Survey says 5 percent of downtown employees go by bike

The Oregonian reports that the Portland Business Alliance has released their annual Downtown Business Census and Survey. The report focuses mostly on real estate and attitudes about downtown business issues, but it also includes a page titled, “How Downtown Employees Get to Work.”

bike to work scene
File photo: 5/16/07

In that survey — which according to the Oregonian was done by “a separate research department using mailed questionnaires, with personal follow-up and block-by-block canvassing to obtain a 100 percent response rate” — they found that 5 percent of downtown employees ride their bikes to work, a one percent decline over 2005 (and the first year the number has dipped since they started keeping track in 2001).

As a comparison, 42 percent of respondents said they take MAX and/or bus and 44 percent drive alone (ouch).

To make the numbers more interesting, they also asked people where they live. Unfortunately, the City Center came in lowest with just 9 percent. 32 percent live within Portland city limits, 19 percent come from Washington County and 16 percent come from Mulnomah County (excluding Portland).

It seems to me if more people lived where near where they worked, more of them would ride bikes. Seems simple enough. But one problem might be in the disparity between downtown housing options and the average downtown employee salary. According to this survey, 68 percent of the downtown workforce make less than $60,000 per year.

I’m no expert, but it seems like that isn’t enough to buy a new condo in the Pearl or on the South Waterfront.

Download the full PDF of the survey here (scroll to page 11) .

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