|From #19 in 2010 to #38 in 2014|
Salem has gone from #19 in 2010, to #22 in 2012, all the way down to #38 in 2014.
Portland's fretting because it fell from #1 to #4.
As objective ratings, I don't know how useful these are. By national standards it's true, Salem's a pretty good place to ride. I think our "bronze" LAB rating is a good way of thinking about things.
But there's so much more to be done. Very few would say it's "easy" to bike around Salem or that a parent could with confidence send their child anywhere in town by bike. With bike lanes on busy arterials, Salem functions in a basic way for "strong and fearless" types, but is woefully lacking for folks who bike occasionally and want low-stress routes.
So the fall, the relative change, down from #19 to #38 is meaningful. Bike counts showed a plateauing of ridership, and even Portland now is showing signs of a plateau. The news of a decline at Portland State University is concerning.
Since the Union Street Railroad Bridge was opened in 2009, there has been no new major bike facility in Salem. Sure, we got a few sharrows, the road bond widened some roads and added sidewalks and bike lanes in addition to center turn lanes, but there's no new complete bikeway or downtown protected bike lane or other 21st century facility. It's all vintage 1980s style here!
Other cities have constructed innovative new facilities, and they're leap-frogging us.
Salem will continue to decline until we build better facilities, complete the gaps in our existing routes, and finally start to tame our excessive attachments to carspace by curbing things like free parking and high speed limits.