As the Centre Region Bicycle Plan continues to gather input, the rest of society is judging the area’s bike-friendliness.
And apparently, they like what they see.
Walkscore.com, a website dedicated to tracking the walkability of cities and neighborhoods, launched Bike Score in 2012 to rate the most bikeable areas in the country. The site takes into account bike lane availability, hills, commuting rates and other factors when rating an area, according to a report by Seattle-based grist.com.
The good news for State College cyclists is that the borough rated No. 9 on a list of 154 cities and communities for 2015, scoring 77.4 of 100, ranking it as “very bikeable” and putting it above larger cities like San Francisco, Portland, Ore., and Boston.
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Cambridge, Mass., ranked No. 1 with a score of 92.8.
State College’s place on the list is thanks to borough communication’s coordinator Courtney Hayden, who reached out to Walkscore in 2012 when it was developing its bike ratings.
“I had seen Walkscore and thought it was a really interesting idea,” Hayden said. “We ranked pretty highly, I believe, at that time.”
The borough also received a walk score of 65, rating it as “somewhat walkable,” though she said that is because the score looks at the borough as a whole, and some areas may not be as close to retail or restaurants as others. Particular areas, such as near the municipal building, are a “walker’s paradise.”
At the same time she reached out to Walkscore, Hayden said she also reached out to sites like Google to make sure all maps were up to date with bike routes.
“We’ve been trying to make sure these organizations that provide people with a good idea of what it means to live in State College will have the information that will help them,” she said.
With a population constantly moving in and moving out, she said, a site like Walkscore, which focuses mainly on real estate, only helps the borough.
“It’s great to see State College ranked No. 9,” Centre Region transportation planner Trish Meek said. “The borough’s infrastructure and the number of people traveling by bike were key in making the top 10.”
The announcement couldn’t have come at a better time, she said, as the regional governments are working on their bike plan. Meek reminded residents that there is still time to weigh in on a cycling survey at www.crcog.net/bikes before the May 29 deadline.