Joe Bike

Comment of the Week: Making Beaverton the country’s #1 biking suburb

Posted by on September 5th, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Beaverton to Tualatin ride-3

Can you see the potential? No, seriously.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

One of the frustrating facts of life at BikePortland is that we’ve never had time to cover the big Clark and Washington County suburbs nearly as much as we’d like. But if you bike in Washington County and haven’t followed the comments beneath this week’s Washington County post, you’ve been missing out.

Here’s one of the many interesting ideas shared beneath Wednesday’s post about the Bicycle Transportation Alliance’s new campaign to gradually assemble a continuous, 16-mile low-stress bikeway to TV Highway between Beaverton and Forest Grove. Reader AndyK was one of several to weigh in with some detailed critiques:

Thanks for covering this….really bad idea, though. The worst. Let’s focus on cost and benefits.

If you have that much money to spend, please improve the east-west bike routes we already have (Cornell, Baseline, Farmington and Evergreen) by taking them to the next level of safety: protected bike lanes. They matter more at 45mph than they do at 25mph.

Everyone on the west side already knows that TV Highway is beyond hope and is only ridden by the brave or those without any other choice (these are the people riding on the sidewalk sans helmet). If you must spend money on an ODOT facility, use it on OR10 (Farmington), which has great potential, or build pedestrian crossing structures over TV HWY.

Bottom line: Lane protection would have a positive affect on all cyclists because it gets the interested but concerned cyclists out there and provides more safety for the ones who are already using it.

I would love to see other commenters chime in on this, and thanks again for covering this.

On the one hand, it’s clear that with Washington County and ODOT already looking to spend a bunch of money on TV Highway, this vision is more a target of opportunity for the BTA than the project it might have picked itself. On the other hand, AndyK and other readers are putting forth a vision for something that has never really been done in the United States: using modern protected bike infrastructure to create a low-stress bike network in a deeply auto-oriented suburb.

In a landscape where most bus stops and destinations are too far to walk to, comfortable biking arguably holds even more potential than it does in older, denser cities.

If any major suburb in the country could do it, it would be Beaverton: thick with bike lovers, staffed by bike-aware planners and engineers and wealthy enough to do almost any bike project it puts its mind to. The only thing missing is political will.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

55 Comments
  • Avatar
    Lynne September 5, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    whenever I want to go west I take Jenkins/Baseline/TV Hwy. Baseline merges onto TV Hwy just west of Hillsboro and there are bike lanes/generous shoulders the entire length.

    But some things are just ever so much harder than they need to be. Riding on Beaverton Hillsdale/Farmington from east of BV to the west is something I just don’t do – narrow lanes, high speed traffic… nah. Same with Canyon/TV Hwy – from SW 117th west to past SW Murray, again, narrow lanes, fast traffic. So, if I wanted to get from Home Depot to the Beaverton Library, it involves crossing BH at SW 110th, a bit of sidewalk riding to the west, then down Maple to 5th. Why can’t I safely ride west on BH/Farmington and turn left at Lombard?

    Getting around inside central Beaverton is quite pleasant. Cedar Hills is good. The burbs in South Beaverton aren’t too bad either. Commuting west to Hillsboro by the northern route is pretty easy – new wide roads with shoulders or bike lanes.

    But there are several neighborhoods where the less aggressive cyclists are trapped. Try crossing SW Walker Rd around SW 107th. Or riding SW Walker west from Hwy 217 to Cedar Hills. The bike lane vanishes, the road narrows, and a big ditch is on the right. The right thing to do is take the lane (fortunately downhill 🙂 ), but drivers will sit right on your tail and sit on their horn.

    In many cases the county has the right of way with which to improve the situation. They just haven’t (yet).

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      rick September 6, 2014 at 11:27 pm

      East Beaverton seems to be forgotten. No painted crosswalk at 99th and BH Highway, lack of bike lanes on SW Allen Blvd, lack of bike lanes on SW Laurelwood Ave, and speeds that are too high.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    o/o September 6, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    I generally avoid going to Beaverton because there are not decent bicycle connections between Portland and Beaverton. Hopefully it will someday. Beaverton is too car oriented for my taste. I am blessed to have few decent connections between Milwaukie and Portland. Springwater Corridor is one of them.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      rick September 6, 2014 at 11:24 pm

      While it isn’t Beaverton, there is a somewhat alright connecting from Multnomah Village to Garden Home via SW Multnomah Blvd, then west on Garden Home Road, north on the new bike/ped shoulder on SW 92nd Ave, and then east on the Fanno Creek Trail which leads to Beaverton. The residents of Garden Home helped to establish the trail and also overhaul Oleson Road.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Dan September 7, 2014 at 4:57 pm

      Ride through Washington Park, then take the MUP along Hwy 26.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Adam H. September 8, 2014 at 1:46 pm

        This is what I do as well.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Austin September 8, 2014 at 4:50 pm

        Yeah, I actually really like this ride. Kingston, while a giant hill, is actually a beautiful ride.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Jeff M September 8, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      Actually, there are many great routes between Portland and Beaverton going over the west hills. That is my favorite area to ride. The problem is once in Beaverton, you have to be very selective of the route.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    kellie September 6, 2014 at 2:21 pm

    I have not ridden on TV Hwy in 15 years, and that was only because I was new to the area.

