By Aecom for Miami-Dade County Park and Recreation Department
The "Miami-Dade County Trail Benefits Study" uses Ludlam Trail as a case study to estimate quantifiable social, environmental, and economic benefits associated with the development of shared-use non-motorized paths.January 01, 2011
The vision for the Ludlam Trail is a 6.2 mile long non-motorized, shared-use trail that serves local residents as well as visitors, commuters, and a wide variety of users throughout the County. It is anticipated that the trail will be used to walk, bike, run and skate for fun and exercise; to access transit; to go shopping; and to commute to and from home, school and work.
In addition to providing new recreation and transportation opportunities, it is also anticipated that development of the Ludlam Trail will generate opportunities to provide a wide variety of social, environmental, and economic benefits for County residents. These benefits include:
Development of shared-use non-motorized trails offer extensive opportunities to bring significant positive change to communities. The following social, environmental and economic aspects have been identified as having positive improvements through research based on the development of Ludlam Trail as a case study. Many of the benefits documented below are interconnected and lead to positive change throughout the community. An example of this can be shown by the reduction of vehicle trips which leads to positive environmental benefits, such as the reduction of vehicle emissions, and the economic benefit of area residents spending less on fuel. A summary of important findings follows:
The development of Ludlam Trail will enhance overall accessibility to schools, parks, transit stations, and bus stops for as many as 30,550 people living within two miles of Ludlam Trail. Analysis of existing and post Ludlam Trail destination accessibility has identify the following key findings:
The development of Ludlam Trail will save the community between $1.68 million and $2.25 million annually in direct medical costs related to lack of physical exercise while leading to approximately 4,931 to 6,579 area residents becoming new exercisers. Residents within the Ludlam Trail Study Area can expect to lose or keep off between 32,664 and 109,939 pounds of weight annually by burning between 2.19 million and 7.39 million calories (kilocalories) per week while exercising on Ludlam Trail.
VDTs from enhanced mobility and connectivity may be realized by the community from the development of Ludlam Trail. Through the development of Ludlam Trail, improvement will be made in mobility for walking and biking to schools, parks, transit stations, and errands leading to a total reduction of approximately 860,700 VDTs within the Study Area by the following amounts per category, per year:
With the reduction of approximately 860,700 vehicle trips the following vehicle emissions will be reduced annually:
Demographic research identified that the Ludlam Trail Study Area contains a higher than county average elderly population which is more vulnerable to air pollution due to sensitive respiratory systems. The reduction in vehicle trips translates into an annual savings in fuel consumption of approximately 36,625 gallons or the equivalent of four (4) tanker trucks. Community- wide fuel savings equals approximately $101,450 a year.
New tree canopy plantings associated with Ludlam Trail amenities will provide the surrounding community with over $170 million in pollution control savings over the life span of a typical urban tree (fifty years). This breaks-down into the following pollution control savings:
Trail amenities will create clean oxygen for over 2,100 humans. Increased tree canopy and shade along the Fred E. Marquis Pinellas Trail, Pinellas Co., FL
Based on a University of Georgia Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resource carbon sequestration calculator, Ludlam Trail will provide for the sequestration of between 3,120 and 4,200 tons of carbon within twenty-five years. In addition, the planting of approximately 1,050 canopy trees associated with trail amenities will provide the sequestration of 5,250 tons of carbon over a 50 year life span.
Based on an analysis of comparable trails from across the country, the presence of Ludlam Trail will increase properties value within the Walkable Area, or properties within 1/2 mile of a proposed public access point, at an annual pace of 0.32% to 0.73% faster than other properties throughout Miami-Dade County. This translates into a total property value increase over a twenty-five (25) period of between $121 million and $282 million.
