By Katherine Shaver March 29, 2016 Washington Post
Some Washington area residents took advantage of local bike trails to commute during the recent one-day shutdown of the Metro system. Real estate developers are building more “trail-oriented” communities to meet a growing demand for bike-friendly and walkable places to live and work, according to a report released Tuesday.
Developers catering to a desire for “active transportation” also are offering amenities such as bicycle storage, extra-wide hallways and elevators, bike cleaning stations, bike “valets,” bike-share systems and shower or locker facilities, said the report by the Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit that focuses on real estate and land use.
The developers are taking advantage of government investments in recreational trails, a shift toward more urban and car-free lifestyles, and demand from people who can’t afford a car or choose to forego driving for health or environmental reasons, the report said.
“Through supporting bike infrastructure, real estate professionals can play a significant role in creating healthier, more sustainable communities,” the report said.
U.S. census figures show that bicycle commuting jumped by 62 percent between 2000 and 2014, the report said, and property values near recreational trails have soared in cities such as Indianapolis, Dallas and Minneapolis.
One of the new bike-friendly developments profiled included The Flats at Bethesda Avenue, a residential building that recently opened on the site of a former parking lot adjacent to the Capital Crescent Trail in downtown Bethesda, Md. One of the building’s developers said the trail location was a key selling point for residents and retail tenants, including a newly opened Paul Bakery and Chop’t restaurant that line the trail.
The Flats building also has bicycle storage and a way for people to drop off their bicycle in the parking garage near the trail before parking their car. The development’s website touts its “choice location,” saying the 11-mile Capital Crescent Trail leading into Georgetown is “right in your back yard.”