Greater Greater Washington


What's the status of our major transit projects?

With yesterday's news that the Baltimore Red Line is being advanced to Preliminary Engineering, it seems a good time to check up on the various rail and BRT projects in the region and report on their status.

Proposed Baltimore Red Line subway station. Image from MTA.

Here are the 15 major rail and BRT projects in our region.

Norfolk "The Tide" light rail

  • Status: Construction
  • Construction is largely complete. Trains and tracks are in testing now.
  • Anticipated completion: August 19, 2011

H Street streetcar

  • Status: Construction
  • Streetcar running from Union Station to the Anacostia River via H Street. Under construction now.
  • Anticipated completion: 2012

Silver Line Phase I

  • Status: Construction
  • Metrorail extension from East Falls Church to Reston via Tysons Corner. Under construction now.
  • Anticipated completion: 2013

Crystal City/Potomac Yard busway

  • Status: Design
  • Exclusive busway from Crystal City Metro to Braddock Road Metro. Final design underway now. Some segments have already been constructed by private developers.
  • Anticipated completion: 2013

Baltimore Red Line

  • Status: Design
  • Light rail line running east-west through Baltimore. Recently advanced to Preliminary Engineering from Concept.
  • Anticipated completion: 2016

Silver Line Phase II

  • Status: Design
  • Metrorail extension from Reston to Loudoun County via Dulles Airport. Preliminary Engineering currently underway.
  • Anticipated completion: 2017

K Street Transitway

  • Status: Design
  • Exclusive transit lanes running east-west on K Street from Washington Circle to Mount Vernon Square. Environmental work completed in 2009, now awaiting funding before moving forward.
  • Anticipated completion: Not published

Anacostia streetcar

  • Status: Construction/Concept
  • Streetcar from South Capitol Street to 11th Street bridge via Ancostia Metro. Construction of a short segment near South Capitol Street is mostly complete. The majority of the line is undergoing an alternatives analysis/environmental review that will be completed late in 2011.
  • Anticipated completion: Not published

Benning Road streetcar

  • Status: Concept
  • Extension of the H Street Streetcar east across Anacostia River to Benning Road Metro. Alternatives analysis & environmental review to begin summer 2011.
  • Anticipated completion: 2015

Columbia Pike streetcar

  • Status: Concept
  • Streetcar from Pentagon City to Bailey's Crossroads via Columbia Pike. Environmental planning underway now.
  • Anticipated completion: 2016

Potomac Yard Metro station

  • Status: Concept
  • Infill Metro station in Alexandria. Environmental planning underway now.
  • Anticipated completion: 2016

K Street streetcar

  • Status: Concept
  • Extension of the H Street Streetcar west to Washington Circle through downtown Washington, potentially via the K Street Transitway. Alternatives analysis & environmental review to begin summer 2011.
  • Anticipated completion: 2018

Crystal City/Potomac Yard streetcar

  • Status: Concept
  • Potential conversion of CCPY busway to streetcar. Environmental planning underway.
  • Anticipated completion: Not published

Maryland Purple Line

  • Status: Concept
  • Light rail line running east-west through Maryland suburbs of DC. Concept stage largely complete. Expected to move to Preliminary Engineering in summer or autumn 2011.
  • Anticipated completion: 2020

Corridor Cities Transitway

  • Status: Concept
  • Light rail or BRT line running north from Shady Grove Metro. Concept stage nearing completion. Mode will be determined this year. Expected to move to Preliminary Engineering in late 2011 or 2012.
  • Anticipated completion: 2020

DC streetcar other segments

  • Status: Pre-concept
  • The rest of DC's proposed 37 mile streetcar system. Planning has not yet begun.
  • Anticipated completion: Not published

The concept phase is early planning, including alternatives analysis and environmental clearance. Design is the engineering phase, including Preliminary Engineering (PE). For projects in this phase, conceptual details have been finalized and detailed construction plans are being prepared.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.

Dan Malouff is a professional transportation planner for the Arlington County Department of Transportation. He has a degree in Urban Planning from the University of Colorado, and lives a car-free lifestyle in Northwest Washington. His posts are his own opinions and do not represent the views of his employer in any way. He runs the blog BeyondDC and also contributes to the Washington Post Local Opinions blog. 