    I’ve been commuting at least 3 days a week from the NW Walker & 185th area to my job up at a K-8 school north of Springville Rd for the last 5 years. Previously, I was commuting from the Garden Home area to my office at SW 5th and Watson.

    The bicycle infrastructure has definitely improved over the last few years, but it can always be better. The big one is lowering the speed limit, but I know from traffic studies done near my school 5 years ago by Wash Co DOT have stated something along the lines of, “decreasing the speed limit to a slower rate when drivers already have been in a habit ( or used to a certain speed) is actually more dangerous.” I am specifically referring to the NW Joss / 167th & NW Springville Rd intersection. Pretty sad, really. With all of the housing development happening in the North Bethany area ( over 1000 homes/apartments north of Springville Rd specifically), this is no longer an agricultural zone, but more suburban sprawl.

    NW Walker Rd and NW Evergreen Rds in particular have 45 mph speed limits, and they are not just roads that pass through industrial parks and business complexes or strip malls. There are many homes and apartment complexes that these two streets bisect. Beaverton will be safer for cyclists and pedestrians if the speed limits were reduced on so many of our roads.

    I also wish Beaverton would improve the sensors in the roads for cyclists, as well as the timing of the traffic signals. Some road sensors are great and pick up cyclists easily, and some could be better – specifically northbound on NW Amberglen at Cornell in order to get to Evergreen and the Rock Creek Trail system, which is an improvement! But regarding traffic signals for auto and bike / pedestrian “traffic,” at least many main thoroughfares in Portland are timed and have a flow so that drivers and cyclists can catch a wave of green lights. That doesn’t happen in Beaverton, and I think it could improve the bottlenecks on so many streets: Walker Rd near Nike and 173rd, and the Jenkins / Baseline connection south of Nike heading east or west are two of these areas. Pedestrians can be left standing for 2-3 minutes waiting for a crosswalk signal at some of our major intersections.

    Regardless of my concerns, I appreciate Beaverton trying to do something. Whether I will still be living here to enjoy the improvements is something else. It’s the dependency on cars, car-centered infrastructure, and lack of bike and walk-ability in so many areas that are my top reasons for eventually moving back to Portlandia.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      wsbob September 6, 2014 at 5:39 pm

      “…The big one is lowering the speed limit, but I know from traffic studies done near my school 5 years ago by Wash Co DOT have stated something along the lines of, “decreasing the speed limit to a slower rate when drivers already have been in a habit ( or used to a certain speed) is actually more dangerous.” …” kellie

      Near residential areas, schools, stores, for example, high numbers of motor vehicles traveling at speeds over 30 mph can have a very deteriorating affect on area livability. The noise of air buffeted by cars passing through it at high speeds, the roaring sound of many heavy weighted tires on pavement, alone makes high speeds a burden in places that are otherwise good for walking and biking.

      If the rationale from a county study you mention, really is a conclusion from such a study, I think that’s one that definitely is worthy of questioning for further explanation.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      rick September 6, 2014 at 11:22 pm

      There are some floating bike lanes on Canyon road by the car dealers now.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      El Biciclero September 11, 2014 at 12:12 pm

      “I also wish Beaverton would improve the sensors in the roads for cyclists, as well as the timing of the traffic signals. Some road sensors are great and pick up cyclists easily, and some could be better – specifically northbound on NW Amberglen at Cornell…”

      Also at Aloclek and Cornell. And at 153rd and Cornell, and at the new signal at Bethany and Oak Hills, and at the exit of Sunset Transit center (in the left turn lane), and…

      The only decent sensors that consistently detect my presence on a bike are those along 5th that are in the bike lane or have bike tire stencils painted on them. I know all the tricks of positioning, but the sensors I mentioned rarely, if ever, will work for me on a bike. There are probably many, many others, but there is usually enough big, strong car traffic around to trip the sensor for me.

      Do you ever use any of the newly-completed trails through the Bethany area? If you’re not in a hurry, and it’s daylight out (otherwise these THPRD trails are technically closed), they are a relaxing alternative to some of the roads around there. Speaking of “closed” trails, that was the one thing that dismayed my about the completion of these fantastic off-street paths. I can take my kid on the cargo bike from Bethany village almost all the way to the shopping center at Butler/Cornelius Pass traveling for only brief periods on actual streets (hence my familiarity with the Aloclek/Cornell signal sensor)—but not after dark (legally, anyway), which is a bummer in the Winter, when off-street travel could be preferred by many when it is dark.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    GlowBoy September 6, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    As a Portlander who’s worked in Beaverton for more than a decade, I’ll welcome any and all improvements. On the positive side, Beaverton is better than most suburbs in terms of bike lanes. Many roads, including important thoroughfares like Hall, Murray and Walker, have them. And I’ve found that most signals detect bikes properly (notable problem spots being eastbound Millikan at Cedar Hills, southbound Erickson at Denney and southbound Laurelwood at Scholls Ferry – all of them optical detectors, by the way).

