The Beaverton ULI TAP

Over two days in Febuary, Frank Fuller, partner at Urban Field Studio, joined a Technical Assistance Panel, also known as a TAP, organized by the Northwest district council of the Urban Land Institute in the City of Beaverton, Oregon. The TAP panel met with the Mayor of Beaverton Dennis Doyle, City Council Members and City Staff to discuss strategies for the future of the downtown.

Beaverton is the sixth-largest city in Oregon and seven miles west of downtown Portland in the Tualatin River Valley. The larger downtown core area of Beaverton is at a crossroads. It is divided by several major roads and a heavy rail line that divides into two districts: Creekside and Old Town. Beaverton is a small town that is developing a pedestrian-friendly center. It is changing and embracing the values of authenticity, walkability, and sustainability as the identity and character of the town. Strategic improvements are needed to support and reinforce the walkability of the town.

The ULI TAP team toured the area, interviewed stakeholders, and together, made a set of recommendations as part of a workshop meeting format. The panel included economists, architects, transportation planners, and urban planners both local and visiting.

Downtown Beaverton study area
ULI Technical Assistance Panel participants on tour. Frank Fuller is second to the left wearing his name tag.

Some of the recommendations resulting from discussions.

A few of the strategies suggested for improving the experience of walking in the downtown are included below:

  • Encouraging more complete street frontages and reducing the gaps between buildings
  • Requiring more ground floor windows, like 50 percent of wall length and 25 percent of wall area
  • Adding a few key crosswalks
  • Deleting of maximum densities (floor area ratios), maximum heights, and strongly enforced minimums from policies
  • Removing ground floor mechanical elements from pedestrian zones
  • Removing the minimum requirements for parking and on-street loading
  • Providing long term bike parking
  • Enhancing wayfinding with multi-modal signage
  • Identifying and create landmarks to make the route more memorable
  • Hiring a downtown manager to engage the community with special events and recruiting local vendors
  • Reclaiming parking lots on a permanent or occasional basis
More images and recommendations for the Beaverton ULI TAP are summarized in this presentation

This is the second TAP that Frank Fuller has participated in, the first was for the Crocker Park in the City of Brisbane while at Field Paoli Architects.