Add a comment »

Regarding H Street Streetcar, no deal on access to Union Station yet, right?

by Trulee Pist on Jun 29, 2011 10:35 am • linkreport

Has anyone heard a recent update from DDOT on the status of the Amtrak negotiations regarding the eastern terminus of the H Street streetcar?

In a neighborhood meeting a few months ago Scott Kubly sort of referenced early summer as the point at which alternative plans would have to be pursued if an agreement could not be made.

by Campy on Jun 29, 2011 10:36 am • linkreport

Got me by a minute.

by Campy on Jun 29, 2011 10:37 am • linkreport

Most resent collection of pictures I took of the construction progress on the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project.

by Sand Box John on Jun 29, 2011 10:48 am • linkreport

GGW must be growing if Norfolk is in our region. Or for that matter, Baltimore.

2017 (at best) before you can take metrorail to dulles.

by charlie on Jun 29, 2011 10:57 am • linkreport

@Sand Box John:
Don't worry what other people say, I appreciate your pictures.

by Matt Johnson on Jun 29, 2011 10:57 am • linkreport

@Sand Box John:

Great photos. You should post some of the recent photos here: . This is a lot better than nearly driving off of 495 or into the next lane of vehicles to get updates of the Silver Line construction.

by Ben on Jun 29, 2011 11:00 am • linkreport

Seeing these photos really makes me wish the Silver Line was buried through Tysons. Tremendous missed opportunity for the DC region.

by Ben on Jun 29, 2011 11:02 am • linkreport

Great photos, John! Gives a great idea of the huge scale of the project. (I do worry about how the Metro will fit into an urbanized Tyson's. Those photos do also suggest that a tunnel would have been a heck of a lot less disruptive, both during and after construction. Still, good to see progress!)

And, sigh on the H Street streetcar. I'm still holding out hope that Gray will be a good mayor, but there's not much evidence stacking up in his favor. Getting the H St Streetcar operational, and advancing planning on other lines would be a huge step in the right direction, especially if we can incorporate the tracks into other street reconstruction projects, to save money down the road (*Cough* U St *Cough* Adams Morgan)

by andrew on Jun 29, 2011 11:03 am • linkreport

..and Ben basically said the same thing. Looks like we were all thinking it..

Oh, and the Anacostia streetcar is a farce and a boondoggle if there ever was one. I'm an ardent streetcar advocate, but you cannot look at the history of the Anacostia line and keep a straight face.

by andrew on Jun 29, 2011 11:04 am • linkreport

I'd agree a Tysons tunnel would have been better. Blame Timmy Kaine and his lack of vision -- he can't see past those eyebrows.

That being said, I've seen lots of examples of density near elevated train lines. Not saying it will work in Tysons, but it can.

by charlie on Jun 29, 2011 11:11 am • linkreport

If the walking environment in Tysons still sucks, it will be because 7 and 123 remain super-wide traffic sewers, not because the Metro trains are running above ground.

by Alex B. on Jun 29, 2011 11:20 am • linkreport

This is certainly an ambitious list of transit projects and I would like to see them built (and add high speed rail from Charlotte to Boston to the list). In the near/mid-term, however, it will be up to states/local govt to pay for a significant share of the projects. I would like to see DC approve legislation establishing a state infrastructure bank, such as what has worked in many other states to attract private-sector funding. Similarly, I would like to see the District either raise the gas tax or raise the sales tax and dedicate this revenue to building the streetcar network and other rail and bus transit called for in WMATA's recent 2040 visioning exercise. Los Angeles County's 30/10 Plan should be the model for the rest of the nation.

by Ben on Jun 29, 2011 11:21 am • linkreport

@ Ben and charlie:

Count me as another in the "Tysons should have had a tunnel" brigade. Alas, looks like the same mindset that's now being used to justify an aboveground Dulles station.

Don't get me wrong - the elevated line through Tyson's CAN be made to work. It's just going to be more of a nuisance than it needs to be.

