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Bikeability and the Twenty-Minute Neighborhood: How Infrastructure and Destinations Influence Bicycle Accessibility

This paper explores a methodology for assessing a neighborhood's bikeability based on its mix of infrastructure and destinations

Executive Summary

The “20-minute neighborhood” is often thought of as a place wherein daily needs can be met within a walkable area. With Portland•s recently adopted goal of increasing bicycle ridership to a 25% mode share by the year 2030, efforts to incorporate bicycles into this concept will become increasingly important. However, limited research has examined the mix of physical infrastructure and land uses that constitute a “bikeable” neighborhood or community. This paper explores a methodology for assessing a neighborhood•s bikeability based on its mix of infrastructure and destinations – essentially the 20-minute neighborhood for bicycles. The area of outer east Portland, an area east of 82nd Avenue with substantially lower bicycling rates than other Portland neighborhoods, is used as a case study and compared to an assessment of neighborhoods that are considered to be bike-friendly (downtown, inner-east and north Portland). The paper examines prior approaches to assessing bikeability, details a new method to measure bikeability, presents the findings, and explores what impact expected or potential transportation and land use changes might have on bikeability.

The findings confirmed that, taking into account route infrastructure and destination accessibility, east Portland is considerably less bikeable than inner Portland locations. Figure 1 shows current bikeability scores derived in this paper. East Portland locations had an average bikeability score of 76 (out of 100) compared to an average of 96 for inner Portland neighborhoods. The impact of planned bicycle facility improvements was found to increase bikeability scores in east Portland; however, those locations still lagged far behind other Portland neighborhoods primarily due to lower street connectivity and fewer destinations. Areas where cyclists• needs were underserved due to a lack of access to a specific type of destination are identified as opportunities for considering new shops, services, or developments that could exert a positive influence on a neighborhood•s bikeability; for example, several strategically placed grocery stores would increase bikeability in east Portland.