Santa Barbara Ranked Best Bicycle City in California
Photo: Fiesta Cruiser Run in Santa Barbara
Source: The City of Santa Barbara
Last week, Santa Barbara received excellent news: Places For Bikes, a data-driven national nonprofit bike advocacy organization, ranked Santa Barbara the best place for bicycling in California!
Places For Bikes ranked Santa Barbara based on five key areas of bicycling infrastructure or culture:
- Ridership – how many people ride bikes
- Safety – how safe it is and feels to ride bikes
- Network – how easy it is for people to get where they need to go
- Acceleration – how rapidly the bike network is expanding
- Reach – how well the network serves all neighborhoods in the community
Places for Bikes uses scores derived from hundreds of data points, with sources including updated maps showing different types of bike lanes, Census Bureau data on how people commute to work, transportation-related injury and death statistics, and a community survey filled out by at least 50 residents of the city.
Santa Barbara’s score increased from last year’s ranking of 104th in the nation in large part due to the current and planned improvements to our bicycle infrastructure. Santa Barbara has been leading California in winning Active Transportation Planning grant money that will be used for many upcoming bike projects. These projects include the Las Positas/Modoc Multiuse Path (fall 2020), the Eastside Bike Lanes and Sidewalk Upgrades Project (summer 2021), and the Westside Bike Boulevard Gap Closure Project (summer 2021), as well as the implementation of a Bike Share Pilot Program. These projects, once implemented, will increase the bikeability of our city and support a thriving bicycle culture here in Santa Barbara.
Click City’s Bicycle Master Plan to find out more about Santa Barbara’s biking future.
Despite our high ranking, the survey revealed several areas where the City of Santa Barbara could improve. Bicycle ridership, while high compared to the other cities, has remained relatively unchanged over the past decade. The Safety indicator includes data on all types of transportation injuries, and we’re hoping to see a steady score increase as a result of the City’s Vision Zero efforts, which are just beginning. Finally, the bicycle network score will improve once the above projects are constructed, creating a network of “low-stress” facilities where Santa Barbarans using bikes are separated from higher-speed motor vehicles.