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City of Beaverton looking for feedback on downtown redesign

Posted by on February 3rd, 2012 at 11:31 am

SW Broadway in downtown Beaverton might soon look like this.
(Conceptual rendering by the City of Beaverton)

The City of Beaverton and the Beaverton Downtown Association are in the process of redesigning SW Broadway, the street that runs through the heart of downtown Beaverton. The goal of the redesign (one element of their larger Civic Plan) is to make Broadway “more pedestrian, bike, and business friendly.”

Last month, the city held two walking tours of downtown and collected thoughts on what should be changed. Next week they’re having a workshop to showcase specific design elements developed using those ideas.

The redesign focuses on the section of Broadway between Watson Avenue and Hall Boulevard. It includes improvements to pedestrian and bicycle access and may create a plaza or another type of car-free public space.

The full list of potential improvements includes:

  • Sidewalk improvements
  • Pedestrian crossings
  • Street furniture
  • Pavement treatments
  • Curb extensions
  • Landscaping and street trees
  • Bollards
  • Public plazas

Anyone interested in the project should plan to come to next week’s design workshop. It takes place on February 6th from 6pm to 8pm at the Beaverton History Center.

More information about the project is available at:

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    EngineerScotty February 3, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    While it’s good to see progress in making downtown Beaverton a nicer place, Broadway between Watson and Hall (which is already a nice walkable downtown street, although no bike-specific access) is hardly the problem.

    What is most needed is a) taming the mess on Canyon Road, b) proving more safe places to cross the freight tracks, Canyon, and Farmington, particularly outside of downtown, and b) better integration between the historical downtown and the areas around Beaverton TC and the Round.

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    • Avatar February 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm

      From what I understand this is one of the few things they can start spending UR money (I think that’s where the funding is from, correct me if I’m wrong) that isn’t impacted by changes to Canyon. There’s enough parking that I’d like to see them either make this whole stretch a pedestrian/bike zone or at least shift some of the four lanes of cars into private lots. Or even diagonal parking on one side. Not sure if the business owners will go for it, but here’s hoping.

      Hopefully the Crescent Connection gets funded (still in contention for ODOT $$, I think) that would help connect the whole downtown area to the Fanno Creek trail as well as the downtown area generally.

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      wsbob February 4, 2012 at 5:51 pm

      “…Broadway between Watson and Hall (which is already a nice walkable downtown street, …” EngineerScotty

      Between Watson and Hall is just one block. May be 400′ long, but it’s not really very walkable…sidewalks on the south side are narrow, and not even consistent width for the entire length. Near Watson, by the snowboard shop, because the sidewalk is so narrow, the streetlamp is literally almost in the center of the sidewalk, making it hard to walk around. Broadway business owners and other people at the most recent meeting recognize this problem, lending strength to movement toward some changes and replacement of them.

      “…this is one of the few things they can start spending UR money (I think that’s where the funding is from, correct me if I’m wrong) …”

      What I was told by one of the people there, I think a city worker or committee member…is this project is not funded by Urban Renewal money. The way it works, Urban Renewal fund currently has no money. It won’t have money until property values rise and the city, with voter approval now having been given, is able to take take the difference between tax money on present property values and what they happen to rise to, putting that amount into the UR fund.

      In a very brief, wind-up question as the meeting was ending the person I talked to wasn’t able to offer an answer as to exactly where the money for this project comes from. Maybe I can get a more complete answer if I go to the meeting this week.

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    Lance P. February 3, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Remember this is the Tron. I’m sure everyone there expects most people that will be visiting to DRIVE to their downtown prior to walking around. Kind of like Disneyland.

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      Pete February 3, 2012 at 8:30 pm

      Nice generalization.

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        Arem February 4, 2012 at 10:54 am

        If the shoe fits…

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    Patman February 3, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    It seems like there are an abundance of vacant storefronts in this area.

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    dwainedibbly February 3, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    Hopefully the’ll realize that the current car-centric arrangement isn’t working and will be willing to try some bike & ped friendlier things.

