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Cycling

May 3, 2011

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Transport planner Rachel Smith writes: On April Fool’s Day Fairfax Media posted a video affirming that the new inner Sydney cycleways have had a positive effect on property prices. It was no joke. It seems that having a bikeway right outside your front door is good for your health and the value of your house.

The City of Sydney’s network of separated cycleways have attracted their unfair share of controversy; threats of legal action, opposition from traders and a protest rally ironically attended by 200 pro-bike lane supporters and no opponents.

Fairfax interviewed Nic, a local real estate agent, who said that the Bourke Street bike path has had a “positive effect and influence on sales in the area” as well as Don, an owner-builder, selling a recently renovated million dollar property. Don explained the combination of a garage at the rear and the bike path out the front had added a premium of $100,000 to his house. Like many, Don had been sceptical, particularly because of the loss of on-street car parking, but now that the Parisian style bike boulevard with gardens and street lamps has been finished, even he agrees that Bourke Street “looks good”.

There is no denying that Bourke Street is beautiful; lined on either side with grand Victorian homes, exquisite cafes and a stunning canopy of trees. The bikeway has, as Lord Mayor Clover Moore says, made Bourke Street, “a very special street”. We all want to live on a beautiful street and we all want to know what the tangible benefits of improved social infrastructure could be to our street, our neighbourhood our city. So should we, and can we, use economics to support the case for more safe and separated bikeways in our cities? Continue reading “Local bike paths mean higher house prices”