Studies by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Urban Land Institute put walking and bicycling atop the list of alternatives to the automobile.
Therefore, it should come as no surprise that bike and pedestrian friendliness are big factors in home marketability, writes Alan Heavens of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“While parking is still a valuable amenity, it is not as critical as it has been in the past,” James Maransky, president of E-Built LLC, told the Inquirer. “Walkability is one of the top five selling factors in a home in today’s market – may even be in the top three.”
Ed McMahon, a senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute (ULI), said public willingness to spend money on infrastructure is shaping the cities of the future.
According to Heavens, between 2000 and 2014, the number of Americans traveling to work by bike increased 62 percent, and more communities are investing in bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure.
Building infrastructure for bicycles is cheap, McMahon said, noting that Portland, Ore., has constructed 30 miles of bike trails for the same cost as a mile of highway.
Rental and for-sale home communities advertise their locations near trails for good reason.
In Radnor, for example, a 2011 study by GreenSpace Alliance and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission found that properties within a quarter-mile of the Radnor Trail were valued an average $69,139 more than those farther away.
According to Heavens, with nearly two million more bicycles than cars and trucks purchased in 2014, developers who focus on younger buyers and renters are rethinking how and where they build.
“We value bike-ability as we do walkability in many locations, and we have a few communities off of the Schuylkill River Trail,” said Jessica M. Scully of Scully Company, which manages properties. The trail runs from Center City through Montgomery County to Phoenixville in Chester County.
“We consider proximity to bike trails an added amenity in suburban locations, therefore adding value to the lifestyle we offer,” she said.
Click here to read more in the Inquirer about how bike and pedestrian friendliness are big factors in home marketability.