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Richard, the problem with doing streetcars on 16th Street NW is that the redevelopment/infill investment opportunities that lead to new housing and amenities aren't there. 16th Street is currently historically protected in multiple overlapping historic districts up to the Lion Bridge and is all single family homes and parkland up to Eastern Avenue. There isn't really room for redevelopment anywhere on 16th St. in D.C. Once you cross into Maryland, it's a block and a half on Colesville before you reach the Metro. Dan Reed wrote a piece last week about how the owner of the Blairs is already planning to redevelop and renovate the property. No need for a streetcar to induce development there.

The route streetcar route to connect downtown and Silver Spring remains Georgia Avenue. It's a much wider road because it's already configured for streetcars since they ran there before 1961. The land use opportunities are there too as there isn't wall-to-wall historic districts north of Howard University. Park View has many old, non historic buildings and empty lots that would be redeveloped. Same with Petworth (north of Kansas Ave NW), Brightwood, and the now-abandoned Walter Reed. There are a couple of old dying strip malls adjacent to Shepherd Park and the western reaches of Takoma. You can almost see where the old streetcar stops were by where the decaying old storefronts currently lie.

There just has to be a way to work out a deal with Maryland to extend the Georgia Avenue streetcar to the Silver Spring Metro as that is the most obvious route. There are far, far more amenities that more people would gain access to on both sides of the state line on a Georgia Avenue streetcar than on a 16th Street NW streetcar.

I think that Wisconsin Avenue is a better opportunity than 16th St. because it has more opportunity for redevelopment and infill. The fact that the NIMBYism would be out of this world on that corridor partly makes my point.

by Cavan on Feb 20, 2013 3:07 pm • linkreport

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