Mayor Gray Meets with Community and Announces DC Streetcar Interim Connection to Union Station

12/06/2011

DC Streetcar Program Gaining Momentum Heading into 2012


Media Contacts
Pedro Ribeiro (EOM), (202) 727-5011
John Lisle (DDOT), (202) 671-2004

(Washington, DC) – Tonight, at a public meeting on the H Street/Benning Road Streetcar line, Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced that an interim connection to Union Station would be used. The Mayor told the crowd of residents and business owners that the District will move forward with plans to link the streetcar to the train station via the Hopscotch Bridge that carries H Street over the Amtrak tracks.

“A connection to Union Station, even if it’s only an interim solution, is necessary,” noted Mayor Gray. “It is critical we have this connection in place for the opening of the Streetcar system in July 2013. The benefits afforded by a close connection to a regional transit hub are infinite.”

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) evaluated multiple options for a Union Station connection and narrowed it to two options last week. These options were presented to the business community along H Street in meetings held on Monday, November 28. Some residents raised strong concerns related to one of the options which would route tracks through the neighborhood directly east of Union Station, with a stop at 2nd and F Streets NE. In response, Mayor Gray tasked DDOT to connect to Union Station via the Hopscotch Bridge.

“Utilizing the Hopscotch Bridge will require DDOT to make improvements to the deck of the bridge, but not a complete rehabilitation as has been incorrectly suggested,” stated Terry Bellamy, DDOT’s Director. “DDOT is getting ready to start a study to look at ways to improve transit connectivity from Union Station to the downtown and western end of the city. This study will take into consideration future improvements in and around the Union Station facility and how transit will best be accommodated as part of those improvements.”

The meeting also addressed the proposed Car Barn Training Center at the eastern end of the line, the installation of the Overhead Catenary System (OCS) comprised of poles and wires, and the substations that will supply power to the streetcars. The full presentation will be posted online at www.dcstreetcar.com.

Opportunity for Public Input

DDOT is seeking public input on the design of the proposed Car Barn Training Center. The location under consideration is property adjacent to Spingarn High School, at the northwest corner of 26th Street, NE and Benning Road, NE, and DDOT is in discussions with the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) to acquire the site. A public survey to inform the design team on community desired elements is available at www.dcstreetcar.com.

The survey will be available online through Wednesday, December 14, 2011.

DDOT also noted the feedback provided at the meeting tonight and will be taking the comments under consideration as it proceeds with plans for completing the H Street/Benning Road Line. DDOT also will be taking immediate action to focus its efforts on what will be needed to provide a connection to Union Station via the Hopscotch Bridge and expects to provide an update at the next public meeting.

The next public meeting for the H Street/Benning Road streetcar will be held on Tuesday, December 20, 2011 from 6 pm to 7:30 pm at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H Street, NE. This meeting will focus on the interim connection to Union Station and the Car Barn Training Center.

For more information and to download high-resolution graphics depicting the Hopscotch Bridge connection to Union Station and the proposed Car Barn Training Center plan, please visit us online at www.dcstreetcar.com.