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Cavan -- respectfully, you're missing the point about a streetcar on 16th Street. It would be to improve the quality of transportation and to further interdict car traffic, and to increase the number of riders. And doing that, if DC can figure out how to construct streetcar lines cheaply rather than expensively (look at the estimates for costs from _Bring Back Streetcars_ by Weyrich and Lind and of course that paper is old, but the current numbers, not just in DC, are much much higher), is worth doing regardless of the lack of development potential.

Instead, think of 40,000 riders instead of 20,000, with a much more comfortable ride, and way fewer cars on 16th St.

It might not be so bad on 16th St. because it is so wide, but many of the streets that serve as major commuter corridors for the Maryland residents, like Georgia Avenue, but especially North Capitol/Blair Road--I live less than two blocks away from this corridor--absolutely and totally suck for the residents.

So to interdict traffic (I have actually recommended undergrounding a through traffic tunnel for North Capitol/Blair to remove this traffic from the surface, and I know that 10 years ago for me to make such a recommendation would have been unthinkable) streetcars-light rail are worthy additions to the quality of life of the city and worth paying for, whether or not there is much build out potential.

2. Of course, GA Ave. is another story, and note that the ANC4B committee report on "Walmart" for which I was the chief author made the point that proposed streetcar service on GA Ave. was not being planned at all (note that the recent streetscape improvements on GA Ave. include zero accommodations for future streetcar service, unlike what was done on H St.).

The thing is, I used to say something similar to you on 16th St. wrt Dave Murphy's proposed separated yellow line, which has now made it into official planning documents, even if a full alignment hasn't yet been determined, that the build out potential along GA Ave. isn't great enough to justify it.

Anyway, I think heavy rail service makes more sense. And over long periods of time (accepting demolition of the current building stock even though as a historic preservationist this would trouble me some and maybe even potential rezoning of at least one or two blocks on either side of GA Ave. like what ArCo did wrt the Wilson Blvd. corridor) it would pay off.

It would also provide more redundancy for the system and help to interdict more MD to DC traffic. I don't know how far such a line could go up either or both Colesville or GA Ave. I guess Colesville, since GA Ave. has service at both Forest Glen and Wheaton.

by Richard Layman on Feb 21, 2013 6:24 am • linkreport

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