New data released Tuesday shows that the early vision for a streetcar system that spurs housing development and improves transit access is generating results. Conducted by EcoNorthwest, the data analysis shows that 3,130 new multifamily housing units were built along the Streetcar corridor in 2016, the most in the system’s 16-year history. Another 5,600 units are currently planned or under construction.
“It seems simple, but Portland Streetcar is successful because it connects where people live with where they need to go every day,” said Portland Streetcar Executive Director Dan Bower. “And as the streetcar has expanded, it’s become a magnet for new housing.
The link between the Streetcar and housing isn’t an accident—when the route was first drawn in the mid-90s, city leaders and planners envisioned the streetcar running through neighborhoods that filled with housing and where people could get to school, work, or the grocery store without driving across town.
Portland’s housing growth is happening along the streetcar route
Since Portland Streetcar opened in 2001, nearly half of all multifamily housing built in Portland has been located within ¼ mile of the Streetcar route. As housing construction in the city has exploded in the past couple years, even more new of the city’s new housing is being concentrated in the Streetcar corridor. In 2016, 54 percent of new multifamily units were built along the Streetcar route. Over the past 16 years, streetcar ridership has grown steadily along with housing construction, with over 15,000 riders per day and 4.7 million total riders last year.
The link between the Streetcar and housing construction extends to affordable housing. Over one-third of all regulated affordable housing units in Portland are located along the Streetcar corridor and another 645 regulated affordable housing units are currently planned or under construction on the alignment.
A one-page summary of the housing data is available for download.