Downtown revival in the ‘burbs?

by | October 10, 2018 1 Urban Design + Planning

We’re envisioning downtown Beaverton’s revival and putting pedestrians first.

Today, when you ask the average Beaverton resident “Where is downtown?” you’ll sometimes get a puzzled look and a return question: “Beaverton has a downtown?” But this is changing fast, and yesterday’s city approval of a new Urban Design Framework Plan, developed by a team led by SERA, is one critical new step.

Urban Design Framework

The Framework is the result of the Downtown Design Project’s first phase that included extensive engagement with the public, downtown stakeholders and developers. In the process, important and growing downtown destinations were identified: The farmers market and library, historic Broadway, restaurant row, and the new food cart pod. But these destinations are hard to find and separated from each other by significant barriers that discourage pedestrian connectivity. A lack of urban open space was also identified as a big challenge for downtown.

“[This plan] reflects really wonderful community engagement, where we’ve brought in feedback from people who really do live and work in the community, operate and own businesses in the community. All of those things are reflected in here in a really nice way.” – Councilor Marc San Soucie, Oct. 9, 2018

Working with an interdisciplinary team, and in close collaboration with city staff across multiple departments, the Framework solidifies downtown Beaverton’s prominence and guides future development. The Framework aims to capture the 2010 Community Vision Action Plan for creating an economic, social and cultural heart of Beaverton. The overarching goal is to create a vibrant downtown that is easily identified and attractive for private development.

Downtown today is a place of many different experiences. The Framework reinforces these varied experiences through a series of character areas, each based on those unique qualities.

Envisioning The Loop

Central to the Framework is The Loop. Coinciding with the existing Hall/Watson couplet between Crescent and 5th, The Loop will distinguish the core of downtown with prominent bike and pedestrian enhancements, improved intersections and crossings, and a distinct palette of fixtures and materials that will help brand downtown Beaverton. A series of new Gateways adorn The Loop at major intersections. A supporting street network, made up of existing streets, trails and potential future mid-block connections, completes the downtown street grid and reinforces a system of walkable, bikeable blocks.

Urban Design Academy

Early in the process, SERA hosted an Urban Design Academy for key stakeholders and decision makers to define universal principles for creating vibrant downtowns. The principles include: encourage housing choices, design places for people, and provide safe and comfortable connectivity. The Framework is based on these principles and is collaboratively crafted with input from the public. It offers an organizing structure for downtown that prioritizes pedestrians, provides an easily identifiable sense of arrival, and reinforces internal connectivity to promote a “park once and walk” model.

The framework’s approval will launch SERA into Phase 2 of the Downtown Design Project: Development Code Updates and Connectivity Concept Design. Special thanks to our project partners ECONorthwest, Raimi + Associates, and Toole Design Group.

One Comment

  1. Shelby Schroeder says |

    Congratulations to Erin and Martin, and the whole team, on getting the city’s approval on this plan! Tremendous blog update too!

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