Few people in Dallas ride bikes for transportation. Dallas is a car city, and it will probably still be a car city when future archaeologists comb through the ruins of human civilization and pull our desiccated husks from fossilized car frames.
Everyone knows that, but Dallas is far from the only place where car-centric urban planning, a drive-thru culture and scorching summer heat make cycling particularly unappealing. Certainly some other city, Houston or Atlanta or Phoenix or somewhere is equally averse to commuting by bike, right? RIGHT?
Wrong. The Census Bureau released a report this morning on the modest growth in bike/pedestrian commuting over the past decade.
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The actual number of bike commuters nationwide grew by about 50 percent between the 2000 census and the Census Bureau's 2008-2012 American Community Survey, from 488,000 to 786,000. In the 50 largest cities, the percentage of cyclists jumped from 0.6 to 1 percent of the working population.
In Dallas, by contrast, 0.1 percent of residents bike to work. To put that in perspective, that's way less than Phoenix (0.7 percent); Houston (0.4 percent); and Atlanta (0.3 percent). Even Arlington, the local byword for suburban dystopia, has twice the percentage bike commuters as Dallas. Fort Worth is the only city to match Dallas' aversion to bikes, tying us for last place for bike commuting on the among the 50 largest U.S. cities.
City Hall is working to change that. There's a task force now. And a a new bike coordinator, Ashley Haire, who cut her teeth doing bike/pedestrian design research in Portland. Maybe they won't chase this one off.
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.