    But there are still significant gaps in Beaverton’s infrastructure. The major problems I have are:
    – Bike lanes that come and go, such as several places on Hwy 8, including the one shown in the lead pic – I know that particular spot very well. The absolute worst is southbound Murray between TV Highway and Farmington, in front of Valley Catholic: even having a cyclist killed there a few years ago didn’t result in any improvement.
    – Lack of safe north-south connectivity across the major east-west arterials: Walker, 8/TV Highway and 10/BHH/Farmington. In many places, crossing many of these roads — and connecting to important bike routes on each side – is best done riding slowly and carefully on the sidewalk. And that’s unacceptable.
    – Major shopping centers like Cedar Hills Crossing and the giant Fred Meyer complex near 8/10/217 don’t have very good bike connectivity in and out.
    – And I agree about the speed limits. Murray is another 45mph-er that absolutely shouldn’t be.

    But the biggest problem I have is not getting around within Beaverton, but (as o/o pointed out) getting between Beaverton and Portland. All 3 major bike corridors between the metro area’s two biggest cities (26/Sylvan, Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway and Hall/Oleson/Multnomah) have major problems. Some of that is Beaverton’s fault, some of that is ODOT’s fault, but really the worst problems are within Portland, not Beaverton. As we all know, SW is a mess.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      rick September 6, 2014 at 11:20 pm

      Walker Road is in desperate need of an overhaul.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Zan September 7, 2014 at 7:40 am

      Don’t forget Washington County–one of the major connections between Portland and the City of Beaverton is in unincorporated Washington County (i.e. Raleigh Hills).

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    wsbob September 6, 2014 at 11:00 pm

    “…wealthy enough to do almost any bike project it puts its mind to. …” andersen/bikeportland

    I wish. It’s a generally good, upbeat town, that I hear from time to time, is a little more than o.k. for money. Realization of excellent infrastructure and amenities though, is more evident in the areas park district than its infrastructure for biking and walking.

    Infrastructure is often challenging and stressful for both walking and biking in this city. The picture illustrating this story for example, is one of the main, center of town motor vehicle carrying thoroughfares that hamstrings the city from doing much to restore functionality and livability for a walking and biking lifestyle along this road. Very tough to really do much to introduce a higher level of walking and biking functionality to what literally is a county highway running through the heart of Beaverton. Though the city has in mind, plans to try do just that.

    On the other hand, just to the north of the scene where the picture accompanying this story is taken, is the Beaverton Transit Center, west of which is essentially the start of Millikan Way, quite a fine east west route for biking that runs all the way west to 160th and to a crossing over TV Hwy. Lots of potential for north south biking connectivity there.

    And, to the south of TV Hwy, (known as Canyon Rd as it goes through Beaverton and east on into West Slope) and Farmington-Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy, the other highway beast that torments Beaverton, are east west Division, 5th and 6th streets running between. With improvements, those streets could be the basis for a good south of the hwy east west bike route.

    Being a long time west side resident, I’d really like to start to see examples of visionary thinking devoted towards planning, at least a basic cycle track system connecting Beaverton with the hi tech areas west of 185th out Evergreen Pkw and Cornell.

    Also, a departure from what seems to be an almost reflexive move to widen two lane roads to four and more to accommodate higher volumes of motor vehicles per hour. Widening roads instead as needed to create room for safer, less stressful to ride bike lanes, and bikeways that more people may be inclined to use if available, for meeting some basic transportation needs, could help stem the tide of excessive motor vehicle use.

    Visionary thinking would be increasing the city’s inventory of transportation biking infrastructure that will support, practically, safely and comfortably, people more likely to ride at speeds of 12 mph rather than 20. Throw a few really well designed pedestrian esplanades into the deal, and the city really could be on its way to becoming the county’s, if not the country’s, best biking suburb.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      rick September 6, 2014 at 11:19 pm

      The bike lanes on the BH Highway do start right in front of the new shoe store in Raleigh Hills, just east of Oleson Road.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Michael Andersen (News Editor)
      Michael Andersen (News Editor) September 7, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      I think we basically agree on this, wsbob, but I’ll clarify that I’m not claiming Beaverton and the surrounding area have enough money to do whatever road widening folks might feel like and whatever bike infrastructure folks might feel like. I’m saying that if (for example) Washington County’s $21 million a year for new road projects, almost all of which goes to auto infrastructure, were redirected to bike projects, then the area would be able to do basically anything it wanted with bike infrastructure. That’s the great thing about bike infrastructure! So very cheap!

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        wsbob September 8, 2014 at 9:40 am

        “…I’m saying that if (for example) Washington County’s $21
        million a year for new road projects, almost all of which goes to auto infrastructure, were redirected to bike projects, …” andersen/bikeportland

        If, Beaverton were able to do somehow able to do a switcheroo like that. You must be aware of strings being attached to sources of money. Fundamental question everyone reading would be well to keep in mind: ‘Why does the county spend the money it does on road projects, rather than on bike projects?’. No cynical, cheap laugh only answers, please.

