Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Streetcars Advance With $200 Million Plan

Running the on the streets by 2012(?)
The District's Department of Transportation has submitted a plan to City Council outlining the roll out of the long planned and overdue streetcar system. The all important ETA: spring of 2012. At the outset there will be sections of two separate lines, the H Street NE line and the Anacostia line. 

The H Street line will run form a planned maintenance facility at 1st and H, NE to Oklahoma Ave and Benning Rd NE; almost exactly two miles. These cars will serve the H St corridor-Atlas District and Union Station, but will not cross the Anacostia River or connect with the Anacostia streetcar. Both are just portions of what the $200 million will attempt to accomplish; two fully functioning lines linking Union Station and Benning Road Metro station as well as 11th Street Bridge to the Naval Annex on South Capitol Street SE.

The Anacostia line will initially be very short; less than a mile long. It will run from the Anacostia Metro station down Firth Sterling then turn south along South Capitol Street. The southern terminus will be the 2750 South Capitol Street SE.

These two segments will be powered by electrified overhead wires, but additions to the system will be powered by another source; likely to be in-car batteries or an electrically powered underground wire system.

The hours of operation of the streetcars will be 6:00AM-12:00AM on Monday through Thursday, 6:00AM-2:00AM Friday, 8:00AM-2:00AM Saturday and Sunday 8:00AM-10:00PM. The fare has been set at $1.00, identical to Circulator! Free transfers with a SmarTrip card. Pretty amazing.

This is for real! These first two "mini-segments" are all but assured to be completed. Council has set aside the $34 million to kick off construction and was awaiting this report (full PDF) before disbursing the funds to DDOT. As for the rest of the system, including another 40 miles or so of track, touching all wards; there is a plan to assemble the money. The city will re-purpose some existing revenue streams, apply for federal grants and collect revenue from passenger fares.

Great, great news!