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.
*2010 housing figures reflect an upward readjustment from information gathered in the decennial Census. (Data: Census Bureau, summarized here)
After eight years of failing to add housing units nearly as fast as new residents were arriving, Multnomah County nearly kept pace in 2014, according to Census estimates released Thursday.
The shortfall in new units since 2005 has led to the country’s worst chronic shortage of rental housing in the most desirable parts of Portland as residents have competed for the largely unchanging number of homes in the central city. That’s led to rocketing home prices and rents, forcing many to live in less bikeable areas further from the urban core.
In 2014, a wave of new apartments hit the market and the City of Portland has led the region in both single-family and multifamily housing starts. The population still grew faster than the number of housing units, the Census estimated, but by a much smaller margin.
The Great Recession has left plenty of marks on the Portland area. Here’s one of the happier ones: so far, at least, a lot of the cars aren’t coming back.
The number of registered passenger vehicles in Multnomah County peaked in 2007, a review of 16 years of state records shows. After the economy began shrinking in early 2008, passenger vehicles per resident started a rapid slide, landing 9 percent lower by 2012. Finally, in 2013 and 2014, the local economy began a relatively rapid rebound out of one of the sharpest local downturns in the country.
But in those two years, the number of vehicles the average Multnomah County resident registers has edged back up just 1 percent.
Source: Census American Community Survey. Chart by BikePortland.
Is America’s latest bike boom coming to an end? Or is it just moving to different cities?
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.
We haven’t jumped on the news, since we covered this data when it first became publicly available last fall. (We love you, though, OPB.) But one thing that is new on the Census site is a very nice interactive map that quickly plots 22 years of commuting data to the neighborhood level.