When you head to the Portland State Transportation and Parking Services website, “Public Transit” is the first tab available. That’s because 43 percent of PSU students are getting to and from campus on buses, streetcars and the MAX. Convenience is most likely a factor, but moreover, public transit is about as green as it gets as far as commuting.
Let’s face it, PSU is a commuter school. More people live off campus than on. This leaves those who do not live on campus with the task of getting on and off campus multiple times in a week. Options for doing this include: public transit, biking, walking (if you happen to live close enough to campus to do so), driving and carpooling.
Based on a snapshot of “How Students Get to Campus” in the 2013–14 academic school year, 43 percent took public transit, 21 percent walked, 20 percent drove alone, 8 percent biked and another 8 percent carpooled. Roughly three-quarters of students are getting outside and traveling to campus in a green and sustainable manner.
Walk it out
Walking is going to be the greenest way of getting around, but due to proximity this is not always going to be a possible mode of transportation for students. PSU is, after all, a commuter school. This is why only 21 percent of students walk to campus. The remaining 79 percent of students are relying on other modes of transportation.
Bike it out
Your next greenest bet is to bike. No energy is being consumed when you ride your bike, only exerted. However, similar to walking, you need enough energy to make the trip, which is sometimes through the rain and sometimes at the crack of dawn.
Despite the health and environmental benefits of biking, it is understandable not to want to bike to school through downtown traffic in the rain for your morning class. Those brave and energetic enough should check out the PSU Bike Hub and the resources they have, including bike rentals and bike repairs.
Take transit to the MAX
Sitting on the bus or MAX, catching up on your class reading and taking in Portland’s beautiful cityscape, it’s no wonder most PSU students get to and from campus via public transportation.
Frequent riders can purchase a FLEX pass, a small sticker on your PSU ID, that allows you to use any Trimet line as often as you like. The current rate for FLEX passes is $220 per term and can be purchased at the Transportation & Parking Services at 1812 SW 6th Ave.
Personal or mass transit isn’t for everyone, especially those rushing to campus at the last minute after waiting at a Dutch Bros drive through. If you do have to drive, carpooling is the greenest thing you can do.
When you drive in alone, less than 1 percent of the energy (generally from burning gasoline) is being spent moving you to school. Ninety-nine percent of the energy is spent moving your car to a parking spot. Carpooling helps balance the ratio greatly. And though your checkbook may not agree at first, electric cars are becoming increasingly cheaper and more reliable. With parking spots generally open on PSU’s Electric Avenue, they are a viable option for those who can afford the initial investment.