Transportation’s impact on real estate
September 13, 2017
In the last couple of weeks I have talked to many folks in Garfield County who have drastically altered the way they use transportation in their daily lives. Of course the reason behind this is the massive undertaking that comes with replacing the Grand Avenue bridge in downtown Glenwood Springs. It seems that regardless of where you live in the county, you are impacted by this 95-day closure in some way.
Like many other people, I was not quite sure how this change in transportation would translate to a change in my local business. Now that we are through the first few weeks and can analyze, I think we're starting to figure it out.
There are a few trends I have noticed and would like to discuss. The first is that people have changed their working hours to start earlier in the morning and end earlier in the day. Another trend is the increasing use of public transportation or bicycles to commute rather than automobiles.
I have chatted with many people who work upvalley, and some have started their work day as early as 5 a.m. to beat the upvalley morning rush and downvalley afternoon rush. So far, I am hearing mixed reviews on whether or not this is improving the overall commute for those people, but I can tell you it's certainly not improving their overall livelihood.
Public transportation has gained serious momentum since the bridge closure began. Not only is this more environmentally friendly, but it also reduces the amount of vehicles on the road while getting people from Point A to Point B in a shorter time than if they drive. It does seem that the RFTA expansion all the way to Parachute has been a major solution in aiding those who commute from Western Garfield County into the Roaring Fork Valley each day. I sometimes wonder if we still need more buses. My clients who have migrated from driving to using the bus do say it has been tough for them to make evening appointments and errands because of the change to their commute.
I am one who lives south of Glenwood Springs, but I do ride my bike to my office, appointments and errands in town. Over the last couple of weeks it sure seems like I am passing more bikes on the trails than ever before. It's so great to see people using this alternative when their destination is nearby. Electric bikes also seem to have gained popularity as of late and I also think that will improve long-term habits for many of us. I really hope this trend continues after the bridge closure is finished because it's a win-win for the environment and your personal health. I had a chance to show property this past week on my bicycle to some clients, and we had an absolute blast doing so.
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In conclusion, when consumers change their behavior we need to adapt to that as local businesses. I feel like the entire community from Carbondale to Parachute is really demonstrating this right now, and it's a very exciting time to be living in Garfield County because of that. We might have a few slower than usual months ahead because of the transportation issues we are experiencing now, but I am confident that it will all be worth it.
Shawn Manwaring is a Broker Associate with Roaring Fork Sotheby's International Realty in Glenwood Springs. Shawn services Western Garfield County and the lower Roaring Fork Valley. He can be reached at 970-389-6069, Shawn.Manwaring@SIR.com or http://www.ManwaringProperties.com.