D.C. and federal officials still are looking at connecting Union Station to Georgetown, via a streetcar line through downtown, despite the trouble the District had adding trolleys to a 2.4-mile stretch of Northeast.
The District Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration are scheduled to host a public meeting later this month to talk about the project that could bring 3.3 miles of streetcar track from 3rd Street NE to 33rd Street NW, mostly centered on or near K Street.
The May 17 discussion at the Carnegie Library (801 K St. NW), the first public gathering on the expansion since 2014, will focus on the environmental and cultural effects of a new streetcar line in Northwest. Community meetings on the project also are slated for fall 2016 and early 2017.
After years of delays and setbacks, the District’s new streetcars started picking up passengers for the first time along H Street and Benning Road NE in February.
It’s unclear when a line to Georgetown would open.
It’s said that Superman is faster than a speeding bullet. This weekend, a group of local runners will see whether they’re faster than a D.C. Streetcar.
Members of the H Street Runners Club will race alongside the streetcar during the inaugural “Running of the Streetcar” event this Saturday at 3 p.m. Runners will meet at the foot of the Hopscotch Bridge (H and 3rd streets NE).
More information from the Runners Club:
Inspired by our club motto –“Faster than the Streetcar!” — this event involves a fun run along the H Street/Benning Road Streetcar Line followed by libations at some of our favorite H Street establishments.
We’ll begin by boarding the Streetcar at the Hopscotch Bridge stop for a ride all the way to the end of the line at the intersection of Benning Road and Oklahoma Avenue, NE — a distance of approximately 2 miles. From there we’ll proceed to run or jog “faster than the streetcar” back to the start of the line (or thereabouts).
After the race, runners will meet at several H Street NE bars to toast victory or drown their sorrows.
Photo via Facebook / H Street Runners
We want to know: Have you hopped aboard? Take our poll to let us know. And if you’re feeling especially chatty, tell us how your ride was in the comments below.
Photo via Twitter / DDOT
The empty H Street streetcar will be making more trips up and down H Street NE starting tomorrow as the beleaguered tram gets ready for safety certification to carry passengers.
The District Department of Transportation announced today that the streetcar will begin “Pre-Revenue Operations” tomorrow, meaning that the system will simulate normal service for at least three weeks without passengers.
The tests are the final round of dry-runs before the streetcar can be approved to carry passengers. However, this is the second time the streetcar has entered the PRO phase. The last time was in September 2014, when the streetcar failed to pass the final round of test runs.
The announcement today comes four days after the Washington Post editorial board wondered whether it might be wiser to pull the plug on the streetcar altogether.
For at least the next three weeks, empty streetcars will run about every 15 minutes during its planned hours of operation, which are:
- Monday-Thursday: 6 a.m.-midnight
- Friday: 6 a.m.-2 a.m.
- Saturday: 8 a.m.-2 a.m.
- Holidays: 8 a.m.-10 p.m.
DDOT is warning pedestrians, drivers and cyclists in the H Street area to watch for the streetcars and use caution traveling through the H Street corridor.
Martin Di Caro, the transportation reporter for WAMU 88.5, delivered some familiar news on The Kojo Nnamdi Show today: the H Street NE streetcar is still not ready to carry passengers, and likely won’t be ready by the end of the year.
The streetcar is set to start a final test phase that will take 21 days, after which D.C. Fire and EMS officials will be able to grant final approval to open to the public, Di Caro reported for WAMU.org.
However, officials have not yet set a date for the final testing phase, called pre-revenue operations, or PRO, will begin. Di Caro said it is very unlikely that the testing and approval from the Fire and EMS Department will finish by the end of the year:
“The fact that only 27 days are left in the year, therefore, shows time is running out in 2015. Moreover, there is no indication as to when oversight officials, led by Fire Captain Kelton Ellerbe, will give the go ahead to start PRO. His office continues to grapple with project managers inside the District Department of Transportation over the approval of documentation for the line’s safety systems.”
In September, Mayor Muriel Bowser said that the streetcar would carry passengers by the end of the year, a promise that will likely not come true.
