Tigard’s new plan for Washington Square Mall: Make it bike-friendly

Posted by on November 12th, 2021 at 10:12 am

The proposed Washington Square Bicycle/Pedestrian Loop. (Source: WSRC documents)

Over the next few weeks, The City of Tigard will review an ambitious redevelopment plan for the area around the Washington Square mall which they are calling the Washington Square Regional Center (WSRC). The Draft Final Report has a number of recommendations for improved active transportation, including:

– a possible Hwy 217 over-crossing at 95th Ave to make bicycle and pedestrian connections to the Fanno Creek trail to the west

– filling in missing sidewalks and bike lanes on Greenburg Rd, Hall Blvd and 87th and 90th Avenues.

– improved crossings at major intersections

– the Washington Square Loop, a nine-mile bike and walking facility which will leverage existing quiet streets and trails.

Washington Square Regional Center with existing transportation routes into the area.


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The first plan for the WSRC was drawn up in 1999 and “envisioned the area as a dense, walkable, and vibrant place with more housing options, better transit service, and more urban amenities.” But as the current project website goes on to concede, “the area has made slow progress towards that vision in the past two decades.” Currently, the region is given over to cars and strip malls. There is no lack of potential active transportation safety projects. Bike lanes have gaps, and the crossings are difficult. Many existing sidewalks are curb-tight along high-speed traffic and some places don’t have sidewalks at all.

However, with the growing climate and housing crises, and the continued blows to brick-and-mortar retail by e-commerce, the pandemic and staffing woes, there is new urgency to transform the area. (In related news, Portland’s iconic Lloyd Center Mall is currently foreclosure.)

(Photos of the mall by Lisa Caballero/BikePortland)

Central to the redevelopment is the mall itself, which is owned by Macerich, a publicly traded real estate investment company. Macerich seems poised to redefine what a shopping mall is, and their plan includes an “activated community plaza, 24/7 energy from hotel guests and residences, and unique entertainment.” This re-orienting away from big box stores and toward a smaller, more urban-feeling retail experience has been dubbed “experiential” retail. Tigard is betting that this good ol’ real estate buzz will create the synergy they need to attract other residential and commercial developers to the area. Along with zoning changes and transportation improvements, they hope the concentration of activity at the mall site will support development throughout the regional center.

Map showing the three different jurisdictions WSRC spans. (Source: WSRC documents)

The SWRC is one of eight regional centers designated by Metro in its regional growth plan. It spans three different jurisdictions—the Cities of Tigard, Beaverton and unincorporated Washington county—and from the Washington Square mall it reaches out about a mile each direction to total 827 acres. The key land for redevelopment is in Tigard, and the shopping mall accounts for over a third of that area. Interestingly, roads also cover one third of the surface area.

The Draft Plan itself was very readable, and I appreciated that the documents were direct about discussing the challenges to realizing various aspects of the plan. In particular, the Executive Summary: Existing Conditions, Opportunities, and Needs was really informative. It was there I learned that most of the existing development in the WSRC was built before there were stormwater run-off regulations and that it doesn’t meet current stormwater standards. Redevelopment will trigger current stormwater requirements. The Non-vehicular Transportation Audit by consultants Toole Design was also an excellent run-down on the inadequate active transportation facilities in this auto-centric region.

Tigard’s Community Development Department recently released the Draft Final Report and it will go before their Planning Commission on November 15th and the City Council on December 14th for adoption of project recommendations.

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Lisa Caballero (Southwest Correspondent)igorAnother EngineerChris IMike Owens Recent comment authors
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rick
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rick

Uh. The plan needs a trail that goes through the Portland Parks-owned Red Tail Golf Course so that people can go from SW Oleson Road to SW Scholls Ferry Road. It would connect TriMet buses and they can even make it accessible to emergency vehicles. The authorities refuse to do that.

 
Guest
 

Redtail Golf Course is in Beaverton proper, does Portland Parks actually maintain it?

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

Redtail looks commercial: https://www.golfredtail.com/

As is the nearby Portland Golf Club: https://www.portlandgolfclub.com/

Matt Hodson
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Matt Hodson

Red Tail is one of five golf courses owned and operated by Portland Parks:
https://www.portland.gov/parks/sports/golf
And here is Red Tail’s specific PP&R listing:
https://www.portland.gov/parks/redtail-golf-course

David Hampsten
Guest
David Hampsten

Would the priority be to have a long bike path along the periphery of the course? Or to use the existing golf cart paths within the course?

