Despite last year’s moderation of 2008’s record transit ridership, newly released American Community Survey estimates for 2009 show a fair increase in transit commuting share for both Seattle and Bellevue, at 19.5% and 14.2% respectively. For a comparative breakdown, Eric de Place of Sightline has the rankings between other cities in the region for transit, as well as cycling, walking, carpooling, and working at home. PubliCola’s observations here.
Seattle 19.5% share scored a modest increase of 1.8 points over 2008, generous compared to Portland’s 11.5% considering the ease of driving there. It’s not really clear whether or not Link had an influence on the numbers. When considering the other modes, roughly a third of Seattleites now commute outside of SOV driving.
Bellevue’s share is by far the most surprising at 14.2%. However, its whopping 6.8 point increase over 2008 could prove to be nothing more than an error. Nonetheless, when extricating that possibility, there are a few explanations: the city’s growing suburban park-and-ride commuter bases, Downtown Seattle and Bellevue remaining the most likely transit destinations where peak service is good (Bellevue won an award in this department after all), and to a lesser extent more commuters using the Microsoft connector service.
When it comes to bicycling, however, Washington cities lag far behind Oregon with a state-wide share of cycling commuters at an abysmal 0.9%, compared to Oregon’s 2.3%. The estimates for Seattle are virtually unchanged from 2008 at about 3.0%, while Portland sits easily on top at 5.8% in the big city category. I wonder why.
Bear in mind that the ACS compiles its data from samples and extrapolation unlike the Census’ full-scale survey model, so not until next year will we get a better idea of actual commuting habits.