Based on increased property values within the Ludlam Trail Walkable Area, Miami-Dade County and surround jurisdictions will receive between $98,000 and $229,000 annually in additional property tax revenues. When compiled over a twenty- five (25) year period, between $2.47 million and $5.74 million in additional property tax revenue will be realized. RETAIL SALES Retail expenditures related to the Ludlam Trail are expected to be between $3.19 million and $8 million annually based on research of trail related expenditures from fourteen comparable suburban and urban trails conducted by Rails-to-Trails Conser vancy in 2009. Retail expenditures related to Ludlam Trail will support between 10,500 and 26,500 additional square feet of retail space. Trail related retail sales, West Orange Trail, Winter Garden, FL
Miami-Dade County will receive between $31,900 and $80,000 in sales tax from trail related expenditures while the State of Florida will receive between $191,400 and $480,000 annually in sales tax.
Ludlam Trail related retail expenditures will support between 27 and 68 new jobs within Miami-Dade County.
Based on comparable research collected from within the state of Florida and from around the Country, positive economic impacts can be expected which can help stabilize or increase property values within a half mile of the Ludlam Trail Corridor, create new jobs through the establishment of new trail oriented businesses and increase tax revenue for reinvestment into the community.
There are numerous opportunities throughout the corridor for Miami-Dade County to advance its economic goals. First and foremost, the corridor will increase mobility and connectivity as discussed in the 2.1.1 Social Opportunities section, which can have a significant impact on employers’ access to Miami-Dade County’s workforce. Major commercial activity centers such as the Dadeland Mall and Bird Ludlum Center on SW 40th St. (Bird Road) will benefit from improved access for both employees and shoppers. The increased connectivity and trail traffic associated with the Ludlam Trail will be quantified in section three of the study by estimating additional retail space and tax revenue generation supported by trail users.
Second, there are numerous opportunities to meet the County’s goal of stabilizing or increasing the values of adjacent residential properties. The values of single family homes adjacent to the trail will increase when the abandoned and neglected railroad corridor is replaced by an active, well-maintained and aesthetically pleasing linear park and trail. Residents of condominiums such as the Towers of Dadeland (by the Metrorail Dadeland North Station) and the Futura Gables (south of Coral Way/ SW 24th St) will benefit from access to the trail for both recreation and transportation, which will increase the re-sale and rental value of the units. Additionally, the trail may serve as a catalyst for the redevelopment of substandard housing, such as the declining mobile home park directly south of SW 8th St. (Tamiami Trail) and north of SW 12th St. By increasing property values, additional tax revenue will be available to the various jurisdictions. The study will estimate the potential property increase and associated tax revenue increase per jurisdiction for the Study Area linked to the development of Ludlam Trail. Currently, FEC is not paying property tax on the corridor, which means there would be no loss of tax revenue income from existing sources.
There are also opportunities for enhancement and/or redevelopment of commercial properties, which are underutilized. Many of these properties are located at the intersections of the trail and major commercial roads. For commercial properties not directly adjacent to the trail, signs and kiosks could direct trail users to nearby businesses for food, beverages, supplies, and shopping, such as the small sandwich shop in the commercial district on Miller Road east of the trail corridor. Sandwich shop located on SW 56th St. (Miller Drive) within five hundred feet of the corridor Section Two of the study identifies in greater detail the potential for properties either adjacent or within 1/2 mile of the corridor that could experience change associated with the construction of Ludlam Trail.
Commercial properties directly adjacent to the trail could be repositioned and revitalized to meet the specific needs of trail users. Trails in other similar communities, such as the West Orange Trail documented in the Ludlam Trail Design Guidelines and Standards report, have generated the need for outdoor cafes, coffee shops, restaurants, ice cream shops, bicycle and skate rental and repair shops, and other trail-related uses. The under-utilized shops directly adjacent to the corridor in the Coral Plaza on SW 24th St, for example, could be redeveloped to meet the needs of trail users. Trail users will spend money on trail related items, such as bike rental, creating the need for additional retail space and jobs. The trail corridor could also be used as a special events and festival venue by the County, furthering its goals of new job creation and increased revenues. Fun runs, art shows, food and wine festivals and native plant sales are just a few of the special events that could be hosted along the corridor.