Thursday, April 07, 2011

Streetcar Meeting 4/20


On Wednesday, April 20 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m., District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Interim Director Terry Bellamy and Scott Kubly, Director of DDOT’s Progressive Transportation Services Administration (which is managing streetcar implementation), will appear at a public meeting to update the community on progress toward completion of the first operational segment of the H Street-Benning Road streetcar line and other streetcar activities. There will be an opportunity for community members to ask questions.

The meeting is being hosted by Advisory Neighborhood Commissions 5B, 6A and 6C. It will be held at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, which is located at 1333 H Street NE. This location is accessible by Metrobus routes X2 and X9 and Capital Bikeshare (stations at 13th and H Streets NE and Bladensburg and Benning Roads NE).

We encourage you to attend this meeting to help continue to demonstrate strong citizen support for D.C.’s streetcar system. Please help spread the word about this meeting via email, blogs, Facebook, Twitter or by printing and posting a copy of a flyer.


Anonymous said...

Here are my questions:

(1) Where will the street car end on the west side? (It currently stops at 4th & H NE).

(2) How does DDOT justify the expense of the streetcar when there are already bus routes running the exact same route?

(3) And a question to myself, am I the only one not overly excited about the streetcar?

Anonymous said...

to answer question 2: this line is only the first in what DDOT plans(hopes) will be a 33 mile system which better connects areas of town which currently under served by Metro.

Streetcars hold more passengers than buses.
Streetcars bring economic development that buses do not.
And, frankly, some people are more willing to ride a streetcar than a bus.

Anonymous said...


1. I believe the long term plan is to have a cut out in the hopscotch bridge and terminate inside union station.

2. Permanent infrastructure is a much stronger driver of growth than temporary infrastructure. Multiple studies have shown this, although I'm posting from my phone and can't look them up easily.

3. Possibly.


curious cat said...

Does the street car have precedence over other vehicles on the road making it immune to traffic jams? If so it would be an effective mode of transportation in the city. Not sure how it can be enforced considering the fact that rest of the traffic is allowed to utilize the street car lane.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I hope the streetcar will be able to run through red lights, sideswipe cars that may be double-parked, and cut out some of the stops that the X2 currently makes.

One concern is that the streetcars--purchased from the Czech Republic-might have specialized parts. I don't think DDOT has considered the maintenance cost of a streetcar system, and they certainly haven't figured out how to power the cars. As with many operations in this city, the "planning" behind the streetcars seems bass-ackward and motivated by politics.

Dave B said...

They need to get rid of the X2 or modify it to be like an X9a that stops at the same interval as the X9 just at different stops in between. God forbid somebody walk 2 or 3 more blocks to get to a bus stop.

The X2 currently renders half of my X9 trips less useful than an X2 and will do the same to the streetcar, because I can't get out and walk past traffic

Anonymous said...

Anon 1016, they chose the type of system they did because it would be a more universal type system to repair. Unlike the more specialized, expensive battery operated (wireless) systems suggested by the Comm of 100 and the CHRS which had proprietary technology and would be more difficult to work with.
Come to the meeting. These guys are actually smart and informed and have their stuff together. The streetcar system has been in planning mode for many years now.

GreyDesk said...

Streetcars critics would be more credible if they would do their research.

It is okay to be against such an investment, but it seems a lot of folks against it are badly misinformed.

@ Anonymous 9:10
1. There are very detailed plans for the Western terminus and Union Station stop available from DDOT. There were some questions about the right of way, but let's see what DDOT has to say on the 20th. Current tracks end at 3rd, not 4th btw.

2. The initial capital expense is justified because streetcars are CHEAPER to run than buses on heavily trafficked lines. They have been shown to spur levels of private development dollars many times more than the initial investment, thus increasing DC's total revenue income.

@ Anonymous 10:16

"I don't think DDOT has considered the maintenance cost of a streetcar system, and they certainly haven't figured out how to power the cars."

You may think that, but there is no doubt that DDOT has considered maintenance cost (btw, buses last about 10-15 years - streetcars last 40-50).

You are also mistaken about method of powering the system. It is a done deal -- the city is going to power the initial lines with a single overhead wire.

Doubters--please talk to DDOT officials when they come around--You'll find that there are some sharp and dedicated planners and good planning behind the system.

Anon 12:26 said...

@curious cat and anon 1016

I would be ecstatic if our streetcars can beat a Big Wheel in a mile-long race. Buses in NYC cannot.

Link to video of the NYC race below

mizage said...

did someone say 4/20?

Anonymous said...

I just hope it doesn't turn out like the Cincinnati subway:

And what happens when a double decker bus filled with tourists comes down Bladensburg Rd and crosses through to Maryland Ave?

charles said...

Yes Mirage, they're having the meeting on 4.20 because anybody who thinks the streetcar will be running in a year must be stoned out of their mind.

oboe said...

Is there any chance the track will bend?

(Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Anonymous said...

In the long-term, the electrification of mass transit will be very beneficial to the climate by reducing emissions (assuming we can get off coal). Buses could run on electric, but are not well suited for it. Many currently run on natural gas, which is better than petroleum. Keep this in mind when considering the 'cost' of the streetcar. Also, has NO ONE been to Europe?

reflexive said...

what's the best case scenario for when we can actually take a ride on one of these suckers?