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Proposed Routes Highlight Report on D.C Streetcar System | Transportation

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Proposed Routes Highlight Report on D.C Streetcar System
Proposed Routes Highlight Report on D.C Streetcar System

This story comes to us from Abby Lane:


The Committee of 100 on the Federal City (C100) today released a detailed assessment of the proposed 37-mile streetcar system for Washington, D.C.  The report, “Building a World-Class Streetcar System for a World-Class City,” analyzes the proposed routes and highlights seven recommendations to bring streetcars back to D.C.

In general, the report authors found that the proposed route plan makes sense and should boost investor confidence in several areas that need new centers of economic life. However, the assessment also concluded that further study and refinements are needed along some routes.

Click here to read the full report.

“As streetcars move from planning to construction, we must all work together to develop a realistic and detailed plan to finance, govern, and manage this system,” said Meg Maguire, Committee of 100 member. ”We look forward to working with others to build a world-class streetcar system.”

The report was prepared by the Transportation Subcommittee of the Committee of 100 on the Federal City with the help of Alec Stewart, a graduate student at George Washington University.


In 2010, Committee members reviewed the only confirmed part of the plan – the proposed routes.  They drove and photographed the entire 37-mile route to develop a better understanding of existing conditions and to assess the likelihood that a streetcar line would stimulate economic development. 

Of all the routes in the survey, the H St./Benning Rd. corridor was judged to be the highest priority, “…ripe for permanent capital investment in public transit.  However, DC Council should take steps to mitigate the effects of gentrification to protect low-income people from inflated land values,” the report states.  It also notes the unresolved issues with Amtrak and an adjacent property owner involved with linking H St. to Union Station.

The report calls for rethinking the proposed routes in Anacostia in close collaboration with the community.  DDOT has now begun a more open community planning process through the Environmental Assessment of the Anacostia segments.

The report also offers seven recommendations for achieving a well-planned, world-class street car system, including:

1.    Show us the money – Develop a streetcar business, financial and governance plan, and an equipment and facilities master plan.

2.    Strengthen community character through appropriate economic development – Develop a land use plan to strengthen the neighborhoods streetcars will serve.

3.    Move out of the past – Establish a baseline assessment of streetcar technology worldwide and move rapidly towards a wireless system.

4.    Buy for a wireless future – Acquire only new streetcars that can eventually be converted to wireless technology.

5.    Obey the law – Comply with NEPA and all other environmental and preservation laws.

6.    Banish the devil from the details – Rethink some routes; develop a scaled street plan for each phase.

7.    Don’t just do it, do it RIGHT – Engage the public in substantive and sustained collaboration. Craft a comprehensive Streetcar Enabling Act to ensure a world-class system for a world-class city.




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