area of its size and population. TriMet operates MAX, a light rail system that stretches
from the city core out to the suburbs of
Beaverton, Clackamas, Gresham, Hillsboro
and Milwaukie. This allows people to live
essentially anywhere in the Portland metro
area and still get to work or school in an efficient manner—even without the use of a car.
Additionally, TriMet operates a compre-
hensive bus system with routes that seem to
run through every nook and cranny of the
tri-county Portland area. Most of these buses
(and all MAX trains) have bike racks, making
for a convenient option for riders who would
like to combine both means of transportation
in their commutes. Plus, there’s the Port-
land Streetcar, which runs in a loop through
downtown, the Pearl District and the inner
east side of the city.
Those who live in Vancouver also have an
easy way to get across the river by using
C-TRAN, which has an I- 5 Express bus route
that runs from Salmon Creek on the north
side of Vancouver to Portland’s city center.
RIDE-SHARING AND TAXIS
The Rose City has a number of respected taxi
services, including Broadway Cab, Radio Cab,
Union Cab, Green Cab and Portland Taxi,
among others. However, like most major
cities, transportation network companies Uber
and Lyft have recently begun operating here.
Both services are now available—all you have
to do is download the Uber and/or Lyft app
to gain access, book rides and make payment.
Another option is EcoCab, a newer company
that uses only all-electric vehicles. It’s more of
a traditional taxi than a ride-sharing service,
and features a number of Tesla sport sedans in
its fleet. Although rides tend to be a little more
expensive, it can be a good option for those
concerned about their environmental impact.
To say that Portland is “bike friendly” is an understatement.
Biking is part of the culture here, with city officials estimating
that more than 17,000 workers commute on their bicycles each
day in the Rose City. That’s roughly 6 percent of the working
population—much higher than the national average of 0.5
percent. And the city continues to make strides in improving
and expanding the amenities, infrastructure and safety
measures it offers cyclists.
COMMUTING BY BIKE
So many people are able to commute to and from work and
school in Portland thanks in large part to the city’s bike-friendly
streets and designated bike lanes, which may be found on
nearly all of the major thoroughfares. There are also innovative
“bicycle boxes” at 26 busy intersections, making cyclists more
visible to motorists who are turning right and reducing the
likelihood of an accident occurring. You’ll notice these bicycle
boxes at intersections, as they are bright green with a bicycle
icon in the lane or the box.
Speaking of bicycle icons, when cycling in the city’s designated
bike lanes, you’ll notice a Portland tradition: bike lane characters. Instead of the typical stick figure on a bicycle marking
the bike lane, the city has had fun embellishing the icons with
whimsical hats, crazy hair, scarves and even one reading a
book while riding—which is not recommended.
In all, the Portland Bureau of Transportation states there are
about 320 miles of bikeways currently found throughout the
city, with more than 50 more miles planned for the near future.
Additionally, there are roughly 5,000 publicly installed bike racks.
Generally, it’s easier to ride from east to west through the city
than north to south, and cyclists will find that they can make
it over the Willamette River without a monumental effort. The
city’s well-known bridges are a big reason for this, as nearly
all 11 of them have areas designated for bikes in both their
eastbound and westbound lanes.
The recent opening of Tilikum Crossing, which connects
southeast Portland to the South Waterfront, provides another
great option for cyclists. The brand-new bridge is for bike riders,
pedestrians and public transit vehicles (including the new
MAX Orange line) only, so bicyclists won’t have to worry about
dealing with motor vehicle traffic as they cross.
In addition to bike lanes that run alongside roadways, the city
also has about 59 miles of neighborhood greenways, which
are residential streets that have lower volumes of automobile
traffic—making them safer for bike riders. These greenways
often include speed bumps and traffic diverters to dissuade
drivers from using these streets unless they absolutely need to
AN AWARD-WINNING BIKE CITY
Due to its accomplishments to promote cycling, thus reducing
harmful emissions from motor vehicles, Portland has won a
number of awards for its bike-friendly culture. The League of
American Bicyclists gave the city its highest possible “Platinum”
rating, and Bicycling magazine has named it the number one
biking city in the nation several years in a row.
The city also appears regularly on lists of bike-friendly cities in
various publications, including GeekWire, Wired and Forbes,
If you would like to reduce the environmental impact of your
commute, get more exercise and truly enjoy a reasonably safe
urban biking experience, Portland just might be the perfect city
for you. The city’s infrastructure, strong bike culture and focus on
alternative means of transportation have made it a perennial
favorite of cyclists, which will be the case for years to come.
They Should Call It ‘SPIN CITY ’