Support BikePortland

Five day closure of Aerial Tram starts February 14th

Posted by on February 9th, 2018 at 11:41 am

The circuitous shuttle route will take 30 minutes. The tram route (lower middle, in grey) takes just four minutes.

A five day closure of the Tram starts next week. The closure of this crucial connection between the South Waterfront and OHSU will provide an interesting preview of how users will handle the 38-day shutdown coming up this June.

Details below from

5 day maintenance closure – Wed, Feb 14, 2018 8:30 PM Mon, Feb 19, 2018 12:30 PM

The Tram will be closed at 8:30pm (one hour early) on Wednesday, Feb. 14th and remain closed through Monday, Feb. 19 for essential maintenance. The Tram reopens Tuesday, Feb. 20.

Shuttles will run during the Tram’s normal operating hours. The shuttle hours will be:

– Wed. Feb. 14: Tram closes at 8:30pm; shuttles run 8:30pm to 9:30pm
– Thurs. Feb. 15: Shuttles, 5:30am to 9:30pm
– Fri. Feb. 16: Shuttles, 5:30am to 9:30pm
– Sat. Feb. 17: Shuttles, 9am to 5pm
– Sun. Feb. 18: No shuttles or Tram (normal Sunday closure)
– Mon. Feb. 19: No shuttles or Tram (normal holiday closure)
– Tues. Feb. 20: Tram is open, no shuttle, 5:30am to 9:30pm

Thanks for reading BikePortland.

Please consider a $10/month subscription or a one-time payment
to help maintain and expand this vital community resource.

The waterfront pick up location will be 1 block south of the South Waterfront Tram Terminal at SW Whitaker between SW Bond Ave and SW River Pkwy. Google Maps:

The hill pick up location will be at Kohler Pavilion (808 SW Campus Dr, Portland, OR 97239). Google maps:

See a map of the shuttle route here.

Fare will not be required to board the shuttles.

The shuttles will be on a load-and-go pickup schedule. Please allow up to 30 minutes travel time between the two pick up locations.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and

Never miss a story. Sign-up for the daily BP Headlines email.

BikePortland needs your support.

Please support BikePortland.

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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • soren February 9, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Any one know what’s up with the recent policy of making people biking wait to get on the tram (even when mostly empty)? I’ve been told to wait for the next tram many times — sometimes twice.

    I’m so annoyed by this new policy that I’ve essentially stopped using the tram. At least me diet is a little healthier now that I no longer take a lunch breaks down town…

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • rainbike February 9, 2018 at 12:55 pm

      Not questioning your experience, but I ride the tram every day and have only seen this when 1) something like five bikes have already loaded, or 2) when the bike arrives after the tram is nearly fully loaded.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • pat February 9, 2018 at 3:00 pm

        Same here, only been turned away when the tram is already crowded. I did notice that they took away the “bikes load first” (or something like that) signs that used to be posted. I emailed them about it and was told that they don’t want to encourage people to bring bikes on the tram, since they should be leaving their bikes with the valet instead. Not very helpful for people like me who live closer (and therefore bike) to the top of the hill but occasionally need to transport the bike down to S Waterfront. However, in practice I’ve found the operators to continue to try to accommodate bikes as much as possible.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Middle of the Road Guy February 9, 2018 at 4:15 pm

        Ever notice how some people always have things happen to them and others don’t?

        It’s a strange phenomenon.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • soren February 9, 2018 at 9:30 pm

          so i’ve worked at ohsu for 18 years…have been riding the tram intermittently since it first opened…and you who 1) do not work at ohsu and 2) have never met me accuse me of exaggerating or prevaricating.

          why would you do this?

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Middle of the Road Guy February 10, 2018 at 7:03 am

            I do read your posts here and notice a trend.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • soren February 10, 2018 at 9:06 am

              A trend about OHSU tram posts?

              What is hilarious about your vaguely demeaning post is that I rarely experience conflict with people driving — a few times a year at most.

