By Mckenna Teigland
LC Transportation and Parking are quick to defend themselves on their website concerning the latest change to the Pioneer Express Shuttle, and while I would not go so far as to say that I am enraged by the “update,” I am certainly very, very peeved. For several reasons.
#1: The latest stop change (from SW 6th and Salmon to Shattuck Hall, PSU) was forced upon us by Trimet and the city of Portland; okay, fair enough. However, I find it hard to believe that this was the best alternative offered to the school. Possible, yes, but especially when the website goes on to say that the new stop is still a part of the “downtown core,” I begin to have my doubts. While Shattuck Hall is certainly North enough for many popular destinations downtown (i.e. Pearl district), it is still more or less on the outskirts of downtown, having been moved several blocks closer to the freeway ramps and away from Pioneer Square.
#2: The weekend shuttle timetable now begins as late as 10 a.m. Last year, it began at 7:50 a.m., allowing students to run errands, grab groceries, or head to Blue Star long before that notoriously crazy rush during and after brunch. This seems almost worse when added to the cruel prank the Bon pulled on us by not having any waffles for brunch the first weekend, resulting in some of us having trust issues.
#3: LC failed to notify its students about the changes aside from the website. I only knew about the stop change because I was frequenting the website while living and working on campus over the summer. I had to tell my roommate about the change, because she had no idea; she took a streetcar in the hopes of making a quick one-hour trip for school-related errands during the week. She missed the Pio by four minutes because her street car suffered a delay, the same streetcar whose stop the school website boasts is only one block away from the Pio stop.
#4: Say goodbye to quick errands downtown. It now takes me about fourteen minutes to walk to Pioneer Square, and I walk rather quickly. Last year, it could take me as little as two minutes to walk there. As a result, hitting up our favorite hangouts, like Powell’s Books, is now an almost thirty minute trek on foot. I’m all for exercise, and I’ve never minded walking around downtown (Scrap up on 18th is pretty neat), but this now means that our common destinations, like the Target, are outside the plausible radius for a quick return.
That all being said, this is coming from someone who has had two years of convenient access to the hub of Portland. Perhaps I’m peeved for no reason. Maybe this new class of freshman will be able to explore more of the city because they’ll be forced to utilize public transportation in a way that I’ve never had to for downtown. If that’s the case, please spread the gospel of your newfound wisdom; we vets would like to know your secrets.