Central City Strategy
Creating a vibrant Central City area is one of five major goals outlined within the Beaverton Community Vision. And now to assist in implementing that vision, Central City Strategy of the Beaverton Civic Plan identifies ways to help make this important goal a reality.
- Stimulate the Central City economy to attract new business, investment and redevelopment
- Improve the street environment to make walking and biking easy, safe, and pleasant
- Make Beaverton’s creeks unique places for people to enjoy
- Encourage the development of lively streets full of businesses that attract urban dwellers and visitors
- Support a variety of housing options that attract newcomers and residents from other neighborhoods
Why Change at All?
Beaverton residents and stakeholders are passionate and their ideas for how to reshape and revitalize the Central City helped shape these strategies. They want to reduce congestion in the Central City. They want to revitalize Broadway and Canyon so that traffic doesn’t get stuck and pedestrians and bicyclists have an attractive and safe place to walk and ride. Instead of inconvenient or far away parking, drivers want centralized, public options. People want to restore access and water quality to the city’s creek system and ensure that everyone has access to the potential open space and beauty they have to offer.
What is a ‘pedestrian district’? A pedestrian district is a contiguous and well-connected area, usually served by a central public parking facility, in which it is easy to walk from one destination to the next.
The Central City contains the areas between Hocken Road and Highway 217, the Library, and the city’s two major MAX stations, The Round and Beaverton Central Transit center.
Priority Strategies for Improved Transportation
Make Canyon a Great Street for Pedestrians
Beaverton residents want Canyon to become an interesting, urban, pedestrian-friendly area. Currently, Canyon is a noisy, unshaded, and intimidating place to walk. There are not enough safe routes for pedestrians to reach their destinations, and the few existing pedestrian crossings are difficult to access.
In the future, Canyon will be reshaped into an effective, accessible boulevard where traffic moves smoothly and efficiently with improvements that include:
- Wider sidewalks with street trees, cafe seating, and street lighting
- On-street parking (where possible)
- New roads connecting north and south to improve access for walkers, cyclists and local automobile traffic
- Improved pedestrian and bicycle crossings at key intersections
Beaverton’s Central City faces significant congestion problems that choke its major transportation corridors with traffic. The lack of travel options on parallel streets mean that both local and regional traffic must use the same routes through central Beaverton, such as Canyon.
Strategies to improve congestion in Central City:
- Develop new roads in Central City to give users a choice of routes which will reduce congestion pressure on the major thoroughfares
- Introduce synchronized traffic signals to improve traffic flow
Beaverton has a relatively well-developed bike network compared to other suburban cities of its size. However, there are difficult crossings at major road and rail corridors; gaps in existing bike lanes; and a lack of bike lanes on quiet streets, wayfinding signage and bike parking.
Strategies to build an interconnected bike network:
- Develop wayfinding signs for cyclists
- Create bike boulevards on low-traffic streets
- Improve bike parking throughout the city
- Add east-west bike corridors through the Central City (e.g. Millikan and Broadway) that provide safer alternative to biking on Canyon
- Construct trails that connect cyclists to the extensive regional bike network
Beaverton’s Central City has plenty of parking. In fact, there is more parking than necessary; the key is to provide better, more accessible parking that encourages people to walk. Presently, large parking lots push buildings too far apart for people to park once and walk to several destinations.
Strategies to improve parking:
- Allow and encourage different buildings to share parking lots and reduce parking space requirements for new development in the Central City
Make Broadway an Exciting Destination and a Festival Street
Broadway has many elements that could create a pleasant pedestrian destination: continuous buildings along the street, historic buildings, interesting storefronts and on-street parking.
Strategies to improve Broadway:
- Spur new development that builds upon Broadway’s continuous wall of storefronts, provides housing and employment, and supports a civic gathering space
- Start a program to promote Broadway as “a festival street” for public events
Provide Better Pedestrian Access to Light Rail Stations
World-class transit is at central Beaverton’s fingertips, with two light rail stops at The Round and Beaverton Transit Center. However, to get to and from these transit stations, pedestrians must walk out of their way or along loud, busy roads.
Strategies to improve pedestrian access to MAX and WES stations:
- Build new street connections between Broadway and The Round
- Encourage the development of additional housing and employment facilities to support and activate the transit station areas
Priority Strategies for Land Use
Make the Central City a Great Place to Live, Work and Visit
Today, housing options in the Central City are limited. The city wants to entice development that will encourage people to live and work in the Central City. Equally important, the city must find ways to attract new restaurants, shops and services that people want to visit.
Strategies to remake Central City into a vibrant and desirable place to live and work:
- Work with developers and lenders to determine the types of development that are both desirable and possible and make needed code adjustments so they are easy to permit and build
- Invest in positive elements in the Central City – such as pleasant streets, public art, easy connections to other city districts, urban plazas and centralized parking options – that people will want to live near and make it a great place to visit
Priority Strategies for Open Space
Create Plazas and Open Space That Benefit Natural Systems and the Community
Beaverton’s extensive creek network is often hidden from residents as many creeks have been altered and in some cases redirected underground. Restoring and enhancing Central City creeks will improve water quality and provide places for residents and visitors to enjoy the natural environment.
Strategies to improve access to open space:
- Restore native plants along creeks, which provide shade, reduce water temperature, and provide animal habitat
- Create an urban creekside district along Beaverton Creek that features a restored creek and a place where residents can enjoy nature in a social space. Build an urban plaza along the creek that includes entertainment, activity and dining
- Work with Clean Water Services and other regional agencies to develop a long-term Master Plan and clear set of standards for how development can and should occur along Beaverton’s creeks
What to do first?
- Conduct the traffic, engineering, and design work necessary to improve Canyon for pedestrians and reinvestment
- Initiate a shared parking program that allows people to park once and walk to their destinations beginning with the Broadway pedestrian district
- Design, fund, and build Broadway as a festival street
- Initiate a wayfinding and bike boulevard program
- Prioritize new street investments to improve connectivity and provide alternative routes
Revitalize the Central City
- Create an urban renewal district to encourage revitalization and economic development
- Identify what new housing types will look like, perhaps using an architectural design competition to develop innovative ideas
- Ensure city zoning guidelines allow for desired development in Central City
Make Creeks Desirable Places for People to Visit
- Coordinate with Clean Water Services and other agencies to develop design standards and guidelines for that ensure enhanced water quality while also encouraging new development, complemented by parks, plazas and trails
- Commission, design and fund an initial project along Beaverton Creek