Incidentally, am I the only one who would love to see Tyson's developers do something like they did on the New York El way back when, and build a building so that the train would go THROUGH it? I don't see it happening, but it could be fun...

(Note: I have a skewed idea of fun.)

by Ser Amantio di Nicolao on Jun 29, 2011 11:24 am • linkreport

so how would a dedicated transit way and a streetcar work on K? Would buses and streetcars share the same road? Not neccesarily a bad idea, but would require the foresight to build in tracks when they build the new roads.

by cmc on Jun 29, 2011 11:27 am • linkreport

Tysons will be just fine with above ground metro. The area was highly sprawled. It now has a chance to intelligently design around the elevated metro with infill. Tunneling should generally be reserved for areas with existing fabric that would be highly impacted by elevated metro. Like a separated blue line downtown or wilson blvd in arlington. Afterall were not dealing with monopoly money or sim city. Tunneling is wicked expensive.

by Paul S on Jun 29, 2011 11:31 am • linkreport

@Andrew, Oh, and the Anacostia streetcar is a farce and a boondoggle if there ever was one. I'm an ardent streetcar advocate, but you cannot look at the history of the Anacostia line and keep a straight face.

Careful, you may be cast as a NIMBY. :)

by HogWash on Jun 29, 2011 11:33 am • linkreport


It wasn't Tim Kaine. He wanted the tunnel. The Bush administration (with Peters as DOT secretary, if I recall) flatly rejected paying for any part of the project if a tunnel were built. Virginia was discussing options with the federal DOT about Virginia covering the difference, but the DOT balked outright.

The Bush administration saw the rail line as purely a means to reduce traffic congestion, rather than as a placemaking or growth-channeling exercise. Accordingly, anything that increased the cost over the minimum to move people over long distances wasn't acceptable.

In the end, Kaine fought against the TysonsTunnel group because it was a done deal, and any hold-up at that point (with the Bush administration having pulled funding already once before it was reinstated) might have jeopardized the whole project.

Tunnel >> Elevated >>>>>> No metro.

by Joey on Jun 29, 2011 11:55 am • linkreport

Before too long (perhaps even now), one can add the Beauregard/Van Dorn St corridor in Alexandria to the list. The leading recommendation for that corridor (which I really should write a blog post for) is BRT.

by Froggie on Jun 29, 2011 12:15 pm • linkreport

Meanwhile, WTOP is reporting this for H Street and Anacostia.

by Froggie on Jun 29, 2011 12:35 pm • linkreport

Ugh. Just saw the WTOP thing.

Seriously. As a resident of Near Northeast who has patiently put up with the construction for several years, allow me to be the first to say: F*** you, Vince Gray.

If I was a business-owner on H St, I'd be livid, and looking at real estate across town. This, combined with the mayor's recent raiding of local taxes is going to be the last straw for a lot of folks.

Where's that recall petition? You've got my name.

by andrew on Jun 29, 2011 12:43 pm • linkreport

Sure, all things being equal a tunnel would have been preferable to elevated. All things are not equal - a tunnel would have increased costs by a 10 figure amount. Without a funding source, this is just wishful thinking.

I'm not convinced the Potomac Yard Metro will be built. I predict that the environmental impact study will eliminate the eastern options which increases cost significantly. Again, where will the additional funding (in this case 9 figures) come from?

by movement on Jun 29, 2011 12:56 pm • linkreport

Not to play "Lance" here, but the fact is, the tracks were installed on H Street before either terminus was nailed down. Not Vince Gray's fault.

by William on Jun 29, 2011 12:58 pm • linkreport

I mean, no one should really be surprised by this. If it takes 9 months to resurface less than a mile of flat, stick-straight roadway (Constitution Avenue), did anyone actually expect it would take less than two years to punch a hole in a heavily-used bridge and do all of the other things necessary to complete the H Street project?

by Dizzy on Jun 29, 2011 1:00 pm • linkreport

@Joey, no, I have to disagree.

Kaine was always lukewarn on the tunnel,and then killed it for good.

