Bike lanes are bringing more millennials to the suburbs

While Millennials are drawn to the excitement that city living has to offer, they are still willing to move to the suburbs provided that it offers similar city amenities. This recent Realtor article by Clare Trapasso  highlights the reasons why millennials may be choosing to move to the burbs and how its affecting suburban communities.

Making downtowns great again—with bicycles

No, millennials aren’t completely abandoning cities. They still flock to them, in fact. But increasingly they are viewing them as a place to work, rather than a place to live, says Mel Jones, a research scientist at the Virginia Center for Housing Research at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg, VA.

But they’re willing to move farther out (and commute longer distances) as long as their towns are stocked with all the amenities they crave.

“What millennials want are places that have a vibrancy, where you … can shop, go out to bars, walk, and bike,” says Lynn Richards, president and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism, a Chicago-based advocacy group for more pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods.

The trend has led to a major increase in suburban communities devoting the resources to make their Main Streets and downtowns more walkable by repairing and installing sidewalks, says Brett Schwartz, program manager at the Washington, DC–based National Association of Development Organizations, an umbrella group of suburban and small-town regional planning commissions.

Many of these municipalities are also creating dedicated bike paths and trails linking neighborhoods, other towns, and even nearby cities. That helps them to attract tourists—and their highly coveted dollars—which, in turn, can bring in new businesses and residents.

In just the past year, 136 communities from across the country applied to be designated as Bicycle Friendly Communities through the League of American Bicyclists. Sixty-three were suburbs and 17 were rural towns.

“Communities are seeing it as a way to differentiate themselves and market themselves as a destination,” says Ken McLeod, state and local policy manager at the Washington, DC–based policy and advocacy group.

The walkable/bikeable premium

Developers and builders are taking note. They are offering bike storage facilities, valet, repair service, and even wash stations in fancy apartment and condo buildings to lure younger buyers and renters.

Crescent Communities, which builds subdivisions, homes, and apartment buildings across the Southeast, looks for cities and towns whose streets are lined with sidewalks and dedicated bike paths.

That’s because the No. 1 thing potential buyers of all ages want in their communities is walkability, the builder learned through surveys it conducts regularly. So Crescent looks for communities that already have those amenities in place to which it can link up its new buildings and developments.

[Read the full article: Bike Lanes Are Bringing More Millennials to the Suburbs]

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