The City of Portland recently released the results of its 2010 bicycle counts, which were conducted in 153 locations around the city, divided up by regions, and this year they did both Summer and Winter counts.
In general, the report shows that there were about 8% more trips by bicycle city-wide than there were last year, in 2009 – interestingly, the inner parts of the city experienced smaller increases (from 2-7%), while the outer parts of Portland experienced greater increases of 9.5% (SW Portland) and 19% (Outer East Portland).
Some of the more interesting tidbits:
Portland’s downtown starts along the west bank of the river which divides West and East Portland, and moves to the West, up from the river. There are 10 bridges (if I’m remembering them all correctly) that cross the river, 5 of which (the most central ones) have specific bicycle facilities (bicycles can cross two or three others, but must ride with automobile traffic or on narrow sidewalks). Of the 5 bridges with bicycle facilities, approximately 15% of all traffic across those bridges on an average weekday was bicycle traffic. Some of the bridges are higher, 16%, 17%, or 20% of all traffic being bicycles. Combined, the bridges carry somewhere around 17,500 people on bicycles per day.
The bicycle counts in February of 2010 were comparable to, and in some cases higher than the counts in Summer of 2006 (the Hawthorne Bridge count was higher this February than the summer 2006 count, for instance).
In almost every region of the inner part of the city, the percentage of cyclists who were female was above 30%, and a number of individual points where counts were taken showed above 40% share of female cyclists.
All-in-all, a lot of encouraging signs. On a purely subjective basis, this autumn/winter so far we’ve had quite a few rainy days, some heavy winds, and some spells of sub-20-degree weather, and there have still been a ton of people out on bicycles. The official bicycle counts estimate that there is a 33% drop in people riding bicycles during the winter, but I feel like each successive autumn/winter, the numbers decrease less and less. I think more and more people are realizing that rather than bad weather, it just requires some clothing changes to make it feasible.
Here’s to a great winter, and a satisfied, calm, peaceful 2011. Cheers!