Throughout downtown’s beautification process, you will find these standard city development landmarks: Condo, high rise towers, commercial property renovations, commuter train and parking garage construction. City officials have done such a great job, I’ve heard that downtown Portland has become a model for city planning. However, I don’t care. This isn’t about how Portland sucks, it’s the particular things about Portland THAT suck. Currently, downtown constructions sucks for all residents, pedestrians and drivers*.
As a driver, I recommend scoping out downtown traffic through your internet map companion (Google Maps, MapQuest) to prevent the “DO NOT ENTER” run-in. Without a detail understanding of each street undergoing construction, you’ll eventually become tangled in a one-way, closed street, death spiral while trying to reach Bush Garden or Nike Town.
Employed in downtown, I find walking to be suicide. I’m given 20 seconds (not a mathematical fact) to cross the Burnside construction before traffic resumes its original course. If I were to continue south from Burnside, I’m faced with a maze of “Sidewalk Closed” and “Detour” signs guiding me further away from my favorite Thai/Mexican food cart.
Most of these issues are due to the gutting of 5th/6th St. for Transit Mall development. Originally, buses used 5th/6th St. for their mass transportation thoroughfare. Now, buses and cars are forced to live in perfect harmony on 3rd/4th St. This drives downtown motor-vehicular operators insane, making our lives a living “Frogger” level from hell.
UPDATE: Use Keep Portland Moving for navigating through downtown construction (Thanks John).
* I’m excluding bicyclist for this discussion because they’ve always viewed downtown as a place to avoid. Until every street is bike-only, bicyclist’s will never be happy.