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Washington - October 2009

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Washington, DC ― Streetcar Priorities May Change

Rail Transit Online, October 2009

Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty has reportedly agreed to support a revised streetcar construction program for the city that would make a line along the H Street corridor the first priority, pushing the Anacostia demonstration project to second place.

Work on the 1.5-mi. (2.4 km) Anacostia line connecting Good Hope Road with Bolling Air Force Base is already underway, although locations for several stops on Howard Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue still have not been finalized because of opposition by some residents concerned over increased traffic.

The H Street plan is being championed by Councilman Tommy Wells, whose 6th Ward includes the corridor that is emerging as a shopping and nightlife hub. There is also widespread neighborhood support for a streetcar system and tracks are already being installed as part of repaving and other infrastructure work. The proposed route would start at H and 3rd streets NE, then run down Benning Road to Oklahoma Avenue NE.

The D.C. Department of Transportation (DDoT) is currently exploring rolling stock procurement options and identifying potential sites for a maintenance base. "What the mayor has challenged us to do is accelerate the H Street project, to make it operational faster," Gabe Klein, director of DDoT, told the Washington Business Journal. "We are now working to make it operational as soon as is practically possible."

Meanwhile, Wells plans to submit a bill that will overturn a law banning overhead wires in central Washington, greatly simplifying traction power distribution, DDoT will be holding community meetings in all eight wards to obtain public input on other proposed streetcar routes.


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