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Property Sales Jump 16 Percent Along Bike Lanes in Bushwick, Study Says

By Gwynne Hogan | July 13, 2017 6:20pm
 A proposed bicycle lane on Franklin Avenue would extend the current bike lane there, shown here, about 1 mile south.
A proposed bicycle lane on Franklin Avenue would extend the current bike lane there, shown here, about 1 mile south.
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DNAinfo/Rachel Holliday Smith

EDITOR'S NOTE: THE AUTHOR OF THIS STUDY LATER RETRACTED HIS ANALYSIS BASED ON SEVERAL SHORTCOMINGS. READ MORE HERE.

BUSHWICK — Sale prices for buildings on streets with freshly painted bike lanes jumped 16 percent in a matter of months, compared with prices throughout the entire neighborhood that dipped slightly during the same time, an analysis showed.

Purchase prices for homes and commercial buildings along Cornelia Street, Hancock Street, Knickerbocker, Jefferson and Irving avenues, which all got bike lanes in 2016, increased from an average of $348 per square foot in the second half of last year to $402 in sales through June this year, according to Andrew Lax, an independent real estate researcher.

“I was surprised about the magnitude of the differential,” Lax said.

The numbers don't represent a strict before and after, since the bike lanes were painted at different points in 2016, though Lax's analysis shows that bike lanes may immediately start to increase property values in less than a year.

While there was an uptick in sale prices per square foot along the bike lanes, Lax found an overall drop of less than a half a percent in cost per square foot throughout Bushwick. 

Sales from the second half of 2016 average $406 per square foot, compared with sales between January and June this year, that averaged at $404 per square foot.

The data gleaned from the City's Department of Finance factored in several hundred sales throughout Bushwick and around 55 along the new bike routes, Lax said, though there are other external factors like location of the sales and size of the buildings that aren't taken into account in his analysis. 

Lax's hunch, which seems to have some preliminary backing in data in the numbers, would make buying property near new bike lanes a smart investment.

"Bike lanes support a cheap mode of transportation and fewer cars mean safer streets with less honking, pollution and congestion," he said. "From a commercial perspective, employees like having the option to bike and bike lanes can help generate additional foot traffic."

"I'm all in," he said.

The link between street improvements like bike lanes and pedestrian plazas and a subsequent jump in property values is no secret.

Bike lanes and the gentrification they symbolize, have caused tensions in cities across the country and drawn fire from critics like Jeremiah Moss, blogger behind "Vanishing New York" who said they're a tool used by mayors to "spur and reinforce gentrification."

While protected bike lanes have proven to decrease injuries for cyclists and pedestrians, they've also been linked to an increase in retail sales, according to a 2014 report from the Department of Transportation.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Because of an editing error the original headline credited bike lanes for the increase in home sale price. The study included commercial real estate price, not just residential sales. The study did not conclude that bike lanes caused the increase, only that there was an increase in price along the bike routes.