For the first time in my 40 years on this earth, I live in a city where a multi-modal lifestyle is a reality. Modal refers to our choice of transportation while everyday living, such as grocery shopping, commuting to work, extracurricular activities, etc . Multi-modal means using multiple forms of transportation on a regular basis.
In our neighborhood in NE Portland, we have so many options. I’m within walking distance to a bead store, a yarn store, a florist, many cafe’s, 2 great pet stores, at least 4 coffee shops, a locally owned book store, a dentist, an eye doctor, quite a few natural healists and other professional services. Having so much withing walking distance makes it easy for us to shop local and keep the resources in the neighborhood.
For medium outings, a little too far to walk to, but too close to need public transit, we can ride our bikes. We’ve scouted out the safest, most comfortable routes (surprisingly it’s NOT the bike lanes on busy roads) and can get to about 6 different grocery stores, the post office, the library, the Hollywood District, Overlook Park, the Mississippi District and the Hawthorne District. We’ve even biked to the Montavilla and Mount Tabor areas!
When we want a bigger outing, for example, to get downtown, I can walk 3 blocks to a bus line through the Pearl District right into the city center. Or, I can walk 3/4 mile to the MAX light rail through Old Town into the city center. A different MAX line from the same station takes us to Portland State University and the incredible farmer’s market held every Saturday. There is a quick bus route into the Alberta Arts District. We found a straight shot bus route through NW downtown that takes us within 1/2 mile of great hiking in Forest Park. We’ve bused to Washington Park, and the MAX line goes straight to the zoo. The street car (about a 1 mile walk) takes us to OMSI (Oregon Science Museum).
Four x’s a week we commute to Village Home, located in a town outside of Portland. We hop on the bus line that runs right in front of our house straight to the MAX line station. We take a glorious train ride over the Willamette River, through the beautiful city center of Portland, down in a tunnel beneath the West Hills into Beaverton, OR. From there, we have our choice of 3 bus lines that take us within a couple of blocks of Village Home.
We’ve gotten all over this city using walking, biking, buses, the streetcar, or different MAX lines. I’ve loved learning how to navigate the transit system. Using modes of transit other than a private vehicle has increased our indirect exercise dramatically. When not walking or biking, it’s quite luxurious sitting back and letting someone else get us where we need to go!