        In the way of grand schemes, that cycle tracks and pedestrian esplanades would be for Beaverton, the city is slow to progress. Although for example, the city has a timeline for construction of a well on its way designed, pedestrian esplanade along the creek in Central Beaverton. Check out Creekside Development. Whether that esplanade will be sufficiently designed for use with bikes was not decided, last I heard.

        It could help a lot to have more good biking and walking ideas from more, ordinary people in Beaverton to officials that make the pitch for the money.

        By the way, yesterday, Beaverton had its annual Bike Beaverton fun ride. Just a short, hour or so ride through the neighborhoods to the west, a couple hundred people riding it, even some kids with training wheels on their bikes. Lots of nice people, nearly all riding seemed to be family type people. Very well organized and staffed. Complimentary ice cream. A few additional biking events like this one throughout the year, in Beaverton, seems to me like an idea with potential for good.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          Dan September 9, 2014 at 8:02 am

          In Beaverton, our rider numbers are limited by the roads. Most ‘normal’ people won’t ride a bike on the 45mph arterials that criss-cross all over the area, so they are ‘trapped’ inside whichever arterials surround their neighborhood.

          I’m always hearing about how people over here have ‘overwhelmingly chosen cars’, but the reality is there isn’t that much of a choice when the routes are bad and everything is really far away from you.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            wsbob September 10, 2014 at 9:29 am

            Many people won’t ride on 35 mph posted roads, which to me is why it makes sense that cities should be devoting much consideration to at least a basic cycle track systems and bikeways very well protected from the main lanes of the roads and streets they adjoin.

            As has been brought out in this discussion section, throughout Beaverton, there are some very good east west and north south alternative routes to the citys’ mega, bike challenging thoroughfares, for good parts of the way between cities to either side of Beaverton.

            Whether for lack of adequate signage readily indicating to people riding, where these routes are, or for some other reason, I’m not sure why some of the people commenting here, expressing their feeling that the city has lack of good routes, are not using these good alternative routes. If people want to ride along BHH or Canyon, despite the harsh conditions, and their being a better route just five or six blocks away, fine. If not, at least explore and give the other routes a try, and maybe offer suggestions about how those routes could, or may need to be improved for biking.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    rick September 6, 2014 at 11:18 pm

    Raleigh Hills, Metzger, Garden Home – Whitford, West Slope, and Slyvan-West Haven need to form one official city. The map of Beaverton shows land-grabs and isn’t that bike-friendly west of 217.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Brian September 7, 2014 at 10:35 am

    I have been commuting from East PDX to three different schools in Beaverton over the course of the last 17 years. The timing of this piece is funny because as I was riding in to school on Friday I was composing a letter to the editor in my head thanking the drivers in Beaverton. People have just gotten more and more polite as drivers, and my interactions are almost always positive (even when having to take the lane on Walker over the bridge when the “bike lane” disappears). More and more people are riding bikes in/out of Beaverton, which I think has also contributed to a friendlier city for riding. Also, I see more people parking and riding to avoid driving on HWY 26 and make the bike commute more manageable. One area that could be improved is catering to these “park and riders.” Maybe more people would ride if they had others to do it with and a designated place to park, with easy access from the highway. Park, find a ride buddy, and take off. I imagine that going up and over the Zoo is a bit intimidating for some to begin with.
    I couldn’t agree more about the speed limits, WAY too high. Leaving them as is is completely irresponsible, IMO.
    The neighborhoods are great for riding. I go through the Cedar Hills area now, and I love it. With a little more improvements on the major roads, it could be a great place to ride. I, for one, would love to see those bike racks outside of the schools filled up. They are barely used these days.
    I probably ride alongside some of you in the morning.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      wsbob September 7, 2014 at 11:28 am

      “…Also, I see more people parking and riding to avoid driving on HWY 26 and make the bike commute more manageable. …” Brian

      Any place in particular you see people parking to continue their trip by riding a bike so as to avoid driving Hwy 26? I’m thinking Sunset Transit Center may be one location you’ve observed people parking to ride.

      Up and over the hill is kind of a bear, but gears and conditioning ease the difficulty. Some of the rest is psychological. The distanced from Hwy 26, Sunset MUP’s offer a protected from motor vehicle traffic, safe ride up the west side of the hill.

      Top of the hill is Multnomah County, which could be doing a much better job than it has so far, of improving road infrastructure to support bike routes from the top the hill, east, back down into Portland. I can’t help but believe county and state transportation dept officials, must be well aware of the long standing, increasingly used bike routes from the top of the hill at Sylvan, east, down into Portland, and the need for infrastructural improvements for biking, to the roads that make these routes.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Brian September 7, 2014 at 12:12 pm

        I see people parking at the base of the climb on the Beaverton side, next to the wall on HWY 26. Sorry, don’t know the street name. It is where you first get onto MUP that parallels the highway. I can look tomorrow.
        When I was struggling to ride the entire way in the dark/rain/cold, I would park at the archery range below the zoo and ride out to Beaverton from there. Now, those places cost $ to park. There are some free gravel spots below that do not cost money, though. All it would take is one nice spot on each side of the hill. It could be a nice cooperative endeavor between PDX and Beaverton, given how horrible that highway is at rush hour.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          Lynne September 7, 2014 at 7:58 pm

