Bike and walking trails were part of a sales pitch for Hallsley, an upscale development with homes starting at $400,000. With a number of Chesterfield residents lining up to make comments at the planning commission last week, there were enough stating there were concerns with the trail running near their property.
Crime and devaluation of their property was a common comment, while others endorsed the draft plan with enthusiasm.
With real estate companies and developers touting biking and walking trails, as communities work to put in place bike lanes, it’s obvious that these amenities actually increase the value of homes.
“In 2010 with 65 percent of realtors using new bikeways as a selling feature on a home, Pittsburgh… not only influenced residential real estate activity, but ignited commercial and business activity as well. In North Carolina, realtors found that 40 homes adjacent to the Shepherd’s Vineway Bikeway saw property increases of $5,000 and up,” according to two articles in Curbed Atlanta and This Big City.
A University of Cincinnati study “concluded that for the average home, homeowners were willing to pay a $9,000 premium to be located one thousand feet closer to the trail.”
A study conducted by Next Great City, made up of over 100 civic associations, indicated that “No public safety issues could be directly linked to the trail. Only one resident interviewed was concerned with this issue, and none of the officers interviewed believed trails had any effect on public safety.”
The city of Raleigh, North Carolina, indicates on its website that “trails and bicycle lanes create equitable, safe access to a city asset; improves air quality, increases healthful travel; creates new neighborhood assets, increases sales at local businesses along bicycle routes and attracts regional tourism.”
A Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority study illustrates; “Stories of trails attracting drug dealers, murderers and rapists are perpetuated by trail opponents with only a handful of newspaper headlines to back up their assertions”
Is there more property crime along high-tension-electric easements or right of ways or gas pipe lines? Are neighborhoods such as Brandermill experiencing more crime along their pathways?
These are absurd notions. Chesterfield has lived in the past for too long and we should be developing a true quality of life here instead of one that is only a buzz phrase in budgetary and county documents.