Portland commuters aren't so green
By Christina Williams
Editor, Sustainable Business Oregon
For all of Portland's bragging about being a biking Mecca, relatively few of its workers use alternative transportation to get to and from their jobs.
Data from FindTheBest.com, sliced and diced from a 2008 U.S. Census survey, shows that Portland doesn't even make it into the top 25 as far as percentage of commuters taking two wheels to work — though both Corvallis and Eugene make that list. Portland comes in at No. 64, squeaking in ahead of Olympia, Wash.
Writer for Grist.org, Todd Woody, called Stumptown out in his post on these numbers, going so far as to call Portland commuters "slackers." (I may mention that next time I'm on a standing-room-only bus into downtown.)
Woody writes: "But can you believe that only 12.2 percent of Portland, Ore., slackers take public transportation when they're working? And only 4.9 percent of Portlanders workers walk to work, while 61.5 percent drive alone? Oh, Portlandia."
He may have a fair point. Using FindTheBest's compare function (this site is a wonderland for data geeks), I lined Portland up next to Woody's hometown of Berkeley, Calif.
Berkeley has 7.8 percent two-wheel or taxi commuters compared to Portland's 5.6 percent. It has 16.1 percent of workers who walk to work and 17.1 percent of its commuters on public transit.
But guess what, Berkeley? Portland has 9.5 percent of its commuters in carpools, compared to Berkeley's paltry 7.1 percent.
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