Surprise! Looks like the H Street-Benning Road streetcar won’t be ready in time to make a shiny new holiday gift for residents of the District after all.
On The Politics Hour this afternoon, WAMU 88.5 transportation reporter Martin DiCaro said that Mayor Muriel Bowser‘s office and “people within the project” now indicate that the streetcar, anticipated for years and years, still has to undergo an open-ended safety-certification process. Also, a date for a final required 21-day “pre-revenue operations” phase hasn’t been set, according to WAMU.
“The mayor is committed to opening [the] streetcar as soon as it is safe to do so,” Bowser’s office said in a statement provided to the radio network, adding that “pre-revenue operations” are expected to start “in the coming weeks.”
The news comes after the administration appeared to suggest, also on Kojo Nnamdi’s program, in September, that the streetcar would be up and running by the end of the Mayor’s first year in office. “I think it’s very unfortunate the way [the] project has rolled out and it’s not Mayor Bowser’s fault,” said D.C. Councilchairman Phil Mendelson on today’s broadcast, assured that the streetcar will run one day. “For many years, it proceeded with, how should I say, [a] build first and plan afterwards [strategy]. We’re seeing the consequences of that now.”
DiCaro noted that the project got restarted when Bowser brought on District Department of Transportation Director Leif Dormsjo, meaning that the city conducted a “top-to-bottom review,” rebuilt streetcar platforms, and retrained personnel, among other measures.
“I enjoy watching the trial runs,” Nnamdi chimed in.
Photo via D.C. Streetcar/Flickr