              But I guess I can understand why someone who tends to support a second class status for people walking or rolling might believe that I do. After all, the idea that car-centrism is rooted in moral cowardice is emasculating to some. An uppity “biker” who does not know their place on the roadway must be put in their place…and when this happens it must be their fault.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) February 12, 2018 at 9:35 am

          Middle of the Road Guy,

          I really don’t appreciate your tone in this comment. If you don’t like soren’s comment, please find a different way to express it. Thanks.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

      • soren impey February 9, 2018 at 5:00 pm

        I only use the tram for lunch trips…and the tram is rarely full then.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Mike February 12, 2018 at 8:51 am

          If you do not work at Ohsu you are hardly in a position to comment or correct someone who does

          Recommended Thumb up 0

  • John Liu February 9, 2018 at 12:38 pm

    Somewhat related: I think there is a big need for a better way to cross over or under I-5 in that area, without taking a long detour.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • I wear many hats February 9, 2018 at 12:46 pm

      there is, its on the pedestrian bridge. the kick up to the hospital is a challenge, but nothing a multigeared bike couldn’t handle.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Chris I February 9, 2018 at 2:33 pm

        Why is the map above omitting the pedestrian bridge? It makes the problem seem much worse if you ignore the bridge and the trails that get you right up to the base of the OHSU campus.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Eric Leifsdad February 10, 2018 at 5:21 am

          Without the elevator, you might prefer the sidewalk of macadam.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

        • John Landolfe February 13, 2018 at 2:17 pm

          Thanks for catching that. The graphic designer was working off street data and that must have somehow gone missing. This is a shuttle-only map. For the big closure, there will be separate maps for biking and pedestrians, who will need far more details to navigate the maze of paths in that area. For now, I recommend the City’s walk + bike maps:

          Recommended Thumb up 0

      • I wear many hats February 12, 2018 at 9:16 am

        Condor Ave climbs road to Terwillager, Also Woods St has a trail connector with a few stairs up to Terwillager, both very good riding, and direct.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Kyle Banerjee February 9, 2018 at 12:56 pm

    For most able bodied people, walking is probably the best option. I used to take lunchtime walks with coworker in her mid 60’s who wasn’t particularly fit, and it took us about 20 min going down, 25 going up from the bottom to the BICC. Younger and more fit people should be able to do it in less without without straining themselves.

    This means it takes less time to walk than ride even before factoring wait time — and you know they won’t have enough capacity. And no matter how you look at it, the walk will certainly be more enjoyable. The route is decent and is mostly quiet except near Barbur.

    It’s easier to pedal up the hill than people imagine, but an “average” person on a heavy rig might take as long riding as they would walking because riding distance is longer and it gets steep above Terwilleger.

    Note: OHSU employees get a 25% discount on a GeoOrbital wheel which converts most bikes to an e-bike in a few minutes. So for $750, you could just cruise up the hill under throttle. I’ve test ridden it and it’s not my cup of tea, but I can see why people might like it for short hops, particularly with hills.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Racer X February 9, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    Closure: Happy Valentines Day!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Kiel Johnson
    Kiel Johnson February 9, 2018 at 2:55 pm

    The bike valet will be open all three days. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday we will be in the Whitaker parking lot.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Jim Lee February 9, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    Also Ash Wednesday!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • mark smith February 10, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    When did riding a hill become so scary?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Spiffy February 10, 2018 at 10:56 pm

      when we ran out of fair weather and became out of shape over the winter…

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • El Biciclero February 11, 2018 at 9:42 am

      When did Terwilliger become a “hill”?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Mike February 12, 2018 at 8:53 am

      When you work a 12 hour shift caring for sick patients and you leave your house at 5:30am and get home at 8pm.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • pat February 12, 2018 at 9:14 am

        THANK YOU.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • mark smith February 12, 2018 at 12:01 pm

        So, the choice you made makes you afraid of s natural phenom everywhere?

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Mike February 12, 2018 at 2:47 pm

          Not afraid at all sir, just pointing out the fact that it sucks and conditions can make any incline a “hill”. I also didn’t make the choice to charge employees $14/day for to park. But thanks for putting me in my place!

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • pat February 12, 2018 at 3:01 pm

            Cycling requires energy, no matter how much you love it. Sometimes — believe it or not — between work, child care, elder care, going back to school, and other life stuff, there just isn’t any energy left over for cycling.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Eric Leifsdad February 13, 2018 at 12:41 am

              It’s amazing how much energy can fit in a lunchbox-sized battery pack. About 1kWh is enough to climb council crest a couple times. A folding e-bike might work if there’s plenty of parking near your daycare dropoff, etc.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

  • SD February 13, 2018 at 8:59 pm

    The reason the tram is a crucial transportation link isn’t because of the grade on Terwilleger but the lack of a low stress route from the east side through downtown or SW.

    Recommended Thumb up 0