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Is Oakland Metro Area Pushing DC for 2nd in Nation in Bike Commuting?

Author: Bike East Bay

Date: September 18, 2014

Good news! Bicycling’s share of commuting rose significantly in the East Bay in 2013, according to American Community Survey data just released September 17. Oakland climbed back to #8 nationally for large cities with 3.0% bike mode share, Berkeley tied Palo Alto with 8.4% bike mode share and tied San Francisco for highest percentage of active commuters of any city in California at around 47% (walk, bike, transit).

While Alameda County as a whole is at 2.0% bike mode share, Contra Costa County trails at 0.6% with El Cerrito in the lead by a comfortable margin of 3.7% bike mode share. Comparingly, Davis, CA jumped way up to 24.5% bike mode share.

Interestingly, if you look at a broader Oakland metropolitan area, bicycling as a primary commute mode is just over 4%, placing us right behind Washington, DC for 2nd place nationally behind Portland. If you factor in the thousands of people who bicycle to transit every day, the East Bay urban core is pushing to regain the #2 spot. Anyone have an opinion on whether more people bike to BART, ferries & Capitol Corridor here or to the Washington DC Metro?

What does this mean? Demand for bicycling is growing fast and more bicycle accommodations are needed. This also means more money is needed to build the bikeways and bike parking facilities you demand, and expand bicycle education programs to many more people who want to try an active commute. Thank you voters in Alameda County for approving Measure BB and helping build more bike facilities.

If you want to play around with the numbers, go here and in the “topic or table name” type S0801 and then in the “state, county or place” type the city or county of interest. Then select “view” to see your results. Look down and you’ll see a row for bicycling and its mode share, broken down by gender. As for our designation “Oakland metropolitan area” we are including Oakland, Berkeley, Emeryville, Albany, Piedmont and the city of Alameda. This is the Northern Alameda planning area, a recognized urban planning area in the County, with a combined population of around 650,000. Also, for smaller cities such as Emeryville and Albany, you’ll need to go back and look at 2011 data, as this new data is for medium and large cities.

Read the League of American Bicyclists blog released Sept 17

While we hope this data excites you, also know that this data is very limited, and is best used to show trends over a 3 to 5 year period. Fortunately, the data shows bicycling increasing, at a good clip, both locally and nationally.

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