Thursday, May 3, 2018

1.5 out of 5 Stars: Places for Bikes New Ratings

Last night Places for Bikes announced their latest city ratings for 480 American cities.

1.5 out of 5 stars for Salem
As in the first iteration, Salem didn't do so well. Salem scores 1.5 out of 5 stars:
  • 1.7 on ridership - how often and how many people ride
  • 2.1 on safety
  • 1.4 on the bike network of low-stress routes (not old-school bike lanes on busy streets)
  • 1.8 on reach - how consistently the network reaches everyone in the community
  • 0.5 on acceleration - how quickly we are improving the network and adding new riders
It's not surprising to see the low mark in acceleration. That contests directly any claim that we currently have "balance" in our system for people who want to bike.

About their method Places for Bikes says:
No system could perfectly capture every aspect of making a place great for biking. But ours combines a lot:
  • Street-level data from Open Street Map on infrastructure, traffic speed limits, where people live, whether the low-stress bike network actually links them to destinations and how equitably infrastructure is available to disadvantaged groups (31%)
  • Local and federal data on the overall traffic injury rates, both for people biking and people using any mode (16%)
  • The scale and variety of investment in bike infrastructure and events reported by local officials for the PlacesForBikes City Snapshot (16%)
  • The PlacesForBikes Community Survey, which asked 39,076 people (with certain minimum figures per city rated) about their riding habits and perceptions of safety and progress (16%)
  • Census American Community Survey data on the local percentage and gender split of bike commuters compared to car commuters (13%) An assessment of a community’s propensity to bike for fun, from Sports Marketing Surveys (8%)
By rank, Portland scores highly at the top of the big cities list, but in absolute scoring, it still has a ways to go. Though ridership is better in Eugene, Salem outscores Eugene on reach, 1.8 to 1.7, though that's probably well within any margin of error, is the same on safety, and barely behind on acceleration, also probably in the margin of error. This is consistent with the sense that Eugene still has too much of a vintage network from the 1970s and 80s, and has work to do to bring it up to 21st century best practices. It is also consistent with the recent Eugene Weekly assessment.

Eugene had 1.9 stars and Portland 3.3 stars
Salem appears to have dropped out of the League of American Bicyclists ratings, and probably back in 2016 we did not reapply to renew our "Bronze" rating.

At the Budget Committee last week, three people submitted comment requesting investment in the Winter-Maple Greenway. Working on this would definitely help with acceleration! But we still badly lack in network connectivity and reach. The Winter-Maple route is just one corridor.

Even if there are details on which to quibble, the Places for Bikes rating is an even-handed scoring that's comparing hundreds of cities. And by that standard, we've got a ways to go.

(For previous notes on rankings see here.)

1 comment:

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

Via Twitter, on the five star scale from Places for Bikes"

"After much debate, we scored the system such that best Dutch & Danish cities would land in the 4 range, but they don't score perfectly either."