Beaverton gets $2 million grant for ‘Downtown Loop’ project

Rendering of Downtown Loop possibility. (Source: Walker Macy)
(Source: City of Beaverton)

A major project that could completely redesign Beaverton’s downtown loop has received its first injection of financial support thanks to the federal government. On Wednesday, U.S. House Representative Suzanne Bonamici and Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced a $2 million grant for the Downtown Loop project.

The funding comes just five months after a woman was hit and killed by a driver as she tried to walk across SW Hall Blvd.

The project aims to re-imagine the couplet of SW Watson and Hall between 5th and the MAX light rail line in order to connect Old Town and Beaverton Central. The streets and intersections on the loop today are dominated by drivers and their cars, but Rep. Bonamici says the future will look much different. “On a recent tour of the Beaverton Downtown Loop, I saw firsthand the challenges that people experience when walking, biking, or using transit in Beaverton’s downtown area,” Bonamici said in a statement.

SW Hall and Farmington today. Ooof.

Senator Jeff Merkley said the project will “make Beaverton thrive. “This federal funding will make Beaverton’s vibrant Downtown Loop safer for pedestrians with wider sidewalks, safer for bicyclists with protected bike lanes, and more easily accessible by public transportation with more bus stops. “

Beaverton City Councilor-elect Kevin Teater. (Photo courtesy Kevin Teater)

While project will ultimately create much more space for buses, bikes, and walkers, the final vision for how best to do that is yet to be determined. This $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation will support moving the project forward into design and development. Specifically, the money will be spent on the design and construction of a demonstration project in the downtown area.

Beaverton City Councilor-elect Kevin Teater rides his bike through intersections on the loop almost every day. “And I fear for my life multiple times a day,” he told me in a phone interview this morning. “The opportunity to really reimagine how that works is incredibly refreshing and encouraging.” Teater said elected officials in Beaverton share a sense that change is needed when it comes to how folks get around and this project might provide an opportunity to do something big. “I think we’ve got the leadership in place that’s willing to ask really bold questions, like dramatically changing the forms of transportation downtown and realizing that it’s a it’s a neighborhood and not just a destination,” he said.

“This grant funding is really meaningful,” Teater added. “And hopefully we can get some good going out of this.”


Join Councilor-elect Teater for a ride to Beaverton Night Market this Saturday evening. Meet at Merlo MAX Station at 4:30. More details on the Pedalpalooza Calendar.

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hamiramani
1 month ago

There is a remarkably stark difference between the voice of leadership in Beaverton (awesome job, Councilmember Teater) and the complete vacuum of thought amongst Portland’s electeds when it comes to the transportation revolution we urgently need.

Dwk
Dwk
1 month ago

Hardesty is completely wrong on the biggest transportation issue of the time.
There apparently is nothing she could do to not get your vote.
Obviously transportation and her poor oversight of PBOT mean nothing.

Dwk
Dwk
1 month ago

Sorry, I thought you opposed the 20 billion dollar bridge that will suck all the transportation dollars for years and not end any congestion.
Weird, Hardesty is backing plan, I thought a news person knew that.

dwk
dwk
1 month ago

I vote for people who represent my interests and commissioners who are signing off on this ridiculous project are not serving my interests.
I also want good choices about moving things forward.
If with a straight face you can tell us that this city is better off now than 4 years ago, feel free.
We have moved backward at an astonishing rate in every category including cycling.

pigs
pigs
1 month ago

Keeping two lanes is a sure way to remain “dominated by drivers and their cars”.

pigs
pigs
1 month ago

Does anyone know whats happening with zoning and lack of development in beaverton central? Empty parking lots, empty fields, car dealerships, if they want this area to thrive they need to encourage development in this transit rich area.

It’s not like there isn’t demand. My studio apartment I had rented in beaverton central was going to increase above $1500 a couple years ago. Theres lots of food options, lots of grocery stores within a mile, lots of frequent service bus routes with the max, its a desirable place.

Brian
Brian
1 month ago
Reply to  pigs

I just moved to south Beaverton after having lived in inner SE/NE Portland for 24 years. The downtown area was a pleasant surprise to us, despite having heard of the improvements. Friendly people, outdoor seating, great choices for food and beverages, That being said, while sitting outside of Ex Novo we noticed how unfriendly it still feels on streets like Watson for everyone not in a car. Two lanes of traffic on a one way, high speeds, drivers not stopping for crossing pedestrians (including some walking with a stroller and elderly). It is still a very car-dominated vibe despite the amount of people gathering. Hopefully this project will lead to other, low hanging fruit improvements in the area. The other criticism I have is the lack of maintenance of the bike lanes. The driving lanes are clear of gravel, debris, etc. The bikes lanes are the exact opposite-gravel everywhere, debris from car accidents, dead animals, branches, larger rocks. For the life of me I cannot understand why bike lanes, home to the most vulnerable tires on the road, are not in better shape.

