Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

 

What does the new design include? 

The conceptual design includes new and wider sidewalks, different types of bike lanes, accommodation of potential future bus service, additional vehicle lanes and a roundabout at the intersection of 170th Avenue and Merlo Road. The Washington County Transportation System Plan (TSP) calls for four vehicle through lanes on 170th Avenue between Merlo Road and TV Highway and two through lanes north of Merlo Road (this does not include turn lanes, which may be needed at intersections and driveways). On Merlo Road, the TSP calls for four through lanes. 

Do 170th Avenue and Merlo Road really need to be four-lane roads? 

Merlo Road and the portion of 170th Avenue between Merlo Road and TV Highway have been designated as future four/five-lane roads in the Washington County TSP since 2002. The 2014 update of the Washington County TSP reaffirmed these needs based on a 20-year forecast of growth and travel patterns. Job growth in nearby employment areas (such as Nike), new residential areas in Beaverton and Tigard and residential infill development in Aloha are expected to contribute to this travel demand. In addition, poor street connectivity in the area funnels traffic onto major roads like 170th and Merlo. There are limited opportunities to disperse traffic onto other roads by making new street connections.

When will the new design be constructed?

Currently, there is no date determined for construction. This planning project resulted in a conceptual design that will need additional funds for engineering and construction. One potential funding source is the Major Streets Transportation Improvement Program (MSTIP), a property tax-funded program for rebuilding arterial and collector roads throughout Washington County. However, MSTIP funds are obligated to a number of other projects through 2018. The county and cities are now planning for the next five-year allocation of MSTIP, called MSTIP 3e.

Will this project impact my home, business or property? 

Property impacts were a key consideration during development of the conceptual design. The project illustrates how the proposed design may impact properties immediately adjacent to 170th Avenue and Merlo Road. Precise impacts will not be known until the design moves into engineering phase, which is not expected to occur until 2018 at the earliest, and is contingent upon securing funding for construction. 

How will environmental impacts be addressed? 

The project corridor includes important natural features such as Beaverton Creek and Tualatin Hills Nature Park. The project considered ways to address potential environmental impacts including stormwater runoff from pavement, construction within floodplains and wetlands, and impacts on mature trees. For example, a narrow cross-section was developed, compared to county standards. 

Where will new traffic lights go? 

A traffic analysis performed as part of the project determined that no additional traffic signals were warranted at this time. However, intersections will continue to be monitored for signalization needs, including vehicle turning demand and pedestrian crossing demand. 170th Avenue intersections at Marty Lane and Augusta Lane came closest to meeting signal warrants - the analysis that determines whether a signal is needed.

Will 170th Avenue and Merlo Road have bus service? 

TriMet's Westside Service Enhancement Plan, completed in 2013, calls for an extension of the #67 bus line from Merlo MAX station westward along Merlo Road and then southward along 170th Avenue. This route would ultimately extend from Bethany past Nike and through Aloha and Progress Ridge to downtown Tigard. Funding has not been identified for this route. The 170th Avenue / Merlo Road Conceptual Design Plan will plan ahead for this potential bus route and consider locations for future bus stops and pedestrian crossings. 

Does this project address surrounding areas?

Most of the focus is on the design of 170th Avenue and Merlo Road. However, the project also looks at opportunities to provide a better-connected street and pathway network in the surrounding neighborhoods. These connections would happen mostly through private property redevelopment. A small number of other connections may be possible in undeveloped county rights-of-way, also known as "paper streets." The project also examines land use, zoning and natural features in the surrounding area.