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The City of Portland, Oregon

Portland Bureau of Transportation

Phone: 503-823-5185

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1120 SW Fifth Ave, Suite 1331, Portland, OR 97204

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Commuting at Three Miles an Hour


Inexplicable as it seems, I always go months without any bike flats and then get three in short succession. Last night I got the second in a week, and when I got home I didn't feel like patching it.

Adversity's flipside is opportunity, and my flat spree offers the chance to walk halfway to work. If biking provides you a greater sense of your surroundings than driving, then walking is the ultimate tactile commuting experience.

Relieved from worrying about sharp detritus to evade and darting squirrels, I could fully enjoy the wonders of the Portland neighborhoods I traverse on my way to the Lloyd Center MAX stop.

It certainly didn't hurt that we're amidst unseasonably glorious weather, but my two mile walk to the MAX was breathtaking.

I gained greater appreciation for the evergreen shrubs like heather and Oregon Grape in people's yards, and I was reminded of the winter-flowering Witch Hazel that my sweetie is dying to plant. I noticed that someone's Red Flowering Currant was loaded with buds, poised to explode in late winter color.

With a brisk pace and amazing rush hour MAX service, my 4.5 mile commute (with two miles walking) took 50 minutes door-to-door. Although twice as long as my bike commute, I got more exercise plus the aforementioned sensory feast.

If you've never walked as part of your commute, I highly encourage you to give it a try. If you're too far out to walk the entire way, choose a bus or MAX stop a mile or two from home as your destination. You can even order a free pedometer and transit route plan from us.

Photos credits: Telegraph and WSU


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February 9, 2010 at 4:29 PM

My "full" walk is 5 miles from the east into downtown. A direct route (and hitting most of the green lights) takes just over 90 minutes. Taking a scenic detour along the Esplanade or Waterfront Park adds another 10-15 minutes.
My "half" walk is 2.5 miles to Hollywood transit center, then catching MAX (roughly 65 minutes total).
On days when I was working on distance and taking circuitous routes, I'd try crossing different bridges. Didn't like Broadway, walkway is too narrow. I found Hawthorne very crowded. Morrison was very narrow, but hardly anyone on it. Upper Steel is narrow, but not crowded. I like lower Steel, seems narrow because it's two-way, but doesn't seem as crowded as Hawthorne. In addition, on lower Steel, don't need to worry about car traffic. Burnside is very wide, nice for pedestrians. I'm interested to see what Morrison looks like after renovations this December.

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