          SW Park Way. You have to turn up one of two little streets off SW Wilshire to get there.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            Fourknees September 8, 2014 at 8:56 pm

            There is a new parking lot with 15 spots across from the Sylvan ODOT center. There are no signs. Anyone know what this will be? Scenic viewpoint? This would also be an ideal spot to park and ride in from if your commute involves driving up scholls ferry.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              wsbob September 19, 2014 at 2:13 pm

              Today, for quite a while, I talked to a guy from the Sylvan ODOT center, and asked about the parking lot across the street from the center. He explained that the lot is an reserve overflow parking area for employees that will be working within the center, in a building that’s currently being remodeled.

              It’s not a public parking lot.

              Also asked about ownership of the big ravine below the parking lot, in which big trees are rapidly growing to the point at which they’ll block the view down into the valley below. He explained that it is ODOT owned, but that his division does not have the budget, nor an assignment to keep that viewpoint clear of trees.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Peter W September 7, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Beaverton? Good luck.

    They might have money to do great things if they didn’t spend so much of it* on auto oriented projects like the one BikePortland covered here:

    http://bikeportland.org/2013/11/15/priority-check-washington-county-will-spend-21-million-highway-improvement-project-97184

    *: The project’s money comes from MSTIP (WashCo) but the project is being led by Beaverton.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Aaron September 7, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Oh Beaverton. You want to be more bike friendly? Let me count the ways. (how many hours do you have?)
    Beaverton TC to the Fanno Creek Trail could really use a Bike Blvd with sharrows.
    Connections across Hwy 217 are HORRIBLE…EVERYWHERE.
    Connections to Jenkins Rd do not exist (I haven’t tried this personally).
    It’s fairly easy to get through Multnomah Village. However getting from there to Beaverton is horrific (see my 2nd comment).
    Tualatin Hills Nature park is beautiful. Um, how do you get there by bike??
    Fanno Creek across Hall Blvd? I’ve heard that this was being discussed. But it’s still discusseding (pun intended).
    How does one bike to the powerline trail safely?
    and the list goes on and on

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      wsbob September 7, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      Depending upon what level of motor vehicle traffic you feel comfortable riding, Beaverton may have existing routes that answer requests you express a need for. Lynne offered examples of some of them. Lombard, straight out of the BTC, has bike lanes to Allen, cross it, then just a short jog east to access the FCT. Millikan Way, west out of the BTC, good for biking, has bike lanes, goes right past the main entrance to THPRD Nature Pk.

      Beaverton produced and has available, for free, quite a decent bike map of streets in the city, color coded for bike use according to, in part, the amount of motor vehicle traffic on them. The map has some glitches, but particularly for people not well familiar with the area, it can help a lot with route planning.

      The city also has a way-finding sign project now at the stage where signs may be going up, if they haven’t already. Not sure, but I would think signs directing people with bikes from the BTC to the FCT, may be among the sign selections. Hope so.

      I’m convinced the yellow flashing light only, pedestrian crosswalk signals work very well. Though I haven’t seen the Hall Blvd at FTC signal in action, I have seen one at the Westside Trail and Baseline Rd in use. Many people use the trail, and the signal, and people driving do seem to consistently stop for the signal. Glad to see Beaverton is finding this type of signal can be used with good results.

      Cedar Hills from Cedar Hills Blvd and Parkway, does involve, quite a grinder of a hill. If I heard correctly today from the peppy metro person at the Bike Beaverton ride, helping make the climb more enjoyable, Parkway up the hill just got a nice newly paved bike lane.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Rick September 8, 2014 at 1:27 pm

      Cabott St and SW 5th street are quiet places, mostly Cabott

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Lynne September 7, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    crossing Hwy 217 on SW Wilshire is just fine (northernmost overpass). SW Cabot, off SW 110th is also just fine. Further south can be interesting, but I have crossed from the south on Greenberg, which isn’t Beaverton any more.
    Beaverton TC to the FCT could use wayfinding signage. Roads aren’t too bad.
    Connections to Jenkins Rd do exist. Except from Cedar Hills Blvd.
    Tualatin Hills Nature park is also EZ to get to by bike.
    Fanno Creek across Hall Blvd – I am exceptionally happy to report that the crosswalk with signal is in service, and working just fine. (why yes, I WAS on the committee 🙂 )

    MY list 🙂
    SW Walker Rd from William Walker Elem to Cedar Hills
    Cedar Hills Blvd anywhere south of SW Walker Rd
    Farmington through downtown Beaverton
    Canyon through Beaverton
    SW Walker east of Hwy 217 (county owns the road)
    SW Allen Blvd. I just avoid it.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Lynne September 8, 2014 at 10:26 am

      I forgot SW 5th for getting across Hwy 217. Also fine – bike lanes and quiet. Just be cautious at the RR tracks.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        wsbob September 8, 2014 at 6:37 pm

