Posted tagged ‘streetcars’

Streetcars from Georgia Avenue’s Past

September 8, 2010


The first of forty-five Electric Railway Presidents’ Conference Cars (PCC) entered service in Washington on August 28, 1937 serving 14th Street. Additional PCC car orders followed quickly. The Georgia Avenue line received thirty-eight in 1939. There were a few different streetcar lines that ran through Park View: the 70, 72, and 74. The 7th Street/Georgia Avenue line stretched from the 7th Street wharves in the south to the District border at Georgia and Alaska Avenues.


The image above shows a PCC car on the 74 line turning around at its northern terminus near the Upshur Street gates of the Soldiers’ Home. Like many U.S. cities, the District discontinued streetcar service in favor of buses with the last day of streetcar operations in Washington being January 28, 1962.

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Streetcar Tracks Unearthed in Park View

July 9, 2010

Streetcars rails on Georgia Avenue

This year seems to be the year that people notice streetcar rails being unearthed — whether due to roadwork or just as a natural course of roads aging. Already in 2010 tracks have been unearthed on 14th Street, NW, in Columbia Heights, have surfaced at Florida Ave. & 8th Street, NE, and were noted on the reconstruction of 11th Street, NW, between Massachusetts and Rhode Island Avenues.

To add to what is sure to be a growing list of sightings are tracks now visible on Georgia Avenue between Princeton Pl. and Quebec Pl. There is a small area of the street disturbed by recent utility work that clearly shows the old rails under the surface. As the Middle Georgia Avenue Great Streets project moves further along in the ensuing months, more rails are sure to be uncovered.

This area is currently included as the final segment of the first phase of DDOT’s streetcar plan. The section going through Park View has stops roughly planned for the intersections of Georgia Ave. at Irving and Rock Creek Church Road. One wonders if the reintroduction of streetcars to the city will prompt instructive advertising such as the old system’s switch to Pay-as-you-enter cars did in 1909 (below) or if riders will be left to figure it out on their own.

From the Washington Times, June 25, 1909

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Update on Lower Georgia Avenue Streetcars

May 5, 2010

Part of Mayor Fenty’s kick off of the four day DC Streetcar Showcase which is located on the site of the old DC Convention Center (9th & H Streets, NW), was the news release below issued today, May 5, 2010. Part of that news release included information that DDOT, in partnership with WMATA, had developed a final report for the streetcar system. Instructions on how to get to the April 2010 Final report are in the news release.

DDOT's proposed streetcar plan for lower Georgia Avenue, May 2010 (From DDOT)

In looking at the final report, I found the above map of particular interest. While still in Phase 1 of the streetcar buildout, if I’m reading the document correctly, lower Georgia Avenue seems to be the final segmant of Phase 1.

I was also drawn to the location of the proposed stops for the streetcars. In the case of Park View, it appears that there will only be stops near Georgia Avenue’s intersections with Irving and New Hampshire Avenue. While I understand that we don’t want to overburden the system with too many stops, I think there needs to be one around Georgia and Park Road, especially if the redeveloped Park Morton is going to be there.

You can access all DDOT documents on streetcars here, and the full Fenty news release is after the jump>> (more…)

Then and Now: 11th and Monroe Street, NW

April 9, 2010

Streetcar turn around 11th and Monroe11th and Monroe Park

(Historic image ca. 1950s from slide in author’s collection)

The northwest corner of 11th and Monroe Streets was once the turnaround for the streetcars that traveled along 11th Street. After streetcar service was discontinued in Washington, it was turned into a park. A plan to redesign the park is currently on the table and is scheduled to come before ANC 1A at their April 14th meeting held at Harriet Tubman Elementary School. Below is a view of the proposed plan.

(Image from the Department of Parks and Recreation)

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DC Streetcar Improvement and Instruction, 1909

March 26, 2010

In addition to just being interesting, I was wondering if a similar campaign would be launched to teach Washingtoians how to use streetcars when they are finally up and running again. 

The Brightwood Line traveled along Georgia Avenue. 

From the Washington Times, June 25, 1909

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DDOT’s Proposed Streetcar Lines Through Park View

November 5, 2009

At the end of last night’s UNC meeting, John Hanly from the UNC Board mentioned that he’d attended the Ward 5 DDOT presentation on streetcars and gave a quick overview of the pros and cons. He also stated that from the information he’d received the exact route of the line proposed for Georgia Avenue hasn’t been determined yet. He also reported that DDOT wants and needs community support for streetcars or there is still a chance it might not be built in some areas. This is a far different message that I received when I attended the Ward 6 Transit meeting.

If you were unable to attend any of the DDOT open houses, the presentation boards are now available online, and by clicking on the map below you will be able to see the proposed three phases of the streetcar build out. Below is Phase 3. You’ll notice that in addition to the Georgia Avenue line there is a line that goes down Columbia Road that would also service Park View.

