Friday, January 23, 2015

The Impact of Bike and Pedestrian Pathways to Our Real Estate Values

Last night Mike Zdon, President of Mission Hills Town Council, presented an overview of the bike lane project to the Board and Membership of the Mission Hills Heritage Foundation. 

One area of concern was about impacts to real estate prices, so I thought I'd provide some research studies and articles to understand the value of improved bike and pedestrian pathways to our community. To summarize, the articles and studies below show:
  1. A home's value increases anywhere from $4,000 to $34,000 when bike and pedestrian infrastructure is introduced to a community
  2. Urban home buyers are willing to pay $20,000 more for a home in a walkable area 
  3. Urban home buyers ranked bike paths as their third most desirable feature
  4. Realtors see bike and ped pathways as a selling feature for homes, so homes on bike routes sell faster, and for higher prices
  5. When people realize they don't have to solely rely on a car to get around, they are more likely to pay a higher price for the home
  6. And, bike and pedestrian paths create a much stronger sense of community, which is a major benefit to home-owners as it makes them safer places to live, again contributing to increased real estate values.

List of studies and articles I refer to: (there are many more online)

  • (see pages 10 and 11 for economic impacts.)

In addition, here are further benefits we did not cover last night at the meeting, but which undoubtedly will have a positive impact on our community and therefor each of us as individuals:

  1. If employees who work in our area can safely bike to work, it will open up more parking for those of us still driving. (Think of what more parking could mean to those living by the hospitals, and closer to Washington, University and our local downtown area of Goldfinch.)
  2. University Ave in Mission Hills has many condos already, and it is where many of our starter families live, many of whom have young children.  Closing University to cut-through traffic will make it safer for their children, and provide an improved lifestyle for them.
  3. Same can be said of providing a pocket park for them at the end of the street where the ramps are. (Have you seen those views of the canyon, by the way?  Spectacular!)
  4. When residents spend less on auto gas/maintenance/insurance, etc. they have more discretionary income to spend, which could translate to local businesses.
  5. I believe MHH and MHTC designated our community's portion of University Ave as a density area for the plan update.  If that is the case, we can expect more cars in our community in the future as more condos are built along University.  Adding bike and ped pathways would mitigate the need for short auto trips by those who purchase homes there, keeping overall traffic from increasing.
  6. I personally suspect that if we close both ramps, it will obviously no longer be the cut-through area people use to get from the airport to North Park (for example,) but more importantly, commuters will be forced down onto the freeways to get where they want to go, further freeing up our community from traffic.
  7. Traffic in Mission Hills is really only at rush hour. Most of us know to stay off the roads at that time, so as individuals we are not really affected if we are not driving at that time. 
At the end of the meeting, the Board of MHH decided to wait for further information on SANDAG's traffic studies, and also to ensure the project is included in our plan update, so it get's the proper review needed.  Sounds fair to me.