Cheap Rides

    As gas prices continue to rise and bus-pass costs climb, commuting to Portland State leaves many students with an empty bank account. Here are a few tips from PSU transportation experts and students on how to make it to class every day without breaking the bank.

    Robert Bertini, associate professor director for the Center for Transportation Studies, said he moved to Portland six years ago and decided he would live so that he could take the bus or walk without having to deal with stressful freeway travel.

    Bertini said the best options for students are basic. He recommends the university-operated parking facilities, which cost $258 per term, as an initial solution. He said city-owned SmartPark facilities and other paid parking lots round out near-campus options.

    Bertini said TriMet offers free park-and-ride parking lots around the city. Students can leave their car at park-and-ride lots for up to 24 hours and catch the nearest bus or MAX train to PSU. Students can park all day in PSU facilities for $5 with the TriMet FlexPass, a student-discounted TriMet pass, as well.

    Dan Zalkow, manager for the transportation and parking services at PSU, said that Parking Structure 3 at 12th and Mill will have the cheapest metered rates on campus at $1 per hour, or $8 a day. He said other spots on campus cost up to $10 a day.

    In addition, Zalkow said students at PSU are very lucky compared to students at other Portland schools because PSU is so well served by public transit (bus, MAX and streetcar). A good option for many students is to buy TriMet’s student FlexPass for $140 for fall term. He said buying monthly passes from TriMet for that same time period is approximately $80 more. If a student has to drive, an option that is cheaper than driving alone and parking on campus is carpooling and splitting the costs with one or more other persons.

    Nick Carey, an undergraduate civil and environmental engineering student, said students can find free parking near the end of the Portland Streetcar line in Northwest Portland and ride the streetcar for free directly to PSU. He said students can also park in the free Lloyd Center parking lots and ride the Fareless Square MAX into downtown.

    Bertini said he generally avoids driving his car to work, preferring to ride his bike for the exercise he gets.

    A graduate student in the College of Urban and Public Affairs said there is a parking lot located diagonally across the street from the Urban Center. She said she prefers that lot to the structured garages the school offers because the fee is less expensive if you park all day. She said the lack of concrete structures makes it easier to park in, without having to worry about running into a concrete column.

    The ITS lab listed the following options:

1. There is limited one- to two-hour free parking on 11th behind Science Building 2 (at the I-405 on-ramp). But they do issue a ticket if you park overtime.

2. If you have a little time to spare for a walk, you can go farther up the hill and park there, and hike down. Note: They have limited parking time allocated.

3. There is 99-cent-per-hour parking on Fourth and Taylor private garage.

4. If you have friends living in Lovejoy apartments, ask them to get you guest parking once in a while for free.