Top Ten (Sightline) Hits of 2012

The Northwest gets around.

Okay, we knew lots of you were into bikes, and it shows. But, more generally, it looks like Sightline readers simply favor posts about getting around. As we close out 2012, we’re taking a look back at the most popular Sightline articles of the year. The upshot: bikes reign, but you’re also reading plenty about public transit, traffic trends, mobile food vendors, and even road porosity. The outliers? Clotheslines and coal exports. Here’s the roundup:

10. How Not to Forecast Traffic: How One Washington State Transportation Council Misuses Statistics (April 9). Clark Williams-Derry breaks down the erroneous traffic projection practices of the Southwest Washington Regional Transportation Council for the route between Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA.

9. Look Who’s Taking Coal Money: The Face of the Coal Industry in the Northwest (December 13). Our readers aren’t so excited about “getting around” when it comes to transporting coal through our communities and exporting it through local ports. This exposé by Eric de Place drove exceptional site traffic on the day of its publication and sparked a region-wide conversation about the public relations firms working for the coal industry in our neck of the woods.

8. The Porous Road Less Traveled: Rice Crispy Roadways Deliver the Goods (January 3). Whether we’re biking, driving, walking, or busing, Sightline readers care about building smarter, greener roads. Lisa Stiffler describes how permeable pavement prevents damage to our homes, streams, and lakes by reducing the amount of polluted stormwater running off of our streets. (I would venture we also like the mental image of driving down a lane gooey with a favorite childhood treat.)

7. Freeing Food Carts: Outdated Rules 86 Street Food in Seattle and Vancouver; Portland Thrives (March 15). Food carts: they’re trendy, tasty, and woefully sparse throughout much of our fair region, save for that street-food mecca, Portland, OR. Eric Hess looks at the laws that are holding the rest of us back.

6. 26 Ways to Store Your Bike: Down-to-Earth Solutions for Bike Storage (May 9). This photo essay, compiled by Eric Hess, is not only aesthetically pleasing but also practical, with plenty of self-install and even secondhand-derived options for spaces of any shape and size. Google ranks it first when a user searches “how to store your bike.”

5. Commuting in Seattle and Portland: Census Data Show that Seattle Edges Out Portland in Transit Commuting (February 28). Clark’s post combines a favorite topic—transit—with a favorite pastime—intercity competition. The match-up illustrated how people get to work in each of the two cities, including transit and carpool users, walkers, bikers, and telecommuters.

4. Why We Fall in Love with Cycling: Seven Lessons on Cycling’s Softer Side (May 2). It’s hard to read this post and not be pulled in by its romance. Christine Grant won a six-month travel fellowship to explore the most cyclist-friendly cities worldwide. Here, she enumerates a handful of typically overlooked elements of cycling culture that leave the reader in a dreamy, two-wheeled state of contentment.

3. Clothesline Bans Void in 19 States: Surprise! For Millions, State Laws Hang Community Rules Out to Dry (February 21). Many people across the country are eager to exercise their “right to dry”—that is, to simply take advantage of the sun and fresh air to dry their apparel, thereby saving energy and money and extending their clothes’ lifespans. Some, stymied by their local homeowners’ associations, were delighted to learn that their states support their right to dry as well. Jon Howland shares the details.

2. Babes on Bikes: A Photo Essay on Bicycling with Small Children in Tow (July 12). What’s better than bike photos? Obviously: bike photos with babies! This post, curated by Anna Fahey, is only more adorable with each additional scroll down the page. Along with the photos is indispensable advice for biking with little passengers—everything from gear to safety to community resources. The comments section continues the conversation with lots of additional input and questions.

Dad and two small kids on their bike commute to school.

Chris, Elena, and Sylvan, Used with permission.

1. Two Wheels and High Heels: Ten Lessons from the Great Cycling Cities (January 23). The winner of this year-end popularity contest is—no surprise—about bikes! In a top ten of her own, Christine Grant sums up the key qualities of the cities worldwide that best support bike culture, complete with handsome photos from Barcelona, Tokyo, Copenhagen, and others: separate lanes and even stop lights for cyclists, high-volume bike sharing, backyards formerly known as streets, and more.

Thanks for reading. We’re looking forward to more in the new year.

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