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Wayfinding signs refocusing on Hall-Watson area


24 directional signs, kiosk could be in place by fall in Old Town Beaverton

by: SUBMITTED ART - Beginning this fall, signs like the ones above could be placed near the Hall Boulevard-Watson Avenue couplet between Farmington Road and Fifth Street to help visitors find their way. A wayfinding sign system is on its way to Central Beaverton, but it may take until this fall for the first ones to find their way to the Hall Boulevard-Watson Avenue couplet between Farmington Road and Southwest Fifth Street.

In a presentation to the Beaverton City Council at its Tuesday, July 15, meeting, members of the city’s economic development staff and Sea Reach consultants outlined the direction of the program, which was delayed when a first-phase plan based on the TriMet transit center didn’t come to fruition.

The focus for phase one has shifted to the Hall-Watson couplet.

“We’ve regrouped,” said Alma Flores, the city’s economic and development manager. “We’re looking to do the couplet and have started to look at the sites. There are so many more opportunities (including) how we want treat the Farmers Market, welcome signs, pedestrian signs, vehicular signs and a kiosk outside the (Beaverton City) library. We’re bringing a little more progressed proposal than last time.”

The project comprises six phases: a way-finding systems plan, information kiosks, vehicular signs, bicycle signs, pedestrian signs and community gateways. If City Council OKs the consent plan at its Tuesday, Aug. 12, meeting, the program’s first phase encompassing Hall and Watson south from Farmington Road, could come to fruition with signs in place by this fall.

The first-phase proposal, which will likely be implemented through a $41,000 grant from the Washington County Visitors Association, includes 24 pedestrian- and bicycle-oriented signs, a kiosk and LED “open/close” signs for the Beaverton Farmers Market.

“We want the project to promote more mobility within that geography,” Flores said earlier this week. “The goal is to bring people downtown and help them get direction. We’ve heard on multiple occasions from people coming to the city to shop and looking for businesses that there’s nothing to tell you where to go.”

While the project was delayed when a collaboration with TriMet proved more complicated than anticipated, Flores and the consultant team are hopeful the council will agree the focus on Old Town Beaverton is a logical place to start with wayfinding signage.

“We want to provide more walkability in the city and bike-ability and at the same time provide directionals and parking signs,” she said, noting the first phase will incorporate the Beaverton High School area near the couplet to benefit students. “The rationale is to help students shop locally, help guide them to areas around the library and so forth.”

During the July 15 meeting, Councilor Marc San Soucie noted that stylish wayfinding signs like those proposed tend to indicate the general vibrancy of the towns where they’re found.

“Cities that have signage like this are cool ones, and those that don’t have these are not cool ones,” he notes. “We are entering the cool category.”

Councilor Cate Arnold asked if the possibility still exists to develop wayfinding signage for the TriMet Transit Center.

Susan Jurasz of Sea Reach indicated it would take some time to work through the necessary processes with TriMet.

“The process could take a year just to get everybody on the same page,” she said. “We’re anxious to get a prototype phase up and running before we come back to their team. We’ll be working with TriMet to see how this system meshes with their (sign) system.”

For more information on the wayfinding signs plan, visit beavertonoregon.gov.