D.C. envisions K Street streetcar line

Written by Douglas John Bowen

Washington, D.C.'s District Department of Transportation (DDOT) on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 released its recommended preference for a streetcar line linking Union Station with the tony Georgetown neighborhood, primarily along K Street.

The Union Station to Georgetown Premium Transit Alternative Analysis (AA) Study was funded through a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant. The proposed line would in essence be an extension of the H Street/Benning Road streetcar, now under construction, stretching east of Union Station to Oklahoma Ave. and Benning Road. The extension itself, running west of Union Station, would continue traversing H Street before running on New Jersey Avenue and then K Street for much of its length, terminating at Wisconsin Avenue in Georgetown.

The route is part of the city’s ambitious plan to eventually install 37 miles of streetcar lines to complement MetroRail service and the city’s bike share program. Running on K Street would include installation of a dedicated transitway, still open to some dispute by some.

DDOT’s 130-plus page report includes an update on dual-mode streetcar development, which it considers critical due to the ban on overhead wires through much of the original city, including Capitol Hill.

Georgetown activists during the 1970s vigorously endeavored to be excluded from the city’s MetroRail system, then under construction. The proposed line outlined Tuesday still falls short of Georgetown University, a potential ridership generator of some size.