Portland State University’s location, facilities, and policies to promote options to driving alone are paying off. A survey released last week shows that three in four students and employees at the campus get there without a car. A press release about the survey issued by PSU proclaimed that, “Cars are alternative transportation for students and staff at PSU.”
44% of staff and faculty and 40% of students take some form of transit (bus, light rail, or streetcar) compared to 25% and 22% that drive alone. The survey also found that a full 12% of the entire campus population gets there by bicycle each day. (The survey was completed by 960 employees and 1,109 students. Survey respondents were asked to recall the transportation mode used to travel the greatest distance to PSU each day of the previous week.)
When compared to previous surveys, the rate of bicycling is growing faster than any other mode — it’s up from just 3% for students and 5% for employees in 2000. In that same time period, the amount of drive-alone trips (currently at about 23%) has dropped in half.
“When you look at these numbers,” says Ian Stude, PSU’s transportation options manager, “it’s not alternative transportation for us anymore.”
How does PSU do it?
During a recent tour of new bike facilities Stude showed off two new, fully-secured bike parking garages, a new “Bike Hub” bike shop, an enhanced bike lane on SW Broadway (a.k.a. cycle track), and other facilities that make bicycling comfortable and convenient on the downtown campus.
PSU spent $200,000 (along with a $50,000 grant from Metro) to convert an underutilized shed into the gleaming new Montgomery Street Bike Garage. The garage has secure, card-entry access, is monitored by video cameras, and fits 77 bikes. PSU has sold well over 100 cards at $5 month to use the facility…
A few blocks to the east is the new Harrison Street Bike Garage. With $150,000 from TriMet (due to its proximity to the transit mall) PSU was able to build this new, fully-secured park-and-ride facility that has space for 86 bikes…
Across from the Harrison Garage is the Bike Hub, the new home of the PSU Bike Co-op. This 2,000 square-foot shop sells a large selection of bike commuting essentials, has several stands for DIY bike repair, and also offers full-service bike repair. Stude tells us that in five years at their previous location they tallied 300 co-op members; but in the first year of opening the Bike Hub, they’ve now got about 1,500 members. “It’s been a resounding success,” he says.
In total, PSU has more than 2,000 bicycle parking spots (compared to 4,000 for cars). They’ve also applied for a League of American Bicyclist’s Bike Friendly University designation and their application is currently under consideration.
Learn more about PSU’s push to promote bicycling, and watch their new video, “Roads Rails Trails” at PDX.edu.