It’s been almost exactly 50 years since the last streetcars weaved their way through Washington, D.C., but plans are in place to resurrect the streetcar in the nation’s capital. In the process, the city looks to capture the economic activity that was lost when the streetcar was dismantled.
Despite project delays, streetcar tracks have been laid for the first phase of the project and the streetcar is expected to be up and running in the summer of 2013.
On the local BeyondDC blog, Dan Malouff provides a rundown of the economic impacts the study says the completed streetcar system would have on the city.
[T]he great benefit of streetcars will be that they tremendously expand the number of households and business properties that are within walking distance of a rail station. With streetcars, the share of DC residents within a quarter mile of a rail stop will increase from today’s 16% up to 50%.
That will correspond to an increase in the value of properties along streetcar lines by $5-7 billion. Another $5-8 billion in new development can be expected, resulting in a total property value increase of $10-15 billion due to streetcars.
That would result in $238-291 million in new tax revenue for the city each year, after completion of the 37 mile streetcar network. At that rate it would take only 6 years for the city to recuperate the full $1.5 billion cost. After 6 years, the tax revenues would be pure profit.
And over a 10 year period, the streetcar system would be responsible for 6,300-7,700 new jobs, up to 12,000 new households, and as much as 1.3 million square feet of new retail development.
Not bad for an old-fashioned transportation system.
The report also mentions the complications inherent to bicycle-streetcar coexistence. It notes that quality bike infrastructure will be necessary along streetcar corridors in order to minimize conflict.
Streetcars + cycle infrastructure.
Our nation’s capitol is gonna get an upgrade.