Southwest’s commuting bonus

If you live in Southwest, you probably pay more for car insurance than your pal in the suburbs — but you’re not in your car as long.

According to Metropolitan Council statistics, the jaunt to work takes Southwest Minneapolis residents 20.8 minutes, compared to 22.5 minutes for Hennepin County suburbanites.

That 1.7-minute difference adds up: multiplied by two trips per day 250 work days per year, and Southwesterners spend 14 fewer hours per year commuting than suburbanites.

A quick statistical overview:

– Southwest residents spend less time commuting than Minneapolitans overall, and those in Hennepin County, Minnesota and the U.S.

– Southwest residents drive alone more often than the average Minneapolitan, but less than county, state or U.S. residents.

– We carpool less than the national, state and city average, but more than county suburbanites.

– We take transit more often: topping the city’s percentage, five times more than the county average, six times the national rate.

– We’re way ahead of the bike commuting curve; while only one in 58 of us get to work that way, we quadruple the county average and are four times more likely to pedal than state or U.S. residents.

Within Southwest

Comparing Southwest areas, some conclusions aren’t surprising: those who live closest to downtown take the least time to get to their jobs. Poorer neighborhoods have a higher percentage of transit users.

The speediest Southwest residents live in Lowry Hill, near the Walker Art Center. They need 16.8 minutes per trip to get to work — 5.7 minutes less than the Hennepin County average. That means Lowry Hill commuters save 11 minutes a day or 47.5 hours a year compared to suburban workers.

Southwest’s other "speed commuters" live north of Lake Street, between I-35W and Lyndale Avenue, needing about 19 minutes per trip.

Whose slog is the (relative) worst?

– Those who live between Lake Street & 34th streets east of Lyndale Avenue need an average of 24.6 minutes per trip. That’s nearly 4 minutes per day longer than the Southwest average, or 16 hours more per year. The area is relatively close to downtown and I-35W, but it’s further south than other neighborhoods with high rates of bus users. Lesson: busing through Lake Street can slow you down.

– Fulton residents between 47th & 54th streets and Xerxes & France avenues take an average of 23.5 minutes per commuting trip. Living near the southwest shore of Lake Harriet is nice — but it’s not convenient if you’re headed to I-35W or downtown. Your time penalty is about 5 minutes a day, or about 20 hours a year compared to the average Southwest resident.

The most virtuous

Who eschews driving alone? Three cheers for those living north of Lake Street between I-35W & Lyndale Avenue; more than half get to work some other way. Solo drivers abound around the southern and western shore of Lake Harriet (77 percent).

Carpooling champs? The good folks living between Franklin & 36th streets east of Lyndale Avenue. Roughly 20 percent say they carpool. Only 4 percent of those near Lake Calhoun’s east shore team up to drive.

Bus boosters? More than one-third of Stevens Square residents (who live between I-94 and Franklin Avenue). That compares to 6 percent

of southwest Lake Harriet residents who use mass transit.

Bike commuters? Again, the leaders are in Stevens Square (4.5 percent). That compares to a 0.1 percent rate among those west of Lake Calhoun and near Lake Harriet’s west shore.