10 Most Convenient Cities in America
Zillow Home Value Index: $205,200
Year-over-year change: -10.9%
Walk score (out of 100): 66
The dream of the '90s is alive in Portland, and that dream didn't seem to involve cars at all.
Portland's impressive system of buses, streetcars, light rail, aerial trams and commuter rail -- including its MARX light rail link to Portland International Airport -- moved more than 100 million riders last year and increased overall ridership from 2009. It's one of the few cities where free streetcar and light rail rides downtown could be considered a loss, as even downtown buses were free before "Fareless Square" became the "Free Rail Zone" last year.
This, of course, assumes that any of that rail or bus is really necessary in the areas where the freebies are being handed out. Downtown Portland and the Lloyd neighborhood, which make up the Free Rail Zone, are among the most dense and pedestrian-accessible in the country, while the Pearl District, Old Town and Chinatown are as walkable and teeming with amenities as downtown Manhattan.Portland's also made areas and neighborhoods such as the Northwest bike friendly teem with fixed-gear two wheelers and urban cyclocross riders by adding bike lanes and toughening laws protecting cyclists. More than 8% of Portland commuters, or 10 times the national average, bike to work regularly. While sidewalk riders in most cities make it unclear whether they're a pedestrian or a vehicle, Portland's bikers make it as clear to drivers as a bike lock to the bumper that the roads are theirs, too. "I think the majority of our team cycles to work, so we are definitely aware and interested in cycling-related features," Herst says. "Places that are more walkable tend to be more bike-friendly because of block length and average vehicle speed on those blocks that's good for pedestrians and would also be good for bike safety."
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