Starting tomorrow, Portland State University will close a one-block length of Southwest Montgomery Street at the edge of campus to all vehicle traffic.
The month-long experiment will help University staff and the Portland Bureau of Transportation determine whether to permanently eliminate cars from traveling through that section of the street.
Advocates hope that the pilot program will encourage pedestrians to see the block as a "public space for students" that will help "[define] the school's identity in downtown Portland," says Julia Michel, one of the school's planning analysts.
Walkers, bikers, and—dare we say it—scooters are encouraged to use the block as a safe place to engage in alternative transportation. The school says it will add lighting, chairs and tables, and street art to make the block more appealing to pedestrians.
The project falls under a greater city initiative to transform Montgomery Street into a pedestrian-friendly corridor from the West Hills to the Willamette River.
During the month of May, drivers heading east on Montgomery Street will have to take a three-block detour to get back on the street.
The school's project website says that the experiment is a "great opportunity for members of the PSU community to engage with the public realm and make this underutilized street at the heart of our campus into a more welcoming and inclusive place."
Project managers will field community input and data about usage during the experiment to test the viability of turning the block into a permanent no-vehicle space.