value walking and imagine an even more walkable city.
Portlanders highly value neighborhoods and districts
with shopping areas, entertainment, services and amenities
within walking distance. Being able to “do errands on
foot” and “walk to everything I need” is seen as a central
ingredient of livability that makes Portland “warm,
neighborly, and convenient.” People want to see pedestrian
paths, bridges and sidewalks increased and overwhelmingly
advocate making some parts of the city limited to only
pedestrians or, at a minimum, car-free. They want to
see Portland's downtown, business districts and neighborhoods
fully walkable and accessible and also advocate for
greater pedestrian access to the Willamette River. They
imagine a future in which many more people choose to
walk to school, work and social activities because walking
is safe, convenient, healthy and adequately supported
by public transportation.
Note: This section contains points
of view that are also expressed in Urban
Livability: Neighborhood Livability.
pedestrian-friendly place is a more livable place.
are many parts of Portland where pedestrian access
could be improved.
- Walking can become a preferred
mode of transportation for the future.
pedestrian-friendly place is a more livable
- Throughout this section, Portlanders make
connections between an area’s livability and
the degree to which it is pedestrian-friendly.
- Those neighborhoods and business districts
that can be accessed safely and conveniently
by pedestrians are seen as much more livable
than areas that lack good pedestrian access
- Places where people are “out and about”
on foot during the day and night are seen
as safer and more community-oriented than
places that lack foot traffic.
- Walking is mentioned in regards to the livability
of neighborhoods as well as that of downtown.
- A key ingredient of neighborhood livability
is access to shops, dining and essential services
within walking distance.
- Neighborhoods that receive high marks for
walkability include the Hollywood District,
the Alberta Arts District and the SE Hawthorne
- Neighborhoods that have safe, well-designed
walking paths, sidewalks and crosswalks are
felt to be more livable than those where walking
is unsafe or unpleasant.
- Many people value how easy it is to walk
around downtown Portland.
- People attribute the “walkability” of downtown
in part to:
- The compact design of the city;
- The small city blocks;
- The small to medium-size buildings that
do not block the sky or tower over pedestrians;
- The park blocks; and
- The riverfront with its walking trails.
love that there are so many small thriving
neighborhoods, each with a few stores,
restaurants, bars, etc… The walkability
of those areas leads to a great sense
neighborhoods; that I can walk to the
bank, the grocery store, etc… It makes
Portland warm, neighborly, and convenient.”
value] its human scale, a pedestrian city,
city of wonderful neighborhoods and commercial
hubs, easy to get around and do all one’s
living within a few mile radius. Culturally
friendly, tolerant, creative and whimsical.”
are many parts of Portland where pedestrian
access could be improved.
- Throughout this section, people request
that pedestrian access be expanded so that
all parts of the city become fully walkable.
- Areas where pedestrian access could be
- Many Southwest Portland neighborhoods lack
sidewalks or walking access to services such
as public transportation.
- Close-in Southeast Portland needs better
- More neighborhoods need community centers/neighborhood
centers within walking distance.
- Outer areas of Portland (outer Southeast,
Northeast and Southwest) need to become more
- A number of Eastside neighborhoods lack
access to shops and services within walking
distance, as well as pedestrian access to
would like to see] more pedestrian and
bicycle-friendly streets! I live on NW
Laidlaw just off NW Thompson and have
NO sidewalks to take my 4 month old for
a walk safety (these are busy streets).
Most of the roads around hour house lack
even safe shoulders which is horrible!”
- Many feel that downtown would be more pedestrian-friendly
if there was less of a problem with homelessness
(youth and adults) and panhandling.
- Streets are more pedestrian-friendly when
busses, cars, bicycles and the MAX are not
all sharing the same street.
- A few people think that one-way streets
detract from the pedestrian experience by
speeding up traffic.
- While many already feel safe walking downtown,
some would like to feel even safer.
up the sidewalks! I don’t feel comfortable
taking my young children with me because
of the harassment from people living on
the streets and because of the drug activity.”
- A number of people would like to see greater
pedestrian access to the river on the Eastside.
- There are a few suggestions of pedestrian-only
bridges and river crossing points.
- One suggestion was for a Tri-Met “people
ferry” across the Willamette.
2030] A pedestrian bridge that is lined
with trees, shops, and stands spans the
Willamette and becomes a destination itself
– the first bridge of its kind in North
America. Portland has become a kind of
twenty-first century Florence and an international
- Create safe pedestrian pathways
to bus stops in Southwest Portland.
- Improve evening lighting of some streets
and bus stops, which can be very dark.
- Find a way to reduce the problem of people
asking for money on the streets.
- Enhance the walkability of neighborhoods
by re-thinking the “strip” concept (e.g. SE
Hawthorne Boulevard, NW 23rd Avenue) in favor
of a more compact, multi-block “village” concept.
This would allow one to shop without having
to walk an entire strip.
can become a preferred mode of transportation
for the future.
- Portlanders want to see walking promoted
as a viable means of transportation.
- Portlanders also value walking for its health
benefits and community-building potential.
- Portlanders would like to see many more
children walking to school.
- In the future, many people will walk to
work because they will be able to afford to
live near their work and dedicated walking/biking
paths will make walking safe and enjoyable.
- More people will walk in their neighborhoods
because all neighborhoods will offer pedestrian
access to essential services, shopping districts
and community gathering places.
- In the future, people imagine many more
pedestrian-only areas, which will encourage
more people to walk. Suggestions for these
- Turn Fareless Square into a pedestrian-only
- Make the entire downtown core car-free;
- Convert NW 23rd Avenue into a pedestrian-only
- Convert some neighborhood streets into
2030] 50 % of the population commutes
by bike, foot, or public transportation.
Neighborhood shopping, health services,
and social services allow people to avoid
taking their car… and allow neighbors
to run into each other while supporting
2030] Services, such as grocery stores
with quality, affordable food products,
healthcare, entertainment, restaurants,
etc… will be within walking distance (maximum
of a quarter mile) to every resident.”
2030] There is a pedestrian mall for several
of the downtown blocks and several smaller
zones in the city ‘neighborhoods’ have
imitated this model with good economic
and aesthetic results.”
- Encourage people in the suburbs
to walk more.
- “Invest in neighborhood business districts
to create a more pedestrian and transit-oriented
- “To achieve a pedestrian-friendly city,
conduct studies of other cities such as
those in Europe who have successfully achieved
that. Bring business to the table to get
- “It would be great if each neighborhood
or section could close their streets one
day each week to make them into a pedestrian
mall. This could be done on a rotating basis.”
- Create more walking trails and sidewalks