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DC launching round of talks on streetcars

Travelers along Benning Road NE have been asking about the installation of streetcar tracks in the construction zone. One commenter during my online discussion Monday wondered about this: "I don't understand why DC is putting street cars in the middle of Benning Road. It covers maybe 6 blocks. ... Is there a plan to further expand street car service? I'm also concerned about safety. The cars are in the middle of 4 (or 6) lanes of highway. How are people supposed to get on and off the cars without causing huge traffic disruptions?"

Have I got a forum for you. The District Department of Transportation has set up a series of discussions across the city to talk about its ambitious plans for a network of streetcars. Whether we'll all be around to ride these things might be among your questions.

The first project, a 1.5 mile line in Anacostia, is behind the original schedule. The District says it should be operating by fall 2012. Meanwhile, those tracks are being laid along Benning Road not because a line is about to start, but because Benning and H Street were being rebuilt anyway and it wouldn't make sense to tear up the pavement twice within a few years.

Still, planning is underway for a set of lines that would provide new links for city neighborhoods, supplementing Metrorail, Metrobus and the Circulator buses.

Here's a link to the schedule of open houses, which start Thursday and continue through Nov. 4, ward by ward. They all start at 7 and end at about 8:30 p.m. You can see display boards, maps, iand other information about the proposed streetcar network and can talk to members of the District's project team.

I like this back to the future idea, but there are plenty of unresolved issues about safety and basic design. Use this link to read more about the city's proposals for a Transit Future.

By Robert Thomson  |  October 21, 2009; 9:18 AM ET
Categories:  transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, streetcars  
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Maybe finally we'll get some answers about these street cars. It seems to be a big mystery. No ones seems to have answers to the questions residents of NE & SE have. I look forward to attending one of these Open Houses.

Darrin Davis, Owner
Anacostia River Realty

Posted by: RealtorDarrinDavis | October 21, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

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