Look out Portland, the normally self deprecating midwest is gaining on you. First Minneapolis is ranked the best large city by Bicycling Magazine and now Milwaukee is just barely edged out by Portland as the large city with the fastest growing bicycle mode share in the country.
Yes indeed, Milwaukee has experienced the second highest increase in the percentage of people who bike to work according to the US Census data. Since 2000, our journey to work bike share has gone from .33% to 1.16%, a whopping 231% increase in the number of people biking to work (331% increase in the percent of people who bike to work). Portland edged us out for the number one spot by going from 1.76% to 5.96%, a 237% increase in people biking to work (337% increase in the percent again). And take a look at the company we are keeping in the top ten:
There are lots of other midwestern cities in that list. Look out nation, the midwest is the new hotbed of cycling. Speaking of cycling hotbeds, did you check out the #2 large city on overall mode share? That’s right, stone cold Minneapolis at 4.27%, right behind Portland. Another myth buster: Yes Virginia you can bike to work with Santa Claus.
But can we maintain that sort of growth? If the City continues to invest in improved bicycle infrastructure I see no reason to doubt it. The soon to be released update to the City bicycle master plan proposes increasing our bike lanes from the current 52 miles to over 100 miles in the next two years. That alone might get us to 5%. But the new plan also includes bike boulevards and other innovative facilities designed to attract those people who want to bike more, but don’t enjoy riding in bike lanes on busy streets.
So talk it up Milwaukee, you are number 2!