A story in this week's WW about bar owners' efforts to clean up a stretch of Southwest Ankeny Street in downtown Portland has prompted one man to send his plans to City Hall.
In an email this morning to Mayor Sam Adams and Susan Anderson, head of the city's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, Dennis Harper—who identifies himself as an architect—says he's long believed the area some call the "Barmuda Triangle" needs a pedestrian-friendly makeover.
Harper included this sketch (PDF) of his plans for creating a European-style cafe promenade just south of West Burnside Street.
Here's the email:
Mayor Adams and Director Susan Anderson,
I hope that you saw the article in the current issue of Willamette Week about the business owners along tiny SW Ankeny between SW 2nd and SW 3rd. They stated that they have wanted to pedestrianize the area for many years, but they have been met with a frustrating lack of support from the City of Portland. (I suspect that they may have been only talking to Transportation folks, so naturally for them, the car reigns supreme.) Well, this area of Old Town has long been on my list of districts that cry out for pedestrian improvements to enhance the safety and liveliness of the urban environment. Besides making that section of SW Ankeny car-free, I have also imagined taking some width from SW 2nd and 3rd Avenues to allow wider sidewalks to create mini-plazas with more street trees and some benches. Adjacent cafes and bars could set out sidewalk tables into the new public spaces. Think of Amsterdam and its very vibrant public spaces mixing outdoor tables and trees.
Please refer to the attached sketch of a proposed Ankeny Nightlife / Pedestrian Area. Though I have absolutely no business interest in any such public improvement, I am an architect with a strong interest in urban design so I would love to see this happen.
I wanted to send this to the Portland Development Commission, but their web site does not include email addresses. Please forward this to the appropriate PDC staff member, and thank you.