Butler may have come up short against Duke last night, but there’s a Cinderella story sending ripples through the livable streets blogosphere today.
In a decision that upsets the entrenched order of America’s urban bicycling universe, Bicycling Magazine just awarded Minneapolis the title of America’s best city for biking. Portland, coming in at number two, can no longer take its pre-eminence for granted. The center of bike-friendly gravity is shifting.
New York was named one of the most improved bicycling cities in the magazine’s 2008 listings and got the number 8 spot this year, behind San Francisco and Seattle, ahead of Chicago, and barely edging out Tucson.
The semi-regular rankings, out in the current issue, are based on several factors, with some intangibles mixed in. Portland still has the objective edge in bike commute modeshare (5.9 percent to Minneapolis’s 4.3 percent, according to the most recent American Community Survey), but the Bicycling editors say Minneapolis has the momentum. Bike commuting in Minneapolis is on the rise at an impressive rate, and the city is on the verge of launching what will arguably be the nation’s most ambitious bike-share program later this spring.
If you’d like to see this nascent intercity rivalry turn into an extended Jay-Z vs. Nas-style beef, that makes two of us. But BikePortland’s Jonathan Maus seems to be taking the news in stride, writing that "this is more likely a sign that bike-friendliness is on the rise in
cities across the country and Portland simply isn’t as far out in front
as it once was."