WBJ: Streetcar backers gather ammo to sway skeptics

According to the Washington Business Journal, earlier this month district officials and developers with major holdings along the proposed streetcar system traveled to Portland Oregon. The group met with meet managers of the Portland system and property owners who helped finance the Rose City’s streetcar line.

Portland Streetcar image from flickr user KGradinger

The WBJ article collects impressions from several major developers, including the Wilkes Company which counts Mount Vernon Place project in the Triangle among its holdings.

The Wilkes Company’s Sandy Wilkes, already a fan of streetcars, said he was further impressed by the residential occupancy and retail leasing rates along the Portland tracks. “There’s been a level of economic activity that is probably greater than they had even forecasted,” he said. His company plans mixed-use developments for Mount Vernon Triangle and NoMa, and Wilkes said the walkability, cleanliness, and ultimately value, of both those projects would be enhanced by streetcar lines. “There is something about the streetcar experience that is so appealing,” he said.

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Comments

  1. 1

    Crissa says

    It was probably easier for this streetcar to get added to Portland, as it was part of a revitalization of a no longer useful industrial area where streetcars and trains used to run. Some of the old stations had sat along the park blocks for half a century since the last car had run and the tracks removed.

    Also, it's the only streetcar you have to pay to use downtown, too. While the developers liked it, they weren't willing to go far enough for it to be free like the other downtown blocks are.