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Washington - June 2006

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Washington, DC ― Suburban Streetcar

Rail Transit Online, June 2006

Both the Arlington County and Fairfax County boards of supervisors have approved a study of a 4.7-mi. (7.6 km) streetcar line along Columbia Pike, a major artery serving the suburban region.  The plan endorsed by the boards was recommended in the  Columbia Pike Transit Alternative Analysis study conducted by the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for the two counties.  Initial plans call for installing tracks along each side of the Pike and purchasing 11 modern streetcars that would run on six-minute headways during peak commute hours.  Officials in both counties are confident that the $120-million rail line, linking the Pentagon City Metro station in Arlington with the Skyline area south of Route 7 in Fairfax, will reduce traffic congestion and spur economic growth.  As a model, they point to the downtown Portland Streetcar, which carries about 9,000 weekday riders and has triggered an estimated $2.8 billion in development.  “It brings additional mass transit to an area that is densely populated with a lot of businesses and offices,” Fairfax County Supervisor Penelope A. Gross told The Washington Post.  “Buses get mired down in traffic.  Streetcars, we hope, will be a little bit more streamlined.”  Still to be identified are sources of capital funding, although much of the cash will have to come from local governments.  The next step will be an environmental study, which could take up to 18 months to complete. 

Web site: www.piketransit.com


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