Jim Schiffer
Jim Schiffer
1 month ago
Reply to  pigs

You might as well have a freeway going down the middle of Beaverton with Canyon and Farmington converging in this area. I don’t know the history of Beaverton, but as long as you allow 35+ MPH traffic with that many lanes on two different roads 300 feet from each other cut right through the middle of your “Downtown”, it is going to be car centric. Honestly, as it stands this is one of the most unfriendly layouts to anyone not in a car I have ever seen. Add in Broadway going in-between them and.. ungh. I cross this everyday as a part of my commute, and the more I bike through it the stupider it seems.

Zach R
Zach R
1 month ago
Reply to  pigs

I would love to hear more about this topic. Personally, I think that it is going to take a lot of effort to convince developers that the area between SW Farmington and Beaverton City Hall is ever going to be a non-car centric area. Made even harder by the city’s choice to build a 7 story parking garage with center frontage on their public plaza at the best served public transit location in their city.

Michael H
Michael H
1 month ago
Reply to  pigs

A few years back Beaverton rezoned much of downtown and amended its development code. Those changes took effect last year: https://beavertonoregon.gov/downtowndesign

Not sure if any of these changes have influenced the development pipeline at all, and it sounds like more changes are planned for the future (the site linked above talks about a phase 2, though I don’t know what that all entails)

Alan Love
Alan Love
1 month ago

Awesome! I work one day a week at The Round at the pointy end of the loop, and the very beginning and end (Hall and Watson) of my commute is the most stressful part of the ride. Lots of people walking in the area now that the central area has developed with a large food cart pod, several new restaurants, and the library/park area right there, so a less car-dominated scene is desperately needed.

DW
DW
1 month ago

This is great news. Hopefully the project improves pedestrian priority for crossing the stroads that run east-west through there as well. A couple weeks ago I took the MAX out there to hang with some friends. On my walk from the MAX stop to the downtown area, I had to wait 6 minutes to cross Canyon Road, then another 8 minutes to cross Farmington Road. So 14 minutes to go less than a tenth of a mile. I thought about just running across in a gap, but figured I’d wait like a good boy and not end up as the headline, “Pedestrian killed in Beaverton collision, went against do not walk signal”. It was inconvenient for me, but I could only imagine how much more difficult those intersections would be to navigate with mobility issues or children in tow.

 
 
1 month ago

Downtown Beaverton is actually significantly more bike-friendly than it appears at first glance. That’s because it’s plenty easy for bike riders to avoid Canyon/Farmington on low-stress routes. In fact going east/west it’s super easy, 5th, Millikan, and Center provide great connections.

Going north/south it’s definitely a bit more difficult: Lombard is probably the only acceptable route right now that actually goes all the way through, but Erickson on the southern side is also quite nice to bike on, as is Rose Biggi on the north side. Add to this the fact that south of Farmington is a quite-nice grid system for a bit, making getting anywhere south of the highway super easy via 5th, Lombard, and Erickson.

That being said, crossing Canyon/Farmington anywhere other than Lombard is a big problem right now. Hopefully this project can ameliorate the issue. I’d like to see something quite simple: take out one of the three car lanes on. Hall and make it a two-way bike lane. Problem solved, and then you don’t even have to worry about how to allocate space on Watson.

It would be also nice to have one more north/south crossing on the west side of downtown. If they could find a way to connect Erickson or Menlo to Hocken, that would be a huge game-changer.

John D.
John D.
1 month ago
Reply to   

Agreed, my current bike commute requires me to go from SW 5th to SW Millikan, and I’ve tried a bunch of different north/south routes to connect them. My current preferred route is to take Lombard across Farmington to Broadway, then ride in the left lane north on Hall to take a left on Millikan. It’s far from perfect, and I hope that this project will make it possible to ride Hall all the way.

 
 
1 month ago
Reply to  John D.

Did you know that there’s a car-free connection directly from Lombard to Millikan? So you don’t need to ride on Hall at all!

Mick O
Mick O
1 month ago
Reply to   

BikePortland even did an article about it a while ago:
https://bikeportland.org/2018/02/26/a-closer-look-at-cycling-on-millikan-way-in-beaverton-269379

I use this a lot

Lynne
Lynne
1 month ago
Reply to  Mick O
Ernest Fitzgerald
Ernest Fitzgerald
1 month ago

My wish: A Fanno-Creekish type seamless connection between Tigard and Beaverton – although unlike most of you I’m not a traffic engineer and I realize that such a connection might not be feasible.

pigs
pigs
1 month ago

I wonder if there is enough right of way alongside the WES line for a MUP.

Michael Bartlett
Michael Bartlett
1 month ago

2 million doesn’t seem anywhere near enough for the project’s scale.