And at number three we sit.
The Alliance for Biking & Walking has named Long Beach the third most bike friendly city in the States, just behind San Francisco and Austin (TX)—well, kinda sorta. The point of the report is simple: to make sure that data counts as active transportation, Open Streets, and livable urban centers are becoming the ever popular trend in governing.
This isn’t to say that the trend is massive: only 1% of all trips in the States are taken by bicycle and 10.4% on foot (we can probably thank New York and San Francisco for those numbers, where if taken on their own grow even larger). But the key is not the direct number but its growth: it is increasing at a rate which forces metropolitans to create infrastructure ahead of time.
There are many reasons for Long Beach’s ranking.
Long Beach is home to 4.5 miles of biking facilities per square mile, sitting only behind Austin (4.6 miles/square mile) and San Francisco (7.8 miles/square mile). That is where the No. 3 comes from.
But there are many other places where we both shine and still can work on. We, like our LA neighbor, don’t limit the number of bicycles that can board transit trains. We have a crazy amount of educational and encouragement opportunities that cater to everything from youths and adults needing to learn how to commute safely to Open Streets initiatives. Long Beach has the nation’s largest youth biking participation (GO BEACH!) with nearly 37,000 youth education participants. Much of our City staff partakes in walking and biking, along with a large advocacy staff to help encourage City initiatives.
And in case you were wondering, we have 17 bicycle traffic lights.
Strangely, the report gave us an active bike share system—amusing considering there is not a single kiosk in the city following a long-ago signed contract with Bike Nation. The report claims we have some 25 operating stations that house 400 shared bikes. If someone can please direct us to these mysterious bike share kiosks, let us know because we would love to report on it.
On the places we can work on: Long Beach sits at #24 in regard to overall commuter bike/walk levels; #29 on per capita spending for bike/ped projects; #23 in the lowest bike/ped fatality rates; and #12 on recommending physical activity for its population.
Oh, and the number one state overall? Alaska. That’s right: Alaska is not only home to the nation’s highest level of commuter bicyclists and walkers, but also spends the most per capita on bike/ped projects while boasting of one of the lowest bike/ped fatality rates.
The organization began its benchmarking project in 2003, collecting data for 15 cities and 15 states and publishing the first report in 2004. Now, 52 major U.S. cities partake in the report.