News Release: Biking in Portland grows by 5%, as PBOT announces new greenways and retrofits opening this year

Press Release
Safety, education, greenways to grow more comfortable biking routes
Published
Updated
People dressed for rain ride bikes on the Blumenauer Bridge in November 2023.

People dressed for rain ride bikes on the Blumenauer Bridge in November 2023, just 16 months after the new car-free span opened to the public. Biking grew by 5% in Portland in 2023, compared with 2022. Photo by Portland Bureau of Transportation.

(March 12, 2024) Portlanders are returning to biking and they want to bike more, according to a new report released today by the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT). The bureau is releasing the report along with a list of upcoming and recent efforts to create safer, more comfortable conditions for biking in Portland.

The Portland Bureau of Transportation today releases the 2023 Portland Bicycle Counts Report, which shows a 5% increase in biking in 2023, compared with the year before.

Transportation Director Millicent Williams said the report underscores the need for continued collaboration between advocates for sustainable transportation options and PBOT, the city's lead agency for transportation safety and the growth of biking, walking and public transit use.

"PBOT is committed to making biking, walking and public transit accessible to everyone, in all parts of Portland," Williams said. "We will continue to grow our neighborhood greenways and protected bike lanes in East Portland. We also need to make sure that as we grow our bike infrastructure, we are updating our older facilities and making sure the new infrastructure we install is substantial and long lasting."

Alexandra Holmqvist, Chair of the City of Portland Bicycle Advisory Committee, said the report underscores the need for continued advocacy for biking in Portland.

"This report shows what we know in our community, which is that Portlanders are eager to return to biking," Holmqvist said. "We're encouraged that PBOT leadership agrees with us on the need for more and better infrastructure to make everyone feel comfortable biking to make this possible. Our committee will continue to advocate for safer spaces for people to ride bikes, and the kinds of encouragement and inspiration programs that show families how to make biking a part of their everyday lives."

The Bike Counts report documents the results of data collection by 114 volunteers for PBOT who gathered peak-time counts of people biking at 272 locations citywide, mostly at the intersections of established bikeways (bike lanes or greenways).

Learn more about Bike Counts in Portland, and see and download the 2023 report at
PBOT's Bicycle Counts website

Findings from the counts include: 

  • Biking increased overall by 5%, compared with 2022, with every part of Portland showing an increase. Notably, NW Portland had an increase of 15%.
  • For the first time, the report includes a count of e-bike use, with an estimate that 17% of all bike trips in Portland were on e-bikes, a significant share of bike use that mirrors national trends for the rapidly growing technology.
  • 4.5% of everyone counted (riding bikes, e-scooters, one-wheels, and skateboards) were riding an e-scooter. In East Portland, about 10% of people counted were using an e-scooter, the highest share in any sector.
Bicycle count volunteers Sue and Zen counting at N Wabash Avenue & N Halleck Street in August 2023

Bicycle count volunteers Sue and Zen used a clipboard to take notes for their shift at N Wabash Avenue & N Halleck Street in August 2023.

Neighborhood Greenways coming to East Portland, St Johns

In 2024, PBOT will complete neighborhood greenways in East Portland and St. Johns, expanding routes into areas that have historically not had shared neighborhood bike routes.

  • East Portland Greenways: 
    • Parkrose Neighborhood Greenway
      PBOT will improve street crossings at several intersections, build speed bumps, paint sharrows, install wayfinding signage, and improve visibility as needed at intersections by pulling on-street parking back from corners. These changes will make it more comfortable to walk and bike along NE 115th Ave and NE Skidmore Streets while preserving the ability to drive to homes and other destinations.
    • NE 115th Avenue, between NE Fremont St and Sandy Blvd. 
    • NE Skidmore Street, between 102nd and 115th avenues.
       
    • NE Sacramento-Knott Neighborhood Greenway
      A new neighborhood greenway on NE Sacramento and other local streets between 122nd and 162nd. This project will reduce speeds and add wayfinding signs and pavement markings to connect the Parkrose Heights, Russell, and Wilkes neighborhoods
    • Between NE 122nd Avenue and NE 162nd Avenue.
       
  • North Portland Greenways: 
    • North Delaware Neighborhood GreenwayBetween N Sumner St and N Terry St.
      The North Delaware Greenway will establish low-stress neighborhood streets, installing 19 speed bumps, green "crossbikes" or bike boxes at two busy intersections.
    • Upper St. Johns & N Burr Neighborhood Greenways
    • Upper St. Johns - Speed bumps pavement markings and parking removal near busy intersections will create a safer route between Sitton Elementary and James John Elementary along N Bristol Avenue and N Charleston Avenue and other area streets. 
    • North Burr Greenway - Using speed bumps pavement markings and parking removal near busy intersections to make a safer route to George Middle School. 

The bureau will also bring older, existing greenways up to adopted guidelines for operations around speeds, traffic volumes, and safer crossing locations. Greenway updates include a variety of tools for making making routes more comfortable for people biking. These include:

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The Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) is the steward of the city’s transportation system and a community partner in shaping a livable city. We plan, build, manage, and maintain an effective and safe transportation system that provides access and mobility. Learn more at portland.gov/transportation