If a proposal by the District Department of Transportation is ever realized, streetcars will run between Georgetown and Union Station.
The DDOT released a report Monday that advocates for a project estimated at up to $370 million to provide streetcar service along the east-west corridor. It would be primarily located along K Street NW, New Jersey Avenue NW and H Street.
The Union Station to Georgetown Premium Transit Service Alternatives Analysis Study examined options ranging from bus rapid-transit to streetcars and what routes such a service might take. And it considered no premium transit service at all.
Transportation plans for the corridor have come and gone over the years, with the result always remaining a frustrating commute heading east and west to and from the neighborhood.
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Currently a Circulator bus offers service between Union Station and Georgetown, but it experiences the same traffic delays as other vehicles during peak travel times.
“It’s not useful public transit when it takes an hour to get 3.8 miles,” Joe Sternlieb, CEO of the Georgetown Business Improvement District, said about the Circulator in a previous interview with Patch.
The recommendation calls for a system that:
- Extends 2.7 miles along K Street NW between Wisconsin Avenue NW and New Jersey Avenue NW;
- Begins along Water Street/K Street NW under the Whitehurst Freeway, passes under Washington Circle;
- Continues within the K Street Transitway before passing around Mount Vernon Square (both sides);
- And continuing along K Street NW to New Jersey Avenue NW;
- Continues southeast along New Jersey Avenue NW to H Street NW;
- Continues east along H Street and over the Hopscotch Bridge to H Street/3rd Street NE.
A total of eight stations would be created are along a 3.4-mile route and would cost 278 parking spaces, under the recommendation.
With the completion of this study, DDOT will now move to the environmental review and approval process, which will be followed by design and construction, the department said in a news release.
Aside from $340 million to $370 million needed to get the system up and running, the report estimates the annual operating and maintenance costs will reach $9.1 million. With the issuance of the report, DDOT can now apply for federal funding.
Bus rapid-transit was estimated to cost $210 million to $230 million to get running.
The report left open how the streetcars would be powered, which may not require overhead wires.
It said a propulsion study found that catenary-free technology is a valid option, most likely in the next three to five years for up to 3-mile sections.
Currently, maximum catenary-free operation is about 1.5-miles, the report said. Charging stations would most likely be required along the routes, at stations, to provide rapid recharging of the on-board batteries.