"Project Report for Property Value/Desirability Effects of Bike Paths Adjacent to Residential Areas"

"Conclusion This project performed a literature review of past information and studies concerning property values related to the presence of bicycle and pedestrian paths. In addition, Delaware property values were examined to determine how the presence of a bicycle path may affect property values. Bike facilities are typically also for pedestrians, skaters, and other non-motorized uses and are typically referred to as paths, trails, or greenways. Bike lanes addressed in this project were, for the most part, dedicated paths rather than portions of the public roadway simply striped or designated as a suggested bikeway due to extra road width or shoulders.

The majority of studies examined indicate that the presence of a bike path/trail either increases property values and ease of sale slightly or has no effect. Studies have shown that neighbors of many bike paths/trails feel that the quality of life of their neighborhood has been improved, that the trails were a good use of open space, and in the case of abandoned railways were an improvement from before the trails went in. There is definitely a large portion of the population that sees bike paths as an amenity and will seek out residences near trails, parks, and other natural resource areas.

Some studies express that those recently moving into areas near bike paths are generally more favorable to them than those who have lived in neighborhoods before the construction of a trail. In some areas, a large majority of neighbors are very happy with the trails, even some who were originally opposed to their construction. Whether or not a bike path is generally beneficial for a locale depends on a number of factors.

Opponents to bike path and trail projects often say that property values will be adversely affected but there is not much evidence of this. The National Parks Service hits the mark when they say, “Increases in nearby property values depend upon the ability of developers, planners, and greenway proponents to successfully integrate neighborhood development and open space. Designing greenways to minimize potential homeowner park user conflicts can help avoid a decrease in property values of immediately adjacent."

There are numerous examples in the literature that indicate overall success depending on attention to design and maintenance and addressing issues and problems with property owners promptly. A model developed in this project that examined factors affecting property values in Delaware and the effects of proximity to a bike path show that a bicycle path would be expected to slightly increase property values by about $8,800.

Related to property values is crime, and information about crime near or on bike paths is referenced in this report. Crime happens in most types of land use ( e.g. parking lots, college campus, abandoned railway, street corner, stores, wooded areas, industrial parks, private homes etc) and with any recreational facility the level of crime typically is correlated with the level of crime in the surrounding area and the design of the facility. A well-managed recreation facility is more likely to be a better neighboring land use than an abandoned property. This study concludes that crime on bike paths is minimal and must be considered in perspective with risks associated with other activities. The way to minimize crime on trails is to ensure that users exercise proper safety precautions, keep the trail well maintained, and boost trail use.