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Bob R.

By definition, a "maze" of one-way streets is a maze with no dead-ends -- a maze that is easy for anyone to enter/exit and navigate. In other words, not a maze.

Mazes come about when there are choices which can lead to becoming stuck and having to turn back -- like Cul de Sacs and non-grid collectors feeding into arterials, or when a person must learn a number of exceptions to navigate an area, such as driving along or across Market St. in San Francisco.

Sometimes mazes are a result of natural geography, but the natural geography of Burnside (with the possible exception of the bridge) is to be out-of context within a larger, simple grid of one-way-streets... Burnside actually provides a "maze" quality (by banning left turns, taking a long time for N-S traffic to cross) to downtown.

You can argue from a traditional or aesthetic standpoint that you don't want another two one-way streets downtown, but you can't simultaneously argue that leaving Burnside as it is makes downtown less of a "maze".

- Bob R.

John Sykes

I think that, aside from a functional perspective, that I enjoy the interactive qualities of a two-way street.

It seems more engaging to be interacting with people face-to-face (even when in a car) rather than facing the same direction.

Specifically I remember how, in small-town Albany, our cruising culture was altered by the imposition of one-way streets, replacing our two way main street. The town seemed less 'dynamic' (clearly a matter of perspective), but I am sure a similiar phenomenon exists in larger cities.

I like the idea of having one big street that everyone drives on, a real Main Street, which Burnside is.

A. J.

I prefer one-way streets because to me they are friendlier to pedestrians. Having to only look one way before crossing a street makes it easier to cross and easier to jaywalk, seemingly bringing the two sidewalks into closer interaction.
Two-way streets just seem like a huge barrier to pedestrians - Burnside more so than most because of the exceedingly small sidewalks


Most of the one-way streets in SW Downtown Portland seem to work pretty well for pedestrians and cars except for Burnside. I don't find them particularly monotonous or otherwise disagreeable around by the library or in the S Pk Blks.

Burnside is too wide, fast,noisy and dirty. It has those vegetation islands that only make the street take longer to cross. The sidewalks on Burnside are too narrow in places as A.J. says. Everet is bad too, particularly up at 11th.

Two-way NW 23rd is basically a really nice street of that kind for pedestrians, but I'm sure it's aggravating for motorists. Motorists should be really slowing down there and be looking for all kinds of people and pets darting into the street. Overall the effect of getting motorists to slow down, especially due to that reason seems like a good thing.

Two-way Hawthorne? Always was too fast, but maybe with these recent changes it will be better.


I'm with you Brian. It's not a practical thing, the one-way street fatigue. But it does feel a little '70s if you ask me. I'm not saying get rid of all of them, sometimes it works better, but too much of anything is a bad idea.


Arguably downtown is more of a maze, considering that one cannot make left turns on Burnside when one needs to. The triple-right turn off of Burnside to make a left would be more along the definitions of a maze, in my hone opinion [IMHO].


One way streets are better from a traffic flow point of view, and from a pedestrian view, but I think you need diversity in streets as in anything else in a city. Burnside being a two direction "spine" of sorts adds to the flavor of Downtown Portland. Also, One way streets take some getting used to. I remember being intimidated by them when I first came to town, and I know that my parents avoid downtown like the plague for that very reason, as do alot of their "suburbanite" friends.


could you imagine...

2nd and 3rd streets, one way couplets, 4th and 5th, two way streets, 6th and Broadway, one way couplets...etc...etc...Please, give me the one ways. As a driver it is easier to pay attention to peds, as a ped, it's easier to see the drivers coming at you...


I don't think the answer to making downtown unique is by making it dangerous and anti-pedestrian to 'scare away the suburbanites.'

This country is pretty fucked up in order to harbor such thoughts and opinions regarding other people. When can people just learn to be a bit more accepting of other people? I hear this negative viewpoint from the urban crows all the time.


Jil-yo, I don't see how you get the impression that anyone having commented here is suggesting that suburbanites be scared away by making downtown more dangerous and anti-pedestrian.

Portland needs those suburbanites to come downtown. I think much of what the city does in the way of planning traffic flow is to attempt to make downtown easier to deal with for pedestrians and motorists alike.

My impression is that this is what everyone has been talking about.


Jil-yo, I think you misinterpereted my comments. I was saying that the one-way streets are daunting to suburbanites. They come from a land largely devoid of oneway streets. People are afraid of the unfamiliar. Keeping Burnside a two way street keeps it feeling familiar to them. That's the suburbanite connection I was making. In another note, I don't see why it's so difficult to look BOTH ways before crossing the street, just like we all learned in grade school. I also don't think it's any easier for drivers to avoid pedestrians on a one way street as opposed to the two way variety. Their car is still only traveling one direction, and they are responsible for the pedestrians in front of them. It's not like the pedestrians are going to sneek up behind them or something.


One thought: most of the streets that seem like barriers are two way with multiple lanes in each direction.


I freakin' love W. Burnside! I might love it more if they paved it, threw in a couple more pedestrian crossings, left turn lanes - and finished the bridge (what's with that anyway - the workers are always on a coffee brake).

I live in NW and B is my lifeline. What I've begun to notice is that the activity around the Pearl/Brewery Blocks and the West End is changing the dynamic of the street. The intersections of 13th and 10th have developed a 'sense of place'. This is also the case on upper B and the eastside around 7th and 8th. There is much more energy and pedestrian traffic. It feels truly urban. I believe that pedestrian safety could be addressed with more crossings, enhancing the sidewalks where possible but I do not think it is a barrier. With more life, the barrier disolves.

What would be wonderful is if we could spend money and energy on paving some of the streets, add much needed lighting and crossing safeguards, and just possiby, someday, rework the ridiculous street signage that doesn't require a magnifying glass to read.

Thurman Chandler

The couplet is a short-term idea for a long-term situation. I like a few one ways; BUT on a major boulevard, a spiritual center if you will, it is an absolute shame to reduce this street to a one-way! I have driven it every day for years, and I have never thought it was really congested. Moreover, Portland is fractured and spread-out as it is (Hills/Flats, River, East/West, Downtown/Eastside (no east downtown), etc.), which carries into how people interact. Separating them further with a couplet, and also bringing more traffic into a nice slower Pearl district zone, is just crazy. Let's have a higher vision for Burnside.

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