Portland’s Affordable Bike Neighborhoods

Where can Portland cyclists with an average income still afford to live?

via WillametteWeek

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Portland has long been thought of as a cycling mecca for one big reason: Affordable homes were close enough to work to commute by bike. Housing prices rose by another 6.6 percent last year, and a February project by Governing magazine found the city is gentrifying faster than anywhere else in the nation. Does the promise of an affordable, bikeable Portland still hold up?Consider that the median income for a family in Portland is around $50,000, which financial advisers will tell you means they should not spend more than $315,000 on a house. Also consider that the national average commuting time is 25 minutes each way.

So can you find an affordable house in a place that’s about a one-hour round-trip commute to downtown Portland by bike? It’s increasingly difficult.

We used a city-provided map of every Portland neighborhood and contacted D. Patrick Lewis of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate for a list of the median prices of homes sold in each neighborhood. Then we used Google Maps’ cycling directions to determine how far each neighborhood was from downtown—specifically Big Pink—in miles and minutes of cycling. (Traffic and the specific location within a neighborhood can cause these times to vary considerably, but this is our best try.)

What we found won’t surprise most Portland house-hunters: It’s no longer cheap to live close to downtown, even in long-shunned North Portland. Here’s what else we found.

After you remove outliers such as Chinatown and Goose Hollow—if you can actually find a livable, single-family house there for under $300,000, we would be happy to buy it from you—the best bet for bikers is probably Foster-Powell. There, houses are selling for about $262,000, and the round-trip commute is 66 minutes. And the neighborhood looks to get even better with an upcoming “road diet” plan for Southeast Foster Road. Starting next year, the city will spend $5.5 million to build bike lanes and remove two of the busy thoroughfare’s five car lanes.

Two other mid-Southeast neighborhoods are close behind: Woodstock and South Tabor. However, South Tabor is the better value for bikers as living there shaves 12 minutes and nearly three miles from your daily commute. It has a better bike score to match: 84 compared to Woodstock’s 77.

Creston-Kenilworth—roughly the area south of Powell Boulevard between 28th and 50th avenues—also stood out. Homes there are selling for a median price of $330,000, and the cycling commute is 50 minutes.

North Portland, long known as cheap and close to downtown, isn’t so much like that anymore. Vernon boasts housing prices of $370,000. Neighbors in Piedmont, Overlook and Humboldt come in at $50,000 less—putting them on the bubble of affordability, while being only a few minutes closer to downtown than far-cheaper Southeast neighborhoods.

Your best bet for a true bargain? Brentwood-Darlington is an outside contender, with home prices sitting at around $213,000. Right now, it’s 81 minutes to downtown along the Springwater Corridor, but the new Orange MAX Line could be a game-changer if you don’t feel like making a long ride.

Or you can just wait—and pray—for the Portland housing bubble to pop.

Click here for a searchable chart of Portland neighborhoods!

Bike Shelter in Oregon State Parks

by OSPF on April 15, 2015

Bike Shelter Build Day - Setting the FrameworkFollowing a successful 2014 pilot project to construct new bike shelters for cyclists in state park campgrounds and day-use areas, the Oregon State Parks Foundation is currently working with state park managers, local companies and community volunteers to expand the state park bike shelter network and help build Oregon’s reputation as a premier cycling destination.

Last fall the Foundation, in partnership with Wilsonville high-tech company TE Connectivity, constructed two bike shelters in the hiker/biker camping area at Champoeg State Heritage Area, one of 31 designated hiker/biker camping areas in Oregon state park campgrounds. Through a generous grant from the TE Connectivity Foundation and the tremendous efforts of 35 motivated volunteers who participated in TE Connectivity’s Employee Work Day, we were able to complete two bike shelters — one designed to host a family or small camping group and a second to serve as a gathering place for cyclists seeking cover from rain and wind. These rustic shelters are already popular and frequently used by park visitors, and new amenities including bike racks, secure storage lockers and solar-powered USB ports are planned once the weather improves and camping season is in full swing.Bike Shelter Build Day - Completed Shelter

