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Re-Forming Suburbs

Park Avenue Station Community

Laurence Qamar led the Urban Design for the future Park Avenue Station Community at the terminus of the new Milwaukie Light Rail corridor in the Portland Metro Region. His team produced bold new solutions for transforming an underperforming commercial strip into a new multi-way boulevard and parkway.

The study area, comprised of suburban neighborhoods within ½ mile of the station, is centered on Highway 99E, or McLoughlin Boulevard. McLoughlin is a typical 5-lane highway commercial strip lined by used car dealerships, strip clubs, trailer parks, a fraternal organization, and the once famous Bomber Café and gas station from the heyday of the 1950’s. In contrast to the highway corridor, historic homes on dead-end cul de sacs reside and 1/8 mile away next to a soon to be transformed ‘rail to trail’ greenway.

To incentivizing redevelopment of underperforming commercial properties along the corridor, Laurence established a redevelopment vision working with citizens, planners, economist, and traffic engineers. He introduced bold strategies for transforming a 2,800’ portion of 99E, that would increase it’s value economically, socially and ecologically.

Laurence emphasized that in order for commercial developers to build new shop with doors and windows facing McLoughlin, there would need to be on-street parking to serve customers. With ODOT not permitting street parking, Laurence proposed a series of options for ‘place-making’, or centers, which included new perpendicular local main streets, a multi-way boulevard, or the devolution of the lowest performing retail portions of strip into housing and parkway frontage. Each option is based on sound market and transportation analysis, as well as a bold stance on what it really takes to create a vibrant pedestrian-based boulevard on a previous highway strip. Currently the multi-way boulevard is gaining serious support and interest within ODOT, and the community.

Clackamas County, OR
Clackamas County Planning Department, and Oregon Department of Transportation, Transportation Growth Management Grant
Transit Oriented Development, Commercial Strip Retrofitting