To school and back again

While there are many ways to get to campus, some modes of transportation are more convenient

and environmentally friendly than others. Check out the options that Portland has to offer

While there are many ways to get to campus, some modes of transportation are more convenient

and environmentally friendly than others. Check out the options that Portland has to offer:


Portland is known for its bicycle-friendly atmosphere; each day, hundreds of students bike to campus. Biking is not only a healthy and sustainable option, it saves time and money.

There are many perks to attending a school situated in the heart of downtown, but there are also many downsides. Traffic can be a huge inconvenience, especially for those with early morning or late afternoon classes. Fortunately, biking makes it easy to avoid rush hour and unwanted expenses, such as paying for gas and insurance. Also, you’ll find that bicycle parking is easy. In fact, there are over 700 bike racks throughout campus. If you live far from campus, you can also bring your bike on any TriMet bus, MAX Light Rail or Portland Streetcar.

Resources: The Bike Hub, which is located on the ground floor of the Academic and Student Recreation Center on Southwest 6th and Harrison streets, is a bicycle repair shop that serves PSU students. According to its website, it is committed to increasing the number of bicycle commuters to campus, and to provide the PSU community with basic knowledge on how to maintain their bikes. For more information, visit

The downside: Rainy weather poses a threat to bikers, as it may be dangerous to navigate slick roads. If you must ride your bike during bad weather, make sure to have a light, a helmet, warm clothing and a good set of fenders. Also, avoid puddles, TriMet tracks and sudden breaking.

Another downside of biking is the possibility theft. Each month, many students report stolen bicycles to the Campus Public Safety Office. However, PSU’s two bike garages provide a secure (and dry) place to store your bike.


Though many students drive to school, using a car in downtown Portland can be a hassle. It is also one of the least sustainable methods of transportation. Not only can it be difficult to navigate through traffic or to find parking, the cost of gas and parking alone adds up (not to mention inevitable parking tickets). Parking permits can be purchased at PSU Transportation and Parking Services, but they can be pretty expensive: long-term, full-time permits start at around $300 per quarter. However, there are ways to save money. Carpooling is not only better for the environment, but it alleviates some of the added expenses of driving by dividing up the costs between passengers. In addition, PSU offers discounted parking permits for students who carpool. Students with FlexPasses can also save $2 off an all-day parking pass.

Resources: For information about parking policies on PSU’s campus, visit the Transportation and Parking Services website at Students who need a temporary car can also take advantage of Portland’s Zipcars. Currently, PSU students can join Zipcar for $35 per year and only $7 per hour. Visit for more details.

The downside: The downsides of driving are numerous, including the toll on the environment.


Aside from biking, walking is the healthiest method of transportation. If you don’t live far from campus, you’ll find that it is also the easiest. You won’t have to worry about hassles such as traffic, parking or bike theft. In addition, you’ll save money on expensive bike gear and possible tickets.

Resources: For information about pedestrian rights and laws, visit For walking maps and safety information, visit

The downside: Walking can be very dangerous at dusk and in the evening, so take caution in your surroundings and make yourself visible to drivers by wearing brightly-colored clothing. If you must walk alone at night, try to stay on high-traffic pedestrian walkways and in lit areas. In addition, if you’re traveling in bad weather, bring an umbrella and waterproof shoes.

TriMet MAX/Streetcar/Bus

Portland’s transit system is efficient and easy to use, and may be the most convenient mode of transportation for students who live far from campus, or for those without a bike. The transit system is divided into three zones, in addition to the free rail zone for MAX and streetcar passengers. Fortunately, PSU is located in the free rail zone, and therefore anyone riding short distances to campus will save a lot of money. The green and the yellow line MAX and the Portland Streetcar make stops on campus, all of which run about every 15 minutes.

Resources: For more detailed information about TriMet fares, schedules, policies and ride tips, visit The website also provides up-to-date service alerts to help passengers avoid delays.

The downside: As with any form of public transportation, delays do occur. If you plan to use TriMet, call 503-238-RIDE for information about the latest service delays, arrival times and other important TriMet resources.

If you plan to use public transportation frequently, know that year-long, all-inclusive passes are expensive—they start at $847. However, PSU offers a student FlexPass, which is a discounted all-zone transit pass that takes about 35 percent off TriMet’s retail price. It is available to students that are registered for at least three credits hours during the current term. They are available at PSU’s Transportation and Parking Services in the ASRC through the second week of each term.