The Green Line is an economic engine in the Washington region, attracting jobs, housing, retail, and young people, says a new report. It’s a great example of how important public transit and transit-oriented development are to economic growth in our cities.
The report, which was commissioned by the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District, examines how much economic growth has happened since 2000 within a quarter mile of stations along the Green Line from Petworth to Navy Yard.
To sum things up: it’s a lot —enough to generate $3.66 billion in tax revenues for the District over the next 20 years. Thanks to the increase in housing and retail near transit, the Green Line corridor has become an increasingly attractive place to live.
Housing is springing up around the Green Line corridor...
The Green Line has attracted one thing the District desperately needs more of: housing. One out of every four new apartments built in DC since 2000 has been built along the Green Line corridor; when the units currently under construction are finished, 9,500 apartment units will have been built along this corridor since 2000. This means the Green Line is outperforming other Metro corridors when it comes to apartment development.
Most of these new apartments have been built around the Navy Yard-Ballpark Metro stop, with the Waterfront stop trailing closely behind.
It is worth noting that the housing being built along the corridor isn’t necessarily affordable for many: the report says that new condos built along this corridor are boosting the resale value of condos in the area by an average of over 30 percent.
...and so are shops and restaurants.
More shops and restaurants are accompanying the housing boom along the corridor—and that’s not just because of CityCenter, the mixed-use luxury development near Gallery Place that opened in 2014. Fifty percent of the District’s retail development since 2010 has happened near Green Line Stations, and only 20 percent of the retail that’s sprung up on the corridor can be attributed to CityCenter.
Navy Yard once again stands out as a hotspot: the area counts for more retail development than any other around a Green Line station (22 percent) and will add the equivalent of 1.5 times the retail of the huge CityCenter development downtown by 2019.
All of this development is fueling job growth
All of this development is translating into jobs, which is great seeing as the District’s unemployment rate was still six percent as of November 2015. The report finds that the number of jobs located on the Green Line corridor grew by 50 percent between 2010 and 2016, with over 75,000 people working along it today.
While this job growth has been fueled by the service sector (think restaurant and coffee bar jobs), other industries are driving job growth, too,, including the government, schools, and legal services.
If you build it...millennials will come?
The report calls the Green Line “the corridor of choice for attracting young professionals.” Since 2010, this corridor has attracted one out of every two of the District’s new households under the age of 35.
On their own, the Waterfront and Navy Yard-Ballpark areas added as many new young households since 2010 as Petworth, U Street, Shaw, and Mount Vernon stations combined. This goes along with a trend that has emerged over the past few years: young people want transit and walkability.
Transit brings economic growth, but we still need to make sure everyone can benefit from it
This study backs up previous reports saying that transit promotes economic growth and makes cities more attractive. But it also raises one flag: making sure this new development can be used by everyone along the Green Line corridor, and isn’t just affordable for well-off professionals. As we add more mixed-use development near transit, it’s important to make sure that a diverse group of people are able to access and use it (and yes, this means afford it).
DC’s inclusionary zoning program gives developers an incentive to make at least some units in their buildings affordable for those who make less than 50 percent of area median income, a standard cities use to determine how much an individual or family of four can afford to spend on housing. And the District has also committed $7 million to preserving affordable housing in Wards 6 and 8, which are served by the Green Line.
The economic growth surging along the Green Line is a great sign that cities should invest more in transit and mixed-use development that lets people bike, walk, and use public transit to get around. Making sure this growth continues and that it reaches everyone isn’t easy, but is worthwhile to keep our cities accessible and affordable.