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Washington - May 2005

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Washington, DC — Streetcar Route Change

Rail Transit Online, May 2005

The proposed Anacostia streetcar demonstration project may be shifted from an unused freight right-of-way between Pennsylvania Avenue SE and Bolling Air Force Base to city streets because, say District of Columbia transportation officials, the railroad trying to sell the route does not own all of the land.  Director of Transportation Dan Tangherlini says a detailed investigation after CSX made a $16-million deal to transfer the 2.7-mi. (4.34 km) route to the D.C. government found multiple landowners, including the District itself.  “We weren't really getting what we thought we were getting,” Tangherlini told The Washington Post.  But a spokesman for CSX told the Post the railroad has “…the ability to sell the property to the District for its intended use." 

However, said Tangherlini, the on-street option — primarily along Minnesota Avenue — would be closer to potential riders and the tracks could be installed during road improvements already scheduled for construction.  “Why not save the $16 million and really do it where we eventually want to do it anyway?” Tangherlini told the Post.  “We've got to sell the community on this option or maybe put the thing on hold while we fight with CSX.”  He said the CSX line was selected because construction would be faster and easier.  The on-street alternative would be 0.5 mi. (0.8 km) shorter but would weave through four streets requiring at least three right-angle turns.  Details of how the line would be built, such as whether to place tracks near the curb or in the median, would have to be decided if the street-running alternative is selected.  The streetcar was scheduled to open in the fall of 2006. 


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