Even an oversized pair of scissors couldn’t offer enough space for all of the hands involved in bringing to life a new core street extension in the heart of the Beaverton regional center.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony on Monday honored both local history and modern goals for the city and the region, officials said, with the formal opening of the $2.5 million Rose Biggi Avenue extension from SW Crescent Avenue to Hall Boulevard, four months ahead of schedule.
Formerly hitting a dead-end at the vacant lot of a former movie theater, Rose Biggi Avenue – named after the matriarch of the Biggi family, founders of Beaverton Foods – saw the addition of 850 new feet of roadway. The extension makes this the first north-south connecting street through the heart of the city’s regional center.
Leaders said the extension is a key element in continuing to offer improved connectivity with convenient travel options and support continuing mixed-use development in the region's fourth-largest city.
“This is a really exciting project,” said Metro Councilor Kathryn Harrington. “It’s connectivity for people who are walking, people who are bicycling, people who are driving vehicles through here.”
“I think this will help bring more people presence to this area,” Harrington said. “As opposed to going around the edges, people will now be able to go through the area.”
The Beaverton regional center around the Beaverton Central MAX station began development in 1998 with a project dubbed “The Round.” That project, though hindered by early challenges from construction issues to high vacancy rates, was the first step in launching the development of the old downtown into a modern regional center, improving accessibility to local core business with convenient travel options, and encouraging downtown revitalization.
“All of the street projects that have been done have all been generally in support of the downtown and access to the transit area and the Beaverton Central station,” said Jim Brink, project manager for the Rose Biggi extension. “It’s all been part of the grand plan to develop the old downtown area.”
The goals of Beaverton leaders parallel Metro’s priorities for its regional flexible funding program, making the project a good candidate for funding partnerships, Metro transportation planning manager Ted Leybold said. Through two separate funding cycles, Metro has invested $3.3 million in support of Beaverton’s regional center.
“It’s important that the local street network and the big street network really work together,” Leybold said.
When there is a disconnect between the local street system and the regional network, the regional network performs poorly. Good connectivity helps the streets perform better, even without building more capacity on those bigger streets, Leybold said.
Also falling in line with Metro priorities are design elements incorporated into the development, including boulevard design elements focused on comfortable sidewalks, street trees and good stormwater management.
The celebration wrapped up with one final marriage of history and the modern roadway, with Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle and members of the Biggi family taking an inaugural ride down the extension in a 1939 Packard.