Thursday, July 18, 2013

Notes on a DC North/South streetcar line

Proposed North/South Streetcar Line
Washington DC has extensive streetcar plans: a 37-mile system, with a 22-mile priority subset that includes a North/South line terminating at Takoma. See a DCStreetcar.com page, which includes --
"The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is initiating an Alternatives Analysis to study DC Streetcar service in a proposed 9-mile, north-south corridor through the District. The prospective line would run from the Southwest Waterfront, cross the National Mall, travel up 14th Street, follow Georgia Avenue, and eventually terminate at the Takoma or Silver Spring Metro Stations, among other possibilities. The Alternatives Analysis will help determine the final route and mileage.
"This study is expected to start in Summer 2013."
Points to study, I'd assume, would include pluses & minuses for various terminus options and where a line to Takoma could terminate. I know there's a strong desire for the N/S line to serve the planned Walter Reed development. You can see an illustration of an alignment more likely than the one on the DCStreetcar.com page, if the line terminates at Takoma, in an October 2011 Washington City Paper blog article. There are local concerns about routing the streetcar through Takoma on non-arterial residential streets, and if the line were to terminate at the Takoma Metro station, having it pass through the Cedar Street NW underpass and cross pedestrian station-access paths, also about the location of the terminus at the site. Myself, I see a Takoma terminus, perhaps on the Blair Road NW side of the Metro station, as providing a development boost to Takoma that could spur creation of office space, which I believe would be a good complement to all the residential development going on around here.

On the DC council, Muriel Bowser's will be a key voice in all decisions. Mary Cheh is chair of the Committee on Transportation & the Environment.

The idea of running the line to Silver Spring rather than Takoma was supported, in 2011, by Montgomery County Councilmembers Hans Riemer and Nancy Floreen, who make up two-thirds of the council committee, T&E, that oversees transportation initiatives, as reported by Dan Reed in Just Up The Pike. Of course, a Silver Spring terminus would be outside DC and would require Montgomery County (or Maryland or federal) funding, with Montgomery County participation in design and construction.

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