Good news, cyclists. The Street has just put out a list of the top 10 most bike-able U.S. cities, and Philly made the cut at a cozy number six. With a growing bike-commuter population and the soon-to-be addition of a bike-share program, the city is about to become more friendly towards those on two wheels.
This is some seriously awesome news. Call me a wimp, but in my bike rides around the city, I’ve almost been run over more times than I’ve almost rolled backwards down a hill. (I’m looking at you, Manayunk.) So the promise of better biking is definitely appealing to me.
The list uses data from Walk Score, which measured cities’ bike-ability based on bike infrastructure like bike lanes and trails, percentage of bike commuters, and terrain. Walk Score puts out its own top ten list. On that one, Philly snagged the number four spot. The difference: Walk Score’s list only uses cities that have 500,000-plus people, whereas The Street’s list takes into account cities with 200,000 or more people, giving smaller cities a chance to make it on to the list. (Spoiler: Minneapolis, with a population of around 380,000 took the top spot.)
Here’s what they had to say about Philly:
Really. According to a study from the University of California at Berkeley, 37% of Philadelphia workers commute without a car, compared to 33% for Chicago and 45% for San Francisco. Overall, 13% of Philadelphia households do not own a car. In Philly that leaves you with only a few options: The much-maligned trains and busses of the city's SEPTA system, bikes or a really good pair of walking shoes.
For more than 35,100 people, that means riding their bike to work. While Philadelphia's made some modest improvements to its bicycle infrastructure, the density of downtown and the trails along its rivers make this town more bikeable than its congested streets and big swaths of highway suggest.
There's still a lot of work to be done, but when you combine one of the largest bicycle commuter bases in the country with enough shops, groups and infrastructure -- including Philly Bike Share, which arrives next spring -- the safer streets tend to follow. Slowly.
But here’s the kicker: Philly didn’t make the list at all last year. So, my guess is that the aforementioned future bike-share program really bumped up the city’s score. I’m curious about what you guys think: Is Philly really such a bike-able city, or do you think the list might have jumped the gun in including Philly in its ranking? Let us know in the comments.
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