected lane, and people could eat, socialize and enjoy the city in space usually reserved for the storage of private vehicles.


Fat Pencil Studio was pleased to be able to participate in this project by helping facilitate the design process. We created a digital 3d model of the project area, and worked with stakeholders to test ideas and visualize impacts. The model was then used to create diagrams for permitting and publicity images to promote the event.

By all accounts the project was a big success. Portland (from passersby to tourists to the mayor–see below!) got a clear view of what a more vibrant Old Town might look like. Sure, at peak commuting times, the auto traffic was lined up for the length of the project. It seems like this issue could be mitigated with appropriate signal timing, and/or alternate routes. The improvements that were shown in terms of comfortable bike access (which doesn’t exist at all along the N-S axis through downtown), pedestrian activity and overall street vitality were unmistakeable. Congratulations to Better Block PDX for mobilizing an incredible volunteer effort to bring it to fruition!

Read more about the project and see more photos on BikePortland and Oregonlive.

Thanks to Greg Raisman for these great shots:

Street life in front of Voodoo Doughnuts. Usually only parked cars can hang out here.

Pedestrians crossing what is usually three lanes of auto traffic.

Suddenly it's easy and fun to bike your kids downtown!

Mayor Hales has a little ice cream with his progressive urbanism.

Better Block PDX mastermind Boris Kaganovich talks to the media.



About Ady

Adrienne Leverette is lead illustrator at Fat Pencil Studio. Read more