Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Portland Airport to host open house on bicycling

Posted by on March 13th, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Policymakers Ride-3

A bike path leads directly to the bike parking at PDX.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Port of Portland wants your feedback on bicycling in and around the Portland International Airport (PDX). They’re hosting an open house next week (3/19) to share information and hear your thoughts on existing facilities and what they can improve on in the future.

The impetus for this open house is an effort to update the Portland International Airport Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan (PDF). That plan was the first biking and walking plan ever created for a commercial airport; but it came out in 2003 and it’s slated for an update this year.

There’s plenty to talk about when it comes to bicycling around PDX. As we’ve written about several times over the years, the Port has some bike-specific routes, wayfinding signage, bike parking, and other amenities that make bicycling to the airport a viable option for some. A recent study about bike-friendly airports by the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Berkeley held up PDX as an “exemplary” model of how to provide bicycle access. But while steps have been made, biking to the airport remains something reserved for the “strong and fearless” and much more can be done to make it as safe and convenient as driving or other modes.

Here’s the flyer created by the Port for the open house:

If you work at the airport, currently ride their for travel, or have feedback to share, considering attending the open house from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. on Tuesday, March 19th at the PDX Terminal Building – St. Helens A Conference Room. If you can’t make it but would like to offer comments, get in touch with Jason Gately, Port of Portland Department of Planning and Development at (503) 415-6570 or Jason.gately@portofportland.com.

Learn more about biking and walking at PDX via the Port’s website.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you.

  • Andrew Seger March 13, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    How far does this study look at in terms of biking to the airport? A short stretch of jersey barrier protected two way cycletracks and a light at Columbia that allowed people to cross from Cully to Alderwood (plus paving the shoulders on Alderwood would make the whole NE part of the city super connected to all those jobs.

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    • Chris I March 13, 2013 at 3:03 pm

      They need a light at Cully/Columbia and a cycletrack (widened sidewalk would work) from there to Alderwood. That area is terrifying.

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    • Steve B March 14, 2013 at 12:17 pm

      Totally! I have included this, sharrows on Alderwood, better wayfinding to get you to the MUP, better ped/bike crossing over Airport Way that doesn’t leave you stranded on a tiny island in the middle + to sort out a better connection to the service road that doesn’t require 90 degree turns (not very easy to do when you’re loaded up with cargo or a bike trailer)

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  • Ryno Dan March 13, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    The Max needs to run until all the flights have landed +20 minutes.

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  • Dan V March 13, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Maybe I missed it, but the last flight I took (back in September), I had wanted to ride, but could not find secure bike parking. I didn’t want to return just to find that my bike had been reduced to a vandalized frame.

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    • Bjorn March 13, 2013 at 3:58 pm

      It is on the right hand side as you get into the arrivals pickup level, right by all the motorcycle parking. There is a spot to lock up, but the caged area is employee only I believe, however the area is monitored and I’ve left a decently nice bike there while travelling for over a week several times and I’ve never had an issue.

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      • Kris March 18, 2013 at 6:41 pm

        Agreed. I’ve only left my bike there once, for a week. It was by far the most expensive bike there, but I came back to find it and the others undamaged. Secure lock-ups would be nice, but between my renters’ insurance, and the insurance on the OnGuard and Kryptonite locks that I use, I don’t think it’s a huge issue.

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    • spare_wheel March 13, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      They need better facilities than a staple rack. Some sort of card-based or lock-based storage is essential. I would pay for this if it were offered.

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      • Bjorn March 13, 2013 at 6:50 pm

        Based on your comfort level or have you actually heard of a problem? The area is right by security and I have never heard of anyone having a problem with vandalism or theft from these racks. I really don’t think that bike thieves are going to target an area with that many cops around.

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        • spare_wheel March 13, 2013 at 9:25 pm

          1. PDX employees have access to a secure bike area.
          2. I think you underestimate the motivation, fearlessness, and stupidity of bike thieves.

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    • Paul Cone March 14, 2013 at 6:51 pm

      There’s a bunch of racks on the south end by the MAX stop.

