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Portland’s new surge in bike commuting is real – and it’s gas-price proof

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on September 15th, 2016 at 12:52 am

26749144791_02038b6a6b_h
Rush hour on Williams Avenue in May. Once again in 2015, 7 percent of Portlanders said their main commute to work is by bike.
(Photos: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Gas prices? What gas prices?

The great gasoline plunge of late 2014 hasn’t cut the rate of Portlanders biking to work, at least not in 2015.

In fact, drive-alone commuting among Portland residents hit a modern-day low last year — the fifth such record in six years — and public transit commuting jumped to a modern high of 13.4 percent.

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Multnomah County’s drop in auto ownership since 2007 would fill 287 acres of parking

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on June 22nd, 2016 at 9:54 am

Everyone knows Multnomah County is growing, and that most new residents are buying or bringing in cars, too. In all, state records show, 8,709 more passenger vehicles are registered in the county than there were in 2007.

But a review of car registration statistics shows that if passenger vehicle ownership were still as popular in the county as it was in 2007, it would have had to find room for 47,210 more cars and trucks instead.

How many cars are we doing without? Well, if we built a parking lot to hold the 38,501 cars that didn’t show up and assumed a standard 325 square feet per space, we’d need about 287 acres of land. For the sake of scale, that’s everything between NE Killingsworth, Skidmore, Rodney and 16th:

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Portland is finally adding homes almost as fast as people are moving here

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on May 19th, 2016 at 2:58 pm

pop and housing growth
The population is up 16 percent since 2005, but the number of homes is only up 11 percent.
*The 2010 jump is related to better data from the decennial Census.
Data: American Community Survey. Chart: BikePortland.

After 10 years of falling further and further behind the number of people moving to Portland — and paying the price in rising rents, especially in bikeable areas — Portland nearly kept up with its own migration last year.

That’s according to American Community Survey figures released Thursday, which showed Multnomah County adding 4,688 net new homes in 2015. That’s the most to be reported from this data set since at least 2005, the first year it was available.

Since that year, Multnomah County’s population has grown 59 percent faster than its housing supply. That’s combined with relatively rapid growth in high-wage local jobs to rapidly drive up housing prices.

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Even in suburban Oregon, drive-alone trips are a shrinking share of new commutes

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on May 17th, 2016 at 12:56 pm

Beaverton to Tualatin ride-2
Bike commuter Jim Parsons in Washington County.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

The Portland metro area seems to have already discovered how to slow the growth of traffic congestion, the city’s bicycle planning coordinator said Friday. But it’s not investing in it very quickly.

Between 2000 and 2014, the three Oregon counties in the metro area added 122,000 new commuters. And inside the Metro urban growth boundary, less than half of that net growth came from people driving alone in cars.

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Vancouver BC doubles biking rates in four years, likely passing Portland

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on May 6th, 2016 at 10:10 am

planters downtown
Hornby Street in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 2013.
(Photos: M.Andersen)

Three years ago, I got back from a trip to ride Vancouver BC’s new downtown protected bike lane network and promised every BikePortland reader a Japadog if our northern neighbor didn’t see a “substantial increase” in biking over the following three years.

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The lower Northwest District is Portland’s invisible capital of bike commuting

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on April 13th, 2016 at 4:38 pm

invisible capital
Hidden in this street is an important lesson about bike transportation in the United States.
(Photos: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

Part of NW Portland Week.

Almost every map or chart you will ever see of “where people commute by bike” is incomplete.

Nineteen times out of 20, it’s based on only half of the picture: the locations people commute from. In the United States, we make almost no effort to calculate where people are bike-commuting to.

Little-known fact: according to the best data available, almost nowhere in Portland brings in a larger percentage of its commuters by bicycle than the lower section of Northwest 21st and 23rd, between Marshall and Burnside.

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In some metro areas, bike commuting is nearing the scale of transit commuting

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on December 4th, 2015 at 9:59 am

bike commuting transit commuting
This data from the U.S. Census includes both urban and suburban areas.
(Chart: BikePortland)

The unfortunately named new federal transportation bill, the FAST Act, is headed for a presidential signature after passing the House of Representatives Thursday.

While biking and transit advocates are sounding two cheers for the latest extension of the status quo (rather than the complete car-centrism favored by Koch-funded advocacy groups), it’s a good time to consider the ways transportation differs in cities across the country.

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Annual city survey is latest to show Portlanders biking more, driving less

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on November 6th, 2015 at 1:54 pm

Ride Along with Kimberlee Chambers
Kimberlee Chambers: one of many ordinary Portland bike commuters.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

More and more Portlanders are choosing to bike.

That’s the great news being confirmed this year by one data point after another. The latest: a city auditor’s survey released Friday, which estimated that fully 9 percent of Portlanders bike to work during the summer — the second consecutive year of increase.

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Progress for Portland: Surge of 5,000 new bike commuters brings city rate to 7%

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on September 17th, 2015 at 12:01 am

share by bike
Data: Census American Community Survey. Charts: BikePortland.

It’s not 2008. But for the first time in seven years, Portland’s bike believers seem to have the wind at their back.

The latest evidence showed up Thursday in new Census Bureau estimates showing that 2014 brought the city to its highest bike-commuting rate on record: 7.2 percent.

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As Portland’s biking stagnation continues, it faces an unfamiliar problem: more congestion

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on August 19th, 2015 at 1:03 pm

traffic trends
A funny thing happens when you stop improving the alternatives.
(Job projections: Metro. Historical data: Census Bureau. Charts: BikePortland.)

In the last couple years, Portlanders have started noticing something they haven’t been accustomed to for a decade: Auto congestion is getting worse.

“Oregon Department of Transportation reports traffic has gone up 6.3 percent this year, about twice the national average — and it’s still going,” KATU-TV reported last week.

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