Splendid Cycles

Beaverton City Council needs to hear about how auto parking decisions impact cycling

Posted by on February 8th, 2018 at 3:16 pm

Lloyd northbound toward Millikan, where cars could soon line both sides of the street.
(Photos by Naomi Fast for BikePortland)

This story is from our Washington County correspondent, Naomi Fast.

We need to talk about on-street auto parking in Beaverton.

A big picture glance at Beaverton Traffic Commission meeting agendas shows that over the past couple years, on-street car parking is a consuming and intersectional problem. Residents have been asking the city to lower speed limits rather than rely on parked cars for traffic calming, as well as further restrict on-street car parking. But the parking restriction requests are coming in for two different reasons: some are concerned about safety while traveling on car-cluttered roads, while others are concerned about people sleeping overnight in vehicles on the street.

Biking as transportation is — thankfully — being acknowledged somewhat in the search for solutions. However, some advocates are concerned certain proposed bike lanes (on a section of 5th, specifically, which the Bicycle Advisory Committee endorsed) were being used by the city to justify a new ordinance that would, in effect, evict houseless people from staying overnight in vehicles on the street. Washington County just enacted their own ordinance prohibiting camping on-street in RVs. Like Portland, Beaverton is struggling to house all its residents. The city has even decided to apply for an Urban Growth Boundary expansion.

But today, I’d like to outline a seemingly small detail of the bigger parking problem. It’s an example of the kind of mundane traffic decision that should be considered from a carfree person’s perspective, as part of the equity consideration.

And I think it’s worth a call-to-action for people whose preferred or primary mode of travel in Beaverton is a bicycle.

The street in question happens to be adjacent to the very development, Standard Center, that led me to write the city in late 2016 about its lack of bicycle parking (which in turn sparked this dispatch one year ago). Since then, no bike parking has been added. An irony is that if bicycle parking had been added — and biking to the Standard Center had been encouraged over the past year by its owner and lessees — perhaps the fight over car parking would not have boiled to a head in this way.

Which brings us to the issue at hand.

The Issue/Proposal

If passed, Beaverton Traffic Commission Issue No. TC 767 would start allowing on-street car parking on the west side of SW Lloyd Ave between SW Canyon Road & SW Henry St. This area is near Meineke Car Center, a tavern, Pietro’s Pizza, La Sen Grill, and other destinations. The item was adopted by the Traffic Commission at their January 4th 2018 meeting. Since February’s meeting was cancelled, and the January minutes are not yet available, I emailed Jabra Khasho, City Traffic Engineer. He said the item will be packaged for an upcoming City Council Consent Agenda, date not yet confirmed. The City Council meets on Tuesday evenings in February.

Street Context

This is Lloyd. New west side on-street car parking will block visibility, as it does on Hocken.

Lloyd is a short-and-sweet street, with on-street car parking currently limited to the east side. The street is low-traffic, with no center stripe, and no bike lanes. It’s comparable to SE Clay, though much shorter. It connects Canyon Rd with SW Millikan Way, the much-mentioned “bike network alternative” to car-heavy Canyon Rd (aka Oregon Route 8). Millikan Way is a useful bicycle connection to the Beaverton Transit Center. Millikan is also mentioned in TriMet’s 2016 bike plan.

Lloyd is one of my favorite types of streets to bike-wander on. When I first noticed the lack of bike parking at the adjacent Standard Center, I asked an employee at Pietro’s Pizza where people can park if we biked to pizza. She suggested we could take the bikes inside & lean them in the entryway. To me this didn’t seem realistic—particularly for more than two bikes, or in winter with muddy, oily bike tires—and I never did take her up on that.

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Concerns

Disappearing bike lane at Hocken and Henry, before the intersection with Hwy 8. Can you see the vehicle leaving the Black Bear Diner driveway on the right?

The proximity of Millikan Way to Lloyd suggests an abundance of people traveling this area by bicycle. If you lived in an apartment on nearby Hocken, and decided to bike east on Henry to make a right turn on Lloyd to pick up some take-out from La Sen, west-side on-street car parking would likely block you from the view of drivers exiting Standard Center. We’ve heard drivers say, “The bicyclist came out of nowhere.” Actually, no. In this case, it might be they simply made a right turn from Henry onto Lloyd, and the new on-street car parking up for city approval blocked them from the driver’s view. Sometimes drivers leave parking lots in spurts of speed that could leave no one seeing the other if on-street cars are there.

