Streetcars on Track to Make D.C. Comeback
When Mayor Vincent Gray spoke at the ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the finish of the O and P Streets Rehabilitation Project Sept. 18, he recalled that streetcars last ran along the renovated historic tracks 50 years ago.
Today, the District is going back to the future: Residents, workers and visitors to Washington will travel in the coming years on new D.C. streetcars.
The re-introduction of streetcars were announced by the District Department of Transportation in 2009 and will serve all eight wards of the city. The H Street/Benning Road Line will be the first to open and carry passengers in summer 2013.
This line is a two-mile line that will operate on lines in existing travel lanes from the intersection of 1st Street, NE, and H Street, NE, to the intersection of Benning Road, NE, and Oklahoma Avenue, NE. It will connect Union Station to the H Street business district and the Benning Road business district and residential area. Streetcars will travel east and west and will have a total of eight stops at Union Station: 5th Street, NE and H Street; 8th Street, NE, and H Street; 13th Street, NE, and H Street; 15th Street, NE, and Benning Road; 19th Street, NE, and Benning Road; Oklahoma Avenue, NE, and Benning Road.
The Anacostia Initial Line Segment is scheduled for completion in summer of 2013. It is a three-quarter-mile streetcar line that will run from 2750 South Capitol Street to the Anacostia Metro. It will connect the Naval Annex to Barry Farm and then to the Anacostia Metro Station. Additional segments are being planned.
The streetcars will bring many benefits to D.C., include another travel choice for residents and commuters, connecting neighborhoods and commercial corridors and encouraging economic development.
During the first half of the 20th century, the District had a bustling streetcar network that stopped providing service on Jan. 28, 1962, in favor of busses. With the completion of the first line and continued construction Washington, D.C., will join a growing number of cities that have reinstituted streetcars including Portland, Seattle and Tampa. For more information, visit www.dcstreetcar.com.