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DC and New Orleans Closing the Bike Commute Gap With Portland

Perennial cycling leaders like Portland and Minneapolis have seen progress slow, while some less well-known biking cities are making gains. Image: Bike Portland

Growth in bike commuting has slowed in Portland and Minneapolis, while some less well-known biking cities are making gains. Graph: Bike Portland

New Census numbers are out, providing fresh data on how Americans are getting to work, and Michael Andersen at BikePortland has noticed a couple of trends.

The mid-size cities best-known for biking haven’t made much progress lately, Andersen writes, while other cities have made rapid gains:

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.

The nation’s capital seems to have shot past Minneapolis, Seattle and San Francisco in 2013 to achieve the second-highest bike commuting rate among major U.S. cities: 4.5 percent.

Portland’s bike commuting rate ticked down to an estimated 5.9 percent in 2013, from 6.1 percent in 2012 and 6.3 percent in 2011. Statistically speaking, it’s been mostly unchanged since 2008. Though Portland has added 10,000 net jobs since 2011, the Census surveys estimated that it’s actually lost about 600 daily bike commuters.

Sources told Andersen that Washington’s Capital Bikeshare gets a lot of credit for helping to catapult it up the ranks.

Elsewhere on the Network today: The Urbanist reports that biking rates have tripled on Second Avenue in Seattle after the addition of a protected bike lane. Cyclelicious ridicules the 49ers for blaming gameday traffic headaches on pedestrians and transit riders. And the Dallas Morning News’ Transportation Blog explains that the city recently completed its latest one-way-to-two-way street conversion, as part of an effort to make downtown more walkable.

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