Depending on who you ask, Boston is either a progressive roadmap for bike enthusiasts and amateurs alike, or it’s a city that places too-high a premium on two-wheeled commuting only for the well-to-do, urban core. Either way, with the proliferation of Hubway and addition of miles of bike-friendly trails, Boston has earned its ranking as the third-best major biking city in the U.S. But how does Boston rank among all U.S. cities in terms of bikeability? A new website says good, but not great.
Bike Score, offshoot to the popular website Walk Score, seeks to educate riders on how bikeable their city, neighborhood or block is based on a specific set of criteria and an easily digestible scoring system on a scale of 1-t0-100. A score of 90-100 is a “Biker’s Paradise,” meaning daily errands can be easily done on your bike; 70-89 signifies “Very Bikeable”–a bike can be used for most trips; 50-69 is “Bikeable,” or middle of the road in terms of bike infrastructure; finally, a score of 0-49 earns your city the label of “Somewhat Bikeable,” a nebulous catch-all for cities with minimal bike infrastructure in place. Boston scored a 68. So our city is about as bikeable as a city can get without being very bikeable.
The score is based on four criteria: the availability of bike lanes, prevalence of hills, connectivity (can you actually bike where you want to go?), and popularity of commuting, all of which can be viewed on a dynamic heat map down to the street you live on. The most bikeable areas are green, the least a foreboding red.
The Boston map shows an awful lot of red–looking more like a giant stop sign than an invitation to dust off your Diamondback–but relatively speaking we still rank high. Currently Boulder ranks highest with a score of 86, followed by the surprising appearance of Minneapolis (79), where the temperature now hovers around 16 degrees. Rounding out the bottom of the list is Pittsburgh (37) and Cincinnati (39).
It’s nice to see Boston continuing to rank on national lists of our country’s best biking cities. I’m curious to see how our ranking will fluctuate as this website catches on and garners more user feedback and input.
Do you think Boston’s score is well-deserved or inaccurate? Tell me why in the comments section below.