H Street Corridor, Eastern Market Popular for Bikeshare Members — The most frequent trip for Bikeshare members is between Union Station and H Street NE, followed by the journey between East Capitol Street NE to Eastern Market. [chart-it]
Black Teen Whose Detention Sparked Protest Says His Race Caused Suspicion — Jason Goolsby, the 18-year-old whose detention on Capitol Hill was caught on video and sparked a protest, yesterday told the Washington Post that he was seen as a threat because he is black. [Washington Post]
Tracking Every Time District Officials Have Been Wrong About Streetcar Opening — City officials have offered many proposed start dates for the streetcar along H Street NE since 2009. But the cars still aren’t carrying any passengers. [Washingtonian]
Food Network Star Might Visit H Street NE Eatery This Week — Guy Fieri and the crew of his Food Network show, “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” might make an appearance on the H Street corridor on Friday. [Hill Now]
Councilman Charles Allen of Ward 6 said last night he is “hopeful” that streetcars on H Street and Benning Road NE will start picking up passengers before 2016.
Allen, whose ward includes the H Street corridor, told Hill Now that he regularly sees crews testing the streetcars and the vehicles appear ready to take the public for rides soon. But he said passenger service this year isn’t certain.
“It’s certainly my hope that it’s open by the end of the year,” said Allen, who has fought to keep the streetcar project on track.
Last month, Bowser suggested that the streetcars will start ferrying the public down H Street and Benning Road this year, saying she’ll take the streetcar during the first year of her administration, Washington City Paper reported.
The District started installing streetcar tracks in 2009.
Sections of the parking lanes on H Street NE are slated to close temporarily beginning tomorrow as part of work intended to help streetcars travel safely through the area, according to a District Department of Transportation notice.
Drivers still will be able to travel on H Street during the closures. But as crews work, drivers will lose access to the travel lanes that are next to the parking lanes.
The parking lanes closures include the parts of H Street between:
- 3rd and 14th streets NE from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow.
- 3rd and 7th streets NE from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday.
- 7th and 10th streets NE from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.
- 10th and 12th streets NE from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.
- 12th and 14th streets NE from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday.
During the closures, crews will put in red striping along the parking lanes.
“The red striping is an important safety upgrade that will address the safety and operational matter of vehicles parking outside of the white line parking boundary,” the DDOT notice says. “The DC Streetcar design-build team will be adding red striping between the parking lane and existing concrete track slab to alert motorists of open-door hazards within the streetcar guideway.”
H Street NE Streetcars Still Running Empty — The end date for practice runs of the H Street corridor’s streetcars is unclear. D.C. transportation officials still don’t know when the streetcars will start carrying passengers. [FOX 5]
Ex-TV Anchor Removed from Northeast Capitol Hill School Lawsuit — Former WUSA anchor J.C. Hayward, a onetime Options Public Charter School board chairwoman, was removed from a high-profile lawsuit alleging financial mismanagement at the northeast Capitol Hill school. [Washington Post]
Vegan Diner and Bar to Arrive on H Street Corridor This Fall — Fare Well, a diner-style vegan restaurant from the owner of Sticky Fingers bakery in Columbia Heights, is slated to come to the H Street corridor in the coming months. [Hill Now]
The District’s ‘Streetcar Ninjas’ — D.C. has brought on streetcar expert Timothy Borchert to serve as “launch manager” for the District’s streetcar line on the H Street corridor. D.C. Transportation Director Leif Dormsjo calls Borchert and his staff “streetcar ninjas.” [Washington Post]
Driver Involved in Capitol Barricade Crash Charged — Antonio Pierorazio, 51, who crashed into the barricade near the U.S. Capitol Friday morning, has been charged with felony destruction of property and unlawful entry, U.S. Capitol Police said. [WTOP]
Waiting Outside Rose’s Luxury on Barracks Row — The Washington Post talks to people who wait hours to grab a table at Rose’s Luxury on Barracks Row. “It feels like an accomplishment,” Majia Welton, a 31-year-old health-care policy consultant, said while waiting in line. [Washington Post]
Synthetic Drug Use in District — The D.C. Fire and EMS Department reported 439 overdose cases involving synthetic drugs in June and 149 of them in July. [DCist]
U.S. Capitol Police Approve Expansion of Powers — Language approved by the U.S. Capitol Police Board last week would allow officers to search possessions of people within the grounds of the Capitol. The board said it will work with congressional overseers to put signs around the Capitol when the law takes effect. [WTOP]
Streetcar Skeptics — District Department of Transportation director Leif Dormsjo announced that streetcars would begin carrying passengers “within months” along the H Street corridor, but public reaction still remains skeptical after years of unfulfilled promises. [WAMU]
