Vintage bike ad from Library of Congress.
Vintage bike ad from Library of Congress.

Millennials are becoming more willing to move away from city centers, and existing suburban communities are looking to attract younger residents with city-like amenities. This includes bike lanes, plenty of sidewalks, and trendy shops and restaurants within walking or biking distance.

“What millennials want are places that have a vibrancy, where you … can shop, go out to bars, walk, and bike,” says Lynn Richards, President and CEO of the Congress for the New Urbanism.

According to experts, more pedestrian-friendly a town is, the more desirable it is for potential residents. Homes near walkable or bike-able trails carry premiums between 5 and 10%, according to an analysis by Headwaters Economics. In response, many suburbs have turned to installing new sidewalks, repairing their existing ones, and creating new bike paths and trails.

A University of Michigan study shows that more than 87% of 19-year-olds had a driver’s license in 1983, but only 69% did in 2014. At the same time, according to the Urban Land Institute’s Ed McMahon, cycling is the fastest-growing form of transportation in the country, due in part to an increase in bike lanes.

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