In the public documents available about this item, there was no indication that the Traffic Commission took into consideration the proximity to the Millikan bikeway. Seemingly small changes like this accumulate and collect into larger feelings of more stress and less safety, comfort, and enjoyability on a bicycle. Meanwhile, Beaverton residents are imploring the city to ramp up non-car transportation facilities & priorities, to alleviate car congestion and to keep streets safe. Bicycles need to be considered by all entities when looking at equity, safety, and traffic flow, as per the Traffic Commission’s own applicable criterion from Beaverton City Code 6.02.060A.

What we can do

Simply put, Beaverton City Council needs to hear from us.

At the January Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting, I brought up my own difficulties seeing around parked cars that block the view of on-coming traffic. Making a left turn onto connector streets like Jenkins, where on-street car parking is allowed as residential car storage, is difficult. Councilor Mark Fagin, city council representative to the BAC, took concern and said that city council needs to hear from the public.

It would be helpful if more of us would write the city and offer public testimony and opinions about this. This is especially the case in early 2018. The council faces a decision about the ordinance prohibiting RV on-street camping, which is closely related to a lack of affordable housing, while at the same time deciding whether to remove restrictions for daytime on-street car parking, which relates to street safety.

City Council has the final call on many traffic issues, large and small, and there is a directional nature to these choices. Will Beaverton further mire itself in car dependency and congestion, block by block? Or can it begin to extricate itself from car dependency by adding non-car perspectives to its street decisions, even seemingly minor ones?

We can help influence the answers to those questions: Contact City Council and let them know what you think.

Below are more images to help explain the context.

Zooming in on the Beaverton Building behind Millikan, the city’s bikeway.

Here’s Hocken, looking south toward TV Hwy. People use Hocken to bike to, from & across Millikan bikeway. On-street car parking ahead.

Here’s what that intersection approach looks like from a bike.

Farmington’s straight ahead. Hwy 8 is called Canyon to the left, TV Hwy to the right.

Straight ahead is Henry, going east-ish toward Lloyd. See the beige building behind the red lights? That’s City Hall.

Henry meets up with Millikan at Lloyd. There’s City Hall again.

About to turn right on Lloyd.


— Naomi Fast, @_the_clearing on Twitter

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22 Comments
  • David Hampsten February 8, 2018 at 3:32 pm

    What is the city government structure in Beaverton and how are decisions typically made?

    Is Beaverton like Portland or Columbus Ohio, with a commissioner form of government where Councilors run bureaus? If so, I’d suggest you and other concerned community members meet individually with each councilor and try to influence their long-term decision-making process.

    Or does it have a city manager who runs all departments and answers directly to the city council? If so, then I’d take a two-prong approach of talking to city council as a group (speak from the floor) and secondly meet individually with junior-level city traffic and civil engineers to understand their thinking and to build a rapport with them.

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    • David Hampsten February 8, 2018 at 3:38 pm

      By the way, you did a wonderful job of laying out the issues and concerns, and the photos were very helpful and informative. It’s been ten years since I was last out there, but I do recognize most of the areas you are talking about. My community is equally awful at providing on-street bike parking, if not worse, as are most US cities.

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    • rick February 9, 2018 at 7:01 am

      I don’t think city council is required to live in a certain part of the city.

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    • wsbob February 9, 2018 at 9:39 am

      Beaverton has councilors assigned to oversee and guide commissions and committees, bringing back info and developments back from those entities to the full council and the public for revue, discussion and decision. The city council relies heavily on its traffic commission and engineers to work out problems for traffic arising from the city street infrastructure’s quirks and idiosyncrasies.

      My experience has been that city staff are receptive to concerns about street infrastructure brought to them by the public, but they also apparently are limited by the realities of having to adhere to state guidelines and regulations in what they or citizens might like them to do to fix a street traffic problem.

      I don’t personally ride in the little Lloyd/Henry neighborhood between Millikan Way and Canyon, so I can’t speak to problems with visibility of bike traffic by people driving, that allowing parking on the west side of Lloyd may create. Never have had reason before to be aware that the area of businesses including Pietros pizza, had the name, Standard Center, if that’s what the name is associated with. Immediately adjacent, north side of TV Hwy. Maybe I can get over there and walk around, ride around within the next week. I ride Millikan Way frequently, and it’s basically very good for serious biking, as opposed to leisurely biking that doesn’t require steady attention to what motor vehicle traffic is doing.

