D.C. ranks as America’s second best city for biking and walking

The Alliance for Biking and Walking has released a new report that ranks American cities and states by their “biking and walking levels” (how friendly they are to cyclists and pedestrians) and by the number of biking and pedestrian fatalities. D.C., you didn’t come off so badly. America’s capital city is the number two city overall, the Alliance says, and is the sixth best city in terms of fatalities (if you can still use a term like “best” when talking fatalities). The news is encouraging to consider but also a reminder that more work remains to be done — like the District Department of Transportation’s efforts to slow down and better manage all the traffic on Maryland Avenue NE, which I wrote about last week. Our neighbor city Baltimore scored 11th and 15th in the two main categories, which rely on American Community Survey data.

What’s the city that took the top slot in both? Cold, old Boston, Massachusetts.

The full report is a whopping 248 pages and the result of “hundreds” collaborating but a handy media sheet will try to wow you with some big facts, like this one: “12% of all trips are by bicycle (1.0%) or foot (10.5%).” Good to know. But look deep into the report and see that D.C. is also recognized for some big firsts: “In August 2008, the first public smart bike sharing program in the U.S. was launched in Washington, DC, and subsequent programs have sprung up in Boston, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, Nashville, San Antonio, and other cities.” This “smart” bikesharing system was actually the now-dead SmartBike D.C., which preceded our current Capital Bikeshare.

The report also ranks the percentage of people who bike to work and walk to work. D.C. ranked seventh and second, respectively.

Men edge out women in terms of both biking and walking, according to the report: “Men make up 73% of bicycle commuters and 54% of pedestrian  commuters. Walking is more even between the sexes. Men comprise 49% of the population and the same percentage of all walking trips.” in D.C., our biking advocates have begun to seriously consider how to close this gender gap.