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  • Ben4345 March 13, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Are we there going to be mandatory searches from the TSA when we arrive?
    “I need to check your panniers”

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    • Dan March 13, 2013 at 10:39 pm

      Just reply “Actually, it’s a thong”

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  • Erinne March 13, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    Your Port of Portland link is wrong, btw.

    Also, all y’all that are leaving comments about facilities above should be e-mailing those to the e-mail on the flyer. 🙂

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  • Ted Buehler March 13, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Good to see that they’re paying attention.

    “Map 1” should have the bike plan area extended to the south to include the Alderwood/Columbia/Cully intersection. That’s by far the biggest barrier to me bicycling to the airport from Portland proper. I just rode through there last week on an errand, and was once again impressed with what a dangerous, difficult connection that is.

    When I lived in Vancouver WA I biked to the Portland airport a couple times for flights — it was an easy connection with that fabulous bike path connecting Marine Dr. to Airport Way through the parking lots. The PDX airport is one of the only Portland destinations that is easy to get to from the I-5 bridge…

    Ted Buehler

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  • 9watts March 13, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    Nice to have good bike access, but a transport system that is anathema to our future is a huge problem even with good bike access.

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    • Chris I March 13, 2013 at 4:08 pm

      Even if we had a fully built-out national high-speed rail network, flying would still make the most sense for trips over 1000 miles. Aircraft makers are working to improve efficiencies, and there are a lot of promising new technologies. We just need the government to properly price jet fuel to pay for the negative externalities, and the industry will correct itself. You would see a huge reduction in short-hop and rural flights, a big shift to larger aircraft, and big technological leaps.

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      • 9watts March 13, 2013 at 5:57 pm

        Looking back over the past few generations I’m inclined to agree with you, but looking ahead I don’t believe we can or should extrapolate what made sense then or even still appears to make sense today into the future.

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      • 9watts March 13, 2013 at 8:02 pm

        “Globally, no more than 25 airports will be functional by 2025, Perl predicts, only one of them in the Pacific Northwest.”
        “Governments and transit authorities need to recognize, given the energy crunch, they’re wasting tax dollars by plowing cash into airport and road expansion projects.”

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        • Granpa March 14, 2013 at 7:58 am

          That must be true. It is posted on the internet.

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        • was carless March 14, 2013 at 10:04 am

          That article was from 2008, when companies were going belly-up due to the recession. They cite canadian air carrier failures as being indicative of a global trend towards there being no airplanes… a dubious connection at best.

          25 airports/7 continents – do you really think there are only going to be on average 3.6 airports per continent? Let me guess – 2 for the US, .6 for Mexico, and 1 for Canada? Asia will have a helluva time fighting for who gets their allotment!


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          • 9watts March 14, 2013 at 10:12 am

            I don’t think the precise number is the issue, provocative though that statement was. Maybe it will be higher, maybe lower. The point I’d make is that like with many features of our present fossil-fuel drenched transport infrastructure, assuming that it will automatically continue just because we’ve gotten used to it isn’t necessarily wise.
            I anticipate the end of aviation just like I anticipate the end of auto-dominance of our landscape. Will it happen in five or ten or fifteen years? I don’t know. But I’m not ruling it out.

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  • Jack March 13, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    It’s great that PDX is looking to improve upon their already better-than-most bike access, but it seems a little silly to put resources towards making the airport more pedestrian-accessible. There is essentially nothing within 3 miles, and even there it’s just airport hotels (presumably with free shuttles) and a few stores and restaurants.

    If someone can’t or doesn’t want to drive/bike there is the MAX and/or Taxis. How many people do they really think are going to haul their luggage on foot when it’s roughly 10 miles to the center of town?

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    • Karl Malone March 13, 2013 at 10:53 pm

      There’s a post office near the airport but I challenge you to try to walk there from the terminal.

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    • Andrew Seger March 14, 2013 at 12:47 am

      Take a look at the Craigslist Jobs Wanted section sometime. Many low paying jobs at the airport start before mass transit and therefore require a car. This is a huge burden when they’re only offering slightly above minimum wage. The big box stores are also hard to get to and many start stocking shifts very early in the morning.

