Ballard among top bicycling neighborhoods in commuting map

Ballard likes to bicycle, according to Gene Balk, AKA FYI Guy, of the Seattle Times. He put together a neighborhood map based on Commute Seattle's survey of commuters and bicycle commuting estimates from data provider Experian.

While not at the top of the list -- that honor goes to the North University area -- several Ballard-area neighborhoods certainly exceeded the 3 percent city average. As Balk notes, while that may not seem a large percentage of commuters, it's one of the larger rates in the nation, and adds up to more than 11,000 people.

The neighborhoods in question are as follows:

Sunset Hill: 6.54 percent
Ballard: 5.66 percent
Loyal Heights/Whittier Heights: 5.2 percent
Phinney Ridge: 5.43 percent
Fremont: 5.85 percent

Further north and more up the hill, however, neighborhoods begin to fall below the average. North Beach ranks in at 2.84 percent, Greenwood 2.92 percent and Crown Hill a measly 0.39 percent.

Tom Fucoloro of Seattle Bike Blog provided a good breakdown of why that might be:

"Interestingly, distance from downtown seems to play a double-sided role in bike commute rates: The neighborhoods furthest away from downtown are also the least-bikey. But neighborhoods in downtown, where everywhere is easily reachable by walking or transit, also had very low bike commute rates."

One can imagine that bicycling up the hill all the way to Crown Hill around NW 85th St would be a tiring feat, one that people may not want to repeat every day. Furthermore, while the more Southern portions of Ballard are decently connected to the Burke Gilman trail, excusing the Missing Link, those further north are only provided with a couple of sharrows and must make their way through several main arterials.

Fucoloro writes that a lack of bicycling facilities and safe routes seems to discourage bicycle commuting.

You can check out the Seattle Times map here.

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