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Cycling – The Fastest Growing Form of Transportation is Impacting Real Estate

(By Ralph Bivins) HOUSTON – It’s not just hype to placate Millennials who think bicycles should dominate the roadways.

Cyclists are making a difference in real estate development today. And it’s going beyond just accommodating tenants with bicycle racks.

“Cycling is the fast growing form of transportation in the U.S.,” said Ed McMahon, a ULI senior resident fellow speaking at an Urban Land Institute panel discussion in Houston last week.

A lot of consumers want to live in residential rental communities or high-rises on edge of cycling trails. It’s happening across the country, even in Houston. At the ULI event, it was disclosed that a number of bicycle-trail oriented projects are in the works.

Scott Ziegler

Scott Ziegler

Houston architect Scott Ziegler of Ziegler Cooper Architects, which has designed many high-rise residential towers, said his firm has been consulted about four or five proposed residential projects along the Buffalo Bayou Park trail just west of downtown.

Ziegler says urban residential high-rises in Houston are also gaining a lot of popularity with empty nesters, who are moving in from the suburbs and want to be near the trails for cycling, walking or jogging.

ULI recently published “Active Transportation and Real Estate: The Next Frontier” – a major study on the trend, which spawned what ULI calls “trail-oriented development.” It’s not just an urban thing. Surveys show many homebuyers in suburban master-planned communities aren’t excited about golf courses anymore. They would rather have trails.

“At its core, the bicycle boom is about people choosing a lifestyle that gives them more options and requires less dependence on motor vehicles,” the ULI report says. “Through supporting bike infrastructure, real estate professionals can play a significant role in creating healthier, more sustainable communities. They can also help position their projects and communities in a marketplace that increasingly values active transportation.”

Ten real estate developments projects are profiled: Bici Flats, a multifamily development in Des Moines, Iowa; Circa (multifamily) in Indianapolis; Flats at Bethesda Avenue (mixed-use), Bethesda, Maryland;  Gotham West (mixed-use), New York City; Hassalo on Eighth (mixed-use), Portland, Oregon; MoZaic (mixed-use), Minneapolis; Ponce City Market (mixed-use), Atlanta; Silver Moon Lodge (mixed-use), Albuquerque,  New Mexico; 250 City Road (mixed-use), London; and Westwood Residences (multifamily) in Singapore.

Amenities in the projects include bike storage; extra-wide hallways and bike elevators; a bike repair room; bike cleaning stations; a bike valet; shower and/or locker room facilities; bike parts or a mechanic on site; on-site bike rentals or a bike-share system; a bike park-and-ride system, and direct access to trails.

The projects show that “leading development practitioners are recognizing the competitive advantage of investing in active transportation amenities,” the report states. “By leveraging and enhancing access to walking and bicycling facilities, they are helping to initiate a win-win cycle of mutually reinforcing private and public sector investment in active transportation in communities around the world.”

Oct. 5, 2016 Realty News Report Copyright 2016

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