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Houston’s BikeScore

Some parts of Houston are very bike friendly. Others, not so much.

Houston ranks in the middle of the road when it comes to overall bike friendliness, but some local neighborhoods are cycling nirvanas, according to BikeScore.com.

The company, which uses census and area commercial information to assess how bike-able communities are, recently updated its maps to include the ability to search a specific address. Click here and plug in your address and it’ll spit out a walk score, and if applicable a bike score, too.

The numbers might surprise you. I plugged in a downtown address, near Market Square Park, and got a score of 82 on a 100-point scale, which is not bad for Houston. I’ll also note it got that grade for being “flat as a pancake,” and for having established bike lanes.

Addresses in The Heights received scores in the high-60s. A Pleasantville address got a 52.

The Montrose and Rice Village neighborhoods scored the best. Many addresses close to Westheimer Road and Alabama Street scored in the upper-80s, in larger part because they have easy access to grocery stores, pharmacies and other amenities.

The city overall scored a 49 out of 100, but as you can see from the map it really depends on where you are. You can read about the methodology here. Personally, I think they ought to account for weather as well. Houston may not be quite as geared towards bikes as Chicago, for example, but I’ll bet we have bike-amenable weather for more of the year than they do. And yes, I consider the summertime to be bike-amenable. One of the nice things about bike riding is that there’s always a breeze. I don’t feel hot when biking in hot weather. Maybe it’s just me, but I think weather and climate ought to be a consideration. Anyway, note that Houston scored better than Austin – our lack of hills is an asset here – and other cities in Texas were not yet rated. Check it out.

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