At a May 17 public meeting at the Carnegie Library, District Department of Transportation staffers shared their plans to extend DC Streetcar — the spanking new system operating since February on a 2.4-mile stretch of H Street — to Georgetown. One of the options presented has dedicated streetcar lanes for nearly the entire route; the other has dedicated lanes only from Mount Vernon Square to Washington Circle (Foggy Bottom). Without dedicated lanes, the cars mix in with automobile, bicycle and pedestrian traffic.
The proposed route, about three and a half miles, takes New Jersey Avenue to a reconfigured K Street, cutting down under the Whitehurst Freeway. Overhead-wire, wireless (underground or battery) and combination power systems are being considered.
Once the planning process is complete, construction might start in 2022, with the line opening a few years later.
The current H Street line had an average weekday ridership in April of about 2,300, with about 3,200 riders on Saturdays. The absence of dedicated lanes reduces the speed of the short trip, making it less attractive to would-be passengers.
A May 19 meeting will cover the line’s eastward extension to the Benning Road Metro station. Another meeting is expected to take place this fall.
Streetcars last ran in Georgetown in 1962.