Keeping Up with the DC Streetcar

2012-12-17_08-53-58_991

New signage along South Capitol Street

Signs of progress for the DC Streetcar are starting to appear around the District. Along South Capitol Street, for instance, work has begun on the Testing and Commissioning Site. The 3 streetcar vehicles the District already owns are expected to arrive at the site in February/March for testing and driver training, which will prepare them for operations on the H Street/Benning Road Line. DDOT already has an experienced operations and maintenance team on board and vehicle testing on the H/Benning tracks is scheduled to begin in October.

Work on Maintenance Pit at Anacostia Testing Site

Work on Maintenance Pit at Anacostia Testing Site

There is also activity on H and Benning. While 80% of construction for the line was completed in 2011 during the Great Streets project, the final 20% began this month. Through October 2013, when streetcar vehicles will arrive in the corridor, we will be hard at work putting the finishing touches on H Street and Benning Road to make them streetcar-ready. On December 17 we met with business owners and other stakeholders in the corridor to update them on the planned work and construction schedule – the materials from that meeting are available on the DC Streetcar website.

Concept Rendering of Car Barn Training Center

Concept Rendering of Car Barn Training Center

Design work continues on the Car Barn Training Center (CBTC) as well. The Spingarn campus was granted historic designation in late November and DDOT is working with the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) to refine the design. We’re also working with DCPS on a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the student training program that will be housed in the facility.

We can also update you on the 3 additional streetcars the District has ordered. They are starting to take shape at the U.S. manufacturer, Oregon Iron Works, and are on track to be delivered in August (2 cars) and December (1 car).

One of the new vehicles being prepped for painting

One of the new vehicles being prepped for painting

Meanwhile, work continues on the Environmental Assessment for the planned Anacostia streetcar line and a draft document is expected in the New Year.

As you can see, there are a lot of moving parts – including safety oversight, public outreach and the planning of future lines – and our goal is to keep everyone up-to-date on the progress as all of this critical work advances; that includes you, who we hope will ride the streetcars, and the media who share this information with their audiences.

To that end, Last week, DDOT hosted area reporters and bloggers for a DC Streetcar update briefing. The Washington Post, Greater Greater Washington, WAMU, WMAL, NBC 4 and DCist were represented and a couple even live tweeted. (See Twitter chatter here.)

Media Briefing on DC Streetcar Program

Media Briefing on DC Streetcar Program

Questions ranged from what happens if a vehicle breaks down, to whether the in-production vehicles will be delivered on time, to how fast the vehicles can travel, to how fares will be collected. Several very informative articles were published as a result of the briefing and we encourage you to read them:

D.C. Streetcar Tests Will Begin In March
WAMU 88.5
December 13, 2012
By Martin Di Caro

Start seeing streetcars soon
Greater Greater Washington
December 13, 2012
By David Alpert

D.C. Officials Confident That Streetcars Will Roll in 2013
DCist
December 13, 2012
By Martin Austermuhle

D.C. to Start Testing Streetcars Next Spring
Transportation Nation
December 14, 2012
By Martin Di Caro

Keeping the media informed is just one of the many ways the DC Streetcar communications team is reaching out to the public.

Other ways to stay up to date on all things DC Streetcar include:

We look forward to keeping you posted on all things DC Streetcar as we prepare to enter 2013 – it will be a big year for this big program!

DC Streetcar Team

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