NIMBYs Fear Bicycle Path

Artist Rendering of SR 84 Greenway

The Not-In-My-BackYard syndrome rages on in Broward County. If there is one facility that seems calm, sedate, and most likely to be desired in one’s backyard, it would be a shared use path for bicycles and pedestrians. No engine noise, no fumes, no rushing traffic. Just some neighbors going for a leisurely stroll or a quiet bike ride. It sounds pretty relaxing, right? Apparently residents in Plantation Acres don’t think so.

The Sun-Sentinel reported last week that some residents near a proposed multi-use path that is part of Broward County’s Greenways fear it will cause a rise in crime. One resident even offered a long list of things that were recently stolen from cars in his neighborhood. The article points out some data supporting that bicycle paths do not cause rises in crime, but fails to point out common sense.

First, if there’s crime now, that doesn’t mean a shared-use path will increase the level of crime. If crime went up after a path was put in, it would be a post hoc fallacy to assume that because of the path the crime went up. But the residents’ reasoning doesn’t even go that far! The residents are talking about a future project and doing nothing more than expressing their paranoia. They are seeing a rise in crime in their neighborhood now. Naturally, this is creating a little nervousness for them. They happen to see a project that might bring outsiders into their neighborhood, so their nervousness increases. Normally there might be something to it, but not so if you stop to think about it.

How are crimes committed? How do criminals get away with the loot? Generally, not by bicycle or on foot. If they want to steal electronics and weapons from cars or houses, they will need a vehicle to stash the goods. It ensures a quicker getaway without attracting attention. So where could anyone even get the idea in their head that a path for bicycles and pedestrians will make it easier for criminals to enter their neighborhood?

I honestly cannot figure out why the Sun-Sentinel even bothered to publish an article based on the opinion of a few paranoid people! To make it even more ironic, they point out that Plantation Acres is an equestrian community. Broward County’s Greenways page makes it clear that the paths are for equestrian use as well as bicycle use. These people will have a chance to ride their horses across the county on this and connecting trails, yet they still rise up against it.

It looks like FDOT will be installing fences to quell the fears of these residents. If the residents have any sense, they will take the time to install their own fences now to avoid the crime issues that are happening now. Their crime problems are happening now, and they have no reason to take out their frustration on one of FDOT’s better projects.

6 Responses to “NIMBYs Fear Bicycle Path”

  1. 1 Emperor Tomato

    Miami-Dade county currently has this problem with the proposed bike lanes on SW 38th St from 92nd Ave to 107th Ave. It would be a nice bike path on road used by many cyclists.
    Residents have complained that crime will increase as a result, I imagine someone trying to steal a Plasma tv on a bike.
    I do think it’s useful that the Sun-Sentinel publish this because it shows the viewpoint of residents, and it shows advocates for bike paths that they have to win over neighborhoods and change their perception of what a bike path/greenway is for and the positive effects they can bring to a community.

  2. 2 Ashley

    I’m all for more bike paths, but maybe they fear crimes other than robbery like rape, property destruction/graffiti, abductions, etc?

  3. 3 JM Palacios

    The way the Sun-Sentinel portrayed it made it look like somehow they were afraid they would have a rise in robberies. Still, any fears should be quelled by the evidence, as presented by the Davie police, that there have not been any crime spikes resulting from bike paths. That would encompass any crimes.

  4. 4 Craig Della Penna

    I am a realtor in Massachusetts, specializing in the sale of residential property next to or near to rail trails or greenways all over the state. I am the 2nd top agent at one of the largest firms in western Massachusetts-because of this niche.

    My practice was featured in the National Association of Realtors Smart Growth trade magazine and was mentioned in United Airlines in-flight magazine–Hemispheres.

    The web’s best compendium of white paper studies and highly credentialed reports about rail trails and adjacent properties can be found on the website for the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. [ ] Saying that “living near or next to rail trail is a negative” is just not true. The reports speak for themselves. Check it out.

    I don’t just ‘talk the talk’ here. I walk the walk as I live 8 feet from the oldest municipally built rail trail in New England.

    In fact we operate an award-winning B&B here and we make room nights available to folks fearful of having a rail trail in their town. We only make week nights available to antis though. We want them to wake up to the laughter of kids biking to school. 60-80 kids a day bike to school on the trail here. Sadly, a phenomenon not likely seen in many places today.

    Craig Della Penna Realtor®

  5. 5 Jack

    Right on about the real estate angle. To quell opposition to a major new trail here (Maryland) I printed out several real estate listings for homes next to an existing rail trail, all saying how near the homes were to the trail. If something brought crime, you wouldn’t think sellers would put it in their ads now would you?

  1. 1 Do Bike Paths Bring Crime? - Kansas Cycling News

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