DC and New Orleans Closing the Bike Commute Gap With Portland

Perennial cycling leaders like Portland and Minneapolis have seen progress slow, while some less well-known biking cities are making gains. Image: Bike Portland

Growth in bike commuting has slowed in Portland and Minneapolis, while some less well-known biking cities are making gains. Graph: Bike Portland

New Census numbers are out, providing fresh data on how Americans are getting to work, and Michael Andersen at BikePortland has noticed a couple of trends.

The mid-size cities best-known for biking haven’t made much progress lately, Andersen writes, while other cities have made rapid gains:

2013 Census estimates released Thursday show the big cities that led the bike spike of the 2000s — Minneapolis, Seattle, Denver and, most of all, Portland — all failing to make meaningful changes to their commuting patterns for three years or more.

Meanwhile, the same figures show a new set of cities rising fast — first among them Washington DC.

The nation’s capital seems to have shot past Minneapolis, Seattle and San Francisco in 2013 to achieve the second-highest bike commuting rate among major U.S. cities: 4.5 percent.

Portland’s bike commuting rate ticked down to an estimated 5.9 percent in 2013, from 6.1 percent in 2012 and 6.3 percent in 2011. Statistically speaking, it’s been mostly unchanged since 2008. Though Portland has added 10,000 net jobs since 2011, the Census surveys estimated that it’s actually lost about 600 daily bike commuters.

Sources told Andersen that Washington’s Capital Bikeshare gets a lot of credit for helping to catapult it up the ranks.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Urbanist reports that biking rates have tripled on Second Avenue in Seattle after the addition of a protected bike lane. Cyclelicious ridicules the 49ers for blaming gameday traffic headaches on pedestrians and transit riders. And the Dallas Morning News’ Transportation Blog explains that the city recently completed its latest one-way-to-two-way street conversion, as part of an effort to make downtown more walkable.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

More Portland Cyclists Mean Safer Portland Streets

|
Portland, Oregon. Photo: Lynette_1_2_3/Flickr Today on the Streetsblog Network, people are talking about safety, among other things. Bike Portland has a post on how the number of bike commuters is up in that bike-friendly city and the number of traffic injuries to bicyclists is down, while Bike PGH wants to see some local response to […]

Portland Tries Out "Advisory Bike Lanes"

|
Portland is importing a new kind of bike lane design from the Netherlands. “Advisory bike lanes” allow drivers to use the bike lane space if they have to — and if it’s safe. Jonathan Maus at Bike Portland reports that advisory bike lanes are intended for streets with high bike traffic but not a high volume of […]

Is Equal Justice for Bicyclists on the Horizon?

|
The Streetsblog Network is buzzing with bike news this morning, much of it related to the National Bike Summit in Washington, DC, where the mood sounds really upbeat. Bike Portland has been doing some great reporting from the summit; yesterday, we brought you their summary of DOT Secretary Ray LaHood’s pledge to be a "full […]

Bike Commute Rate in Portland Reaches a New High

|
New Census data out this week shows that the bike commute rate in Portland is higher than ever, exceeding the 7 percent threshold for the first time. Meanwhile, in the tier below Portland, about half a dozen large and mid-sized cities are neck and neck, Tom Fucoloro at Seattle Bike Blog reports: Seattle (3.7 percent) is now in a […]

Freak Snow Can't Stop Cycling in Portland

|
It’s not often that the Portland region sees snow. But yesterday, like a handful of other odd places, including Texas, America’s bike capital got walloped (by northwest standards anyway). As it happens, a little snow can’t change Portland, reports Jonathan Maus at Bike Portland, who captured a series of photos showing cyclists who weren’t easily […]