Twice a year, Downtown Portland Clean & Safe takes a deeper dive and looks at foot traffic and the number of visits for the whole district as well as individual intersections in the Downtown area using Placer.ai. The prevailing trend is one of growth, with increased year-over-year foot traffic growth of 10% for the total 2023 year, when compared to 2022. Notable was the 40% increase in foot traffic in January 2023 and then a sustained growth of 5%-10% for most other months from 2022.
Downtown Portland Clean & Safe engages with Placer.ai to monitor pedestrian traffic in its 213-block area district. We compare our results to past years and with other cities. We monitor the number of people in the Downtown area, the times of day people are in coming Downtown, which days of the week are busier, and the spaces they are frequenting. These are not unique visitors, but cumulative totals.
Here are the trends within the Downtown Portland Clean & Safe district for 2023.
December brought a festive end-of-year surge to the downtown core with foot traffic increasing 10% compared to 2022 levels. Special events played a key role in this upswing, with the Pioneer Square Tree and Menorah Lighting, Figgy Pudding Caroling Contest, Tuba Christmas event, Breakfast with Santa, Black Santa PDX pop-up, and the Portland Winter Ice-Rink creating a draw for locals and visitors alike.
The Downtown Portland Clean & Safe district continues to see overall traffic busiest on Saturday and Friday, with Thursday and then Wednesday fairly close behind. When measuring employees in the Downtown area we once again saw Wednesdays to be the most popular day to be downtown, this trend has held true since 2021.
Over 2023, when we look at the busiest locations in our district, we see that the West End Neighborhood continues to be a hotspot of foot traffic along with intersections in the core of Downtown. The intersection at SW 10th & Burnside, across the street from Powell’s Books, is the busiest intersection in our district. This bustling hub is closely followed by the vibrant crossroads at SW Park & Burnside, the location of food cart pod “The Cart Blocks” and appears to be acting as a gateway into the rest of the downtown. Pioneer Place also stands out as a particularly active zone at the intersection of SW 4th & Alder in the center of the downtown core.
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Downtown Portland Clean & Safe uses Placer.ai to monitor foot traffic and visit trends 24-hours a day and looks at the 213-block geographic boundary of the Clean & Safe. Placer.ai data allows us to look at times of day people are downtown, which days are busier, and the spaces/venues people are frequenting. Individuals are counted each time they cross into our district or, when looking at particular intersections, each time they cross that intersection.
Placer.ai uses an algorithm to separate visitor counts, employee counts, and resident counts, which essentially examines patterns in length of stay. For example, users who spend approximately 8 hours a day in a specific location regularly are counted as employees. Users who spend their nights in one location regularly are counted as residents.