DOCKSIDE JOURNAL ENTRY / September 6, 2018
Planes, Trains, and Automobiles – and Pedicabs: How to get around in Portland
The tales of traffic woes in Portland are true. But don’t let that keep you from visiting this wonderful city.
As the 22nd fastest-growing metropolitan area in the country, Portland is growing at a good pace. With about 30,000 new folks moving to the area each year, the impact is construction detours, road closures, and more cars. Traffic is no fun.
One of the joys of Portland is how easy it is to get around! Without the stress of finding parking or being trapped by one-way streets, with just a bit of planning you can painlessly explore quirky neighborhoods, see spectacular art, relish the hopping food scene, and partake in the craft beer phenomenon.
Portland International Airport PDX is served by 18 airlines, with direct flights from 60 U.S. cities, and 10 international destinations. With a light rail station at the airport, it’s easy to get from the airport to downtown.
Amtrak Traveling by train is a long-lost pleasure. Portland is a stop on Amtrak’s two West Coast routes, Coast Starlight and Cascades. Once you arrive, Union Station is served by a light rail station just a few stops away from downtown.
Tri-Met Tri-Met is the regional transit system that keeps Portland and its neighborhoods well connected to outlying communities. It’s comprised of light rail, buses, and a streetcar. The best part? Buy a $5 Hop FastPass and you’re good to go on any and all of these options for a full day.
MAX Light Rail serves 97 stations on five train lines. Trains run every 15 minutes (or quicker) most of the day. This is a great option for quick cross-town transfers, or getting from the city center to the outlying communities of Gresham, Clackamas, Milwaukie, Oregon City, Tigard, Forest Grove or St. Johns.
Bus To get deeper in the neighborhoods, consider traveling by bus. With 80 routes, you can find a bus to get you where you want to go.
Portland Streetcar These streetcars loop around the city – most importantly across the river and to the waterfront districts.
Portland Tram The tram was developed as an ambitious plan to connect Marquam Hill to downtown Portland. The neighborhood is home to Oregon Health & Sciences University (the city’s largest employer) as well as medical offices and hospitals. Unfortunately, Marquam Hill is accessible only by two-lane roads for those traveling by car. The tram takes just four minutes to get from Portland’s downtown transit hub to the top of the hill.
It’s also a beautiful way to see the city! Take the tram to the top of the hill and explore some of the nearby hiking trails for a fun afternoon.
Pedicab It’s no surprise that bike powered transport is a thing in Portland. With an avid bicycling community and an eco-friendly culture, it’s an ideal and reasonable way to get around. The city boasts the highest percentage of bike commuters in the country. PDX Pedicabs serves the areas between downtown and the Pearl District in rickshaw-like tricycles. Call dispatch to get a ride, or hail a cab from the street. You can also arrange a private hire for an afternoon.
Etc. Of course, there are car options, if you can’t quit the vehicle habit. There are ubiquitous ride shares like Lyft and Uber, as well as car-sharing services Car2Go, Zipcar, Turo, Getaround, and ReachNow.
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