Resurrection of the streetcar leads to increased construction in mid-size cities

Updated Nov 7, 2013
A modern streetcar in CincinnatiA modern streetcar in Cincinnati

The return of the streetcar in a few mid-sized cities across the country has led to a sizable increase in development along their routes, according to a report by the Washington D.C. StreetsBlog.

The construction of modern streetcar routes in Cincinnati, Ohio; Kansas City, Missouri and Tuscon, Arizona have all led to big developments and proposals.

Why? The theory is the rails. Streetcars have an implied permanence and predictability to them that bus routes don’t. There are no alternate routes. The cars follow the rails day after day.

In Kansas City, where construction on the $103 million streetcar route itself hasn’t even started, a 50-unit apartment complex and a 257-room hotel are already slated for construction. Plus, 10-story and 22-story buildings already on the route will be renovated and re-purposed.

In Tuscon, the streetcar line is already under construction and will begin running next summer. The city tells the StreetsBlog that $250 million in developments have already been proposed, including a new hotel and two apartment buildings.

Cincinnati’s streetcar route, some of which is already in place, will cost the city $150 million, but developers are already lining up along the proposed route. New town homes, building repurposings and a senior living center are all slated for the route.

Portland, Oregon operates a successful modern streetcar line that was recently expanded. Meanwhile, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Utah; Dallas, Seattle and Washington, D.C. all have streetcar routes currently under construction. Detroit; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Sacramento, California and Oklahoma City all have streetcars routes either in the development or proposal stages.