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      Chris I February 4, 2012 at 7:28 am

      They really need a couplet. Canyon is a huge barrier to pedestrian and bike access.

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    wsbob February 4, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    The last meeting (the evening meeting.) was a small, very congenial and upbeat group. Sense I got was that many of them are Broadway business owners, naturally very interested in improvements to the street that would help their business.

    A number of options to the present parallel parking arrangement for parking have been considered ; diagonal, no street parking, next to the rail easement. Getting right down to it, given the street’s dimensions, parallel parking seems to be the simplest and the best way to accommodate motor vehicle parking on the street, at least so for the Watson to Hall portion. The section of Broadway being studied for change is considerably longer and actually runs from Lombard to Cedar Hills Blvd.

    More people with a bike and walk consciousness in attendance at the upcoming meeting(s), and in comments to the city, seems critically important to me. It’s not that people…business owners…at the past meeting are necessarily opposed to infrastructure on Broadway supporting people traveling there by foot and bike. It’s that there’s not enough voices at the meetings saying: ‘You ‘ll have more business if you make the sidewalks nicer to walk along from where people would be coming from if they weren’t driving.’.

    I offered to them: ‘A bike corral holding 10-12 bikes takes only a single parking space.’

    It’s true that people at the meeting think largely of motor vehicle parking and and motor vehicle through travel on the street. That’s because not many people are there to advise them otherwise. Broadway at Watson Hall is just 6-8 minutes by foot from the Beaverton Transit Center. That proximity could be a huge potential growth in Broadway customer base if the city worked it right.

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      Andrew Seger February 5, 2012 at 3:01 pm

      Thanks for the notes. It’s hard to articulate how much money businesses are leaving when they don’t have simple things like bike parking. For instance when friends will come ride the fanno creek trail they’ll occasionally ask me if we should stop at downtown Beaverton before catching the max back to Portland. Sadly there really isn’t enough bike parking for six of us in front of any of the few establishments that are open on the weekends. I wish I could be around for the meetings. I’m glad they’re looking at a larger area between Lombard and Cedar Hills. It’s silly that there aren’t better connections between the areas considering how connected they are and how much desirable shopping/eating is located between them. Hopefully the city is also considering borrowing a few tools from the Portland toolbox. A green bike box where Lombard and Broadway meet would let people make an easy copenhagen left into downtown instead of merging through some quick moving traffic into the turn lane. Plus if they ever finish the bike lanes along Broadway it would help prevent right hooks for those heading to the transit center.

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    GlowBoy February 6, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Good points wsbob. I wasn’t aware that the sidewalk wasn’t great through that section, but I bike down Broadway regularly. It’s the best east-west route through the area for biking in my experience, with very low car traffic. For me the problems with Broadway are at the ends, not in the middle.

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      wsbob February 6, 2012 at 1:07 pm

      GlowBoy…if you get a chance sometime, definitely walk the sidewalks between the one block distance of Hall and Watson to get a sense of what’s at issue. They’re really kind of screwy. Towards the west end, south side, the width isn’t too bad, though certainly not spacious. I think the little Mexican restaurant has room to put a couple two person tables out on the sidewalk in good weather. Towards the east end, the width with the pole in the middle of the sidewalk is kind of ridiculously narrow.

      Beaverton could, with Broadway, possibly do some of the things that got Portland’s Mississippi Ave rolling. Right across from, Gloria’s Secret Cafe (Mexican), there’s open space, presently parking, that might somehow be arranged to become a beer garden like the place on Mississippi.

      I’m not sure to what degree the Broadway people see it as such, but personally, I think walking and biking has the greatest potential for bringing more business to the street. A lot of additional car traffic repeatedly traveling Broadway to get one of the small number of parking spaces on Broadway wouldn’t be an asset to the street’s ambiance.

      That probably wouldn’t happen anyway, because Beaverton’s major thoroughfares with long signal light cycles surrounding Broadway, make for an arduous loop by which to circulate and travel Broadway to get one of those street parking spaces. Getting to Broadway and stopping there, either by foot or by bike is much easier than by car.

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