Friday, October 14, 2011

Georgia Avenue, it's time to start talking about streetcars

One main takeaway from last night's meeting of the Walter Reed Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA) committee meeting was that the city is considering moving the Georgia Avenue streetcar project along more quickly than we expected. This is due to developer interest in the site, and the fact that the 25 or so developers that have met with planners Perkins + Will have all mentioned that the streetcar will be an essential economic development catalyst. LRA director Eric Jenkins said that this could result the Georgia Avenue streetcar being moved from Phase 2 to Phase 1 in the streetcar rollout. Read Housing Complex's report for more information.

Councilmember Bowser pointed out that since residents in the area surrounding Upper Georgia Avenue have thought that the streetcar was such a long way from happening, there's been little public dialogue about them, as there has been in Ward 8. Though I've never been to any of the Ward 8 streetcar meetings, from what I've heard some have been quite heated. Time to start discussing streetcars, Ward 4 residents.

The other subject that came under much discussion was concern for how long the site will be vacant before we see the major redevelopment projects begin, particularly since the LRA will cease to exist once the planning phase ends. The LRA made a motion that will require the city to provide an analysis of how the development phase will be implemented; the analysis will be due in one month, in time for the next meeting of the LRA. Victor Hoskins has his work cut out for him.


  1. I think the idea of streetcars along GA Ave is fantastic. However, I'd like to see them have an inexpensive, maybe even flat, rate within the city limits to really encourage its use by residents. I've been quite turned off to public transportation since the implementation of all the pricing tiers and intricate schedules. Currently, our light rail is essentially to get in & out of downtown, while the buses are mainly used (and understood) by residents in its service area. I'd like to see the streetcars link commercial areas and sights of interest. I'd also suggest we cast a wider net than ward 8 for input, there are quite a few cities that have rolled out similar programs successfully throughout the U.S.

  2. What they were referring to regarding the street car was the possibility of getting a developer to pony up funds to build a spur from WR to the Takoma Metro. In my opinion, not a very likely idea in terms of initial infrastructure and operational costs the city would have to pay, not to mention where the cars would be stored -another Car Barn issue. :)

    These are our tax dollars being used.  We already have to pay to subsidize current bus and the DC portion of the Metro. There is no local transportation system existing that pays for itself, they are all subsidized by the municipalities.

    And it would have to be either two  tracks (taking up a lane of traffic) so they can pass each other or a circular line. Not to mention the fact that Cedar Street in front of the metro is congested already with a five-way intersection and commuter traffic from Blair Road.

    The City has not done a cost benefit analysis yet for the proposed Ga. Ave, line and as Muriel stated there is a lot of discussion with the community that needs to take place.

    Also, the majority of Metro riders now get to Metro stations by bus. Regular or Ride-On.