        Goes under Hwy 217. The road makes a twist as it approaches and travels through the underpass. I’ve never liked riding this section of 5th, but it is better for riding than BHH or Canyon Rd. It’s dark under there, motor vehicles travel too fast through the underpass. For people driving, I wouldn’t mind signs mounted on the overpass: ‘Lights’ and ‘Bikes’.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Andy K September 8, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Thank you for the comment of the week nomination, it made my weekend. It’s clear that we all have a laundry list of things we’d like to see improved and even more frustrating to see $21M spent on an intersection capacity project (Farmington/Murray) when there are hundreds if not thousands of west side commuters begging for low-cost infrastructure upgrades so they can ride safely for transportation or recreation:

    1) Take a cue from City of Portland on BHH by narrowing some lanes and add some diagonally striped buffers. Experiment by adding reflective, surface-mounted, “safe hit” posts in some areas. Then brag about em and encourage use.
    2) Add sharrows and signage to 4-lane streets that don’t have bike lanes like Cedar Hills Blvd and Allen
    3) Add green paint to through bike lanes at some intersections.
    4) Designate a bike way that’s already heavily used. Add signage, green paint, sharrows, and PROMOTE IT. (Park Way, maybe?)

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      wsbob September 8, 2014 at 6:55 pm

      For biking improvements, I don’t see much hope on either Farmington-BHH, or CHB. Those roads are what they are, big old monster thoroughfares. As I wrote in earlier comments, there are better, alternative routes for biking, and people ought to be checking them out and using them if they can work for what they have to do.

      The county was able to make a case for, and get the $21 million for the (Farmington/Murray)intersection project, but would it be able to do the same for low-cost infrastructure upgrades for biking you speak of? In fact, the county and the city does get and spend money on that kind of thing, but the priority for it is lower, and slower. Far more people drive than ride, simple as that.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Dan September 9, 2014 at 8:18 am

    The Bethany BLVD widening that was just completed is an example of construction that Portland is trying to move away from. They took a two lane road with no bike lanes and widened it to 4 lanes with bike lanes and turn lanes in the middle, and trees & sidewalks (and a big East Germany-style wall) on the sides. They pilfered backyards up and down this road to make room for the widening, and all of the lanes (car, bike, sidewalk) are still at the absolute minimum width.

    I know lots of people who bike this road on the sidewalk despite the new bike lanes. The car lanes are too skinny to keep cars from drifting out of them (apparently) and the bike lanes are too skinny to feel safe. And because there are two lanes of travel, most cars drive over the speed limit, some as high as 45mph.

    In my opinion, this road would have improved by having two car lanes with a turn lane in the middle. It worked just fine when it was set up this way for months before the final striping was done. Then there would have been room for a buffered bike lane too, instead of the token lane they’ve put in there just so they could ‘check the box’.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      wsbob September 9, 2014 at 11:39 am

      I think the example you offer is a good example of road development that hopefully, more people will begin to consider the advisability of. From news stories, here and in the Oregonian, I read that there was considerable opposition from neighbors to widening the road to allow for more motor vehicle usage, yet the county commission was able to muster the clout to push the project through. That they were able to do so, should have at least some people interested in greater details about the sources of their operational objectives conceived to accommodate area growth and road development.

      Questions: What good, really was gained by this road widening? What type of person riding will find the bike lanes an improvement for riding, over what existed previously? Regarding who it is that may be likely to ride the bike lanes along this newly widened road, what type person do people think they are likely to be?

      More: So far, has the level of noise from motor vehicle use risen, or declined with widening of the road? Walking the sidewalk along the newly widened road, how may people be feeling about the experience, and does the experience correspond with the level of livability they believe new construction in their neighborhood should be designed to support?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Lynne September 10, 2014 at 4:25 pm

        As for what was there before… nothing. It was an exceptionally sketchy stretch to ride.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          wsbob September 10, 2014 at 6:50 pm

          And? Maybe you consider the widening with bike lanes to be worth what others consider to be negative trade offs. Bethany always has been a sketchy stretch of road to ride, because of how its straight character and posted speed limit lent themselves to abuse of the road by people driving. I rode this road a number of times when it was a two lane country road. Formerly, it was, despite the character of motor vehicle traffic even then, a beautiful ride. I would say that widening this road has not been an overall, enhanced neighborhood livability.

          As I said, Bethany, has always been subjected to abuse by people driving. As a result, I rarely used it as part of a route riding out there. Most commonly rode Saltzman, originating from Murray for a short stretch just south of Hwy 26. Saltzman, of course, with development, also got the widening treatment some years back, which destroyed good country road and riding quality it for many years offered. Could Saltzman have been sufficiently designed for that areas needs, with fewer main traffic lanes and a lower posted speed limit? Possibly.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            Chuck September 10, 2014 at 10:42 pm

            Bethany may have been considered country road 30 years ago, but just prior to the widening, it was a horrendous stretch of pavement to ride. There was absolutely no shoulder for bikes or even stop lights to slow cars down, and the section past Oak Hills was extremely dangerous since cars could not see you over the crest of the hill. The only saving grace was that it was a relatively short distance to West Union, where you could breathe again once you crossed. In my mind there is no question that the widening, if imperfect, was a huge improvement for cyclists.

