Bikeability About More Than Bike Lanes

Via Pricetags:

A paper by PSU MURP candidate Nathan McNeil (PDF) analyzes “bikeability” and develops a Walkscore-style scoring system.

He specifically compares East Portland with more central parts of the City and gives East Portland an average score of 76 compared to 96 for more central neighborhoods. Among the points of comparison:

  • East Portland has a comparable density of bike lanes with other parts of the City
  • East Portland has a significantly lower density of bike boulevards than the rest of the City
  • Because the street grid is more disjointed in East Portland, someone willing to travel a mile by bike can only reach an area about 75% of the size of the area someone in central Portland could reach
  • Perhaps most tellingly, the density of destinations – places to bike to – in East Portland is about a quarter of that in the center of the City.

The title of the paper is a pretty clear pointer to the solution: “Bikeability and the Twenty-Minute Neighborhood”. Portland is going to need to develop some neighborhood centers in East Portland before cycling can possibly be as strong as in other parts of the City.


4 responses to “Bikeability About More Than Bike Lanes”

  1. I think this makes clear the central reality of transportation, its really about land use. We have become dependent on the automobile because of the dispersed nature of services and other destinations.

    Those destinations became dispersed because of the huge investment in transportation infrastructure that supports providing the same services in fewer locations. But reversing that is not going to result from similar investments in bike lanes and sidewalks. Its going to require long term changes in land use that result in development patterns that are on a more human scale. Transportation investments can influence that, but its not enough.

  2. the street grid will make it very hard to get that kind of development to work. i would guess impossible unless the grid is changed.

    the city could buy up all the bank owned properties and create more through streets. break up cul-de-sacs. good luck getting the neighborhood to approve!

  3. Overall, this is a very engaging paper – I sent it on to Rep. Smith, who is very interested in East Portland equity issues.

    One of the things I try to remember is how many Portlanders don’t like to bike in car traffic, even downtown, where car speeds are set by traffic lights to stay at 12-14 mph. So it’s hard for me to rate downtown as totally bike-able for average people, even given the new buffered bike lanes at places.

  4. Evan , while signals may be 12-14 mph, many drivers
    race between any barrier ,[stop sign/signal etc] so the effective speed for us Peds/Bikes is more like
    35-45. Dodging oblivious and dangerous cars is the
    source of the Terror we feel using OUR streets.

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