DC Streetcar “Pre-Revenue Operations” (without passengers) Scheduled to Begin Tomorrow

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From DDOT:

“The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) today announced the start of Pre-Revenue Operations (PRO) for DC Streetcar as DDOT prepares the system for safety certification to carry passengers. PRO, which simulates service along the corridor without passengers, is anticipated to begin Wednesday, December 16 along H Street NE and Benning Road NE.

Residents accustomed to the intermittent operation of streetcars during the run up to PRO will see a noticeable increase in activity along the corridor for the next three weeks. The full complement of streetcars will operate simulating normal service from early morning to late night. DDOT will also increase the distribution of safety information to pedestrians, motorists, and businesses along H Street NE and Benning Road NE to ensure the public is adequately informed about this increase in operations. The PRO will run for at least three weeks and will be extended as needed. This is the second time that streetcar has initiated PRO.

During PRO, all streetcar vehicles will run during the times listed below with projected headways of 15 minutes.

The hours are:

Monday-Thursday: 6 a.m. – midnight
Friday: 6 a.m. – 2 a.m.
Saturday: 8 a.m. – 2 a.m.
Holidays: 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. (No service on December 25, 2015)

Motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians should expect to see streetcars in operation with greater frequency during this phase and are reminded of the following safety tips:

Remember to “Look, Listen, Be Safe!” near streetcar vehicles at all times
DC Streetcars share the roadways, but cannot veer around vehicles
Pedestrians, motorists and bicyclists should use caution as they travel through the corridor
Never walk in front of a moving streetcar
Traffic and pedestrian signals exist for your safety—follow them to ensure your safety”

25 Comment

  • Great! Finally on track to open in 2018!

  • Ghost of Streetcar Press Releases Past???

  • Will there ever be operations that involve collecting revenue?

  • accendo

    . . . and end in flames a week later?

    LOL, Streetcar!

  • The fact that they are still not certified to carry passengers…sigh.

  • “mono” means one and “rail” means rail
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lsn0Kd3kwis

  • I, for one, am (cautiously) glad to see progress on getting the streetcar running. It seems like DDOT has done a reasonably good job this year trying to salvage this boondoggle. Even though the lack of ROW and presence of the parking lane will always be massive design flaws, it does seem like this is going to run fairly soon?
    .
    Fingers crossed for no disasters in PRO.

  • Judging by the number of references I’ve seen to “passing out safety information” you’d think there was a worldwide rash of people getting maimed/killed by street cars. It seems pretty simple: stay out of the way. If people can routinely avoid death by metro bus then doing so with a slow moving streetcar should be even easier.

  • In retrospect…why did we think street cars were a good idea?

    • $ from taxes. new development. etc

      • I get why streetcars generally can stoke development, but why would this streetcar do so? It runs parallel to an already existing bus line… This is potentially the most confusing development I’ve ever seen.

        • Do you think the massive development along H Street since the streetcar was announced is a coincidence?

          • HaileUnlikely

            Much of the development had been planned long before anybody started talking about a streetcar; existing development plans won one of the Main Streets grants way back in 2002. It is probably true that some portion of the development would not have come if not for the streetcar, but a lot of it likely still would have. 14th Street saw similar development over the same time period despite no streetcar.

          • HaileUnlikely — True, but 14th Street already had proximity (at least on the northern end of the corridor) to the U Street Metro station.

          • I don’t know how to prove causation or lack of, but Anon’s question struck me as kind of silly. The development on H Street isn’t going to be stoked, it already happened. Whether it happened because of the streetcar , or despite it, or they had nothing to do with each other is a religious argument I don’t have much interest in.

          • If any of the businesses on H Street moved there because they expected the streetcar to make them profitable, they should be out of business by now since the streetcar has brought exactly 0 passengers to the neighborhood in the past 5 years. The notion that this boondoggle was necessary to spur economic growth is laughable, since everything on H Street is there despite the streetcar.

        • Compared to buses, streetcars ostensibly offer:
          * higher capacity, even than accordioned double-buses
          * a smoother ride, which also increases capacity since standing is a less awful option
          * simpler routes; something that could be thrown on a metrorail map, rather than the enormous, complicated, and ever-changing (and day/time-dependent) bus route map (does a single comprehensive one even exist?)
          * permanent infrastructure, which is a commitment to not switch things up after someone’s made a development/commercial/real estate investment
          .
          Like others have said, it’s impossible to prove how much effect the streetcar has had. And as people who routinely ride buses, all of the above advantages are pretty meh. Also, the streetcar can’t change lanes and a bus can, which is a huge deficit when it doesn’t have dedicated ROW and there’s a parking lane right next to it where idiots park idiotically.
          .
          Obviously, dedicated bus lanes and some kind of bus awareness campaign would’ve been a better investment. But there’s no guarantee it’d have the same effect, insofar as there is an effect, which we also can’t confirm conclusively.

        • White people prefer to ride a street car than a bus. It’s considered more “upscale.” True story.

          • I mean, yeah. That too. Depressing, but also both true and profitable and so a rational thing to build, probably.

  • HaileUnlikely

    Should have gone with ferry instead of streetcar. Ferry would have begun revenue operations by now.

  • It’s operation is illegal according to Federal Law.

    • Not necessarily. The power to repeal the 1888 and 1889 statutes in question rests with the DC Council post-Home Rule. The NCPC, the agency that would enforce the 1888 and 1889 statutes, has basically conceded on this in this one narrow case (where the Council only repealed the statutes for H St. and Benning Rd.) and it hasn’t (and probably won’t) go to court, so it’s the law of the land now. That’s how laws work. We can’t bend them to our whim with an internet comment.
      .
      But if the city actually builds other streetcars and it starts encroaching closer to federally controlled areas, the contention may very well reprise.

  • Let’s not forget this thing is gonna run down Benning Rd too. The causation of development on H St is clearly up for debate. But I think you could more clearly tie improvements over the next few years on Benning to the streetcar investment.

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