Opinion Your Views — 26 December 2013
Property values trump bike lanes

By Steve Young, Alexandria
(File Photo)

To the editor:

I have read about the controversy on King Street (“Road warriors,” December 5). I have been an avid cyclist for more than 35 years, but my love of cycling does not trump my interests as a property owner in the City of Alexandria.

When one of my bicycle advocacy organizations recently emailed me to support the proposed bike lanes on a stretch of King Street, I immediately shot back that removal of parking spaces in a residential area would devalue the properties.

Removing on-street parking, despite the city parking board’s justification that residents have off-street parking available, will deprive the residents of parking for other family members, guests and service vehicles.

If I am in the market for a home, I certainly want parking available on the street for those reasons.

If they could do this on King Street, a major thoroughfare, they could certainly do it on my street — which will remain nameless because I don’t want them to get any ideas.

In this case, my fellow cyclists, I’m sorry to say you’re wrong.

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(3) Readers Comments

  1. It’s unclear whether the net effect is positive or negative on property values. Presumably bike lanes have some positive value to the neighborhood … that is, better bike access provides value to home owners on King Street and other residences … and the redesign is supposed to have a traffic calming effect. Mind you, parked cars have a traffic calming effect. However, all traffic calming measures are not equal and some people have claimed that the spots are generally empty.

  2. This idea, that bike lanes hurt property values, has been repeated often during the King Street bike lane debate, but repeating the same thing over and over again does not make it true.

    The fact is that people who value car-parking will bid up the price of a house that has extra car-parking and people who want an easy bike ride to the Metro station every morning will bid up the price of a house that has a bike lane leading directly to the nearest Metro station.

    To get an idea of the growing market for homes with good bicycling facilities, just google “bicycle realtor” and read the articles that come up. Here’s one that addresses Washington DC: http://www.forbes.com/sites/marcellefischler/2013/05/24/realtors-use-pedal-power-to-sell-homes/

  3. I would love to see one data point showing property values have decreased where bike lanes have been installed. No really, just one point.

    It’s a ridiculous argument that cannot be substantiated by any facts so it’s just professed as the gospel truth. The irony is that in many cases it seems property values have gone up next to bike trails.

    PS-Who on earth is moving to OT for parking? I’ve literally never heard any local residents say, “I moved here for the parking access!” Have I heard people say I moved here for access to Metro? Yep. For the historic beauty? Yep. For the quaint light commercial/small business proximity to walk to dinner and back? Sure. But for parking? Geeze.

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