Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Salem Falls out of Bicycling Magazine Top 50 Ratings

Salem fell off the list - via Twitter
Bicycling Magazine today published their list of the top 50 cities for bicycling, and Salem fell off of it.

Salem has declined steadily in the ratings over the last decade:
Portland has declined also, to sit at #5, and Eugene climbed from #18 to sit at #7.

About Portland they say
In fact, since we last put out this guide two years ago, Portland has only built 5.2 miles of protected lanes. Seattle and San Francisco built 15 and 18 miles respectively in in that same period.
For Eugene they focused on younger students:
While most cities have some sort of safe routes to school program, Eugene is taking the recruitment of kid cyclists very seriously. “We have three full-time safe routes school coordinators,” he says, adding that there are five roving fleets of bikes that are passed from school to school so every fifth- and sixth-grade student in the area learns how to ride.
If Eugene is #7, that's also a comment on how bad things are. Ridership there has eroded a great deal in the last decade, and you'd think a top 10 city would show ridership increases. Overall the infrastructure still coasts on projects from the 1970s and 80s, and is still catching up to 21st century best practices.

In any case, Salem's previous spots in the top 50 were probably overstated, but the trend is on point: Relative to other cities, Salem is falling behind and only weakly dedicated to improving riding conditions. New facilities like the Minto Bridge and Geer Park are great, but they are not fully connected into a comprehensive system of bike transport. Just getting the Winter-Maple Greenway completed is a slog, and there is no plan yet for a successor, second Greenway. The Union Street bikeway/greenway/whateverway remains fragmentary; while its funding is in place, construction and completion is a few years off. Salem also did not renew their LAB Bicycle-Friendly Community rating.

On discrete projects some cheerleading is plausible, but overall the system is not keeping pace.

Addendum, October 11th

The City's published their "First-Ever Annual Community Report"on the Strategic Plan.

via Twitter
The City features this sweet image of a child learning to bicycle.

Over at Hinessight they note
I searched the report for every mention of "bicycle." There was exactly one. Here it is. LED lamps provide good lighting for bicycles, along with cars and pedestrians. Whoopee.
There's a disconnect here between image and reality.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Stranger has some funny point to make about their #1 ranking:

"The magazine for some reason ranked Seattle over San Francisco, Minneapolis, Fort Collins, Colorado, and Eugene, Oregon. I have no fake-quantitative scale to reference, only my personal experience cycling in those cities, but I can tell you putting Seattle over those towns makes no fucking sense. Minneapolis is one of the friendliest places to ride in America. San Francisco, despite its steeper-than-Seattle hills, is overall not terrible, certainly better than our city. My car blew a head gasket in Fort Collins one summer, rendering my combustion engine worthless but the bicycle strapped to the roof helpful, and after doing everything on two wheels for a month I decided the city was a delightful place to commute with pedal power (the amazing breweries didn't hurt, looking at you Funkwerks).

And Seattle is more bike friendly than Eugene? Riding a bicycle in Eugene is as carefree as taking a huge hit of homegrown Oregon pot as you sit along the Willamette River and listen to the Grateful Dead."