Commuters parking in nearby neighborhoods was never a big issue following the opening of previous MAX lines. But since the Orange Line opened in September, we’ve seen its two Park & Rides fill up quickly on weekday mornings, leading some drivers to find spots along residential streets.
It’s not that we didn’t want to offer more parking. After all, more commuters using a Park & Ride means more riders — and that’s a good thing! But faced with reducing the scope of the Orange Line project after federal funding was reduced from 60 percent to half, we decided to limit the size of the Park & Rides (while laying foundation for future expansion) and try our best to secure the funding later. This was just one of many cuts we had to make; unfortunately, even after the new line came in under budget, the Federal Transportation Administration didn’t allow these deferred items to be added back to the project.
(There’s a chance the savings will be returned to us — along with our local partners — in 2019, when the last phase of the project concludes.)
So while we anticipated that the Park & Rides would be popular, we also hoped the excellent network of bike routes, trails and transit connecting to the Orange Line would mitigate problems with packed parking garages. If you’re an Orange Line Park & Ride user, consider the following as ways to potentially save time, money and sanity.
Bike there (or walk!)
There are Bike & Rides at the Tacoma and Park Ave stations with plenty of secure and enclosed parking. Plus, both facilities are connected to great off-street trails (the Springwater Corridor and the Trolley Trail, respectively) and bike-friendly roads. Many bike commuters ride year-round; if you’re thinking of getting started now, check out the Community Cycling Center’s tips for riding in the rain.
Many buses serve Orange Line stations, either directly or via a nearby stop. For example, there are eight lines that stop at SE 21st & Jackson in Milwaukie, less than a quarter-mile from the Milwaukie/Main St Station. Try planning a trip to see how you can connect to MAX.
An alternate Park & Ride
The Milwaukie Park & Ride connects to the Orange Line via Line 34 — a quick one-mile trip will get you to MAX and on your way. Walking’s an option, too, and a great way to get fresh air and exercise before starting your day. And don’t forget: During commute hours, Line 99 will take you all the way into Downtown Portland.
Chances are a neighbor or coworker is headed the same way you are. Give carpooling a try and better your chances at getting a spot at the Park & Ride.
Be considerate if you park in the neighborhood
If you miss out on a spot at the Park & Ride and decide to park on a nearby residential street, keep it legal and be courteous. Please respect private property and don’t park in nearby lots. There are parking ordinances that apply (check out this helpful list from the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office) and, just as importantly, neighbors’ feelings to consider. Neglecting these could earn you a costly citation or a nasty note.
The Orange Line has been successful because riders were willing to try something new. Changing our routines isn’t easy, but it often leads us to discover some great benefits, both for ourselves and our community. In that spirit, why not see if there’s a better option for your next commute?