      Millikan Way eastbound to Rose Biggi, at the city hall building, has for a number of years had an issue with a disappearing bike lane. The sign advising bike traffic in advance of the merge to main lane, that the lane is ending, has been obscured by street trees, rendering it rather ineffective. When I brought it up a couple years back, the city didn’t want to cut the tree back enough to where the sign could be read, 50′ back or more from the merge.

      Haven’t yet been over to see the food pod. Millikan Way between Cedar Hills Blvd and Watson, of the Hall/Watson couplet, has been a low traffic volume street, in comparison to Millikan Way west of CHB. The city has big plans for the area around the city hall building. Note; the Westgate property immediately to the northwest of city hall, now in construction for a big multi-use complex. Figure that traffic on the streets around city hall, is likely to get much busier than it is now, and that poses a major challenge to the ease of biking many people need in order for biking to be a viable mode of travel.

      Good parking for biking in Beaverton, is very minimal. Why the city places such an apparently low priority of the provision of high quality parking for biking, is something I don’t understand well. The new Cedar Hills Crossing (the mall over on CHB) expansion, is an example. In this multi-million dollar, years in planning and construction project, where’s the bike parking? Also, the expansion is very deficient for walking.

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    • David, thanks for your comments! Glad the photos were helpful. In Beaverton, we have a “strong mayor” form of government, as this 2017 interview with Mayor Doyle mentions. I haven’t seen this magazine before today; interesting that parking comes up in the interview.

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  • bikeninja February 8, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    Another new traffic/ cycling twist in this area is the new BG food cart pod on the corner of Millikan and Rose Biggi Ave right next to city hall. It is slated to have 31 food carts and was packed on opening day. Even in the winter with only half the carts in place in is causing traffic and parking congestion not normally seen in this area. I think this whole Millikan corridor ( with its feeders like lloyd) is our best chance to get a bike friendly route in Beaverton as it is the only significant street not controlled by ODOT. Making our voices heard now is very important.

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  • rick February 8, 2018 at 7:57 pm

    Beaverton has refused to step up on so many levels. They refuse to place a moratorium to stop the new construction of car dealerships and auto parts stores.

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    • Smarty Pants February 8, 2018 at 10:15 pm

      Could that be because there is high demand for cars? I’m betting that has something to do with it. Car lots are fairly large – property that large in PDX probably isn’t available at any price.

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    • bikeninja February 9, 2018 at 10:37 am

      Look at the upside, when happy motoring comes to an end , Beaverton will be a virtual Disneyland of vacant lots that can be converted in to organic farms, maker collectives or tiny house villages.

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  • BradWagon February 8, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    A larger topic in this area that contributes to many of these small connector streets and the disconnected safe cycling routes is that it’s 1 mile between Murray and Watson/Hall in which there are NO DIRECT ROUTES that allow you cross both Farmington, TV Hwy and the Rail Tracks in a straight shot…. and both of these are very unfriendly for bikes. The north side of this especially can be a maze for folks not knowledgeable of just what streets lead to where and how they are suited for cycling.

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    • Smarty Pants February 8, 2018 at 10:32 pm

      Used to commute between Hillsburrito and Lake Oswego. I’d take TV highway east (big, wide shoulder, fairly safe), then angle off to the right onto SW Broadway (watch for cars) for 1 block and go right on SW Cedar Hills Blvd for 1 block, then cross Farmington and ride the sidewalk east a block or 2 and work my way over on side streets to Watson/Hall and take that all the way to LO. Never had a problem, but I never ride out in the middle of the street like that cyclist in photo above with gray jacket and backpack – I get over to the right, out of the way and I’m bright and shiny so I’m visible. I would not give that guy in the photos a bike license if I were giving the riding test – he needs some more lessons. If bike lane isn’t adequate, ride on the sidewalk.

      It would be best if the bike lanes were separated, but for now, like most places in the world, they aren’t.

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      • El Biciclero February 9, 2018 at 12:09 pm

        There are some people who consider your fun nickname for “Hillsboro” offensive and racist, but let’s talk about this advice:

        “I would not give that guy in the photos a bike license if I were giving the riding test – he needs some more lessons. If bike lane isn’t adequate, ride on the sidewalk.”

