Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tampa: A Top 10 Bike-Commuting Town

Tampa is one of the most fascinating bicycle towns in the U.S. Tampa gets hammered for its non-friendly bicycle streets, yet the city ranked NINTH in the country in its bike commuting rate in 2010 out of the 70 biggest cities.

That according to the League of American Bicyclists and Darren Flusche, the League's master stats guy who analyed the 2010 census data.

There's more. Check out this amazing stat: Tampa's increase in bike-commuting in 2010 from 2009 soared by a whopping 121 percent.

Here's the Top 10 bike-commuting cities (out of the 70 biggest cities in the country) for 2010:

1. Portland  5.8 percent of commuters use a bicycle
2. Seattle     3.6
3. SF            3.5
4. Minneapolis  3.5
5. Washington, DC  3.1
6. Tucson, Ariz.   3.0
7. Sacramento      2.5
8. Denver             2.2
9. TAMPA          1.9
10. Philly             1.8

Tampa's place as a TOP 10 bike-commuting city is stunning when you realize the League did not award the city  a "bicycle friendly community" award like it did the other nine in the Top 10.

Tampa's bike-commuting rate is higher than noted bicycle towns such as Austin, Tex. and Chicago.

Portland is a Platinum winner, Seattle, SF and Minneapolis are Gold winners. Wash DC got silver, Tucson got gold and Sacramento got silver. Denver got bronze.

Tampa? Zippo, even though Tampa had a higher bike-commuting rate than noted bicycle towns such as Austin, Tex. and Chicago.

Hard to blame the League for not recognizing Tampa as a bike-friendly town when ex-Mayor Pam Iorio actually removed a planned bike lane from a local city street.

But Tampa is improving and I applaud terrific road improvements for bicyclists on 40th Street, Nebraska Avenue, Noth Boulevard and sharrows and more bike lanes showing up on local streets like Swann Avenue.

The bad news is that Tampa also got left out in the cold in Bicycling Magazine's Top 50 bike towns. Orlando was 34, New Orleans was 43, Orlando was 49 and Tulsa, OK came in at 50. Tampa was shut out.

SWFBUD is trying to help. We are moving the Bicycle Bash Festival into downtown Tampa on NOV 4. Come to a Bash Announcement Party next Tuesday on July 31 when we talk about the move to downtown Tampa and have local elected leaders and agency officials on hand.

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