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  • Matt B March 13, 2013 at 8:16 pm

    Is this a joke? What safe route to the airport? I ride every day from SE to Cascade Station and I have yet to find a safe route, and I have tried a few. Until there is a safe connection from Cully across Columbia and down Alderwood there will be few hardy souls willing to make the journey. I count it as a blessing every time I make it across Columbia. Nothing like being stuck in the left turn lane in the dark and the rain with tractor trailers rolling by you on both sides.

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    • Aaron G March 14, 2013 at 4:51 am

      Go above 82nd and take the 205 bike path to Alderwood and 105th, turn under the freeway on Alderwood, then take a right on Mt. St. Helens Ave. and you’re there at Cascade Station without having to cross anything scary.

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      • Lassy March 14, 2013 at 9:57 am

        I too ride from SE to Cascade Station near 82nd. I have tried a variety of crossing options toget across Columbia. The reality is that the Cully-Alderwood crossing is a feeder street from central inner SE locations. There are no other centered crossings, you are trading higher mileage (2-3 miles each direction) for a safer Colmbia crossing. But you are also getting more dangerous roads (47th light to Cornfoot), convoluted lights and one way crossings (killingworth at 92), or just massive extras leave that is not tenable to deal with for daily commuters. I consider myself a toughie. But I can’t add 2 miles to each way of a commute, 20 miles a week. 205 all the way might be worth it if it were a real bike route with no lights. But as Anyone who has had to dodge traffic and the Max at Glisan crossing knows… The 205 bike path is not for quick safe commutes.

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      • Matt B March 14, 2013 at 8:21 pm

        Tried the 205 Bike Path, it added over 2 miles one way, and since you have to come up to the city streets at every over pass it adds more traffic lights to the commute. Not a practical option for those west of Mt. Tabor. The best option is Cully but unfortunately it just ends at Killinsworth so you are on your own till you get to Alderwood and Cornfoot. Solve that problem and I believe you would see ridership to the Airport/Cascade Station area increase. There are over 10,000 people that work out there if you are to believe Port of Portland statistics.

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  • Robert Ping March 14, 2013 at 8:51 am

    I ride to and from the airport every two weeks or more from NoPo, and other than the sometimes scary run along Cornfoot when the 18 wheelers come barreling through at freeway speeds, often buzzing me (yes, on purpose more than once), the route is great. the only issue I have is that the bike building area is across the entire terminal from the bike/ped path. When I arrive, I just take the slow one-way lane in front of the arrivals area, but going home I have to walk the sidewalk through peds with a Bike Friday Tiket and trailer, which is difficult for me and everyone else. Anybody know a different way to the path? (This being said, kudos to PDX for all it is doing for bikes!! Easily the easiest airport to enter and leave, and facilities, including Max access, are great)

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  • Mabsf March 14, 2013 at 9:04 am

    I like riding to the airport although I never take the “recommended” 205 path (which is aweful!). Long-term bike parking could be improved, although I never had a problem with it. Some signage inside and outside would be nice, so cyclists now that they need to use the same path in and out of the airport and non-Portlanders know where to go…
    Signage is actually really important: I had to asked several people in DC how to ride out off National Airport… It was really simple in the end, but there were no signs… So… SIGNS!

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  • Zaphod March 14, 2013 at 10:55 am

    My route from N PDX is quite civilized and safe. I always bike when I travel solo. I imagine that the percentage of people even considering two wheels when luggage is concerned approaches zero. It’s handily doable but if I were sitting on funds to deploy for infrastructure, I’d focus on higher risk, higher utilization potential. I really appreciate the vision here but a single traffic signal to cross MLK, 33rd, Powell, etc. would serve the most people in the most valuable way.

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  • eli bishop March 14, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    when we did the pedalpalooza airport ride, i was surprised to discover the visitor info booth doesn’t have any portland bike maps to hand out. i would like to see them have an abundant supply.

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  • Timo ActiveTranspo'ista March 19, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    And of course I have to plug PBOT’s Portland By Cycle rides – the first of which is a Wheels and Wings Ride from Lloyd Center to PDX. Sat, Jun 8, 10 am at Holladay Park. If Friday night was unkind to you, take the MAX back!

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