Vermont Public is independent, community-supported media, serving Vermont with trusted, relevant and essential information. We share stories that bring people together, from every corner of our region. New to Vermont Public? Start here.

© 2024 Vermont Public | 365 Troy Ave. Colchester, VT 05446

Public Files:

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact or call 802-655-9451.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Walk-Bike Summit Coming To Rutland Touts Economic Benefits Of Bike Friendliness

A growing number of transportation planners, real estate agents and community developers say that access to bike paths can improve both local economies and real estate values. The issue is the topic of the upcoming Vermont Walk/Bike Summit in Rutland.

Can a bike path help you sell your house? Can making a downtown more pedestrian and bike friendly attract more business? A growing number of transportation planners, real estate agents and community developers say yes. 

And at the upcoming Vermont Walk/Bike Summit in Rutland, they’ll explain how and why.

Craig Della Penna is a real estate agent in Northampton, Massachusetts who specializes in selling houses near bike paths. (You read that right. Who knew homes near bike paths were a niche market?)

Della Penna says in 2006, he analyzed home sales in seven communities in eastern Massachusetts to see what, if any, impact nearby bike trails had on home values.  

He says the results were noteworthy: “The houses that touted their proximity to the rail trails, sold in about one third the time as houses in the general inventory in the community. And they sold at a higher proportion of the asking price or list price.”

Della Penna will be one of several keynote speakers at the upcoming summit.

He says the rail lines that connected so many northern New England towns a century ago provide the perfect infrastructure for safe recreational bike and pedestrian routes. It’s something communities should take advantage of, he says, since real estate trends show people today are more interested in living in cities and downtowns.

Cost can be a roadblock. But organizers of the upcoming Walk/Bike Summit point out that significant state and federal funding is available for communities that develop more accessible transportation plans.

Richard Amore is a community planner for the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development. He points to recent efforts in St. Albans where private-public partnerships have not only made the city more accessible, but also healthier economically.

And when city officials in Barre had to do major repairs on the downtown sewer system, Amore says, they saw it as a chance to rethink their streetscape.

“They took the opportunity not just to re-pave the street, but add additional accommodations for bike and pedestrian users, widen sidewalks for outdoor dining for restaurants and really just [improve] the streetscape with new lighting and crosswalks," Amore says.

Amore says the Walk/Bike Summit will give community organizers and planners across the state the chance to tout their efforts and learn from each other during a variety of workshops and seminars.

Event organizers say they expect to talk about the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail, a 93-mile-long multi-use recreational trail that’s being created across northern Vermont, as well as Rutland Town’s efforts to create a complete streets plan. And everything in between.

The two-day event, says Amore, provides a great opportunity to consider possibilities.

The Vermont Walk/Bike Summit will be held in Rutland on April 1 and 2. Learn more here.

One in five Vermonters is considered elderly. But what does being elderly even mean — and what do Vermonters need to know as they age? I’m looking into how aging in Vermont impacts living essentials such as jobs, health care and housing. And also how aging impacts the stuff of life: marriage, loss, dating and sex.
Latest Stories