It looks like there’s already a paved maintenance driveway along the east boundary of the golf course north of Oleson Road, complete with a pedestrian island and bike lanes. https://www.google.com/maps/@45.4551323,-122.7708984,3a,75y,90t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1stGIMw4IUTbbFnXT_xRQoDg!2e0!6shttps:%2F%2Fstreetviewpixels-pa.googleapis.com%2Fv1%2Fthumbnail%3Fpanoid%3DtGIMw4IUTbbFnXT_xRQoDg%26cb_client%3Dmaps_sv.tactile.gps%26w%3D203%26h%3D100%26yaw%3D54.876106%26pitch%3D0%26thumbfov%3D100!7i16384!8i8192

There’s also “street view” images within the course, on the greens, taken by someone wearing a white bike helmet.

rick
Guest
rick

There is no trail for public use on that golf course unlike that other city-owned course in East Portland.

rick
Guest
rick

Amanda Fritz, a former Portland city council member, told me about the Portland Parks ownership via email when she was on city council and used her city email to say that. She said there weren’t plans to build that trail. Perhaps the Portland Parks Foundation needs to know of the need for that trail.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

And given the fact that we’ve had to dump millions of public money into the PP&R golf fund in recent years, they can’t really argue that the courses shouldn’t have more public access. These are our parks.

Karstan
Subscriber
Karstan

Thanks for you coverage, Lisa! This is nice to learn about. I live in South Burlingame but bike out through this area quite often for work and the gym (less so during the pandemic but still regularly). I’m having more than a few chuckles over some of these areas they’ve labeled “Quiet Connecting Neighborhood Streets.” There’s no way that Allen, Oleson, or Denny are “quiet”, or “neighborhood streets” by any stretch of the imagination. I hope Metro and Beaverton are looking into that section! But this area around the mall desperately needs pedestrian and bike improvements so I’m glad Tigard and Metro are at least thinking about it.

Mr. Scrooge
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Mr. Scrooge

People still go to malls? Haven’t been to one in years.

Brian
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Brian

Yes, they do.

Dave
Guest
Dave

I was at Washington Square last weekend and was surprised how busy it was.

rick
Guest
rick

There are two bicycle stores within the oval ring in the last photo. There are empty buildings in Washington Square, a compact transit center with a half-foot pothole, and empty car parking lots during shopping season but as lot of potential for better planning in those neighborhoods.

Yex
Guest
Yex

That’s cool. Like to check that out with my kids. I don’t feel safe riding with them in most of Portland anymore. Too many crazies!

Mike Quigley
Guest
Mike Quigley

Talk about bike friendly? A bit off the subject, but I got a kick out of a full-page color ad in one of those upscale travel mags titled Bicycle Vietnam. Yup, for real. You can now bike the Ho Chi Minh trail, visit the notorious Hanoi Hilton prison, visit famous battle fields, etc., all in luxury.

One wonders if the Taliban will pick up on this?

Treila korn
Guest
Treila korn

This needs too be passed over too the Lloyd center Malls new Owners be for an final dission making .And its not the dission they will regret.

Alan 1.0
Subscriber

“experiential” retail – I guess “urban village” wasn’t new and sexy enough but still it’s cool that Macerich is moving to put that theory into practice.

Vince
Guest
Vince

Thanks for posting this. The project is much needed. One of the most important things about this plan is not the bike stuff but that a suburban government is saying that it’s time to move to higher densities.

BradWagon
Subscriber

Unfortunately until plans like this starting including the removal of auto lanes anyone with a choice will still avoid these areas. But regardless these are some critically neglected areas.

igor
Guest
igor

I’d like to see this plan address the lack of bike lanes on the Hall Ave bridge over 217. That’s right next to the mall, but is a major gap in the bike network in the area.

Similarly, I think the speed limit on Hall should be lowered. It’s far too fast around the mall, given all the intersections and driveways coming out of the mall.

Another Engineer
Subscriber
Another Engineer

217 widening builds bike lanes but they’re not protected on both Hall overcrossings.

igor
Guest
igor

If that’s true, that’s great. The last time I saw the plan it only addressed the other cross of of Hall and 217 further south.

Mike Owens
Guest
Mike Owens

This is fantastic! So Metro has ID’d 8 areas to make into villages (regional centers)? The housing story here is enormous! With the shift in retail, online shopping this is a win win. Put citizens in the parking lots, business needs shift and support local residents. The transit needs noted here are great, but if the village succeeds then all sorts of changes to mobility will be desired and more readily realized. I think this is a great example for us Bike folk that it’s not about the type of vehicle exactly, it’s the infrastructure within which vehicles will function that dictates purpose. Love, love love to see this thinking. Hopefully it is wildly successful.