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Ward 1 DDOT Streetcar Meeting Tonight

October 26, 2009

Tonight is the second of the eight open houses DDOT is hosting to give the public the opportunity to talk with DDOT representatives about the future of transit in the city, with a particular focus on streetcars. If you can’t make it to tonight’s open house, you can attend the Ward 4 open house tomorrow. The locations are:

Ward 1: Monday, October 26, 2009
Columbia Heights Education Campus, 3101 16th Street, NW

Ward 4: Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Brightwood Elementary, 1300 Nicholson Street, NW

All of the open houses will be held from 7 pm to 8:30 pm

You can read about my impression of the first open house held in Ward 6 here>> One question I don’t have an answer to yet is when the Georgia Avenue line is planned to begin construction. I suspect the first two lines will need to be operational first. You can see from the image below that Georgia Avenue south of the Georgia Ave/Petworth Metro is included in the projected first Phase of the project.
DC Streetcar Plan, Phase 1(Image from DC’s Transit Future: Proposed Streetcar System Plan available at DDOT Open Houses)

First DDOT Transit Meeting Held in Ward 6

October 23, 2009

Last night, DDOT held its first of the series of 8 meetings focused on DC’s Transit Future. The presentation was less of a formal presentation than a series of information stations with maps, information, and DDOT staff to talk generally about transportation’s future in Washington, and specifically about streetcars in Washington.

DDOT Director Gabe Klein did address the crowd — and ceded the floor to other speakers including Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells — but most of the information was to be gained from asking questions at each information station.

One thing became very clear at the assembly — DDOT and the City are committed to building the streetcar system and have increased its importance so that its completion can be as fast as possible. Even with this priority, it will be years before the system is entirely built out.

Currently, the streetcar system is designed to be created in three phases. Phase 1 includes the currently being built MLKjr. Ave/M Street (Anacostia) line, the K St/H St/Benning Rd line, and the yet to be started Georgia Ave/14th St/7th Street line.

Good news for lower Georgia Avenue is that the initial phase of the Georgia Avenue line would be from the current Metro station at New Hampshire Ave. south to Florida Ave/U Street, west to 14th Street, and then south to K Street.

Two quick comments I have are:

  1. The system as planned still doesn’t solve the mass transit deserts the City currently has — such as any cross-town route that would connect upper NE and NW to each other without needing to go through downtown to get to the other side of Rock Creek Park; and,
  2. Perhaps due to DDOT’s belief that development and change closely follows streetcar routes, the emphasis of the proposed streetcar lines closely aligns and connects the established Neighborhood Investment Fund Target Areas.

Below is a video of DC streetcars before they vanished from the City’s streets when the last streetcar ran on January 28, 1962.

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Streetcars still desired in D.C. According to Washington Business Journal

October 15, 2009

The Washington Business Journal reported today that the D.C. Department of Transportation is planning a series of citywide community meetings to drum up support for the streetcar system that Mayor Adrian Fenty and Councilman Tommy Wells, D-Ward 6, are attempting to revive after previous setbacks.

The Ward 1 meeting will be Monday, October 26, 2009, at the Columbia Heights Education Campus, 3101 16th Street, NW, from 7 pm to 8:30 pm.

The open houses beginning later this month are to present the findings of the DC’s Transit Future study. DC’s Transit Future studied short-term and long-term surface transit improvements for the District, potentially including additional limited-stop bus services, bus rapid transit (BRT), and streetcar services. The open houses will focus on DDOT’s proposed streetcar network.

Streetcars in the City

August 6, 2009

The Washington Business Journal came out with an article today, D.C. wants to revive streetcar plan, which starts out:

D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty’s transportation director is trying to rejuvenate plans to return streetcars to the District by preparing to search for federal funding, seeking support among elected officials and forming a dedicated management team.

Streetcar tracks are being laid along South Capitol Street in Anacostia and H Street NE near Capitol Hill, for two pilot lines first planned under former Mayor Anthony Williams but long since delayed. Two years ago, Fenty’s former director of transportation planned for the Anacostia line to be up and running by 2009 with three cars the city had already purchased. Now officials are shooting for 2012. And D.C. still has not determined how to accommodate the ban on overhead wires in the areas governed by the L’Enfant Plan, including downtown and inner neighborhoods such as the H Street corridor.

Later in the article, it includes the text:

Simultaneously Klein, the founder and former CEO of the On the Fly food service, is trying to bolster support for a much larger network of lines along some of the city’s heavily trafficked corridors, such as K Street and Georgia Avenue NW and 8th and M streets SE.

It will be interesting to watch how this issue develops.


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