tracks are coming to H Street NE!
The District of
Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT) has informed ANC 6A that
the streetcar tracks are under design and will be installed with the H
Street NE Streetscape Project. The installation of the streetcar
tracks will link Minnesota Avenue and Union Station metro stations as
well as connect the communities both east and west of the Anacostia
River. In addition, as H Street and Minnesota Avenue business
develops, the use of a streetcar will decrease traffic and the demand
The existing Metro bus usage on the X2 line (Benning Road and H Street
line) has one the highest average weekday usage in the city – 16,333.
Accounting for the X1 line that also uses H Street NE, the daily average
exceeds 20,000 riders. This clearly indicates that our combined
communities will be able to maximize the city’s streetcar investment.
In addition, it would complete the first east/west public transit
corridor in our city. The Georgetown/Crosstown to Minnesota Avenue
metro is already being partially served by the DC Circulator Bus - from
Union Station to Georgetown. The streetcar from Union Station to
Minnesota Avenue would complete this corridor.
The H Street NE Streetscape will be the first funded initiative under
the Great Streets Initiative. The project is a $20 to $23 million
investment in the one and a quarter mile H Street NE retail and
residential corridor on Capitol Hill. DDOT will be soliciting bids
for construction this late spring / early summer with the start of
construction slated for fall of this year. The H Street NE
Streetscape project is a direct result of the Office of Planning’s H
Street NE Reutilization Plan and DDOT’s H Street NE Corridor
The request to include the streetcar tracks was spearheaded by five
Advisory Neighborhood Commissions the past fall – ANC 5B, 6A, 6C, 7A,
and 7D – and actively championed by Councilmember Ambrose. The
goal of this effort was to encourage the city to “measure once and cut
twice” with regard to comprehensive street revitalization programs.
There are three pending projects - H Street NE Streetscape, Benning
Road/H Street Starburst Plaza and the Benning Road Refurbishment –
totaling over an estimated $42 million slated to start next year.
The idea of then returning a few years later to install the streetcar
tracks over these newly improved streets was untenable as it would
adversely impact the business on this corridor.
This is from the H
Street NE Corridor Transportation and Streetscape Study, Chapter 7,
page 29. The link is: http://www.bakerprojects.com/hstreetne/rpt_final.asp?pdf=1_H_St_7PublicRealm.pdf#pdf
The light rail
cars will NOT be as wide as they are presented in this diagram.
They will be no bigger than the current buses that run on H
Street. As the diagram
shows, there will be six “lanes” on H Street.
The lanes closest to the curb will be for parking.
The remaining four lanes will be for traffic.
The light rail system will share a lane with vehicular traffic.