The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is planning to implement a 37-mile streetcar system to connect all eight wards of D.C. A route along H Street and Benning Road is already underway and officials hope to open it up for operation in mid-2013.
This small 2.2-mile section is a small part of a bigger 22-mile priority line that will eventually connect Georgetown to the rest of the district, thus increasing the amount of easily accessible transportation for Georgetown residents and students. The route will be similar to that of the Circulator, going from H Street to K Street and then under the Whitehurst Freeway.
The DDOT cites many benefits to the streetcar program on their website. The main issue with the current metro rail system is that while it provides good transportation throughout the city, it does not adequately connect neighborhoods. They believe streetcars are the remedy to this situation. There are also environmental benefits to the system as it will ideally decrease the amount of short, inner-city car trips taken, traffic congestion, and overall air pollution.
In June, DDOT released a Request for Information (RFI) in order to solicit feedback from industry experts about the most effective way to construct the system. They have received twenty responses from different organizations and are planning to begin looking over them in the next few months.
“The next step in the process is to review the submissions. We will use the information to help advance our planning and development efforts, likely resulting in a Request for Qualifications notice later this year,” DDOT Chief Engineer Ronaldo “Nick” Nicholson said in an interview with the Georgetown Patch.
The project is moving forward well, however, neighborhood groups in Georgetown still must approve the addition of the streetcars, especially since Georgetown is a historic area. With all the benefits that the streetcars will bring to the area, they will hopefully be approved and soon become an additional transportation option for students.
Photo from DDOT Website
Via Georgetown Patch