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Fun with Math: New Census Data Shows Impact of Good Bike Facilities on Commuting

Rex

Portland’s citywide commute share for bikes is above 6%, putting it in the top rank of cycling cities in the US.

In new information released by the US Census, the impact of good quality (and quantity) of bicycle facilities on commute choice shows up with some census tracts with over 20% of commuters using bicycles (the dark brown areas in the interactive map below). Most of Portland to the west of 82nd Ave (Oregon highway 213) has bicycle commute rates of over 10%. East Portland, that developed as unincorporated Multnomah County as a low-cost, low-regulation escape from the City, has incomplete road networks lacking sidewalks and shoulders as well as poor connectivity–all things that promote non-auto commute options.

There are some interesting questions raised by this map.

One that I’m curious about is the swath of lower bicycle use running Northeast from downtown. My guess is that this is because that’s were three light rail routes provide fast, frequent commute service to downtown.

Another question is why some areas of town that are pretty far from the jobs concentrated in the central city have higher bike commute share (Portsmouth and King neighborhoods, for example) than other, closer in neighborhoods. Is there an issue with connectivity, quality of facilities, having to cross a busy arterial without signals (all drawbacks of the bike boulevard system)?

 

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Why Getting to 2100? The next century will be a test: can humans use their intelligence and foresight to successfully transition from our consumption-fueled economy to one that balances the needs of humans with the Earth’s available resources. Getting to 2100 aims to be a forum for sharing of good ideas and good works. Got a good example or a new idea? Share it with the world!

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