The City of Tigard has been actively focused on revitalizing its downtown district. As part of this initiative, the City invested in several projects, including the Main Street Green Street project’s Phase 2, which aimed to improve the pedestrian experience, traffic flow, and the aesthetics of Main Street. The 800 LF section of Main Street from the railroad tracks near SW Commercial Street to the intersection at Scoffins Street had six bus stops, which led to traffic buildup and endangered pedestrians who had to cross the train tracks to move from one bus to another. To address these problems, Century West’s team proposed a bus stop plaza that included decorative planters with built-in stone seawall benches and bike repair stations, making it a commuter-friendly environment. The plaza’s design also addressed the constrained right-of-way issue by sloping it back from the road and including ADA-compliant trench drains. During the project planning stages, the team emphasized public involvement, listened to the community’s concerns and needs, and actively involved them in the process. The project has set a high bar for innovative solutions to complex problems.
Century West was the engineering consultant for the project, from alternatives analysis through final design and bidding. Services provided for the project include:
- Project management
- Organize and attend public
- involvement meetings
- Conceptual and final design for
- sewer, stormwater, sidewalk, ADA,
- and roadway improvements
- Utility coordination
- Construction documents
- Bid support
- Construction administration support
The design team included subconsultants NV5(Geotechnical Engineering), GreenWorks (Landscape Analysis and planning), S&F Land Services (Survey), Westlake (Survey), Wiser Rail Engineering 9(Rail Engineering), ROW Associates (Right-of-Way), DKS Associates (Traffic Engineering), Barney & Worth (Public Involvement), and Lee Contractors (Contractor).
Unique Application of Techniques
Designing a busy downtown corridor is a challenging task that requires an innovative approach. The City of Tigard has been actively working towards revitalizing its downtown district for over a decade. With the Downtown Urban Renewal Area’s approval in 2006, the City has invested in numerous projects to create a vibrant, multi-use district that offers shopping, recreation, and other amenities. Through these efforts, the City has successfully attracted new businesses, visitors, and residents to its downtown core. The City’s focus on improving its downtown continued with Phase 2 of the Main Street Green Street project, which they selected Century West to complete. The project aimed to enhance the pedestrian experience and traffic flow and beautify Main Street. It included pavement and sidewalk reconstruction, sidewalk amenities, replacement of existing waterlines, and traffic analysis to create a more vibrant and connected downtown community.
The 800 LF section of Main Street from the railroad tracks near SW Commercial Street to the intersection at Scoffins Street had six bus stops, causing traffic buildup and endangering pedestrians who had to cross the train tracks to move from one bus to another. Century West’s team rose to the challenge and proposed a bus stop plaza to solve these issues. The plaza, which has stops for buses running in both directions, includes decorative planters with built-in stone seawall benches and bike repair stations, making it a commuter-friendly environment. TriMet will eventually construct shelters for the bus stop plaza to make it even more attractive for commuters. The team’s attention to detail is evident in adding concrete slabs that help buses avoid running over the sidewalk and curb. The plaza’s design also tackled the issue of constrained right-of-way by sloping it back from the road and including ADA-compliant trench drains. In addition to the bus stops, a rectangular-rapid-flashing-beacon crossing was installed at the plaza to ensure pedestrian safety. Century West’s team has set a high bar for innovative solutions to complex problems.
During the project’s planning stages, the team recognized the importance of keeping the local businesses running smoothly during construction. With a focus on public involvement, the team strongly emphasized engaging with the community, listening to their concerns and needs, and actively involving them in the process. The team’s public involvement consultant, Barney & Worth (now Consor), went above and beyond by conducting interviews with local businesses and publishing them in the Tigard newspaper. Through enhanced advertising opportunities and special promotions, the team was able to attract people to the businesses affected by construction, ultimately contributing to the growth and success of the local economy.
Social, Economic, and Sustainable Development Considerations
Bustling Social Hub
The downtown corridor is a bustling social hub. The City and Century West collaborated to create a comfortable atmosphere to enhance the commuter experience, landscaping, and amenities. Century West designed a bus stop plaza that serves as a public transport gathering place and includes a bike repair station and benches for those using alternative forms of travel. The team also ensured that the corridor’s second half matched the first by continuing fun elements like the bike-shaped bike racks. The improved landscaping has created a more aesthetically pleasing environment and provides better access to local businesses. As part of the landscaping efforts, the storm planters were designed with electrical outlets, which the City can use for events like holiday celebrations, street fairs, food carts, and the highly anticipated Tigard Music Fest. The electrical elements add extra excitement to these events, and residents will enjoy them for years to come.
Impacts on the Local Economy
During the initial phase of the Main Street Green Street project, there was a noticeable increase in both visitors and businesses. This trend continued into the second phase. Before construction, roughly one-third of the storefronts along Main Street were vacant. However, as construction progressed, these storefronts started filling up and showed no signs of slowing down.
The City and Century West focused on public involvement during construction to keep the local economy going. They offered enhanced advertising opportunities and special promotions to attract people to the businesses affected by the construction. These efforts ultimately contributed to the growth and success of the local economy.
Sustainable Stormwater Design
By designing stormwater facilities that use less impervious areas, incorporating stormtech catch basin filters, and employing hazmat mitigation techniques like lining stormwater planters, the City and Century West demonstrated their commitment to sustainable practices. These solutions allowed on-site stormwater treatment, reducing runoff’s environmental impact and contributing to a healthier ecosystem.
Creating the bus stop plaza was a crucial step toward ensuring pedestrian safety. During the project survey, the team noticed several pedestrians crossing the traffic in areas with no crosswalks and crossing the train tracks unsafely while moving from one bus stop to another. The newly constructed bus stop plaza has successfully consolidated all the bus stops in one location and added a rectangular rapid flashing beacon crossing to enhance pedestrian safety. Consequently, conflicts between pedestrians, traffic, and train tracks have been significantly reduced, resulting in a much safer pedestrian experience.
The Main Street Green Street project is a lesson in custom design. Rather than pointing to a past project and regurgitating the design, this project’s historic roadway forced the team to be creative in meeting the community’s needs. Particularly complex aspects of the project included:
The team faced a significant challenge in dealing with the utilities along the road. As is often the case with older roads, there were many instances of crossing utility lines and unaccounted-for utilities. To ensure that the project proceeded without conflict, Century West carried out potholing at two to three dozen locations at the beginning of the project. This process helped the team determine the exact location of existing utility lines.
As the heart of Tigard, the City and Century West aimed to make the corridor accessible and enjoyable for everyone. However, creating an ADA-compliant environment on Main Street posed a challenge. The team faced the issue of storefronts on both sides of the street with varying elevations, and the street grade that flowed downhill exceeded ADA requirements. The team had to ensure that the roadway was accessible by designing it in a way that allowed the ADA features to blend into the steep road. Additionally, they identified locations to add ADA parking stalls.
Successful Fulfilment of Client Needs
To achieve success on the Main Street Green Street project, Century West collaborated closely with the City at every step. They put tremendous effort into creating a materials palette/board showcasing plant materials and streetscape items. By seeking buy-in through schematic exhibits and visualization, they were able to give the City precisely what they wanted and realize their vision. Their approach resulted in meeting all the City’s goals, hitting the construction budget target, and overcoming challenges posed by COVID-19. Despite contractor staffing issues that caused delays, Century West’s commitment to excellence and teamwork ensured the project was successfully completed and the City’s needs fully met.