The Biggest Loser of 2014: The Streetcar

  • December 18th 2014

by Lark Turner

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The Biggest Loser of 2014: The Streetcar: Figure 1
Not in service.

UrbanTurf usually stays away from publishing rankings or lists…except at the end of the year when we look back at the best that DC’s residential real estate scene had to offer during the previous 12 months. So, this week, we are looking at not only the best, but the most intriguing and peculiar things that came across our radar over the course of the past year.

2014 is coming to a close, and despite repeated promises, the long-awaited streetcar still isn’t carrying passengers up and down H Street.

That, combined with two other setbacks for streetcars in the DC area, have made 2014 a losing year for the transportation method touted as either a smart-growth catalyst for development or a less-mobile, traffic-snarling version of a bus.

DC has big plans for streetcars, which are intended to fill transportation gaps in places not accessible to Metro. The H Street streetcar, which will run just over two miles from Union Station to the intersection of Oklahoma Avenue and Benning Road, is supposed to become part of a large network spanning about 40 miles around the city. But the DC Council threw a wrench in that plan over the summer, pulling more than half of the funding that the mayor said was necessary to perform feasibility studies and other preliminary work to make the streetcars happen.

That was the backdrop for the recent cancellation — not delay, not suspension, but outright cancellation — of a long-planned streetcar line for Columbia Pike and Crystal City. County officials announced in mid-November that the 7.4-mile streetcar system wasn’t going to happen, partly thanks to citizens’ growing skepticism about the value of the streetcar.

So between the long-delayed H Street streetcar, the District-wide funding cuts and Arlington County’s nixing of streetcars altogether, it wasn’t a great year for this mode of transportation in the region. But we can pretty confidently say that commuters will be riding the H Street streetcar sometime in 2015. Or — you never know — we could be writing this article again next year.

See other articles related to: best of 2014

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/the_biggest_loser_of_2014_the_streetcar/9332.

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