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No Sunday Service for Streetcar but Better Late than Never? – “Streetcar to start passenger service next Saturday!”

by Prince Of Petworth February 18, 2016 at 1:31 pm 80 Comments


Holy crow he got the divorce after all. Hope you watched that video

From the Mayor:

“Big news, DC! Streetcar to start passenger service next Saturday! Visit http://www.dcstreetcar.com for more info.”

From DDOT:

“After more than a decade of planning, construction and testing, Mayor Muriel Bowser and District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Director Leif A. Dormsjo announced today that the DC Streetcar will open for full passenger service on Saturday, February 27 at 10:00 a.m., following a brief ceremony.

“I’m proud to announce that Streetcar is ready for passenger service,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “I want to thank the residents of the H Street and Benning Road communities for their patience during the construction and testing of the system. As a way of saying ‘thank you,’ fares will be free on the system for an initial period of time.”

The opening ceremony will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, February 27 on 13th Street, NE between H Street, NE and Wylie Street, NE (intersection of 13th/H). Members of the public are invited to attend the ceremony.

Following the ceremony, the DC Streetcar standard hours of operation will be:

Monday-Thursday: 6:00 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Friday: 6:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.
Saturday: 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.
Holidays: 8:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
No Sunday service

Early in the Bowser Administration, DDOT contracted with the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) to conduct a top-to-bottom review of the streetcar program. The review found that while the system had numerous issues, there were “no fatal flaws,” and the streetcar system could move forward once the issues were addressed. Leif Dormsjo, the Director of DDOT, assembled a team of consultants and managers to fix the outstanding issues and get Streetcar up and running.

“Mayor Bowser charged my team with taking a failed Streetcar program and making it work for District residents. After years of overspending, mismanagement and lack of direction, we made it happen,” said Dormsjo.

H Street/ Benning Road Line is the first segment of the DC Streetcar system. The Mayor has committed to expanding the line current line east and west. For more information on the full DC Streetcar system, visit the DC Streetcar website at www.dcstreetcar.com.

Residents interested in attending are encouraged to RSVP at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dc-streetcar-opening-tickets-21785191093.”


  • J Street


  • [rrrrr]

    According to the website they still haven’t figure out how you’ll pay fares? Is this for real?

    • palisades

      haha yes it’s for real. So ridiculous. And yet I’m still SO EXCITED

    • Anony

      Absolute joke, isn’t this the first thing you do?

      People need to be fired over the colossal failure of the streetcar!!

    • Ungi

      I can’t stand those honor system streetcars like in Baltimore. You’re on there thinking, “half these people are riding for free” and regretting being the chump who paid. Their system depends on cops wasting their time randomly checking tickets.

      Put a turnstile somewhere.

      I swear they want this to fail so they can point at it and deny any future streetcars on dedicated lanes done right. 15 minute headways are the deathknell. An average person can walk the strip in that time.

    • blindbible

      That’s probably the reason why the, “…fares will be free on the system for an initial period of time.” Bowser claims it’s as a thank you for your patience, but now the real reason is clear.

  • I Dont Get It

    Did hell just freeze over?

    • Anonamom

      I was wondering why I was so damn cold today…

  • SaraEP

    Hm, still not believing this.

  • Smittty

    Disagree with the headline – the streetcar should have never happened. Hope it proves me wrong – H Street is a great neighborhood.

    • jaybird

      It better be since that’s the only place it goes.

  • Necostia

    “It’s not officially running until kids throw bricks at it.” ~X2

  • PetworthMom

    We paid all this morning and no Sunday hours?

    • Survivor77


    • PetworthMom

      That should have said “money,” obviously.

    • AnotherBdaleResident

      Gotta leave room for diagonal parking on Sundays…

  • Anon X

    What? No sunday service? why not? Thats dumb.

    • Right? I just can’t believe that.

      • Anonymous

        “Everyone knows that no one needs to go anywhere on weekends.” – WMATA

    • Evan Tupac Grooter

      Church lobby?

      • bll

        I was wondering the same thing…I haven’t been paying much attention to this, but is there anywhere along their route that allows that wonky angled parking that they have near other churches?

      • Anony

        Yup, that is it my friend. Funny huh?

        • I Dont Get It

          Please say you are kidding!

      • textdoc

        Yep, I was wondering about this too — if it was to pre-empt complaints from Sunday churchgoers.

        • TJ

          Jesus would ride the trolley.

        • BlueStreak

          Is there a church on H Street that allows angle parking on Sunday? I didn’t think there was. I know the narrative is good, but I feel like some facts are in order.

  • Anon H St

    Agreed w PP that no Sunday service is extremely dumb. There is a pretty strong H St brunch scene that would be helped by streetcar service. Just another in a string of head-scratching streetcar decisions…I really hope it’s not to avoid interfering w Sunday churchgoer parking.

