Did We Just Pave Over a Woonerf?

The May issue of the NW Examiner reports that students at the Pacific NW College of Art are complaining that traffic speeds are unsafe on the newly paved NW 13th Ave.

PNCA students are seeking better enforcement of traffic speed and of failure to obey stop signs. They also want “traffic pacifying devices that will slow the speed of vehicles and increase awareness of our students and visitors who walk within this block.”

Before the recent paving, NW 13th was essentially unpaved. It was deeply rutted and pedestrians and vehicles had to navigate old railroad tracks.

Portland Transport reader Craig Bollen commented by e-mail:

The paving has changed the area around the art school. It works differently now. Before kids would be out painting, having lunch, it was being used like a back yard. Now it’s definitely a road. Cars have taken control. I like the idea of the communal road that PDOT was going for on 13th, but it needed better materials to foster a calmer environment. They might have pulled it off by using real and bumpy cobble stone, but the flat concrete just fosters speed. It’s really a shame; the stark concrete and speedy cars have made the area cold and uninviting at least compared to how it used to work.

Unintended consequences?

One response to “Did We Just Pave Over a Woonerf?”

  1. Its time to park a few beater pickups…sculptures… along that stretch of 13th Avenue. Then add some “street furniture” as in old couches and chairs arranged for idol conversation in the middle of the “street.” This can be easily done at night with replacements ready when and if the City takes any action to give the space back to cars.
    Long live potholes…the low cost speed bump!