Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Study eyes extension for D.C. streetcar startup

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A 21-page study published on the website dcstreetcar, released Monday, urges Washington, D.C. to reconsider the eastern terminus for the H Street/Benning Road streetcar line, now slowly advancing into construction phases after numerous delays.

The Benning Road Streeetcar Extension Feasibility Study examines two alternate termini in lieu of the current option at Oklahoma Avenue NE. Each alternative offers connections with Metrorail; a short stub-end extension up Minnesota Avenue terminus would link the streecar line with WMATA's Orange Line, while the Benning Road terminal, reached by an extension further east, would tap the Benning Road Blue Line Metro station.

The study deems the extension plans as "[c]onsistent with the District's planned streetcar network and as one of the earlier phases of reaching the full 37-mile system" planned to cover the nation's capital.

Local media analysis suggests that the Benning Road option could be more cost-effective an option, generating an 82% increase in streetcar ridership, offsetting higher capital costs (up 13%) and higher operating costs (up 17%). Left unclear is

The line's western terminus, Union Station, remains unchanged by the study's recommendation. Streetcar riders will have access to WMATA's Red Line, as well as Amtrak, MARC, and VRE rail services and local bus options.