    Anyway, STREETCAR!!

    • Anony

      BINGO!!! That’s actually what I heard from an inside source…don’t wanna upset the church folk

      • I Dont Get It

        Q: What would Jesus do?
        A: Ride the damn streetcar!

      • Nathan

        For f*cks sake.

  • skj84

    Do I actually think the opening will go off without a hitch? No. Will I be there bright and early with popcorn to watch the proceedings? Yes.

  • Llama

    On the 7th day, the streetcar rested.

  • andy

    I want very, very frequent stats on who is taking this, and from what stop to what stop. I am very skeptical that there is a true transit and travel benefit to having the Neighborhood of Make-Believe trolley on H Street. Are people really waking up, taking Saturday morning Metro to Union Station and then taking the streetcar to get pie or mussels? Going from the Starburst/Benning to Sidamo? Is anyone going to actually commute using this from WV Ave to a Senate Office Building?

    Should’ve just bought the world’s most beautiful buses, painted some lines, and called it a decade.

    • Well, Daniel Tiger obviously…

    • H St Resident

      Agreed. I can’t image WHO is going to use this. You can walk 1/4 mile through a bus depot (Union Station), to take a street car moving 6 mph to where? An RFK parking lot (aka Oklahoma Ave). Incredible waste of money.

      • Anonomnom

        Just to play Devil’s Advocate (so fitting for this blunder of a project), there are a lot of homes and businesses there and this is a more efficient connection (well, in theory it SHOULD be) to the Red Line than the X2. I know every time I’ve done the walk from Union Station to 14th street and H, I had wished that this thing was running.
        Pretty much, I expect this thing to fail, but hope it doesn’t. I want it to prove me wrong.

        • timmyp2353

          I don’t think it even goes that far does it? I always see it stop at the top of the hill at like 4th or something. Hopefully I’m wrong.

    • rockcreekrunner

      if this was the whole system, you might have a point. but the long-term plan called for it to go down K street to Georgetown (which believe it or not probably wants it, as Georgetown’s lack of connectivity to the rest of the city is causing it to lose its status as shopping capital of DC). this would indeed get plenty of use and be a great addition to the transportation network. there are other lines planned, which would also be significant improvements (if done properly) over existing, crappy bus lines to neighborhoods underserved by reliable public transit (e.g., 16th street heights).
      problem is, this first stretch was planned so poorly, the political will has been lost. personally, i’m confident they wouldn’t make the same mistakes again (the simplest one being it needs a dedicated lane), but seems like most people aren’t.

      • anon

        I absolutely think they’ll make the same mistakes again. We saw that with metro out to Tysons – no extra track for emergencies, all above ground so it gets hammered in weather, etc. There is no reason to believe that they’ll learn from their mistakes here.

        • rockcreekrunner

          there weren’t really many other options for the silver line, and it was an accomplishment just to manage the inter-jurisdictional battle to get it built at all. building above-ground is standard practice for commuter rail everywhere in the world, not a mistake, yes, it sucks in the snow, but the other 355 days a year, you’re fine. nbd.
          the mistakes for the streetcar are much, much easier to fix than adding an incredibly expensive third rail out to dulles. you literally just lay the track in a different part of the road.

    • Formerly ParkViewRes

      Why don’t you think people will take it?

      • andy

        I’m skeptical that they create a streetcar system given the experience to date and the obvious problems and alternatives. If the entire system is a car-following slug crawling down H Street, once people who have to get somewhere get past the novelty they will probably do what they do in other congested areas where transit only runs a short distance: use the sidewalk.

        • Formerly ParkViewRes

          It has been a mess to date, no doubt. But there are tons of streetcars up here in Toronto and they’re used very frequently. On one of the busier streets it’s so slammed during rush hour you can’t move and yes, we do not ride it then because we end up walking next to it just as fast! At less busy times it’s a good alternative to walking.

          • textdoc

            The streetcars in Toronto don’t have dedicated lanes?

          • Formerly ParkViewRes

            Nope, sure don’t! Well some do, but most of the streetcar routes share lanes with cars. We usually walk to where we’re going from where we live in about 25-30 minutes, but last Monday it was pretty cold so we took the streetcar up there for the first time. It took about 15 minutes on the streetcar and then a 5 minute walk to the restaurant.

    • CRT

      I live at 19th and D and work next to Union Station. So count me down as one person that will likely be taking this regularly. I’ll also probably take it from 19th down to the heart of H St if I don’t feel like walking vs a cheap Uber.

      • skj84

        Hi Neighbor! And yes, I’m in the same boat. I usually walk/uber to H street, and it’s nice having a non X2 bus option if I’m lazy/don’t want to walk/weather is crappy.

