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Five-week Aerial Tram closure starts tomorrow: Here’s what you need to know

Look for these signs to guide you through the bike detour.
(Photo: @madeyerish on Twitter)

If you are one of the 2,500 or so OHSU employees who bike to campus and use the Portland Aerial Tram to get that free lift up to Marquam Hill, remember that you’ll have to change your plans for the next five weeks.

As we shared last fall, a routine maintenance project will close the tram tomorrow through the end of next month (July 30th). The bad news is that people will have to figure out other ways to get up the hill — none of which will be as easy or convenient. But the good news is that the Portland Aerial Tram, OHSU and other agencies are pulling out all the stops to make sure things go as smoothly as possible during the closure.

The website has all the information you need to plan your trip by transit, biking, or walking. There’s even a frequent daily shuttle service they’ve set up just for the closure.

When it comes to biking, here’s what you need to know:

Official Aerial Tram bike info.

➤ The recommended bike route from the Waterfront to the hill is about 2.5 miles and requires about 300-feet of climbing. Google says it’ll only take you 20 minutes but your timing may vary of course.

Google version of recommended bike detour.
Another bike route option via TriMet’s trip planner.


Look for folks in these jerseys if you need help.
(Photo: @ckocur on Twitter)

➤ TriMet’s multimodal trip planner offers a different route than Google and takes you over the Gibbs Street Bridge and up to Terwilliger via Condor.

➤ To help you find your way, OHSU has installed special pavement markings with arrows pointing toward either the hill or the South Waterfront.

Look for cycling guides wearing special yellow and green Portland Aerial Tram jerseys. They’ll be able to answer your questions and help you find your way if you get lost.

➤ If you’d rather not ride all the way up, grab a Biketown in South Waterfront and ride to transit stops downtown where you can catch buses or the shuttle up the hill (the top of the hill is out of the service area). You can get a $20 Biketown credit with promo code “TRAM18”.

➤ You can also ride your own bike downtown and take advantage of free, secure bike parking at the PSU Bike Hub (1818 SW 6th Ave), then hop on transit to get up the hill.

➤ If you want a boost of power for the climb, a special electric bike share program will be available to OHSU students and staff to travel between the waterfront and the hill. (We’ve heard the bikes will come from Jump and Lime but couldn’t confirm any other details by press time.)

➤ Use one of three Go By Bike valet locations. They’ll be set up in the Waterfront area in the Whitaker and Schnitzer parking lots. Up on the hill, they’ll be at the OHSU Student Center. According to a video released by OHSU, Go By Bike will transport bikes from the Whitaker Lot to the Student Center so you can ride downhill after work. For more on the valet locations and other biking amenities that will be provided during the closure, I’ve made a shortened clip of that video that highlights only the bike-specific information:

For updates, advice and more information follow @PortlandTram on Twitter and check the official closure website.

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

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