The streetcar waiting game took an optimistic turn yesterday, as WAMU reported that District Department of Transportation Director Terry Bellamy put the odds that the H Street-Benning Road streetcar line will “go live” this year at two in three.
So what exactly does “going live” entail? There are a few things that have to happen before the line is truly operational: test runs, safety reviews, and finally picking up passengers and collecting fares.
I asked DDOT streetcar spokeswoman Dara Ward which version of “live” applied here. The answer? The whole shebang. Bellamy thinks there’s a better-than-even chance that the streetcar will be transporting and charging passengers along two miles of tracks by the end of December. (Given all the delays thus far on the streetcar, though, holding your breath is not advised.)
One other streetcar-related clarification: DCist reported yesterday that Office of Planning Director Harriet Tregoning expects the streetcar to have an absolutely transformative effect on transportation access in D.C.
Tregoning, the planning director, offered a brightening statistic for when the streetcar actually hits the rails. Currently, she said, only 15 percent of D.C.’s population live within a reasonable walking distance of rail transportation; once the H Street-Benning Road streetcar line goes live, that number will grow to 45 percent.
I asked Tregoning if that could possibly be true. The answer is no. Tregoning says that increase to 45 percent comes from the city’s Streetcar Land Use study and refers to the entire 37-mile system, not just the initial H Street-Benning line.
Photo from DDOT