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Five new residential developments across the country that have laid out the red carpet for cyclists.
Most cities espouse the ideals of a cycling lifestyle, but not all live up to the hype. The hard truth is that it takes more than bike lanes to make a cyclist-friendly community. Municipalities may build the infrastructure and cyclists may flock to it, but private enterprise also has a role to play. Real estate developers may not have been the first to push the notion of a carfree lifestyle, but more and more are jumping on the bandwagon to pick up the idea where the bikelane ends.
Atlanta’s Ponce City Market
In Atlanta, the newly developed Beltline—a 22-mile emerald necklace of parks and interconnected bike paths around the city center—has spawned a number of ‘greenway-oriented’ developments. Ponce City Market is one that caters specifically to the bike-to-work crowd, opening right onto the bike path and the stunning Old Fourth Ward Park. There are over 400 bike parking spaces on the premises and a bike valet service so you can hop right of your bike and into your LEED-certified apartment. The first floor of the newly renovated 90-year old brick building is a food court worthy of the most discriminating foodies, but many of Atlanta’s best in town neighborhoods are within reach via the Beltline bike path, making it possible to experience this notoriously congested, smog-filled city as a car free haven.
New York’s Gotham City West
In a similar fashion, but admittedly a bit more upscale, Gotham City West in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen has made a deliberate attempt to draw in Big Apple bikers: there’s a complete bike concierge, offering valet service, storage and maintenance. Located one block east of the Hudson River Greenway and a hop, skip and a jump north of the High Line’s recently extended terminus at the Hudson Rail Yards, the location is ideal for cyclists and anyone who wants to be in the middle of it all (and can afford to). Like Ponce City Market, the ground floor of Gotham City West is a food court from heaven, but it also includes a new location for the Velo bike shop, an institution among Manhattan cyclists (and, also the org responsible for the bike concierge service).
Denver developer D4 Urban is building a bike-friendly transit-oriented development of its own at the edge of the downtown core. Scheduled to open in summer 2015, Denizen isn’t built next to a greenway, but it is built with a light rail stop at the front door (and you can bring your bike on the train in Denver). There’s limited car parking available, but there will be at least one bike parking space for each of the 275 units, which will start at an affordable $750/month for a 360 square foot efficiency. A bike repair (and ski tune-up) center is planned as an amenity to the LEED Platinum complex in an effort to entice D4’s targeted demographic. Also of note is that D4 Urban is in the process of redeveloping the adjacent 70 acres—which is currently dominated by big box stores and a sea of treeless parking lots—into a mixed use neighborhood with ample green space (and, of course, bike lanes).
Perhaps the most explicitly bike-oriented development in the country is Minneapolis’ Vélo. Located near the confluence of the Cedar Lake trail and the riverfront greenway system along the banks of the Mississippi on the north side of the downtown core, Velo residents have convenient access to Minneapolis’ renowned system of cycling superhighways. If the name Velo doesn’t give away the slant of this 100-unit mixed use development, the community ‘bike kitchen’—a hangout space with all the tools needed for residents to maintain their own bikes—certainly does.
Portland’s Hassalo on Eighth
Minneapolis has been trying to nudge out Portland, Oregon in recent years as the nation’s most bikeable city, but Portlandians still hold themselves up, and rightfully so, as the poster-child of urban sustainability. As a case in point, Portland is home of the world’s first eco-district, known as the Lloyd District, a part of downtown that is being transformed into an urban ecotopia of sorts. Opening later this year will be the first major residential development in the Lloyd Eco-District, Hassalo on Eighth, an ultra-energy efficient mixed use development that recycles all the water used on-site and includes parking for a whopping 1000 bicycles.
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