At Reconnecting America we looked into a lot of streetcar projects. For some the streetcar has become an example of the worst of transit planning. Spending money for transit that's got a land use focus really gets people worked up. But the maps we're looking at today are just going to look at one area of the streetcar, change in property values proximate to the alignment. The other mobility issue is a whole other can of worms we can open at a later date.
One of the projects we worked on was looking at the value capture potential of the H Street Streetcar in DC. In order to compare other lines, we looked at property value changes over time. And as with other studies we had done on value capture, we found that values increase a lot when you start with a blank slate.
The key to creating value substantial enough to pay for infrastructure or affordable housing or anything else requires a lot of land, and a lot of land that is starting from zero or near zero. This can mean vacant parcels or underutilized parcels which I discussed in the last map post.
The maps below show two 6 year periods of the Pearl District, and you can see distinctly a lot of value being created where the vacant property of the rail yards were located West of the Post Office property. It was interesting to see the changes after buildings were constructed. I'd be interested to hear what others think of the maps. You can find similar ones for Seattle and Tampa in the Map Room. It would be interesting to look at the property value change now in 2015 vs 1997 when the streetcar plan was announced. 18 years is a good period of time to see what happened.