16 Tips for Faster Clackamas Commutes: Driving & Public Transportation in Clackamas

What to Know About Driving in Clackamas

Getting around the Greater Portland area is easy when you live in Clackamas! As one of the best Portland suburbs, this town is optimally positioned for convenient commutes using local highways and public transportation. Clackamas is nestled 16 miles southeast of Downtown Portland and about 7 miles north of Oregon City. Its strategic location is enhanced by major thoroughfares such as Interstate 205, Oregon Route 212, and Oregon Route 224. Clackamas is also well-serviced by TriMet bus routes and the MAX light rail Green Line. Whether you're behind the wheel or on the rail, living in the city of Clackamas means the best of the Portland area is just a short journey away.

Get to Know Your Major Roads in Clackamas

Clackamas is well-served by a network of major highways and roads, key among them being Interstate 205. I-205 forms a semi-circle around the eastern edge of the Portland area. It begins at Interstate 5 in the city of Tualatin and completes its loop by reconnecting with I-5 north of Vancouver, Washington. This route is favored as an alternative to the often-congested I-5 because it bypasses Downtown Portland. The importance of I-205 is further enhanced by its junction with Interstate 84 in the Northeast Portland neighborhood, offering an eastbound route through the rest of the state. 

Oregon State Route 212 stands out as the primary east-west thoroughfare, cutting directly through the heart of Clackamas. Meanwhile, Oregon State Route 224 takes a northwestward path through the city, creating a vital link with Route 99 in the city of Milwaukie. This route is crucial for local and regional travel, offering a direct and convenient connection between Clackamas and its neighboring communities. Together, these highways and state routes form a comprehensive road network that underpins the mobility and accessibility of Clackamas, making it an ideal location for everyday errands and commutes to work. 

What to Expect Driving at Different Times of Day

The average commute time in Clackamas is around 28 minutes, slightly longer than the national average. Despite the availability of numerous public transportation options, about three-quarters of Clackamas commuters drive to work. On a typical weekday, rush hour peaks from 7:00–9:00 a.m. and from 4:00–6:00 p.m. 

Because it loops around downtown, Interstate 205 can help drivers avoid the dense traffic commonly encountered in Downtown Portland. Oregon State Route 224, which connects to 99E leading straight into Downtown Portland, offers another viable alternative, mainly when I-205 is congested. Staying informed about road conditions and upcoming projects is crucial for a smooth commute in Clackamas. Commuters are encouraged to regularly check Oregon.gov and Clackamas.us for updates on road projects, maintenance works, and closures. 

Parking in Clackamas

Where to Park in Tualatin, OR

Unlike more densely populated cities, Clackamas is free from stringent parking regulations, making it convenient for drivers—especially when compared with driving in Portland or Vancouver. In the neighborhoods, you can typically rely on standard street parking rules. However, it's always wise to look out for any specific guidelines set by homeowners' associations (HOAs) or indicated by local signage. 

Clackamas Town Center provides a generous allotment of 7,500 free parking spaces for those visiting or shopping in the area. These are distributed between two covered parking garages and several open-air lots. The Clackamas Town Center Transit Center also offers an excellent Park & Ride facility with 750 spots. These are available for free 24-hour use, perfectly complementing the convenience of the MAX Green Line and various bus routes that depart from the area.

Public Transportation in Clackamas 

TriMet Bus Routes

TriMet bus routes, which make up one significant side of the public transportation in Portland, are available in and convenient to Clackamas. The Clackamas Town Center Transit Center stands out as a major hub, bustling with activity and serving as a critical junction for numerous bus routes. Commuters here can access a wide range of bus connections and also enjoy the convenience of the free 750 Park & Ride spaces. Transit center routes include: 

  • 29
  • 30
  • 31
  • 33
  • 34
  • 71
  • 72
  • 79
  • 152
  • 155
  • 156

While the transit center is convenient, it's located northwest of most of the city. Fortunately, a host of more centralized routes bridge the gap. Route 30 is notable for its expansive coverage, traveling as far east as the city of Estacada. Another significant route is Route 35, which travels southward to the Transit Center in Oregon City. Additionally, Routes 10 and 14 offer northward travel, connecting Clackamas with Downtown Portland. 

