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The city's bicycle committee sought to find where people are already biking and where improvements may be necessary.

TIMES PHOTO: MANDY FEDER-SAWYER - About 500 people attended a bicycle safety event in 2016 in Beaverton. In the first year of what the Beaverton Bicycle Advisory Committee hopes is an annual event, staff and volunteers earlier this year attempted to identify the most successful areas for cyclists around the city, and what areas could use some improvement in the future.A city advisory committee has set out to determine where people choose to bike, or not to bike, around Beaverton.

In the first year of what the Beaverton Bicycle Advisory Committee hopes is an annual event, staff and volunteers attempted to identify the most successful areas for cyclists around the city, and what areas could use some improvement in the future.

The initial findings were presented at the Bicycle Advisory Committee's meeting Thursday, Nov. 17.

Unsurprisingly, the study found that cyclists were more likely to frequent areas with bike lanes on either side of a road where vehicle speeds are slower. Routes near or connecting to walking and biking trails also drew more riders.

Areas with few or no bike lanes and without large sidewalks were least visited, of the sites surveyed.

Cyclists galore

Areas with access to recreational biking and walking trails, as well as nearby access to community spaces and retail locations, saw the most bicycle use during the advisory committee's survey.

Across 34 locations, the study found that the most people are biking at Scholls Ferry Road at Fanno Creek Trail. When surveyed recently from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., 66 people went by on a bike.

At Southwest Scholls Ferry Road and Fanno Creek Trail in south Beaverton, there are buffered bike lanes and wide sidewalks. City associate planner Kellie Fenton said this is likely why more cyclists were in the area.

"These facilities provide a high degree of separation and comfort for people using nonmotorized transport from relatively high speed Scholls Ferry," she told the committee.

The third highest number of cyclists, at Southwest Fifth Street and Southwest Watson Avenue, were riding near key community spaces like Beaverton City Park, Beaverton City Library and the Beaverton Community Center, not to mention retail businesses and restaurants.

This location was notable because it was the only intersection in the top five list that did not connect to a biking trail.

Most bike trafficked areas in the study, in order of most to fewest:

• Southwest Scholls Ferry Road at Fanno Creek Trail.

• Southwest Hall Boulevard at Fanno Creek Trail.

• Southwest Fifth Street at Southwest Watson Avenue.

• Southwest Millikan Way at Southwest 145th Avenue.

• Sunset Highway Trail at Southwest Knollcrest Drive.

Bikers beware

Higher traffic areas with cars driving at higher speeds saw the smallest number of riders. Seven people went by on bikes near Southwest Canyon Road and Southwest Cedar Hills Boulevard during the two-hour evening survey.

In the same area, surveyors found the highest percentage of people cycling on the sidewalks.

Fenton looked specifically at Southwest Canyon Road and Southwest Cedar Hills Boulevard, an area with access to transit and near Beaverton High School and Eichler Park. The other locations with few cyclists were located in less dense areas.

"While there aren't any bike lanes on either street at this intersection, there are nearby bike facilities which could explain why people are biking through this intersection to access those facilities," she said.

Fenton noted the three-quarter mile gap in the bike infrastructure between Southwest Cedar Hills Boulevard near Southwest Canyon Road and Southwest Erickson Avenue. This area also connects with Southwest Farmington Road, causing higher speeds and higher traffic volumes.

"That stretch is definitely a more difficult one to navigate, and for sure is the reason why people aren't biking here or are using the sidewalk when they do," Fenton.

Least bike trafficked areas in the study, in order of fewest to most:

• Southwest Wilson Avenue at Southwest 22nd Street.

• Southwest Sorrento Road at Southwest Carr Street.

• Southwest Canyon Road at Southwest Cedar Hills Boulevard.

• Southwest 117th Avenue at Hall Creek path.

• Southwest Scholls Ferry Road at Westside Regional Trail.

A bikeable future

The Bicycle Advisory Committee is not planning to make recommendations for improvements directly out of these findings, but rather use it as a metric to prioritize future projects and track bike use around Beaverton into the future.

The city has already created a list of projects that could be undertaken that would improve bicycle access across Beaverton.

Beaverton's active transportation plan emphasizes increased bicycle infrastructure, including locations where new bike lanes should be installed and where existing bike lanes should be upgraded.

Some high necessity bike-related projects identified in the plan include: Southwest 160th Avenue from Southwest Tualatin Valley Highway to Blanton Street to widen the sidewalk on the east side of road to create multi-use trail connection; along Southwest Allen Boulevard to widen bike lanes and add buffers, widen sidewalks and add a multiuse trail connection near Southwest Scholls Ferry Road and Southwest 92nd Avenue; and add wayfinding signs, sidewalks and crossings for the Beaverton Creek Trail near Southwest Hall Boulevard and Southwest Hocken Avenue.

The laundry lists of possible projects include partnerships with Washington County and the Oregon Department of Transportation.

The improvements already identified are set to be funded and constructed over time, and some require amending the development code and comprehensive plan for the city.

One area with renewed focus is Beaverton's Downtown Loop.

In August, the city received $2 million in federal funding to improve sidewalks and add bike lanes, among other projects, as part of the Downtown Loop project.

Beaverton's city website notes that bikers and pedestrians around The Loop face difficult and inconsistent roadway and sidewalk conditions, fast-moving vehicles, and problems with crossing Southwest Canyon Road, Farmington Road and the railroad tracks.

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