Beaverton is updating their TSP for the first time in 14 years

    Crossing SW Farmington Road is often a leap of faith. (Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

    Riding a bike in Beaverton can be a treasure hunt. I typically use Google Maps, Strava, and local friends’ knowledge to sleuth out safe routes on park paths, cut-throughs, and neighborhood streets to avoid major roads like Tualatin-Valley Highway or Murray Road. Cut left behind the mailbox between two houses, cross a footbridge, and you’re there! Riding a bike in Beaverton can also be a terrifying game of Frogger, where I leap across five- and six-lane roads like Farmington or Canyon, and hope I’m not flattened. 

    But with a series of plans coming over the next few years, that might change. The City of Beaverton is updating their Transportation System Plan (TSP) for the first time since 2010. What is a Transportation System Plan? It’s a long-range plan required by the State of Oregon, which has told cities and counties they must reduce vehicle miles traveled. It lays out the city’s transportation priorities for all road users. In theory, it will cover planning and investments, as well as what to do and how to pay for it.

    According to Beaverton Senior Transportation Planner Jessica Engelmann, the “Go Beaverton” project has been about two years in the making, and has two-and-a-half years to go. Engelmann said the city wants to hear from a wide swath of the city — from families, retirees, business owners, drivers, cyclists, and students. “Transportation decisions affect everyone in our community,” Englemann shared in an email to BikePortland last week. “From the little kid who would like to ride their bike to their friend’s house to the 50-year-old business owner who depends on customers visiting their business, to the 85-year-old elder who wants to continue to live independently.”

    The City of Beaverton has secured funding, a consultant team, and community volunteers to serve as advisors (a Community Advisory Committee or CAC) and a new team of traffic ambassadors. The ambassadors were appointed by Beaverton’s City Manager in February. Although the ambassadors haven’t met yet, they have ambitious goals to connect with friends and neighbors and find out what they think about transportation issues in the city. 

    Beaverton adopted a complete streets plan in 2023 that defines rules and guidelines for making streets welcoming for all users. These efforts align with the State of Oregon’s Climate Friendly and Equitable Communities rules for transportation planning. Beaverton’s TSP update will include many other agencies and voices as part of a Technical Advisory Committee or TAC, such as ODOT (which owns major thoroughfares like TV Highway), Washington County, TriMet, Tualatin Hills Parks & Recreation District, Beaverton School District, and others.

    It all sounds fabulous and hopeful on paper. It has all the right buzzwords, and I’ve heard the transportation ambassadors have been assigned the book, Walkable City Rules by Jeff Speck (a great book by the way). But what will it really mean, on the ground when/if  the policies and projects are implemented? While I’d love to see Dutch-style protected and connected bike and pedestrian infrastructure spring up out of the bike lane paint stripes on Murray Road, I’m skeptical. In a car-centric suburban city like Beaverton, where will the money come from to make these changes? Will real change even happen? 

    Engelmann, who’s leading the TSP update project, thinks so. “The City’s Transportation System Plan, at its core, is a policy and investment plan for the next 20 years. It will consider transportation revenue sources the City expects to have, both over the short and long term. It will also consider what it would cost to program and build the transportation system the community desires.”

    Imagine a future rebuild of a current major road like Cedar Hills Blvd between Walker Road and TV Highway. It’s currently five lanes general traffic lanes with lots of shopping and restaurants, and a patchwork of bike lanes—which are only paint and have fast-moving cars, trucks, and buses roaring by inches away. (I mostly ride the sidewalk there and yield to pedestrians.) When it comes time to decide between reducing traffic lanes, or removing space (sometimes landscaping) from business parking lots to create protected bike lanes, or staying with the status quo —what will we decide in the future?

    Engelmann says, “That’s for the community to discuss and City Council to decide. [Future projects] could happen in a multitude of ways that we will explore as the plan progresses. Among several things, it could include exploring new sustainable revenue sources, restructuring city processes to better align with the plan’s vision and goals, or leveraging community resources to go after additional funds. Underpinning any of these actions requires a shared understanding of what the City is working toward and clearly articulating the City’s priorities.” 

    In other words, we’ll explore all kinds of options to come up with funding, and whoever’s on City Council at the time will need to be on board.

    I hope we get this right. All of us who live, bike, or walk in Beaverton can see the result of decades of car-centric infrastructure — when we cross Cedar Hills Blvd or Jenkins Road on foot or bike and feel our blood pressure rise until we make it to the other side in one piece. I hope the city can produce ambitious projects that match their words and I’m eager to follow this project. For more information on the TSP update, check out the project website and stay tuned for more reporting from Washington County.

    Tina Ricks writes for BikePortland about transportation policy across Washington County. She lives in Bethany and rides her bike around the county. Have a tip about Washington County transportation? Email

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