Headed to Convention Center for vaccine shot? Here’s some advice

Posted by on April 2nd, 2021 at 4:51 pm

There are never traffic backups in the protected bike lane on NE 1st next to the Convention Center!
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

With vaccine eligibility ramping up again today, lots of folks will be headed to the Oregon Convention Center next week to get the shot. We’ve heard a few questions from readers wondering about bike parking and routes to get there.

The Convention Center is very centrally located, but it’s bordered by freeways and a major arterial. As such, it’s not the easiest place to access by bike — unless you’re familiar with the area. It doesn’t help that official instructions sent out by some health companies doesn’t even consider that some people will show up by bike.

Instructions from a health care provider leave out one particularly healthy mode of transport.

BikePortland reader Chris Smith noticed the issue when he got vaccinated last week. He shared the confirmation email he received prior to showing up (above). It includes detailed information on driving, taking public transportation, and walking. There were no specifics about bicycling.

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Crowded bike racks at the Convention Center last week.
(Photo: Clever Cycles)

Smith shared that he’s been to the site twice: once by car and once by bike. “Parking was a long process, with traffic in every aisle.” But biking? Smooth and simple. “Biked myself there yesterday, no issues.” Other readers have echoed his experience.

If you plan to bike to your appointment at the Convention Center, here are some things to know:

(Map: Oregon Convention Center)

– Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd (east side of building) is not a great place to bike. However, the sidewalk on that side of the building is very wide and it’s perfectly legal to ride on it.

– Lloyd Blvd (south side of building) has a narrow bike lane, but it ends at 1st Ave.

– Lloyd Blvd also has a nice sidewalk on its south side that connects directly to Martin Luther King Jr Blvd/Central Eastside via I-84 overcrossing and the Eastbank Esplanade.

– There’s a physically protected bike lane on 1st Ave.

– NE Holladay Street (north side of building) is one way eastbound and is a shared-lane (no bike lane).

– There are five bike parking areas at the building: 18 outdoor spaces on NE Holladay; 26 outdoor spaces on the north end of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd (at Pacific St) and 10 more outdoor spaces further south (at NE Hoyt Street); and a total of 72 bike parking spaces in the parking garage (level 2) off the LLoyd Blvd entrance.

Here are our recommendations for accessing the site:

From N Interstate Ave and the Esplanade path: Go to NE Oregon Street (at Peace Park) and connect to NE 1st (under I-5) and park on NE Holladay. Or stay on sidewalk path at Peace Park and take it all the way to Lloyd and MLK where there’s a signal to cross northbound into the Convention Center.

From Lloyd: Take NE Multnomah (protected bike lanes) to NE 2nd, go south and you’ll hit the bike parking at Holladay entrance.

From southeast: Cross 84 at 12th, head west on NE Lloyd Blvd, then hop on the sidewalk after you cross MLK.

From central eastside: Connect to MLK sidewalk via 3rd/NE Davis and head north. Cross Lloyd Blvd at MLK to access sidewalk and bike parking.

If you have other tips from your experience accessing the site, please share!

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org
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NOTE: Thanks for sharing and reading our comments. To ensure this is a welcoming and productive space, all comments are manually approved by staff. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for meanness, discrimination or harassment. Comments with expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia will be deleted and authors will be banned.

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Chris Smith
Guest
Chris Smith

I would avoid the bike parking in the garage, simply too much auto traffic!

Liz
Guest
Liz

I rode there yesterday from NE (both N & E of the OCC), and ended up riding down 7th to Oregon to MLK (be cautious of the streetcar tracks). There’s a light at MLK and Oregon to make for an easy crossing. The actual entrance to the vaccine event on the MLK side is near Hoyt St & the streetcar stop. I had to exit out the Lloyd Ave side and walk around to MLK to reunite with my bike.

Kristin
Guest
Kristin

I parked my bike on the mlk racks north of the entrance – happy to report that those racks were widely spaced enough to accommodate my cargo bike!

Gregory Cosmo Haun
Guest
Gregory Cosmo Haun

I just got vaccinated at the airport drive-thru. I rented a car for the task but the vaccinator told me I can bike for my second shot, they are completely setup for bike and Max patients and serve many every day.

alicia johnson
Guest
alicia johnson

thank you for this! i didn’t see anything online regarding biking online and wasn’t sure if they would let folks through

Middle of the Road Guy
Guest
Middle of the Road Guy

Back from Mexico Greg?

LB.

Lisa Caballero (Southwest Correspondent)
Guest
Lisa Caballero (Southwest Correspondent)

I’ve been volunteering at the airport–quite a scene. It’s very well-organized, practically no wait and the one cyclist I saw yesterday was allowed to cut to the front of the line–she didn’t have to travel with the cars, just came straight to the vaccination tent. It’s being done in the long-term parking lots. The whole thing is really moving, emotionally, I mean. Folks are so relieved to get their shot.

John Smartson
Guest
John Smartson

Jonathan,
Be cool if Bike Portland could reach out to the vaccinating entities and see if they could add biking specific directions to their destinations (Convention center, OHSU red lot). They probably didn’t even think of this. As younger, healthier people become eligible there will be more who want to bike.

Keith
Guest
Keith

You’re right that as the vaccine-eligible age drops, more people should be expected and encouraged to bike to get a shot. Metro should provide supplemental bike parking/bike corrals at the convention center similar to public events held in Waterfront Park or the parking at the OHSU tram. I rode to the convention center 3 weeks ago for my 1st shot, and the bike parking was fine because I didn’t have much competition. Bike parking demand should be expected to increase, and the existing bike parking probably won’t be adequate.

