Apartment project razes Fencing School building, adjacent to 5th street bikeway in Beaverton

5th street is a major east-west bikeway in Beaverton. There’s a proposal to tear down the building which currently houses the fencing school at the northeast corner of 5th and Western. The proposal would replace that building with apartments. Deadlines and meetings associated with this:

  • Beaverton Facilities review for this project is on October 13, 2021 (I didn’t see a time listed in the notice.)

  • To be made a part of the staff report, correspondence needs to be received by October 22, 2021.

  • Planning Commission hearing is 11/3/2021.

Here’s the public notice with more details, including times, zoom links, addresses, etc:

I’m planning to submit written testimony. I was planning on saying that during construction, the project should not use the bike lane for storage of construction materials, construction equipment, or construction workers’ motor vehicles. And that when completed, the project should be able to function without relying on the bike lane as a loading zone or for overflow parking. Overflow parking should be in the adjacent Bi-Mart parking lot.

If you bicycle on 5th, you may want to also submit similar testimony.

–Seth

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Here’s the comment I just submitted.


My main concern about this project are keeping the bicycle lanes on 5th open during and after this project. The north side bike lane is of particular concern since it abuts this project. My comments are based on what I have seen with other construction projects which are adjacent to bike lanes in the Portland area.

5th is a major east-west bike lane in the Beaverton bike lane network. Improvements on Western are, in part, to encourage bicyclists. Because people are creatures of habit, blocking bicycle traffic on 5th, even temporarily, will reduce bicycle use on 5th and on the Western in the long run. Blocking bicycle traffic on 5th means bicyclists will divert trips to other, most likely motorized, modes. Those modes will more likely have a heavier carbon footprint. I’m sure that goes counter to Beaverton’s Climate Action Plan.

I voiced some of these concerns during the neighborhood meeting which the developer held earlier. The developer assured those attending that they would respect the bike lane. Nonetheless, I want my concerns included on the record, so I am submitting these comments.

The City of Beaverton needs to tell the developer that the bike lanes on 5th are not for parking for their construction workers’ motor vehicles. The bike lanes are not staging areas for construction materials, equipment, or vehicles. State law (see ORS 811.550, 811.555 and ORS 811.560) says that a driver can “momentarily” unload passengers and property using a bike lane. But the statute is silent on the exact meaning of “momentarily.” The City of Beaverton needs to tell the developer that the “momentarily” exception does not include parking the truck delivering the windows or sinks in the bike lane all day, or even for an hour. The City may not be able to statutorily require the developer to do loading and unloading on their property, but the City should encourage that as much as possible. That “momentarily” exception does not include leaving piles of construction material, like pipes, 2x4s, or gravel in the bike lane. The City needs to impress on the developer that if that does happen, the city is going to penalize the developer.

There is parking on the south side of 5th, behind the bike lane. The developer’s construction workers can use that parking, or the developer can provide parking for their workers on-site.

If for some reason the developer has to close 5th, or dig up all or part of the bike lane on 5th, they must provide a signed detour and/or flaggers to redirect traffic. Priority should be given to keeping the bike lane open, and possibly restricting motor vehicle traffic. In other words, if they have to close something, they should close the motor vehicle lane, not the bike lane. Again, part of the reason for the improvements on Western is for bicycles. It doesn’t make sense to discourage bicyclists from using 5th, even temporarily, when the idea is to encourage bicycling on Western.

After the Modera project is completed, the bike lane must still be left open and respected. That means that the Modera project must provide sufficient parking on-site for residents, guests, and deliveries that won’t use into the bike lane on the north side of 5th. The City needs to encourage the project to make arrangements for overflow parking to the north, in the Bi-Mart parking lot. Finally, the City needs to remind the developer that they need to collect the leaves from their street trees, and not blow them into the bike lane for a street sweeper which may come by a month later.

Thank you,

–Seth Alford