Councilman Allen’s Tree Bill — Councilman Charles Allen of Ward 6 introduced a bill last week that would increase the amount of space covered by trees in the District from 36 percent to 40 percent by 2032. It also raise fines and fees for people who chop down trees with a circumference larger than 55 inches. [Washington City Paper]
History Lesson at the Former Buchanan School — The old Buchanan School at 1325 D St. SE will soon be redeveloped into a condominium and town house project. The D.C. Board of Zoning Adjustment gave final approval to the proposal yesterday morning. [DC Urban Turf]
Streetcar Might Open Soon — Managers of the D.C. streetcar say the streetcar line along the H Street corridor is opening very soon. [WAMU]
Man Accused of Anti-Gay Attack in Navy Yard Sentenced — A man accused of attacking a man he believed to be gay at the Navy Yard Metro station in March was sentenced to one year in jail. Raheem Sills, 20, avoided hate crime charges by accepting a plea bargain. [Washington Blade]
Bison Steaks, Corn Tortellini Coming Tomorrow to Barracks Row — Garrison from chef Rob Weland will open tomorrow at 524 8th St. SE with bison steaks and corn tortellini. [UrbanDaddy]
No Such Thing as Free Education — A guaranteed spot in Capitol Hill public elementary schools will run you at least $550,000. Home ownership in school district boundaries’ is more expensive than lower-ranked schools in the far eastern part of D.C., but less expensive than tier-one schools in Northwest. [Hill Now]
One-Year ‘Fine-versary’ for D.C. Streetcar — The D.C. Department of Public Works has given 1,064 tickets and collected $106,400 in fines since the agency began ticketing vehicles blocking the streetcar on H Street and Bennning Road NE on July 14, 2014. [DCist]
Navy Yard Oyster Bar Appears to Pull Out of Lease — Navy Yard Oyster Co.’s arrival to Near Southeast seems to be no more. The wine and oyster bar has appeared to pull out of its lease for a property in the neighborhood, according to Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District president Michael Stevens. [Washington City Paper]
Graphing Income Among Metro Riders — A new collection of data by the Social Computing Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology maps out the household incomes of Metro riders. Eastern Market Metro station users are among the riders with the highest median incomes along the Blue Line. [GreaterGreaterWashington]
DDOT Public Safety Event Coming to H Street NE — Representatives of the District Department of Transportation are slated to be at 8th and H streets NE from 3:30 to 6 p.m. to kick off a series of public safety events. The events are part of “Vision Zero,” an initiative to “eliminate all deaths and serious injuries to users of the District’s transportation system by 2024,” according to DDOT. [The Hill is Home]
(Updated at 12:40 p.m.)
H Street Streetcar Update — Streetcars on H Street NE are “months away” from carrying passengers, District Department of Transportation director Leif Dormsjo said yesterday. [WAMU]
Former Capitol Hill-Area Teacher’s Sex Abuse Charge Dropped — A former substitute teacher at Options Public Charter School is no longer facing a first-degree sexual-abuse charge in connection with an incident at the E Street NE school. Symone Greene, 22, was arrested in October and charged with having oral sex with a student. Prosecutors have since dropped the charge. [Washington Post]
Start Over on Hill East Redevelopment Plans — The D.C. Department of General Services has thrown out proposals to transform the former Eastern Branch Boys and Girls Club building and will restart the planning process, after redevelopment plans faced opposition from Hill East residents. [Capitol Hill Corner/Charles Allen]
A Look at Starburst Plaza’s ‘Twilight Farmers Market’ — Frozen Tropics has photos of the inaugural “Twilight Farmers Market,” which is slated to run every Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. until mid-September at the Starburst Plaza. [Frozen Tropics]
Nothing Fishy About Restoration — Monty Hoffman, founder and chief executive officer of PN Hoffman, plans to renovate the Maine Avenue Fish Market in Southwest. Plans include a retail and restaurant addition, utility and accessibly updates and several new structures. [Washington Business Journal]
Remembering Kevin Sutherland — Friends of the man stabbed to death on a train at the NoMa-Gallaudet University Metro station last weekend met in Southeast yesterday to remember his life. Sutherland was an American University graduate and a digital political strategist. [WTOP]
Streetcar Named Patience — Missteps such as a labor union dispute and flash fire in February are testing the patience of both opponents and supporters of the streetcar system on H Street NE. Dan Tangherlini, former interim general manager for Metro, said the problems the streetcar is facing are similar to issues Metrorail faced during its introduction. Since the project was approved almost 10 years ago, the streetcar program has failed to transport any passengers. [Washington Times]
‘Bungled’ Budget — Mayor Muriel Bowser claimed in an email blast last week that the D.C. Council failed make footage from police officer body cameras exempt from the Freedom of Information Act. Now, she will be responsible for finding $1.5 million to fund the requests. “The Council took, took some more, and then punted,” she said. [Washington City Paper]