Portland Back on Top in Bicycling Magazine’s City Rankings

Minneapolis versus Portland: This is shaping up to be quite a rivalry.

Portland rules in Bicycling Magazine's 2012 bike-friendly city rankings. Photo: ##http://bikeportland.org/## Bike Portland##

Today, Pacific coast sustainability standard bearer Portland topped Midwestern standout Minneapolis in Bicycling Magazine’s bike-friendly city rankings, bi-annual source of bragging rights or shame, depending on your locale.

The top-two results were a reversal of the 2010 rankings. Bicycling Magazine did not explain what boosted Portland but did mention the city’s stature as the only large city to receive the League of American Bicyclists’ “Platinum-Level” Bike Friendly City Award, as well as its tendency to be the earliest of early adopters when it comes to innovations like bike boxes (Portland had the nation’s first).

Meanwhile, Minneapolis recently snagged national bragging rights with its Bike Score — the new bikeability scoring system that the creators of Walk Score unveiled last week.

Overall, big cities enjoy a growing prominence in Bicycling’s top ten, reflecting a trend in bike-friendly political leadership in America’s major metropolises.

While tiny Boulder, Colorado took the bronze, Washington, DC came in an impressive fourth place, boosted by its enviable bike-sharing system.

“There is no clearer evidence of the urban-cycling revolution sweeping the United States than in the nation’s capital,” wrote Bicycling’s Ian Dille, “where ridership jumped 80 percent from 2007 to 2010.”

Also surging ahead was Chicago, taking fifth place. Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan for 100 miles of protected bike lanes was cited as a big factor, along with the popular Bike-the-Drive open streets event.

New York City, which will be launching the nation’s largest bike-share system this summer, ratcheted up one spot to seventh place, on the strength of the bike infrastructure built on the watch of Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan. San Francisco dropped a few places to eighth. And Seattle rounded out the top ten.

Smaller trailblazers Madison, Wisconsin and Eugene, Oregon slotted into sixth and ninth place, respectively.

Bicycling Magazine’s rankings are based on data from the League of American Bicyclists and the Alliance for Biking and Walking along with input from local advocates. Fifty cities are ranked this year, from Des Moines, Iowa to Miami, Florida. To qualify, each city “must possess both a robust cycling infrastructure and a vibrant bike culture,” according to the magazine.

4 thoughts on Portland Back on Top in Bicycling Magazine’s City Rankings

  1. New York, New York, a helluva town! I’m guessing I’m not the the only Streetsblog reader who thinks, “If I ever leave this town, it’s going to be to one of those other cities in the top ten.”

  2. Hats off to the League for getting so much mileage from this silly survey for so many years now. Nothing like comparing lowish density 585k population Portland to the 8.2 million NYC behemouth. That’s some real apples to apples analysis there. How about next year we expand the zone that Portland is graded on to include the nearest eight million people? H’mm that would be everyone in Oregon and 2/3rds of Washington. Or, vice versa, maybe Manhattan South of 23rd Street or West Brooklyn can go head to head with Portland in a real bikeability slam? 

  3. The League rankings are a joke – last year they lumped NYC in with Washington and Boston, despite the near total lack of on-street bike lanes in the two smaller cities.  And if  Bicycling is using promises for the future as its standard, NYC should crush Chicago.  

  4. NYC will not do well in the ranking intill they start improving the conditions in the outer reaches of the city. NYC has 5 boros and over 8 mill ppl? 11mill during the workday! Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn and Queens are doing ok, but for the over all City, it is not a bike friedly place. We dont have Bike Racks on Busses and we still dont have bike accsess to many of our Birdges. We cant clame NYC is Bike freidly intill all of NYC is, South Manhattan and DT BK are not the whole city

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