A few weeks ago, on one of the few truly cold days this fall or winter, members of New York City’s real estate industry gathered at the Brooklyn Library for the sixth annual Brooklyn Real Estate Summit. The networking breakfast was hosted by a company called “Aggressive Energy.” At the morning keynote, Richard Mack, the founder and chief executive officer of Mack Real Estate Group, was interviewed by Stephen Kliegerman, the president of Halstead Property Development Marketing. “Brooklyn is a great place to live,” Mack observed.
Then he began to make a larger point, about bicycles. “Don’t underestimate the change in commutational patterns as cycling becomes more important.” When looking to identify neighborhoods for residential investment and development, Mack said, “we’re looking for places where there are bike lanes, but more importantly where people are riding fixed gear bikes. I know that sounds funny.” The crowd laughed. “But go to Portland, Oregon. Go to downtown Seattle, downtown Los Angeles. Go to the greater neighborhoods of San Francisco. You’re gonna see a disproportionate amount of fixed gear bikes. You may laugh, but commutation patterns by bicycle are changing the way that cities are developed.”
Mack answered further questions about the role of fixed-gear bicycles in Mack Real Estate Group’s development choices over email. “We think it’s clear that there’s an impulse, among ‘Millennials’ particularly, to reduce the city’s reliance on cars,” he told me through a spokesperson. “That is something we support and respond to. Brooklyn’s cycling culture is expanding, and many of the people who live in our buildings are part of that, they’re riders. When we build we want to be responsive to the culture, in terms of where people want to live and how they want to live.”
“Developing in Brooklyn, bicycle friendliness and appreciation—including for those very cool fixed gears that many people are passionate about—have clearly become an ingredient in a neighborhood’s appeal. Sometimes the fixed gear is a bellwether of sorts for us, but it’s part of a bigger picture.”
So there you have it folks. What we've been saying for years has been verified: Bike lanes are not created to save the planet and to make the city safer. They are built to spur development. Nothing that is done in this city is done because of why the government says it is done. It is done to line some asshole's pocket.