Coming in late 2013: streetcars to H Street and Benning Road! The H/Benning line will be the first segment of the new DC Streetcar system to offer passenger service and is currently in the final 20 percent of roadway construction.
H/Benning is a 2.4-mile segment that will serve residents, businesses, commuters and visitors between Union Station on the west and the Anacostia River on the east. Ultimately, the H/Benning line segment will be just one piece of the overall One City Line that will traverse the city east to west from beyond the Anacostia to the Georgetown waterfront.
When passenger service begins, Benning Road and Oklahoma Avenue will serve as the eastern turnaround point. A Car Barn Training Center (CBTC) has been proposed near this location at Benning Road and 26th Street NE. (See the most current renderings in the project library!) The CBTC will handle storage and light maintenance of the vehicles, and will also feature an educational/training component for local high school and community college students. The western turnaround is on top of the Hopscotch Bridge, where passengers can disembark and follow a pedestrian path into Union Station. A future phase for DC Streetcar will pick up at Union Station and travel to the Georgetown Waterfront, primarily along K Street.
The work for H/Benning began in 2008 through the Great Streets Project. Great Streets implemented key improvements on H Street and Benning Road, such as new parking lanes, sidewalks, reconstructed roadways and new street lights. Streetcar infrastructure needs (including streetcar tracks and pole foundations) were also included as part of the roadway reconstruction project. Great Streets was completed in 2011, which helped ignite a revival of the H/Benning retail and entertainment corridor.
Final design and construction for the H/Benning corridor began in 2012, kicking off the last 20 percent of work to be done to make the corridor streetcar-ready. This work includes design and construction for the turnarounds and proposed CBTC, installation of poles and overhead wires, and track installation and final roadwork for the turnarounds. The latest construction details are available here. This final push of streetcar roadway construction will end in Fall 2013, when the District’s streetcars will be delivered to H/Benning to begin their testing and certification process.
Many decisions about the H/Benning line are still to come, including the system’s hours of operation and how much it will cost to ride the streetcar.