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3/16/2011 2:17:00 PM
Alternative transport flourishing at UP
University of Portland photo
Students ride to class on a chilly morning at the University of Portland.
University of Portland photo
Students ride to class on a chilly morning at the University of Portland.

The University of Portland is seeing record use for its alternative transportation options.

Use of the school’s shuttle to light rail is at record levels, as is usage of the school’s five Zipcars — autos that members can reserve online so they don't need to purchase a car.

Demand for bicycle parking on campus is so high that several new bike racks are currently being installed. The North Portland school's monthly allotment of school-subsidized TriMet passes has regularly sold out. Dozens of faculty and staff take part in a carpooling program that provides financial incentives. Since 2006, UP has offered a grant program that provides funding assistance for employees who purchase homes in North Portland with the expectation that they use alternative transportation when commuting to campus.

“The University's continued commitment to addressing transportation needs for our faculty, staff and students has led to a complex integrated transportation demand management program that has freed our community from the binds of needing cars,” says Jeff Rook, environmental safety officer and coordinator of the university’s transportation demand management program. “We have continued to look at leading the way for the benefit of our campus and our neighborhood communities.”

The light rail shuttle, which runs between campus and the nearest MAX yellow line stop, operates about every 30 minutes Monday through Saturday. A Sunday shuttle operates every 30 minutes from noon to 4 p.m. and goes to the nearby St. Johns neighborhood. To encourage use of alternate modes of transportation and to minimize both environmental impact and the number of automobiles on university property and in the surrounding neighborhood, freshmen students are not allowed to have cars on campus.

In November, the university Zipcars had 1,292 hours of usage. UP partners with Zipcar to allow faculty and staff to use Zipcars for business trips at no charge. The partnership also allows students, faculty and staff to join Zipcar for personal use for $35 per year while also receiving $35 in free driving.

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