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Release Date: Wednesday, December 7th 2016

New Survey Data Indicates Changing Demographics In Downtown Pittsburgh

DOWNTOWN PITTSBURGH, PA – The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership released new findings today from two research studies completed this year. The studies include a Downtown Pittsburgh Resident Survey and a Downtown Pedestrian Traffic Study.

“The results of these surveys show that Downtown Pittsburgh has become a hub of activity that goes well beyond the 9-5 office hours in select areas of the Golden Triangle,” said Jeremy Waldrup, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. “It’s very encouraging to see people viewing Downtown as a destination for entertainment and pleasure, this is a vital element for a metropolitan city center. It also shows that Downtown must continue to grow and provide more amenities, housing, and good working conditions in order to remain competitive in this region and become a world class Downtown.”

Not surprising to any recent patron, the pedestrian counts showed large increases in activity near Market Square of more than 30%, which has seen 14, soon to be 16, new restaurants open since the 2012 study. The 900 block of Penn Avenue also saw a 10% increase compared to 2012 which is supported by 8 new restaurants that have opened in that corridor during the same time period.

The pedestrian survey found that people’s reasons for visiting Downtown are beginning to shift. While half of the respondents indicated they were in Downtown for either work (38%) or school (12%), there were fewer workers than in 2012 (48%) and 2010 (57%), indicating that people visit Downtown for more diverse reasons. Additionally, 43% of surveyed pedestrians indicated their reason for visiting was for pleasure, cultural events, dining, shopping, or sporting events, compared to 34% in 2012. Nearly half of the pedestrians surveyed (48%) are in Downtown daily, and three quarters indicated they are in Downtown at least a few times per week.

The majority of Downtown residents (59%) previously lived in Allegheny County, while 22% moved to Downtown Pittsburgh directly from another state, compared to 56% and 28%, respectively in 2012. More than 70% of respondents work within the boundaries of Greater Downtown, which is also the number one reason that residents choose to live in Downtown.

Public Transit remains a critical component of our vibrant Downtown for workers, with 44% of pedestrians surveyed indicated using light rail or busses. Mode share shifted throughout the day with 38% of all pedestrians using public transportation before 7:00 p.m. compared to 31% after 7:00 p.m., while vehicle usage increased from 38% before 7:00 p.m. to 51% after 7:00 p.m. Respondents reported a 14% increase in use of the North Shore Connector compared to responses in the 2012 survey.  Additionally 26% of those surveyed reported biking Downtown or on the Riverfront Trail at least a few times per year. More bike lanes and more/better trail connections would encourage respondents to bike more often in Downtown.

Another interesting piece found in both the pedestrian and resident survey is that Downtown visitors and residents are young. 57% of the pedestrians surveyed this year were under 34 years old as compared to 45% in 2012 and 35% in 2010. 52% of respondents to the resident survey were under the age of 40 compared to 45% in 2012.

While residents cited the convenience of Downtown grocery options, residents are still seeking a full service grocery store. This desire was also echoed in the pedestrian survey, with a grocery store being the number one type of new retail requested with 38% of respondents. Downtown pedestrian respondents are spending on average $109 per month on food and beverage at Downtown establishments while Downtown resident respondents spend an average of $314 per month. Downtown residents report dining out 31% more than the 2012 survey.

Soft good retail is also in demand with 37% of pedestrian survey respondents citing clothing, department stores, and boutiques as the most desired type of store in Downtown, compared to 27% in 2012. Another retail amenity residents and pedestrians alike would like to see include a discount/mass retail chain, with Target being the most named. More than 45% of residents surveyed indicated that Downtown would benefit from a first-run movie theater.

In terms of safety, 80% of those surveyed in the Pedestrian Study indicated that they feel safe or very safe in Downtown. This was a 10% increase over those surveyed in 2012. The results reported by resident respondents was very similar, with 99% of respondents feeling safe, somewhat safe or very safe during the daytime, and 89% percent reporting the same during nighttime hours.

The Downtown Pedestrian Traffic Study includes data gathered through pedestrian counts and intercept surveys at ten locations in Downtown during three, sixteen-hour counts at ten locations in Downtown. Additionally, intercept surveys were conducted throughout the three-day counting period. Similar studies were conducted in 2012, 2010, 2008, and 2006. The 2016 study was extended to conduct counts and intercept surveys until 11:00 p.m. The Downtown Resident Survey gathered information about residents living in multi-family buildings including apartments and condominiums. This survey was previously conducted in 2012, 2010, and 2008.

The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership produces research studies such as these to provide the real estate and development communities with valuable and relevant information about Downtown demographics and the expectations of Downtown workers, residents, commuters, and visitors.

 “One of the very first requests we receive working with clients in the site selection process is a demographic analysis and comprehensive scope of workforce and residential communities within Pittsburgh's greater Downtown area,” said Edie Hartman, director of research and business development of Cushman Wakefield | Grant Street Associates. “The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership is our go-to source for thorough yet concise reporting of exactly the data we need to sell the city to out-of-town businesses and investors. The PDP's research figures prominently in virtually every marketing package we assemble.”

The Downtown Pedestrian Study was commissioned by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and conducted by Downtown-based Campos, Inc. The Downtown Resident Survey was conducted by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and supported by Millcraft Real Estate Services.

About the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership (PDP) is a dynamic, nonprofit organization comprised of business and community leaders, property owners, civic organizations, foundations and residents who provide energy, vision and advocacy for Downtown Pittsburgh. Working collaboratively with its partners, the PDP strives to create a positive Downtown experience for residents, workers and visitors alike. The PDP’s strategic initiatives include clean and safe services, transportation, and economic development and advocacy. For more information, visit, follow us on Twitter at and “like” us on Facebook.



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