The Foundation now has an agreement with the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department to move beyond our prototype project at Champoeg to build bike shelters at other state parks across Oregon. Our initial program emphasis will be on the Oregon Coast, in the Columbia River Gorge, and along the TransAmerica Bike Trail through Central Oregon. The Foundation continues to meet with state park managers in these areas, and we’re hard at work planning projects at Ainsworth and Viento State Parks. In conjunction with the upcoming 100th anniversary of the Historic Columbia River Highway, these new bike shelters will welcome modern adventurists who pedal this scenic corridor under their own power.

Recreational cycling is a key factor in Oregon’s growing tourism industry, and creating a statewide network of covered bike facilities in Oregon State Parks will help take bicycle tourism to the next level. The Oregon State Parks Foundation is currently seeking volunteers and corporate partners to help us enrich the state park experience by expanding bicycle recreation opportunities for day-use and long-distance touring cyclists. If your community group would like to volunteer to help construct bike shelters, or if you know of a local business or corporation that would be willing to provide funding for materials, please contact the Foundation’s executive director, John Hoffnagle, at 503-802-5750.

More than 35 employees from TE Connectivity joined the Oregon State Parks Foundation to help construct new bike shelters for park visitors at Champoeg State Heritage Area.

More than 35 employees from TE Connectivity joined the Oregon State Parks Foundation and OPRD staff to help construct new bike shelters for park visitors at Champoeg State Heritage Area.

Happy Maps for Biking

I watched this video and was reminded of my last TransAm, the section on the East Coast, where a couple of groups wanted to catch up to me, and they did.  They cut the chords of a route that meandered.  Sure, they rode long days, and so did I.  But on my path I encountered friends and adventures and met people not on bicycles that I would meet again.  I learned more about myself, and had so much more to learn I couldn’t even see it.  I am not saying they made a wrong decision, theirs was to be the adventure of speed, the camraderie of pouring over maps in a chase that wound before them every day. 

Life is like a bike trip.  All paths are different, even if you are on the same map tracks, one minute the road is empty, the next full.  One minute you meet someone you will know for a long time, and others you have chance encounters that you recall and faces you can’t.

Mapping apps help us find the fastest route to where we’re going. But what if we’d rather wander? Researcher Daniele Quercia demos “happy maps” that take into account not only the route you want to take, but how you want to feel along the way.

Is FreeAirPump Something Or Nothing?

Welcome to FreeAirPump.com, an ever-growing list of places that provide free air for tires.

Are you fed up with paying $0.75 to $1.00 just to fill up one of your tires? Do you think it’s ridiculous to have to swipe your credit card in order to get access to something that should be free? FreeAirPump.com provides a map of locations, mainly in the U.S. and Canada, that offer free air for tires.

The FreeAirPump.com map contains plenty of gas stations that have free air for autos. For bicyclists, you can also find numerous bike repair stations or stand alone bike pumps listed. If you know of a place in your neighborhood that provides air for free, head over to the Add a Location tab and submit your own free air location to help others across the nation.

Check out our blog for helpful hints on increasing your mpg, green energy news, and anything else that can help make your life easier. Find helpful and friendly bike shops on our map that not only offer free air, but an array of products and services to keep you cycling longer. Free air is not a thing of the past!

This list is mostly user-generated, and by no means should be considered definitive. Those of you living in Connecticut already enjoy the sweet serenity of getting free air at gas stations, so the only spots on the map in that state are for bicycles, be it a standalone bike pump, or bicycle repair/fix-it station. In California, free air is the law, but only for paying customers. Californians, I need your help! Please use the Add A Location page to report readily available free air. For the rest of us, check out themap and find free air for tires near you! Save money! Save gas! Save the planet!