            It sounds like your concerns with Bethany are more with overdevelopment rather than road design. As suburbs keep encroaching on the west hills, there is inevitably more traffic and pressure on these two lane roads. I would not want every road north of 26 to look like TV Highway, but some arteries have to be developed to allow access and streamline traffic. In cases where roads are widened, it is important that bike lanes be available. In many instances, this would be an improvement in safety.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              wsbob September 12, 2014 at 1:09 am

              “Bethany may have been considered country road 30 years ago, but just prior to the widening, it was a horrendous stretch of pavement to ride. …” Chuck

              I consider Bethany Rd to have been a country road up until the time it was widened to, in theory, facilitate the maintenance of high motor vehicle speeds traveled, for a greater number of motor vehicles per hour.

              Excessive use of the road with motor vehicles is what I feel, made the road horrendous for biking. If a possibility exists that area transportation needs can be met with fewer main lanes of travel at lower mph speeds, supplemented with superb biking and walking infrastructure, this seems very important to consider. This is part of a planning evolution that may eventually become essential to make.

              More people could use the road with less noise, dirt and danger. Much better as well, for people living and working at locations close to the road. It’s great that old country roads get bike lanes and sidewalks, though if the immediate environment they exist in is still noisy, dirty and not very pleasant to be in, it’s probably important to consider whether many people will be willing to walk and bike there, rather than drive.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            Lynne September 11, 2014 at 12:05 pm

            I was a fan of three lanes and bike lanes, rather than the five lanes and bike lanes. I never rode on it unless I absolutely had to.

            Many roads around here used to be quite decent to ride on, until the county population increased and housing was built up.

            I do ask that you refrain from assuming what I think or consider, at least in that tone.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              wsbob September 11, 2014 at 1:28 pm

              Thanks for offering your thoughts about the road widening. I think three main lanes with big wide bike lanes, maybe a cycle track, and wide sidewalks should be given stronger consideration when two lane roads are subject to widening.

              Sorry if how I posed the question left you feeling I was assuming what your thoughts on the situation were, rather than that I was wondering what your thoughts were, which was the case. Meant as a question, I forgot the question mark.

              The practice of road widening together with maintaining high posted speed limits, is daunting. Because I grew up in the area, I’m conscious of road use on 170th north of TV Hwy to Baseline Rd. Motor vehicle use is increasing, and is often particularly intense.

              Often, getting on the road from a side street involves waiting for a string of around 25 motor vehicles to pass before a break in traffic occurs. 40 mph posted. The road, south of the Merlo Rd intersection has poor road shoulders and no bike lanes.

              North of the Merlo intersection to Baseline has been widened, does have modest width bike lanes, three main lanes, I believe. Though I’d say quality of the bike lanes for riding is modestly sufficient, I do see people riding them.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Lynne September 11, 2014 at 4:32 pm

                not only is SW 170th from SW Johnson to SW Merlo 2 lanes high speed traffic, and no shoulders, but it is a NARROW 2 lanes. I did notice a young woman on a bicycle also proceeding north there – she was riding on a paved path/sidewalk on the west side of the road. Depending on my state of mind and the traffic, I just might use that option instead.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                wsbob September 11, 2014 at 8:44 pm

                The area along the stretch of 170th between Augusta Ln (just south of Beaver Acres grade school), up the hill to Merlo, over and back down to Baseline, is for me, a very compelling study, so to speak. I ride it fairly regularly, have seen it change. You’ve ridden it, so you know there’s been a lot of multi family housing built there, some within the last year or two. Light rail station at the bottom of the gully.

                Considering the housing, light rails presence there, the rate of use 170th experiences, and employment as in Nike nearby, I would think to many people, it must obviously make good sense to seriously consider design and construction of superb biking and walking infrastructure for this area. Meaning, at least some cycle track and pedestrian esplanade infrastructure rather than simply modest width main lane adjoining bike lanes and standard width sidewalks.

                Yes, people ride the sidewalk instead of the road. I don’t blame them. It takes a fairly gutsy person to ride a bike, climbing those risers alongside the crazy mad traffic that’s come to characterize 170th. Local leaders and planners leaving people with that kind of situation to deal with is not a promising way of encouraging people to ride or walk, rather than drive.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                wsbob September 13, 2014 at 6:11 pm

                Yesterday, I rode 170th from Johnson, north up the hill past Merlo, back down turning just before Baseline. Just a short section of bike lane, only on the east side of the road, and only for the section 200′-300′ south of Merlo, north up the hill until it flattens out. Infrastructure for biking provided on the road should be much better than this.

