DDOT Selects “streetcar system running primarily along K Street, NW, New Jersey Avenue, NW, and H Street” to Connect Union Station with Georgetown

Photo by PoPville flickr user Sanjay Suchak

From DDOT:

“The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced the completion of the Union Station to Georgetown Premium Transit Alternative Analysis (AA) Study, a comprehensive analysis of alternatives to provide high quality transit in this important east-west corridor. This study was funded through a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant.

The completion of this study marks an important step in DDOT’s commitment to provide more and improved transportation choices in the District of Columbia. In this study DDOT partnered with FTA and explored several options to provide premium transit service between Union Station and Georgetown while analyzing the needs of the corridor.

DDOT conducted an active public and stakeholder engagement process and held several public, stakeholder and agency meetings to gather input from the public as it studied several alternatives. Alternative 1, which consists of a streetcar system running primarily along K Street, NW, New Jersey Avenue, NW, and H Street was ultimately selected as DDOT’s recommended alternative.

With the completion of this study, DDOT will now proceed to the environmental review and approval process, which will be followed by design and construction.

The report is available on project website: www.unionstationtogeorgetown.com.”

26 Comment

  • Ha ha, good one.

  • “which will be followed by design and construction.”
    Just a hunch, but I’m predicting the construction phase is going to be very painful.

  • Ugh, quit it with the streetcars. We had them before and we got rid of them because buses do the same thing and can change routes as necessary. If the H St streetcars are any indication, the city doesn’t know how to plan these things anyway and it’s just going to turn into a giant mess.

  • will catching the streetcar be THAT much better than hopping on the bus??

    • Roomier, less bumpy ride, and more environmentally friendly…so, yes.

    • You ride the bus much? There’s quite a lot of disparity in how well/safely bus drivers operate their vehicle. A streetcar is MUCH easier to operate for someone with limited training and/or aptitude.

      • Seriously lol?

        yes i understand the safety issues, probably less likely to get in an accident…

        but the new busses arent as bad as older
        also look at all of the time and money being spet on this project

        like someone else said i think this is just a huge WANT by the city

        • Hey hey, not disagreeing that it’s a want rather than a need. Completely with you on that one. But I do think that a streetcar would be nicer, for a number of reasons 😉

  • Love the route and once it’s operational, it’s going to be a game changer. But yes, this is going to take a LOT of time, money, and headaches to implement. Still, it’s worth it. Glad to see local money plowed into needed infrastructure.

    • Im not sure if it’s needed so much as wanted.

    • This would be awesome if they somehow had a separate track or some sort of right of way. Getting from Union Station to Georgetown is a mess unless it’s like 8am on a Saturday. If not the ridiculous traffic downtown, it’s the ridiculous traffic in Georgetown.

  • PLEASE bury the power lines for these ones, or at least find another way to run the cars other than overhead wires. DC’s streets would look MUCH better without them… still can’t believe that overhead wires are coming with the H Street tracks.

    • They appear to have kicked that can down the road. From the study’s Issues Identified for Further Consideration Section:

      “The AA Study has concluded that there will be viable technologies available to provide propulsion for at least segments of the project without overhead wires. However, as technologies evolve, some issues may arise”

      Anyway, I’m glad to see they are making some progress. I’m very much looking forward to the north/south line.

    • Hmm, because a few overhead wires are certainly worth hampering potential economic development across central DC… Have you been to Europe? If you have, you probably can’t even remember walking under overhead lines because they are relatively unobtrusive. There is a reason they call this the ONE City line.

      And the returns on streetcars tend to be better economically than buses. This is an important route, just as important as the one in Anacostia and the one that will go up Georgia Ave.

      AND for anyone asking about traffic, for most of K St they will have their own right of way and we can finally get rid of those silly side roads. Cue angry Cleveland Park residents…

  • The only way I will agree to this plan is if all the streets end up looking like the one in the picture above.

  • How many decades until this is completed??

    • +1. Not to mention that if D.C. keeps growing at even a fairly modest rate, we’re going to REALLY just need more underground rapid transit anyhow. Which will, of course, take another 20 years +. I wish the powers that be would have a little more vision.

  • This is freaking awesome. Yes, it’ll be a headache, but welcome to the old-timey world of public infrastructure construction. It’s always been a headache. For those of you who are skeptics or who are downright opposed, please consider the cities you’ve been to with a successful streetcar system, especially those in Europe. The goal of connecting various neighborhoods is noble but, in my opinion, it’s secondary. Development of commercial and residential buildings along these corridors is paramount, and streetcar lines tend to spur development more than bus lines do, based on both empirical (see these studies) and anecdotal (Amsterdam rules) evidence.

  • The more I hear about these astronomically expensive transportation projects, the more I love my bike. A $350 million project to move people 3 miles is ridiculous.

    • If you consider the number of people that would benefit from it and the number of years it would be in service, the cost per person actually ends up being pretty reasonable. I cant do this math without knowing the number of people that would use or the cost per fare exactly, but i would bet over time the cost per person per ride comes out below that of a bicycle.

  • I don’t think comparisons with Europe are really apt. If their taxes were as low as ours, if their mass transit was less subsidized in consequence as ours is, and if their gas was taxed less as ours is, I am sure that they’d have way more cars on the road and that the trams would not be as good as they are now. Just plopping this thing down won’t be a panacea.

  • clevelanddave

    If it weren’t so disruptive and so expensive, it might be a good idea. But this is both. It is also somewhat repetitive of both bus and rapid transit lines. I hope they are planning on widening L and M Streets to take up the extra traffic that will be created both during construction and the narrower/fewer lanes on K Street after construction. Nah, that would be inconsistent with Harriet Tregoning’s vision of a carless city. Then again, she’ll be long gone by the time this clunker is built and we’ll probably all be dead by the time it is paid for. Sigh!

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