D.C. Streetcar Expansion May Be Further Trimmed

New Washington, D.C. Mayor Bowser may deviate from the prior administration by not supporting the expansion of the streetcar line. This is a double-blow to streetcar advocates, as Mayor Gray had already pared down the new streetcar's expansion plans.
March 7, 2015, 5am PST | Irvin Dawid
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"In a significant departure from the previous administration, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is not committed to extending the District’s first streetcar line since 1962 beyond the opening 2.2-miles along H Street and Benning Road Northeast, jeopardizing plans her predecessor viewed as the lynchpin for the city’s future economic development and multi-modal transportation," writes WAMU transportation reporter, Martin Di Caro.

What is left of former Mayor Vincent Gray’s vision of a priority streetcar system — pared down from 22 to 8 miles by D.C. Council funding cuts last year — is the subject of an internal review.

Lines to Georgetown and Anacostia would potentially be eliminated. "The administration’s focus right now is getting the H Street line up and running as soon as it is safe to do so," writes Di Caro. "Long-term plans for Streetcar will be made following that,” said Bowser spokesman Michael Czin.

Di Caro writes that cutting limiting the streetcar line to "the borders of a single neighborhood is deflating for transit advocates who were once excited by the prospect of nearly two dozen miles of streetcar tracks crisscrossing Washington. Some are now questioning whether a 2.2-mile line would have any value, especially considering it has cost more than $160 million to build."

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Published on Wednesday, March 4, 2015 in WAMU
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