temporary bike valet service at the base of
r the Portland Aerial Tram.
(Photo © J. Maus)
A bike valet service at the foot of the Portland Aerial Tram has proved so popular that Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) has extended the service until the end of September.
OHSU began offering the service on July 11th while SW Sam Jackson Park Road — one of only two, two-lane roads to OHSU’s Marquam Hill campus (which also happens to be the City’s largest employer) — underwent a repair project. The bike valet was one of several measures undertaken to encourage OHSU staff, patient, and visitors to get up the hill in something other than an automobile.
The bike valet was expected to be offered only during the road project; but even now that the project has been completed, John Landolfe, who heads Transportation Options for OHSU, says the service will be extended through the end of September. “In the meantime,” says Landolfe, “we’ll be drafting up a proposal for a long term service.”
Landolfe said the closure posed the potential for a “real crisis” with patients being unable to get to their appointments. The challenge of maintaining access to Marquam Hill, he says, “allowed us to take creative leaps on a much faster turnaround than we might otherwise have been granted.” OHSU is working with StarPark, a private contractor, to staff the bike valet area. Attendants check in the bikes and park them in a fenced-off area.
About 150 bikes a day are utilizing the bike valet service. That’s in addition to the 250 or so bikes that use the racks near the base of the aerial tram daily.
According to OHSU, promotion of walking, biking, and tram use helped it reduce a significant portions of auto trips and the feared traffic snarls and access delays were avoided. During the two-month road closure, OHSU says they added more than 400 new employee bike riders, increased tram ridership by more than 2,000 riders per day and increased transit use by 900 trips per day.
In a related note, Landolfe announced that the one-week pilot permit given to the Go By Bike bike shop that opened last week has also been extended through the end of this month.