MAX Green Line

The MAX Green Line offers efficient light rail service that connects Clackamas with key destinations in and around Portland. This line begins in the area of Portland State University and downtown, where it serves a wide array of commuters, students, and visitors vacationing in Portland. As it travels north, the Green Line provides a picturesque tour of Portland's best neighborhoods. Upon reaching the historic Old Town District, the line turns east, aligning itself with Interstate 84. This stretch of the journey offers passengers a convenient transit option parallel to the freeway, continuing until it intersects with Interstate 205. Here, the Green Line veers south, continuing its journey toward its final destination, the Clackamas Town Center Transit Center.

Running at 15-minute intervals, as per TriMet's schedule, the MAX Green Line is a reliable and frequent service. Its route benefits those traveling to prominent destinations such as Downtown Portland, the Oregon Convention Center, and the Providence Portland Medical Center. 

Clackamas County Connects Shuttle Service

The Clackamas County Connects Shuttle Service plays a pivotal role in enhancing the transportation network within Clackamas County, especially by reaching areas not served by the TriMet system. Clackamas has two free-to-ride routes: the Clackamas Industrial and CCC Xpress. The Clackamas Industrial route commences from the Town Center Transit Center and heads south, making a loop to the east of Interstate 205 along Highway 212. The shuttle operates every day of the week, although service is available during the mornings on the weekends. The shuttle's weekday schedule is designed to accommodate early risers and late workers, with services starting as early as 4:50 a.m. and running until 11:23 a.m. every day. 

The CCC Xpress offers a direct and convenient link between the Clackamas Town Center and the Clackamas Community College Campus in Oregon City. The CCC Xpress operates exclusively on weekdays, aligning perfectly with the typical college schedule and ensuring attendees have a reliable mode of transportation throughout the academic week. 

Travel Times to Nearby Cities

Downtown Portland

Driving from Clackamas to Downtown Portland is a straightforward and relatively quick journey, covering approximately 16 miles. The most common route involves taking Interstate 205 to Interstate 84, which typically takes around 22 minutes, traffic permitting. State Route 224 to 99E presents a viable option for those seeking an alternative. This route is slightly shorter at about 11 miles, and the drive time is comparable, taking around 23 minutes. 

While bus routes are available from Clackamas to Downtown Portland, they tend to be less time-efficient, with travel times extending up to 80 minutes. The fastest public transit option is the MAX Green Line, which departs from Clackamas Town Center. 

Portland International Airport

Residents of Clackamas benefit from the convenience of an easy drive to Portland International Airport, primarily via Interstate 205. As one of Portland's suburbs closest to PDX Airport, the distance from Clackamas is approximately 13 miles, and in ideal conditions, the drive can be made in 14 minutes. Whether catching a flight for a vacation, a business trip, or picking up visiting friends and family, the quick drive to PDX is a valued feature of living in Clackamas.

Hillsboro

Driving to the city of Hillsboro from Clackamas may be a frequent trip for some, as the city is home to Intel, the largest employer in the Portland area. The shortest route spans approximately 31 miles, taking around 50 minutes under normal traffic conditions. This path involves traveling from State Route 224 to 99E and then taking US-26W. On the other hand, the fastest route, when traffic is light, covers a distance of about 37 miles and takes roughly 47 minutes. This quicker option follows a series of interstate connections, starting with I-205 to I-84, then joining I-5, and finally transitioning onto US-26W. 

