When I first moved to Houston last year, my No. 1 criteria in a rental property was neighborhood walkability. I needed to be within a few blocks of a grocery store, friends' houses and a few decent eateries, sprawl be damned.
Those who similarly find themselves measuring up address options based on bikeability are in luck: This week, the Walk Score website unrolled a Bike Score feature, and Houston is one of 36 North American cities on the initial list.
The site measures bikeability based on the availability of bike infrastructure like lanes and trails, the hilliness of the area, road connectivity to destinations and the number of bicycle commuters. Plus, it points users toward properties for sale or rent within biking distance of an address.
Heat maps indicate where Houston's bike lanes lie (largely concentrated around bayous, in downtown and throughout the Second and Third Wards) and where the highest concentration of bicycle commuters live (mostly in the Museum District and the Texas Medical Center).
While Houston as a whole averages a pretty laughable score of 49 out of 100, others fare worse — including Austin, which scored a 45 out of 100 — and the city has bike projects on the way and a community increasingly ready to embrace the two-wheeled commute.
We can only improve from here.