Not exploring other options for tunneling, and only looking at the highest cost option, is as good as killing it. Not to mention his "local support" thing.

I'd proposal to name the elevated track after him.

@movement; the boondogle is the entire silver line. Tunnels or underground Dulles stations are just icing on the cake.

by charlie on Jun 29, 2011 1:04 pm • linkreport

If I was a business-owner on H St, I'd be livid, and looking at real estate across town.

OUT of town would be a more effective protest.

by Vicente Fox on Jun 29, 2011 1:04 pm • linkreport


I'm still betting on it...enough people have enough to lose that I suspect the increased money will come from somewhere, even private hands.

That being said, we ARE talking about Alexandria: right now it wouldn't surprise me if they manage to botch it.

by Ser Amantio di Nicolao on Jun 29, 2011 1:05 pm • linkreport

@Alex B

I couldn't agree more about Rt. 123 & rt. 7 being the biggest issue and obstacle for Tyson's. Having the metro go out there at all is the important factor. Although, I am still blown away that they will have 4 stops there.

The biggest reason the above ground option will work is because all of the Tyson's planning and redevelopment will occur in the future. It is not as if the metro above ground currently is doing anything to hinder anything going on at Tysons. The redevelopment could only work with a metro and whether it is above or below will ultimately have little impact 50 years from now.

by Ryan on Jun 29, 2011 1:12 pm • linkreport

Although, I am still blown away that they will have 4 stops there.

The stations in Tysons are not that dense. Downtown along the same distance, the red line has SIX stations.

If you want to create a walkable area, the stations have to be close together.

by MLD on Jun 29, 2011 1:31 pm • linkreport

@movement/Ser Amantio: the city has most of the funding for a station lined up. Barring any serious environmental snafus, I think a Potomac Yard metro station is a safe bet at this point.

by Froggie on Jun 29, 2011 1:45 pm • linkreport


Keep in mind that the easternmost station (Tysons East) will be cut off from the rest by the Beltway, and anyone walking from Tysons 123 station to the two Leesburg Pike stations will either have to negotiate a very unwalkable and dangerous interchange or cut through side streets like International and Westpark. So you're really only talking about the two (westernmost) stations along a potentially inviting and walkable corridor. Clarendon-Wilson Boulevard/Fairfax Drive this is not.

by Reza on Jun 29, 2011 2:06 pm • linkreport

I was just pushing the streetcar to some skeptics yesterday: "It'll be running next year!" I said. Sigh.

What caused the delay? How can this be done with more expediency next time?

by OctaviusIII on Jun 29, 2011 2:08 pm • linkreport

"It will be because 7 and 123 remain super-wide traffic sewers." Both Routes 7 and 123 are under the control of VDOT and will remain so. Moreover, they are each part of the national highway system so USDOT has some say. Both roads are major transportation routes with significant through traffic. Both VDOT and USDOT will require those routes to be maintained for maximum traffic movement. Both will receive additional widening in spots and will each carry many more vehicles after rail comes and Tysons begins to redevelop.

The Beltway will get one more lane beyond HOT lanes from Route 7 to I-66 and the Dulles Toll Road must be widen from Tysons to at least Hunter Mill Road with as many as three-to-five lanes. That will require major changes along the DTR with encroachments into as many as seven Resource Protection Areas, a number of condemnations (mainly strip taking, but also a few homes), and a turnover of some property at Wolf Trap for the widened DTR.

In addition, there needs to be other road widenings and extensions, including Boone Blvd, Gallows Road, Greensboro Drive, etc. The car is king in Tysons today, and will remain so in the future, despite rail, bus transit and good mixed use developments.

by tmtfairfax on Jun 29, 2011 2:25 pm • linkreport

It's not a huge surprise that the H street line has been delayed yet again. The real question is why most of the people who have studied this seriously have seen a flaw in DDOT's timeline for a while now, and very little information about the issue with Amtrak and the hopscotch bridge is being released. It's time for some answers. Where are we, what is being done, what are the major hangups, and what is the new timeline? Can we get some information from Amtrak on this? What can the community do to push this along?

