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Which Is North America’s #1 Biking City?

Originally published on the ECOreport.

Portland has long been North America’s #1 bike-friendly city. According to the Portland Bureau of Transportation, 7.2% of “commuters go by bike.” That figure is taken from the 2014 census, which also shows the closest U.S. competitors as Minneapolis (4.6%), San Francisco (4.4%), and Seattle (3.7%). Now a new report shows that in 2015, 10% of Vancouver B.C.’s population pedaled  to work, and 7% of all daily trips were by bicycle.
CarrallStreetGreenway

Which Is North America’s #1 Biking City?

Margi Broadway, Active Transportation Division Manager of the Portland Bureau of Transportation, was en route to a meeting when I caught up to her.

When I mentioned that 9% of Vancouver’s residents pedaled to work in 2014, she responded, “We like to compare ourselves to U.S. cities. We’re not quite in Vancouver’s numbers yet. We’d like to be, those are great numbers.”

Broadway mentioned a household survey that found that 7.8% of Portland residents commute by bike.

 Annual Monitoring Report & Safety Action Plan, May 4, 2016 Council Presentation, City of Vancouver

It is too early for Vancouver to break out the champagne. Portland doesn’t appear to be using distinctions like the percentages of people who “commute to work by bicycle” and “daily trips within the city.” If that second figure (7%) is a fairer comparison, Portland is still ahead by a nose – and the race is on!

Regardless of whether Vancouver is now #1 or a contender, it is clearly benefiting from the development of a bicycle infrastructure.

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 6.05.10 AM

A study from Vancouver’s Comox-Helmcken Greenway showed that the area’s 49% increase in the number of bicycle trips was matched by a 35% decrease in auto trips and a 9.8% decrease in the number of days of poor mental and physical health.

“These new biking records clearly show that the City’s investments in Vancouver’s active transportation network are paying off big – reducing car traffic and making it safer and more affordable for people to get around,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson.
Bombardier FLEXITY Streetcar has finally arrived safely under the Cambie Bridge. A custom built ramp is crucial for its safe transition from transport trailer to tracks at False Creek under Cambie Bridge- Courtesy City of Vancouver

Other Means Of Transport

Only 41% of Vancouver’s residents are now driving to work and 50% of the trips within the city are made by automobile. 26% of the city’s residents have a car share membership. The number of people walking or taking transit are each 24%.

Earlier this month, Vancouver announced the installation of its first DC Fast Charger at Empire Fields. Though the city has about 250 (antiquated) Level 2 charging stations, “…a DC fast-charge station can charge an electric vehicle’s battery to 80% in about 20 minutes, or about eight to 10 times faster than a typical home charging system.”

DC fast charge station for electric vehicles at Empire Fields - Courtesy City of Vancouver

This might the beginning of a new challenge.

Portland has a network of 265 charging stations, 12 of which are DC fast-chargers.

Mind you, they both have to catch up to San Francisco, which had 476 charging stations as of 2014.

Photo Credits: Carroll Street Greenway – Courtesy City of Vancouver; Graphs of “Daily Trips By Mode Of Travel” & “Work Trips By Mode Of Travel” – Annual Monitoring Report & Safety Action Plan, May 4, 2016 Council Presentation, City of Vancouver; Bombardier FLEXITY Streetcar has finally arrived safely under the Cambie Bridge. A custom built ramp is crucial for its safe transition from transport trailer to tracks at False Creek under Cambie Bridge- Courtesy City of Vancouver; DC fast charge station for electric vehicles at Empire Fields – Courtesy City of Vancouver

 
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Written By

is the President of Cortes Community Radio , CKTZ 89.5 FM, where he has hosted a half hour program since 2014, and editor of the Cortes Currents (formerly the ECOreport), a website dedicated to exploring how our lifestyle choices and technologies affect the West Coast of British Columbia. He writes for both writes for both Clean Technica and PlanetSave on Important Media. He is a research junkie who has written over 2,000 articles since he was first published in 1982. Roy lives on Cortes Island, BC, Canada.

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