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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mayor Gray Declares A Firm Deadline For The H Street Streetcar To Begin Running

DSC_2091 by DDOTDC
DSC_2091, a photo by DDOTDC on Flickr

At the four minute mark of one segment of a WJLA interview with Mayor Vincent Gray aired this morning, a caller asked him about the H Street streetcar. The caller (without supporting evidence) attacked the streetcar as something that will "paralyze" traffic and limit parking and Gray gave a well-articulated defense for the streetcar, outlining what it will bring to the city. At the 5:29 mark of the same interview segment, Mayor Gray stated that "We'll have passenger service probably starting in January, but no later than early February, when we get an additional car."

I'm not sure if Gray has emphatically set a deadline like this for the streetcar before, but he sounds very confident that we'll see streetcars running down H by early February or possibly as soon as January.

24 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, sure. He just didn't specify a year...

Anonymous said...

Nor decade.

Anonymous said...

*Yawn*

Anonymous said...

Have any of the streetcar meetings addressed the issues posed by double parking on H St? I have no idea how the streetcar will ever get past the carryouts and deliveries. It seems like MPD will need to be very active ticketing and towing?

Anonymous said...

Lazy people are will be crying a river once the street car starts running.

Anonymous said...

I'm all for Gray supporting a speedy start to the streetcar but I hope this doesn't cause an unwise rush to completion. We've already waited a long time, we can wait a few more months to ensure they have thought everything through. The absolute worst case scenario is that they start running these things and they are dead in the water from the get-go due to traffic, mechanical, or some other unaccounted for issue.

The fact that they are only now starting to address questions like where deliveries will go or how they will deal with double parking blows my mind. I have no idea how they will deal with the lane switch at the Starburst or the crowds of people in the middle of the hopscotch bridge.

So yeah-- let's get this thing running quickly, but let's not fall all over ourselves to meet some arbitrary politician-imposed deadline.

M a dollar sign E said...

As long as they dont interfere with my double parking as I run in to get my Horace n Dickie's, I don't care

John said...

Alan, Welcome to the blog and thanks for the post.

I agree with the concerns of the caller, and I'd like to hear from a transportation specialist how the streetcar will facilitate traffic flow on H Street. With all of the traffic lights, bus stops, double parking, and cars trying to parallel park, there are many opportunities for the streetcar (on a fixed track) to get stuck in ways that a bus could maneuver. I don't own a car, so (selfishly) I should be in support of the streetcar. But I just don't see the improvement to traffic flow. The only "benefit" I see is related to a statement a friend of mine made that has always bothered me: she said, "White people don't ride buses". I am white, and I ride the bus. Maybe the streetcar will get new riders who wouldn't take the bus but I think that's a sad outcome to count as a benefit, and I hope it doesn't become the "elite" transportation option for the H Steet corridor, with lower-income people on the bus and higher-income people on the streetcar.

I also agree with Anonymous 2:49 PM - there's no need to rush through the final stages of the project before other aspects have been thought out. Crosswalks on the bridge, for example, or integrating payment with metro's SmarTrip.

inked said...

John,
I too share the concern that this last stretch of the streetcar is being rushed. Hopefully they intend to put in a crosswalk on the bridge. I do know that you will be able to use your SmarTrip card to pay your fare.

Also, plenty of white people ride the X2. I hope they can resolve the blockage issue with aggressive ticketing. I think the streetcar can be useful as a commuting option, but its main strength seems to lie in bringing visitors to and from H Street. I think the biggest group of people who don't want to ride the bus in any neighborhood are visitors (white, black, or whatever), mostly. because they don't already know the buses well.

Alan Page said...

John,

I've lived in the neighborhood for 12 years as of January 2014 and I have rode on the X2 just as long. I have never - repeat, never - been on the X2 when it had to veer around a double parked car. And this even goes back to the bad old days when people would regularly double park to run in and get something from the liquor store (or just stop, in a traffic lane, to talk to a pal on the sidewalk). The odds that a double parked car will jam up the streetcar seem slim to none to me. Anything is possible, sure, but I don't see it happening. Most of the double parkers on H, in my experience, involve a driver letting out a passenger to run in a store to get something (or a driver picking up someone from a hair salon), not a driver double parking and leaving their vehicle unattended in the travel lane. I've never seen someone park in the traffic lane and, say, go catch a play at the Atlas (LOL).

Alan Page said...

That should read 11 years, not 12. I hate typos, but not enough to delete and re-post that again. LOL.

Anonymous said...

The bus is gross. I'm sure the street car will be gross too. That's how poor people get around....

Anonymous said...

Alan-- you've never had the X2 go around a double parked car? What about all of the delivery trucks that double park in the right hand lane?

Rob said...

In Europe, trams occasionally get blocked in traffic. Usually the driver leans on the bell and that brings the driver of the offending vehicle running pretty quickly.
Hopefully they'll have a tow truck ready to roll as soon as a tram driver calls in a blockage.

Anonymous said...

@m a dollar sign e said...
Horace & Dickie's is on 12th. How will they get credit for your obstruction if you park on H st.?

heyktb said...

I personally can't wait to see people who double park get tickets. Personally. I would like to see the city attach one of those iron cow catchers like they have on the front of the old time trains to the front of a big ass truck and just plow those cars out of the way. I would set up a folding chair on H street right by the chicken place which seems to be the preferred stop for double parkers and just watch with a dumb ass grin on my face. Hell, I could sell tickets! Who's with me??!

Anonymous said...

It seems as if parking enforcement is stepping up their efforts. A friend was parked on H St the other night (not illegally) and when we returned there was a sheet of pink paper that looked like a ticket stuck on the windshield. It was actually just an "informational warning" that enforcement is about to be stepped up and listed all the ways you could incur a violation.

Anonymous said...

I know this will not be well received, but I wish they would just swallow their losses and shut down this unnecessary and financially reckless trolley idea before it actually launches. The wires have already made the street look worse. Do we really think it's a good option for people connecting at Union Station to get over to H? They should just designate an H Street circulator bus from Union station and save the hundreds of millions the trolley system will lose over the next decade.

Anonymous said...

@2:05 - at this point, it's too late to turn back on the H Street line. But they shouldn't commit to building any additional routes until they see how this one does in the coming years.

Anonymous said...

Everything will be fine.

Anonymous said...

ANON 2:05 - I agree!

I'll just walk, or use bikeshare, or take one of the buses, or take a cab. The trolley is unnecessary and not likely to attract hoards of tourists.

Anonymous said...

The H ST line is only one segment of the built out streetcar system. Yes, this segment alone seems to have little utility, but think big people!


http://www.dcstreetcar.com/projects/22-mile-priority-system/

-cb

Anonymous said...

CB, would you take a bus across town to Georgetown? I'm guessing, "no", unless you have a few hours to kill. So why in the world do you think a streetcar will be any quicker? Also, think about how many years it took DDOT to put in the first <2miles of track along H Steet. At the rate of 2 miles in 7 years, we're not going to see the 22-mile system in our lifetime.

Anonymous said...

I just don't understand the infatuation with the streetcar or how it will improve transit options. I actually think it will make things worse. We've already dealt with years of construction for one tiny stretch of track and I have no idea who will use it for anything other than the novelty aspect. We have a robust public transit system in place. New streetcar systems are for cities that have nothing in place. Let's improve Metro rail and bus lines instead. - Joe