Pio Express rerouted, Pio parking redesigned with new green goals

Photo by Cyan Cowap

By SHANI BERENHOLZ /// Staff Writer

FOR THOSE driving to Lewis & Clark, there is no such thing as a relaxing morning for those driving to campus. With a limited number of parking spots, drivers have to scour around through even the furthest lots on campus.

“We have approximately 1,300 parking spaces on campus, 3,000 students, and 600 faculty and staff members coming to campus daily,” said Marilyn Sbardellati, the LC Parking and Transportation Program Manager. “Just a little arithmetic is going to tell you there’s going to be a parking crunch.”

With the fall semester came some substantial changes generated by the Parking and Transportation office, among them the new Pioneer Express (Pio) stops and schedules. The main downtown Pio stop at the intersection of SW 6th Ave. and Salmon St. has been moved to SW Broadway and Hall St. in the University District. This means there will no longer be a direct route to the Pearl District.

Camille Pierson ’18 has a positive outlook on these changes.

“I mostly use the streetcars to get around downtown and it’s really nice now that the Pio stop is near PSU because all the streetcar lines converge there,” Pierson said. “It’s also pretty cheap to get passes for the trimet system. There’s an app and I think they sell them somewhere on-campus too.”

The Trimet Ticket app charges $2.50 for a two-hour pass, but Transportation and Parking is now providing more affordable options for students looking to use public transportation. A 10-pass ticket book sells at LC for $6.25, approximately 60 cents per ticket, and monthly passes are $25, half the price of a normal monthly pass. You can buy these passes online through the LC Transportation and Parking webpage or in their office (located next to McAfee and behind Holmes) with exact change.

Additionally, another Pio stop was added near the Southwest Waterfront located at SW Bond Ave. and SW Lowell St. for commuters coming from the east side of the river. There is also a stop at Zupan’s grocery store on SW Macadam Ave.

“Last semester we did a survey asking people about their shuttle needs,” Sbardellati said. “We had a very big response from people on the East side wanting shuttle service. We didn’t have enough funding to run another shuttle on the East Side so we decided to run another shuttle down along the Waterfront with the thought of catching walk and bike commuters coming over Tilikum Crossing, Ross Island Bridge, and Sellwood Bridge, and also the Johns Landing neighborhood.”

With a shuttle close to the East Side there are the possibilities of fewer students driving to campus and gaining more access to different parts of Portland. However, the bus still doesn’t go all the way to the East Side and may still be inconvenient for students living in Sellwood.

Paradise Razma ’17 drives to campus daily from Sellwood.

“Parking is definitely a challenge,” Razma said. “There’s a cheaper option that has you park off-campus and take a bus to LC, but it’s not at all practical because the buses stop running early in the evening. I think they should either cut down on the amount of first years and sophomores that can have cars or have a Pio go to Sellwood since it doesn’t seem like we can get more parking on the undergrad campus.”

The school has started a new park-and-ride lot at the Portland Christian Center where drivers can leave their cars from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and catch a shuttle to campus from there.

“Last year we hired a consultant to look at different solutions to the [parking] problem,” Sbardelleti said. “One of them was a way to get 150 cars off campus. To do that we came up with the idea of the park-and-ride lot knowing that about 49 percent of the faculty and staff live in Southwest Portland. We thought it would be easier to get people closer in to use an alternative rather than the people who live far away.”

There are 100 spots in the lot and four shuttles in the morning, as well as four shuttles in the afternoon that take approximately 15 minutes to get to campus. Passes costs $10 a month which can be a more affordable option than a parking pass on-campus.

“We can add shuttles but we’re not able to until we have riders,” Sbardelleti, who uses the park-and-ride lot herself with a co-worker, said. So as the lot sells, we can sell more spaces (we’ve only sold about a dozen). So once we get more occupiers we can look at adding more shuttles. We have a couple students using it, the rest are staff and faculty.”

The park-and-ride lot could provide an opportunity for many students who are stressed out by the parking situation on-campus since there are so many open spots. As long as students plan out their schedules to match the shuttle and lot schedule, this could be a good solution for many commuters. However, students that wish to use this lot will have to remember to remove their cars from the lot by 6 p.m., which may be inconvenient for some students who have later classes or activities.

The college is trying not to spend their resources on creating more on-campus parking through an expensive parking structure. Instead the Transportation and Parking office is aiming for more sustainable options by encouraging carpooling, public transportation, and biking to campus.

“We pride ourselves on being a green school,” Sbardelleti said. “We want to reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles coming to campus.”

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