The SW Portland schools with the most walking and biking

The SW Portland schools with the most walking and biking


Bike racks at Rieke Elementary School this morning.
(Photo J. Maus/BikePortland)

This post is part of our SW Portland Week.

If you want a foot-friendly family neighborhood in Southwest, it’s hard to beat Hillsdale or Hayhurst.

Though neither area can touch the schools of central Northeast and Southeast Portland — at Beaumont Middle School this fall, fully 72 percent of students reported biking, walking or skating to school — three Portland Public Schools in the middle of Southwest Portland led the quadrant in active transportation, according to a new Safe Routes to Schools report circulated this month.

Hayhurst/Odyssey School (K-8) posted 32 percent combined biking, walking and skating last fall. Rieke Elementary in the heart of Hillsdale, followed with 31 percent, and Robert Gray Middle School (6-8), a bit to the north, reported 29 percent. You can click on the map pins below for more information about each school.

Sylvan Middle School, which has two locations on different sides of U.S. 26, had the city’s lowest recorded active transportation rates, with just 6 percent of students there saying they biked, walked or skated. However, those schools had a very high busing rate: 71 percent arrived at school that way.

As we reported a year ago, 2014 was the first year of a three-year grant that has expanded Portland’s popular Safe Routes to School program to middle schools. The program helps students in the Portland Public, David Douglas and Parkrose school districts learn about active transportation.

The Safe Routes program is voluntary at the school level. Some schools don’t currently take part, so their biking and walking figures aren’t tracked by the city. Figures here are based on 3,032 surveys returned from families with children in the district.

Citywide, the addition of middle schools to the surveys last spring seems to have driven down the percentage of students at Safe Routes schools who arrive by private car. But the overall rate of walking, biking and skating across all Safe Routes schools is (like most biking-related statistics in Portland) essentially unchanged since at least 2011:

2011-2014 safe routes trend

That said, several of the middle schools where Safe Routes launched saw some very encouraging jumps in active transportation between spring 2014 (their baseline) and fall 2014. We’ll be eager to see if this trend holds, and crossing our fingers for Robert Gray to gradually become Portland’s next Beaumont.

We’ll be here in Southwest all week! And join us Friday afternoon for a BikePortland Get Together and social hour at the Lucky Labrador Public House in Multnomah Village (7675 SW Capitol Hwy) from 4:00 – 6:30pm.

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