                By the way, I think it’s worth reminding to read through the Metro program ‘Drive Less Save More: Cedar Hills’ circulars that some of you may have been receiving in your mail box. Just received another today. I’ll spare comments here about the contents, except to say that bottom of the inside right side page is a ‘Get Involved’! notice for and upcoming ‘170th Merlo Conceptual Design Project’. …”Focus on unique transportation solutions…” specific to “…bikes, pedestrians and transit…”. Wouldn’t mind reading comments from people here about what they think people may be able to accomplish through participation in this project.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                wsbob September 15, 2014 at 11:41 am

                Incorrect observation on my part, of the bike lanes existing on the stretch of 170th I described here:

                http://bikeportland.org/2014/09/05/comment-week-making-beaverton-countrys-1-biking-suburb-110815#comment-5504952

                One more time, and if I’ve got it wrong again, someone please correct me.

                In addition to sidewalks, there are bike lanes on both sides of 170th between Merlo Rd, up over the hill, over the flat on top and back down to the light rail tracks. The bike lanes do help here. Typically though, because as is common with bike lanes, there’s usually road junk on them, I ride the white line dividing bike lane from main lane.

                Bike lanes continuous along the full length of 170th could be very beneficial, in terms of helping meet area transportation infrastructure objectives, having biking be safer, and supporting people’s willingness to ride a bike rather than drive. Mentioned in bikeportlands’ 9/15/2014 edition of its Monday Roundup, is an article by writer David Hembrow, describing ideas that for a wide range of types of riders, have biking become easy, safe and enjoyable:

                http://www.aviewfromthecyclepath.com/2014/09/does-free-car-parking-make-people-drive.html

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                wsbob September 16, 2014 at 10:03 am

                I wonder whether people reading here, have considered whether instead of or in addition to the bike lanes installed along the main roadway of 170th between Merlo and the light rail tracks, a cycle track installed to the other side of the curb planting strip could have been better infrastructure for this road.

                People need a good place to walk, so a sidewalk would still need to be provided. In order for people walking to not be at risk from people riding at brisk speeds, the sidewalk should have separation from people riding. Getting the space to allow for all this could involve getting more right of way from adjoining land owners.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Dan September 11, 2014 at 12:38 pm

        The cross-section in the plans shows big green trees, people walking on the sidewalks and using the bike lanes:

        http://www.co.washington.or.us/LUT/TransportationProjects/upload/Bethany-Blvd-strip-map_road.pdf

        Who wouldn’t want that, right? I understand that it’s just a cross-section to show scale, but it actually looks like a happy place to be. But it doesn’t feel like that when you’re there.

        People DO walk on the sidewalk now, where before there was a ditch, and some people bike in the bike lane, where before there was just a questionable shoulder. And it’s helpful that there is now a light at Bethany & Oak Hills. But speeds have gone up, noise has gone up, and more people are coming off that road & using the Oak Hills neighborhood as a cut-through to other places.

        I’m not sure it’s not an improvement over what was there, but I think it would have been better served to have it sized better for bike/pedestrian use. Doing the bare minimum there was really unfortunate.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          El Biciclero September 11, 2014 at 1:15 pm

          I used to ride Bethany all the way from West Union to Ridgetop Lane (about a quarter-mile), where I would turn left and make my way to a connecting path between Telshire Terrace and Perimeter Drive, then on to Westway to 153rd to connect to Cornell at the South end. The only reason I use the new bike lane is because this left turn has now been blocked by the raised median and I am forced to go to Oak Hills and cross two lanes of 40- to 45-mph traffic to make the left at the signal, which if it weren’t for the flashing yellow provisional left turn phase of that signal, would not let me turn left until a driver also wanted to turn left. For my admittedly very specific case, the new bike lane is merely a not-so-great mitigation of the reality that my former route was destroyed.

          I would also bet an undisclosed amount of cash that the only thought in designers’ minds when figuring out this road layout was that by adding left turn signals and “pockets” to this five-lane road, we’re making left turns easier! If anyone had asked “what about cyclists that need to make left turns across two lanes now?” the answer would have been, “what?” Probably followed by an explanation of how cyclists are “supposed” to change to a lefterly direction by crossing the cross street, mounting the sidewalk, pushing the pedestrian signal “request” button, possibly dismounting, and then crossing in the crosswalk, duh! You’re on a bike, for crying out loud! What are you doing trying to make left turns?!!

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            Dan September 11, 2014 at 9:22 pm

            Ha ha, I used to take that left turn onto the path too. The only way to do that now is to wait for all traffic to clear, make a U turn to the other side of the road and then hop the curb.

            Waiting at the blinking yellow in a skinny lane while cars pass at 45mph on either side of you is something I’d like the planners to experience firsthand. It’s quite ‘thrilling’.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              El Biciclero September 16, 2014 at 1:59 pm

              Well, one could cross Bethany and get on the sidewalk on the East side of the street just for that distance, but I try super-hard not to ride on sidewalks.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    El Biciclero September 15, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    One other thing I’ll give Beaverton (or more likely “Oregon’s Washington County”) credit for is installing flashing beacons at many new or existing crosswalks. Even with the beacons, I “test” these crossings by intentionally NOT pressing the button to see whether drivers will stop at a crosswalk in the absence of flashing lights. Usually, I don’t have to wait long. Of course, when I use these crossings, I’m usually on a giant bike with a toddler on the back—that seems to induce a higher rate of yielding by motorists.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar