After years of planning and community advocacy, the $4 million construction on Better Naito broke ground yesterday.

Almost six years in the making, a permanent bike lane shielding cyclists from cars on Southwest Naito Parkway has been a longtime dream of bike commuters and transportation advocacy groups.

Better Naito was initially a temporary, expanded bike lane to accommodate the extra foot traffic along the waterfront during the summer months. It quickly became popular as a thoroughfare for bike commuters, who started a push to keep Better Naito in place year-round.

Last fall, the Portland City Council unanimously approved a plan by Better Block PDX to make the two-way bike and pedestrian path permanent.

The temporary Better Naito was marked with white plastic delineators, and confused motorists who'd accidentally turned into the bike lane was a common occurrence. The new design, dubbed "Better Naito Forever," will include median islands, more traffic lights and new road markings.

The city expects the project to be completed by next summer. You can check out a digital rendering of the final plans here: