Extending the DC Streetcar from Union Station to Georgetown: “The study will evaluate the environmental and cultural effects of the proposed improvements”


From DC Streetcar:

“May 17, 2016 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Carnegie Library, 1st Floor
801 K St NW

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) along with The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) invite the community to a public meeting Tuesday, May 17, 2016, to discuss an upcoming Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed Union Station to Georgetown Streetcar Transportation Improvements.

Following the successful launch of the DC Streetcar on February 27, 2016, this EA process considers alternative approaches to extending the existing line from Union Station to Georgetown. The study will evaluate the environmental and cultural effects of the proposed improvements. The study is being conducted in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) and Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA), and will be released by DDOT, FHWA, and FTA in the winter of 2017.


Circulator: Union Station to Georgetown Line (Massachusetts and 7th Street Stop)

Metrorail: Gallery Place Station or Mt. Vernon Square Station

Metrobus: Visit wmata.com

For more information, please visit unionstationtogeorgetown.com. Getting to the Meetings Be sure to check out www.goDCgo.com to learn about transportation options for getting to the meeting.”

53 Comment

  • I think it’s funny that, in the list of options for getting to this meeting, they mention the Circulator which already does exactly what the streetcar would do.

    • That is, I agree, completely hilarious.

      • Anonomnom

        I mean, I use that circulator quite frequently to go from Georgetown to Union Station. It is one of my favorite routes, but it will also take FOREVER anywhere close to rush hour or even on nice weekends. I personally think (and recognize I may be in the minority here) that after all the money spent into starting the system, we should at least study (competent) ways to expand it. That said, it is hard to see what the street car can do that dedicated bus lanes couldn’t…

        • Have you taken the streetcar down H Street? It takes FOREVER on a good day. Each time I ride it I’m passed by 5 or 6 X2 buses.

    • And don’t forget that the DC bus system replaced a streetcar system which ran on pretty much exactly the same routes.

      So basically we had a functioning streetcar system but white flight and the car is king so lets bring in buses. But now people don’t like buses so lets bring back streetcars.

      • Yep, it’s really dumb. Without unobstructed, dedicated routs for rail transit, buses are far superior. But streetcars are suddenly hip and cool. They’re so Portland, so Euro.

    • And of course the DC Circulator is running into problems (two failed safety audits of its fleet over the past year) because they don’t have adequate maintenance space (failed to find space for big enough a facility). Makes you feel really confident about them being able to keep the streetcar running, doesn’t it?

  • It will be ready for Memorial Day 2046 ! yay

  • Hahahaha!!!

  • we clearly haven’t thrown enough money away on this. Great idea, DC government.

  • …following the ‘successful’ launch?


  • Should be done by the 25th century or so.

  • Is it April 1 again?

  • all it needs is a dedicated lane. it’s not that hard.

    • Fortunately K Street already has dedicated service lanes that can be utilized. Car drivers will go apoplectic, though. Despite the H Street debacle, I’m still very much pro-street car if it has dedicated lanes and priority lights.

      • same here. streetcars have higher initial costs, they’re cheaper to run, have higher capacity, more environmentally friendly, and are more predictable than buses for investment (i.e, the routes don’t change). they’re a better alternative, but it’s all predicated on getting a dedicated lane. it’s even possible to retroactively make it happen on h street, but you’d have to lose the street parking, which is really peanuts compared to overall traffic on that street anyway. it’s a shame they executed the h street line so poorly though, as it basically killed public support.

        • oops, there should be a “but” in there:
          “streetcars have higher initial costs, but they’re cheaper …”

          • I’d be totally down with this point, except in order to install the new streetcars, they had to … tear up the old streetcar rails. Things change, budgetary priorities change, popular opinion of certain transit changes. As implemented, this has been a disaster for those of us hoping the money would be better spent.

        • Also they’re a smoother ride, which allows them to be more open inside (because you don’t have to hold on to poles for dear life while the driver weaves around traffic and over potholes).

  • Or we could stop wasting money on this and rebuild our schools.

    • Why? Oh right because they were so horribly made twenty years ago. What a waiste of money. Money is not the problem with the schools.

      • Or built over 45 years ago and never renovated. And has blackboards / bookcases between classrooms instead of walls, definitely no doors. Other rooms have no windows.
        I think you don’t actually understand what some of these schools are like.
        Fixing the buildings won’t solve our problems in schools, but it’s still a necessary step.

    • What do you mean? All the schools in NW look perfect. What else do you need?

  • Do they not realize the ridership is mediocre at best and that is with it still being completely FREE. Guess Bowser figured she was stumped on the homeless shelter proposal debacle she needed to find somewhere else to negligently waste taxpayer money!

    • Union Station to Georgetown would be waaaaaaaaaaaay more popular. The street car would actually go to the densest parts of the city.

  • The mobs of people currently crowding the H Street section of the line are clearly calling for its extension across town.

    • Out of curiosity, has anyone here ridden the streetcar (aside from once for posterity)?

    • To be fair… mightn’t people actually ride the streetcar if it actually covered a useful distance?

      • Would any of you guys use the Union Station to Georgetown line? I live near Eastern Market, and I’d still rather hop on the metro and walk from there to Georgetown, than walk up to Union Station and take the streetcar to Georgetown.

        • ah

          Your best bet would be to take the Orange/Blue line to Rosslyn and then hop in the cross-Potomac gondola to Georgetown.

      • Do people actually use the Circulator that currently covers this route? That would seem to be a better indicator of popularity.

        • I use the Circulator from the 5th and Mass stop near my condo to Georgetown often. It’s always crowded. During rush hour it’s slow going because of traffic, which a streetcar’s dedicated lines wouldn’t have to worry about. Lots of people and crowded during rush hour. More-frequent service during rush hour would be great. I’d support the new extended streetcar route — it’ll be a mess during construction but worth it in the long run. I’d say yes!

  • If we choose option 4, dedicated lanes, this would be big for the city. A dedicated west to east route straight into Union Station. It would cinch up the middle like a nice belt.

    • A dedicated west to east route straight into REDEVELOPED Union Station.

      I would love a dedicated north to south route from Silver Spring to the newly developed Walter Reed then along GA avenue Downtown then all the way to the new Wharf development.

  • You have to love their…well, I don’t know what you love but what a disaster.

    Ridership is already falling month over month from its opening, and it is still free to ride. When Atlanta (has a streetcar system of similar length and ridership) switched over from free to charging a $1 to ride, ridership plummeted almost 70%

    The DC Streetcar was more than 5 years late and 2.5 times the original cost and all it is, is a slower, less adaptable bus. The only crew pushing for extension is the GGW set, who have never found an amount of someone elses money too large to spend on something like this.

    • The street car was built pretty much solely for the benefit of political insiders who bought up lots of cheap H Street real estate back in the 90s and early 00s. That’s it. It was a vehicle to bring in upper-income urban professionals and turn the neighborhood around.
      Any other politicians would have built it in the most needed area (the K Street corridor).

      • the h street and k street corridors were always intended to be two parts of the same line. a full cross-city line will have significantly greater impact than any particular segment on its own.

    • Chutzpah? 😉

  • Forget more streetcars… Let’s build a monorail to Georgetown!

  • Choochoo7! Well done Dan

  • The Bro Express!

  • The streetcar needs to be Fast, Frequent, and Reliable (FFR).

    K Street has a serious capacity problem. Since the 100+ ft wide roadway cannot fit any more cars or buses, the implementation of an effective mass transit system is paramount (each streetcar holds 150 passengers). Alternative 4 has dedicated lanes through 70-90% of the route (excepting Mount Vernon Square and possibly H after the Hopscotch bridge). That should be the floor for building a FFR system (the “no build” option is better than shared lanes in Alternative 2).

    Building from the floor FFR requirements, DDOT should also implement signal prioritization for the streetcars (i.e., lights turn to green as they approach). To conserve resources, the system should use tried and tested overhead wires (if beautiful cities like Paris and Bern, Switzerland can then less-than-historic K street can too) instead of the untested and more expensive battery charging stations they are considering for aesthetics only. Hopefully by saving resources with the wires (and bare bones stations), they can extend the line closer to Georgetown University–not a mile distant. In doing so, the line would be accessible to 7,000+ students.

  • I support the expansion as long as it’s done RIGHT. And yes, they should use the dedicated lanes on K street.

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