Beaverton

Traveling from Clackamas to the city of Beaverton, located approximately 25 miles away, offers a couple of efficient route options. Under optimal traffic conditions, the fastest route takes about 30 minutes and involves taking Interstate 205 to Oregon Route 217. This direct path is typically the preferred choice for its straightforwardness and speed, allowing travelers to reach Beaverton swiftly. Alternatively, a northern loop route involves taking I-205 to US-26W via I-84. 

Vancouver, Washington

Clackamas is perfectly positioned for convenient commutes to the city of Vancouver! Generally, the fastest way to reach Vancouver from Clackamas is by taking Interstate 205 north. Once you cross the Columbia River, take the exit for Washington State Route 14 West, which connects you to Downtown Vancouver. The total distance of this journey is approximately 21 miles, and in ideal traffic conditions, it takes about 24 minutes to complete.

This quick and convenient route is popular for commuters to the Vancouver economy, travelers, and anyone needing to travel between the cities, providing a seamless and hassle-free travel experience.

Oregon City

Located seven miles south of Clackamas, Oregon City is an easily accessible and popular destination for its residents, thanks to its proximity and attractions. The drive to Oregon City's top neighborhoods via Interstate 205 is quite efficient, typically taking around 12 minutes, although this can vary depending on traffic conditions.

This short travel time is greatly appreciated by those living in Clackamas, whether commuting for work or leisure or accessing the robust Oregon City Transit Center services. The area is known for its rich history, picturesque riverfront views, and various cultural and recreational attractions. 

Lake Oswego

The journey from Clackamas to Lake Oswego, spanning approximately 11 miles, is a quick and pleasant trip, connecting two of the region's charming communities. The fastest route from Clackamas to the city of Lake Oswego is taking Interstate 205 to Oregon Route 43. This accessibility makes Lake Oswego an attractive destination for Clackamas residents seeking a change of scenery or a leisurely day out.

Lake Oswego is renowned for its beautiful waterfront settings, offering serene views and a peaceful atmosphere perfect for relaxation. Nature enthusiasts will particularly enjoy exploring Tryon Creek State Natural Area and the rest of Lake Oswego's best parks, a lush oasis of greenery and trails. Additionally, the downtown area of Lake Oswego is a hub of activity, boasting an array of shops and restaurants.

Tigard

Although a bit farther west than Lake Oswego, traveling from Clackamas to the Tigard community follows a similar route. The journey begins with a drive on Interstate 205. Upon reaching Tualatin, drivers transition onto Interstate 5 North. The final stretch to Tigard involves exiting on 292A and heading west. Prominent employers in Tigard include Consumer Cellular, Gerber Legendary Blades, and Stash Tea Company. 

Canby

The city of Canby is a straightforward drive from Clackamas, covering a distance of about 17 miles and taking between 20 and 30 minutes, depending on the traffic conditions. The route primarily utilizes two main roads: Interstate 205 and Oregon Route 99E. This ease of travel is a boon for Clackamas residents looking to explore the attractions Canby has to offer. Canby is a delightful destination, home to the Willamette Valley Country Club, the Clackamas County Fairgrounds, and Molalla River State Park.

Newberg

Embarking on a scenic drive from Clackamas to the Newberg area promises a delightful escape into the heart of the Willamette Valley. Situated just 33 miles from Clackamas, Newberg is an ideal destination for a staycation. The journey takes approximately 45 minutes and involves a smooth drive on Interstate 205 and a transition onto Route 99W. Newberg is celebrated in Yamhill County for its exquisite wineries, quaint bed and breakfasts, and stunning scenery. 

Clackamas Commutes Made Easy

When choosing a new home, ensuring that the closest transportation options suit your wants and needs is essential. Anyone moving to Clackamas can confidently and conveniently get anywhere they need to go in the Portland area using the city's efficient blend of highways, local roads, and public transportation. Whether it's work, errands, or Willamette Valley adventures, Clackamas is connected to the places you want to be most.

Is a move to Clackamas in your future? Call Matin Real Estate at (503) 622-9601 today to talk with a local real estate agent who can help you find your dream home in Clackamas.

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