Walkable cities get all the attention. Everyone seems to want to live in a place where they can walk. But there are plenty of places where bicycles are the mode of transportation of choice, and walking and biking aren’t exactly the same thing.
Redfin.com recently ranked America’s most bikeable downtown areas and Center City West, Philadelphia tops the list, narrowly edging out El Presidio, Tucson, Ariz.
Philadelphia didn’t win by accident. Officials in the City of Brotherly Love have worked in recent years to increase the number of bike lanes running through downtown and expand the city’s Indego bike share program.
Naturally, as more bicyclists descended on downtown Philly, officials had to beef up their safety program as well. As a result, bicycle fatalities decreased by 25% in Philadelphia from 2010 to 2014, and education has been a big part of that, according to Clarena Tolson, Philadelphia’s Deputy Managing Director for Transportation and Infrastructure.
“One of the keys to bicyclist safety has been greater education and appreciation for bicyclists as people who deserve to share the road, so we’ve made that a focus,” said Tolson.
Catering to bicyclists pays off in a number of ways. Not only does it make the center city a more inviting place for young, active people, pushing up property values, it can reduce the number of cars in the streets, easing traffic burdens.
It makes downtown areas more attractive places to shop and live. Other U.S. cities have taken the cue.
Also making Redfin’s “most bikeable” list are Tucson; Austin; Denver; Louisville; Washington, DC; San Jose; Indianapolis; and Chicago.