        In the photos you are critiquing, I see a vehicle user who needs to go straight across an intersection, and doesn’t want to do that from a right-only lane, since that’s illegal and dangerous. Furthermore, your general advice above seems to assume that there will be a) a bike lane, or b) a sidewalk present at all locations. That is a faulty assumption, so how would you advise a bicyclist to proceed straight across an intersection where the rightmost lane is a right-turn-only, and there is no sidewalk or shoulder? Should that bicyclist a) cross illegally by proceeding straight from a right-only lane, b) merge into the straight-through lane and cross normally, c) find another route (assuming there is one) or d) just drive a car like “everybody else”?

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        • Smarty Pants February 9, 2018 at 12:21 pm

          If the car on the right is turning right, then, yes, the cyclist is OK, although another option would be for the cyclist to punch the walk signal and cross in the crosswalk – a good option if there is no bike lane – although you still have to watch those right turning cars to make sure they see you.

          Did he have a light on that bike? Why can’t the cyclist wear a vest or better colors than gray?

          OH, on another topic mentioned – camping in cars – lived in Beaverton/Hillsboro for 20 years and can’t remember seeing someone camping in a car on the streets. Where do they find these folks who claim something that rarely happens is a big problem?

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          • Dan A February 14, 2018 at 10:05 am

            You’re criticizing a cyclist for maybe not having a light in the daytime? And for being the same color as the car behind him?

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      • Naomi Fast (Washington County Correspondent) February 9, 2018 at 12:29 pm

        Thanks for your comment, Smarty Pants. That’s quite a commute. Interesting you mention never riding in the middle of the street. On Hocken, that’s exactly where the bike lane puts us (see photo under heading “Concerns”). Note that after the on-street car parking ends, Hocken expands to three lanes. The person with the backpack was riding from the bike lane that ends at Ed’s Mufflers. She’s in the correct position to go straight, through the TV Hwy intersection, which she did. But there’s no paint to delineate that until closer to the signals.

        Removal of that on-street parking could help clear things up; thoughts?

        One other point of moderation: I’ve heard that nickname you used for Hillsboro before. Do you know its origins? I ask because Hillsboro, like Portland, struggles with racism (I witnessed it when I first moved to the area). And often, place names cue or carry discomfort with cultural diversity—and sometimes, outright racism. Are nicknames like the one you used sometimes thought to suggest an affinity for a particular culture they reference? In this setting it’s hard to tell.

        In comments here, I want to stick with using the official city name ‘Hillsboro” (which calls attention to geography of the place) but if any readers can offer further insight or education about that nickname, I welcome more knowledge & understanding of its impacts. Here’s a short article about the ongoing history of Hillsboro’s nicknames: Hillsborite beats out “other”

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        • CaptainKarma February 9, 2018 at 12:43 pm

          I notice that the car following the bicyclist in question is also dressed in gray and does not have lights on…

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      • BradWagon February 9, 2018 at 2:33 pm

        lol at almost every sentence of this.

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  • Andy K February 9, 2018 at 6:57 am

    Cycling can be very difficult out in Beaverton – but its getting better. Get familiar with the bikiest streets with this map before you head out for a ride. https://www.beavertonoregon.gov/DocumentCenter/View/8235

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    • RH February 9, 2018 at 10:10 am

      Even walking can be very difficult in Beaverton too. They have those crazy flashing turn signals that are green when a pedestrian is crossing the street. Also, there are tons of drive thru’s which creates tenses moments if you are simply walking in front of the entrance/exit.

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  • Austin February 9, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    Oh man, that disappearing bike lane on Hocken is my route home from work. It’s terrible and scary. I take Hocken to Farmington, turn right, and then an immediate left onto Menlo. The whole situation is bad, and unfortunately, still the best route I’ve found…

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  • Joe Fortino February 9, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    “Beavertron” is becoming way sprawled with auto traffic these days finding a good clean bike lane is hard to find.. * or ppl that don’t have road rage from the area * this week 2 ppl hit while walking

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  • Lynne February 13, 2018 at 12:49 pm

    Not a part of Beaverton I ride though, although I do often ride Millikan Way almost end to end.

    My personal beef with the on-street parking is on SW 107th between Canyon and Beaverton-Hillsdale. Bob Lanphere has a HUGE parking lot there, but yet, there are Hondas parked all the way south from his Service Center (which isn’t the Service Center any longer; gotta take your car to the Service Entrance off Canyon at the main building). Makes riding on 107th heading south just a little bit more interesting. Why is Beaverton letting this business suck up all the on street parking to store vehicles?

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