Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Penn Quarter Streetcar Line

Between 1862 and 1962, Penn Quarter was home to streetcars - like the one pictured here at F and 10th Streets at Woodward & Lothrop in the 1940s.

It's fairly well known that DC DDOT has plans to resurrect the streetcar system -- construction has already begun on the H Street corridor in NE.  What you may not know: DDOT has proposed a line to go up 7th and F Streets in Penn Quarter.

The report notes that "by filling the gaps between the Metro stations at Mount Vernon Square, Gallery Place, Judiciary Square, Union Station, and New York Avenue, the streetcar system would reduce barriers that now make it hard for pedestrians to reach Metro stations and would add new transit connections."

It goes on to recognize the fairly substantial challenges building in a dense neighborhood such as ours: "the corridor's intense economic activity and traffic volume demand special attention in order to mitigate construction impacts."  It notes that tweaking the routes to potentially follow 9th Street and Constitution Ave NW between F and 7th for the southbound streetcars might make sense.

Penn Quarter's line will be the fourth and final phase of construction, so we shouldn't expect the changes too soon.  (The H Street corridor project has been laying track since 2009 and won't open until Summer 2013.)

PQNAIf you're interested in hearing about the development, the Penn Quarter Neighborhood Association meets at E Street Cinema next Tuesday, February 28th to discuss the proposed re-introduction of historic streetcar lines along F and 7th Streets.

Harriet Tregoning, Director of the DC Office of Planning will be at the meeting, which formally begins at 9a but a continential breakfast will be held at 8:30a.  It bears noting that the meetings are not open to the general public -- you must be vetted by Jo-Ann Neuhaus before you may gain entry to the meeting.  She requires that you send an email with your Penn Quarter location, your phone number, and why you are interested in attending the meeting before she will let you attend.

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