Evan Manvel
Guest
Evan Manvel

Could you perhaps take that on, John, instead of asking Jonathan to do it? At least start the conversation and find the right contacts in case they say no?

Chris Smith
Guest
Chris Smith

The communications are handled by the medical systems, not the facilities. But both the County (who I also contacted, since they are the public health system) and the Convention Center, promised to raise the issue at the coordinating committee for the vaccine providers.

Caitlin D
Guest
Caitlin D

Such a helpful post (and comments). Thank you for being a resource for our community!

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

If you are wanting to walk or go by bike, I would recommend checking with your neighborhood pharmacy. I was able to get an appointment at my closest Walgreens (39th and Belmont). Bike/walking access is easy.

anon_biomedical_person
Guest
anon_biomedical_person

At Walgreens the probability of getting a J&J vaccination is much higher. On the other hand, the probability of getting a lipid-nano-particle-synthetic-nucleic-acid vaccine is higher at the convention center (ample -80 C storage in nearby staging ground used for vaccine prep).

Scott Batchelar
Guest
Scott Batchelar

As a resident of the Lloyd area I rode from my place at Multnomah and MLK to the Main Vaccination entrance at MLK and Hoyt Street – I had to scout the area the evening before to determine best parking location.

I arrived about 10am and there was 3-5 stalls that was able to fit my Midtail Cargo Bike so it was fairly easy to park and there was plenty of Bike Parking but maybe some temporary parking may be a good idea.

With the main entrance being right there it’s fairly safe and well protected.

squareman
Subscriber

I got my first shot on Thursday, but I made my appointment at a local Walgreens where I normally pick up my prescriptions and bike to it to get them.

ChadwickF
Guest
ChadwickF

I almost posted a thing in the forums about this.
Thank you all for the information.

TakeTheLane
Guest
TakeTheLane

I biked in with the cars off Lloyd Blvd. There was a couple of bike racks right inside to the right near the entrance ( or was it the exit) to get vaccinated. I live off N interstate Avenue. So it was a no brainer biking there. There was a chance of rain that day, making it especially advantageous to park inside.

Allan Rudwick
Subscriber

As someone who has biked on MLK almost every workday for the past year I can say this: Since the Rose Lanes were installed, MLK is a fine place to bike north of NE Davis St (north of where the tracks are in the bus lane).

The major exception to this is the convention center vaccination madhouse which is currently going on. This has brought a ton of drivers to the area and substantially increased the risks of chaotic driving maneuvers in the area

Gary B.
Guest
Gary B.

It’s been awhile, but my recollection on Lloyd is that the bike lane doesn’t end at SW 1st, it goes up onto that nice shared sidewalk and bike lane for a block.

Avery
Guest
Avery

oof I biked west along Lloyd and there was some construction going on. The bike lane was super bumpy and covered in gravel, and there was a lot of car traffic so I didn’t feel like I could move out of the bike lane to smoother pavement.
I went in the main parking entrance and all the bike parking was open, and the person directing pedestrian traffic was super helpful.
Crossed the freeway on the MLK sidewalk to go home via Ankeny, which was a much better route. I’d recommend that for anyone coming in from SE.

LS
Guest
LS

I biked to the Convention Center for my first shot last week (coming from SE was really easy: Foster, Clinton, then via the Esplanade), the bike racks near the entrance were pretty full but the ones further away from the main entrance had plenty of space. The whole vaccination process went very quickly, no waiting at all, and I was in and out in 30 minutes!

JR
Guest
JR

I drove there for my appt last week only because the MAX wasn’t running normally and I had to squeeze it in between two work meetings. The garage is quite chaotic because people are leaving and coming everywhere all at the same time. I got stuck in an aisle behind lots of cars pulling out, and cars waiting to pull in, despite the fact that numerous spaces were available further down the aisle. I’m hoping to take the MAX or just bike next time to avoid that garage.

DB
Guest
DB

The bike parking map provided by the OCC in this article seems to be wrong. There are 38 spaces on P1 (entrance on Lloyd as marked), not P2. It’s a big parking area with bikes hanging vertically located about where the bicycle symbol is. On P2, there might be 34 spaces but they’re low-capacity horizontal-park racks scattered around the parking area in dark unattended corners. There’s at least one rack just inside the entrance to the left (north; nowhere near where the bicycle symbol is on the map) and two near the elevators. Other notes: the street bike parking near the entrance was nearly full and the sidewalk was crowded. The P1 racks were empty, had lots of monitoring, and are right where you end up if you follow exit signs down the stairs to P1 after getting your shot. Beware the garages and streets outside are a nightmare of frustrated drivers. Hope this helps!

Nora
Guest
Nora

Biked in along Lloyd Blvd to MLK for vax at 1800 on Sunday – bike parking by the doors on MLK – easy peasy! Roads and traffic easy – it’s my regular commute when biking in to work downtown.

ChadwickF
Guest
ChadwickF

3/11/:
The racks on Holladay were all but empty.
The racks on MLK were teeming, if not completely full, at least when I left.
Didn’t try the parking garage, seemed pretty chaotic over there.

ChadwickF
Guest
ChadwickF

Two more things:
There are Bike-town corrals on Holladay & on MLK.
I have yet to see a suggestion in my email about how to arrive by bike or Biketown.