        • Ungi

          I’m all for transit, but why would this be an improvement on the X2?

    • tom

      Yeah, it will be interesting see who uses this outside of as a novelty. At best it functions like a supplement for people using that part of the X2 route.

    • Ward Two

      Yes, actually. Right now we don’t go to H Street because of transit access—and yes, I have no interest in the X2.

  • jes


    • Anon H St


  • AG

    Can someone find a route map with stops? I’ve scoured the site and can’t find anything useful. It’s a bunch of outdated PR that doesn’t actually tell me how I’m supposed to ride this thing.

    • Leeran

      Same… can’t find stop intersections but would love to see.

  • petworther

    Finally! This is the moment I’ve been awaiting for the last three years. I’ve always wanted a transit option that replicates the route of the X2 only slower.

  • Rosedale

    Given that, at BEST, the streetcar might be used by tourists and people Metroing in from the suburbs on the weekends, wouldn’t it make much more sense to temporarily limit service to Friday, Saturday, and Sunday rather than not offer service on Sunday? Just one more really bad decision in a long, long series of bad decisions.

  • Anon. No. 5

    What kind of amateur marketing is #choo choo? Is the streetcar powered by steam?

    Any rational transportation person knows a streetcar goes ding ding!

    • phenomenal!!!!

    • andy

      NO!!!! CLANG CLANG CLANG Went the trolley!!!!

      • Janie4

        But the bell on the trolley went ding ding!

      • andy2

        and thank you – Karen Walker is shaking a bottle of blue bibbies and singing in my head.

    • Logan

      Come on now. It’s clearly the much more sensical #choo/choo!7

    • anon

      Actually this streetcar makes a hideous sound akin to mashing a button on an old school phone- not even a cute ding ding!

    • Clearly Ralph Wiggum is doing their branding. Also, if it really is #choo/choo wouldn’t that render the hashtag inoperable? I didn’t think you could include punctuation in hashtags. Another WMATA fail.

  • TJ

    Part of the deal that Bowser cut with Church groups along the route for their support was to prevent Sunday Service so as not to mess up their parking.

    • anon

      Personally I think parking should be banned on H St altogether. All these folks driving in from MD to go to church for two hours out of one day should have zero say in how anything operates (yes, even if they used to live in DC long before I was a twinkle in my parents’ eyes).

  • textdoc

    I won’t believe it ’til I see it.

  • Anon H St.

    No Sunday service has now been added to the list of infuriatingly bad decisions made w/r/t the streetcar. Also on the list:

    1. No actual connection with Union Station
    2. No dedicated lane
    3. Tracks next to the parking lane instead of in the middle of the road

    I’m sure more terrible decisions will be revealed as it starts running. God it just makes you want everyone who ever touched this project to be fired and sentenced to walk back and forth through that awful bus parking area in union station forever

    • JHS

      there are signs that point you out toward H Street but only once you’re up on the bus level. walk out through the bus terminal and out on the Hopscotch Bridge and you’re there. maybe 10 min walk from the metro platform.

      • jcd

        Thanks! I will try it out as an alternative to the 90s buses or the S2/4 to the X2 from my Dupont location.

    • Ward Two

      These weren’t decisions by DC.

      1) Amtrak changed its mind late in the game
      2) It’ll come…here they’re being sneaky.
      3) Yeah, this was a bit odd. Should have been flush with the curb, parking in between it and the traffic lane.

      • Anon X

        There’s no way they can do a dedicated lane now… Maybe if they put it in the middle lanes, but they put them on the right side. Even eliminating parking, wouldn’t allow the a dedicated lane. They’re not being sneaky. They’re being dumb.

  • jcd

    I’m not sure how I get here from the Union Station Metro stop. Do I pass through the bus station? Or the parking garage? I haven’t used either of those. Is there signage inside Union Station? I hope they update the dcstreetcar.com website before they open–they’ve certainly had enough time to prepare.

  • I Dont Get It

    The story is now up on wapo and is woefully missing comments. (HINT)

  • JCo

    “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished. And DC Streetcar blessed the seventh day and declared it holy.” BOWSER 2:1

  • MVTneighbor

    Hope, I can help DDOT people to design a useful streetcar with our taxes

    Opinion | How to Build a Streetcar That Works
    The New York Times
    A line that actually improves quality of life for New Yorkers must be fast, frequent and reliable. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/10/opinion/how-to-build-a-streetcar-that-works.html?_r=0

    Goal: save time

    Dedicated lanes
    Limit the number of streetcar stations
    Traffic light coordination
    Connection with other public transportation options
    Serve high-density neighbourhoods

  • Anony

    So happy I live near a Metro!


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