ULI’s Spring Meeting last month featured an array of hot topics in real estate, one of which was transportation trends. Philadelphia, a city not known for being bike or pedestrian friendly, has made great strides in recent years to combat this stigma. In this month alone, Center City was recently named as the spot with the top bike score in the country by Redfin and the city as a whole was named the fourth most walkable in the US.
Using insights from ULI Spring Meeting thought leaders like Edward McMahon, a senior resident fellow at ULI and Kevin Gillen, chief economist for Meyers Research and senior research fellow at Drexel University’s Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation, The Philadelphia Inquirer examines how ease of walkable and bikeable spaces create more marketable homes.
“While parking is still a valuable amenity, it is not as critical as it has been in the past,” said James Maransky, president of E-Built L.L.C., who develops in Philadelphia’s hot Fishtown neighborhood. “Walkability is one of the top five selling factors in a home in today’s market – may even be in the top three.”
Industry experts advice for Philadelphia? Look at other markets as examples while examining the city’s existing infrastructure and its associated financial costs.
Ed McMahon, a senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute (ULI), said public willingness to spend money on infrastructure is shaping the cities of the future.
McMahon told an audience at ULI’s spring conference in Philadelphia in April that “improving the quality of public transit, road and bridges, and bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure are the highest priorities.”
Public transportation is the top priority among officials and developers, ULI’s McMahon said, with 28 cities adding light rail in recent years and 36 new rapid-transit bus systems around the country.
But building infrastructure for bicycles is cheap, McMahon said, noting that Portland, Ore., has constructed 30 miles of bike trails for the same cost as a mile of highway.
Check out the full article from Al Heavens in the Philadelphia Inquirer or at Philly.com