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No Cars Allowed on Portland's New Street

Couch Court in Portland's central city is one of those rare pieces of public right of way where pedestrians and people on bikes rule.
June 21, 2017, 8am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"To improve circulation of vehicle traffic through a very fast-growing part of the central city, the Portland Bureau of Transportation decided to expand the road network," writes Jonathan Maus. "With two new lanes, people can now travel on a new road between NE 3rd Avenue and Couch Street."

Get the sense that something is amiss? Why is one of the country's leading bike advocates celebrating the opening of a new street in the downtown urban core of one of the most multi-modal cities in the country? Well, "in this case it’s fine because the new street is carfree." In fact, writes Maus, "[i]t’s the most efficient and humane way to utilize this important space adjacent to three new buildings that tower over the east end of the Burnside Bridge and have a combined 300 residential units and over 100,000 square feet of office and retail space."

Couch Court, as the new car-free street is called, is only 130 feet long, but it accommodates a 14-foot wide bikeway and two sidewalks. "As for design elements, it’s pretty straightforward," writes Maus. "I really like the angle of the mountable curbs used throughout. One thing to watch for is whether or not this becomes a popular plaza — where people on foot wander into the bikeway."

Maus includes a bunch of images to supplement his words—it's definitely worth a look.

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Published on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 in Bike Portland
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