I have been a ceaseless streetcar advocate, but this is really, really troubling.

by East_H on Jun 29, 2011 2:29 pm • linkreport

Tysons Tunnel - the entire Phase I project did not qualify for federal funding under revised USDOT standards. John Warner and Frank Wolf were able to get legislation passed that grandfathered Phase I under the former and more lenient standards for federal funding. But even under those standards, the return on taxpayer investment was marginal. Kaine's backers, chiefly from West Group and other Tysons landowners, wanted rail at any cost. They were still believing Bill Lecos' story that he would get them more than 200 million square feet of density.

Kaine received a proposal from a European company that offered to build the tunnels in Tysons for less than the rate agreed to by Dulles Transit Partners, but the landowners did not want to take a chance since even the above-ground line was questionable for funding. All Virginia's elected officials from both parties put on a full-court press and got USDOT to fund a share of Phase I.

by tmtfairfax on Jun 29, 2011 2:31 pm • linkreport

What will matter more for tysons than above ground or tunnels for the silver line is what comes next. There's a $60m project that needs funding to improve bike, ped, and bus access to the stations (they will not have any parking) and a 1.5B project that needs funding to build out a street grid. Whether those projects get funded will probably determine if tysons achieves its projected additional 100k residents and 100k jobs, and fulfills its business case.

by Falls Church on Jun 29, 2011 3:02 pm • linkreport

I've decided to go back to the Dulles Corridor DEIS to see if any Tysons alignment options were considered NOT along VA 7 and 123. The answer: not really. Of the four Metrorail options, three followed the same route that will be built (with variations in number of stations and distance of tunneled track sections).

The T4 option was the only one that suggested bypassing the two highways and following a more interior (aerial) route along lower-traffic Westpark Drive with two stations near Jones Branch and International Drives. The problem was that was part of an impractical westbound single-track alignment. The eastbound alignment would continue to follow VA 123 and VA 7 with single-track stations at the finalized Tysons 123 and Tysons 7 locations. Traveling west from EFC, the two tracks would have split just east of Tysons East station and then rejoined to the east of the Tysons West station. In total, 7 stations would have been built in Tysons: six single-track stations each east of VA 7/Westpark, and one dual-track station at Spring Hill Rd.

For those who want to check it out, the diagrams are on page 148 here:

by Reza on Jun 29, 2011 3:05 pm • linkreport

At the very least, right now might be a good time to revise the original post, which assures all, Anticipated completion: 2012.

I wonder how many other dates in the above compilation are equally phony-baloney.

by Trulee Pist on Jun 29, 2011 3:17 pm • linkreport

re: H Street Streetcar line:

I won't say that I'm not disappointed that things will be delayed, but some folks seem to be implying that no rail should have been laid until all this stuff had been sorted. If we'd taken that route, we'd be digging up H Street to the roadbed a year from now when the final details had been nailed down. To me that seems more short-sighted (myopic if you're Courtland Milloy) than laying track and having the final sections delayed.

Anyone know what the additional cost of laying rail on H Street was compared to just doing the full streetscape work? Compare that to the cost of digging the street up a year later, coupled with the cost to businesses along the corridor and I'd go so far as to say there's a case to be made that they did the right thing even in the event that not a single streetcar ever rolls down H Street.

And that's extremely unlikely.

by oboe on Jun 29, 2011 3:18 pm • linkreport

The Tysons stations will have parking initially. The Task Force opposed adding parking, but Fairfax County residents want parking because, as many others correctly noted, there is not many good ways to walk or bike to Tysons and densities in the surrounding suburban areas preclude bus service with short headways. Fairfax County cannot afford to provide the type of service needed. Needless to say many residents of the areas surrounding Tysons are angry as they resent the requirement to pay for rail when they cannot easily use it.

Therefore, a number of supervisors are working hard to get nearby parking as Tysons begins to redevelop and rail arrives. Using open lots for commuter and even building parking structures that will last 20 years or so will likely occur. A number of developers have indicated a willingness to do this, as it serves the public needs and puts more money in the developers' pockets. Expect to see parking at the West and East Tysons stations by the time rail arrives.

Reza is correct in that the locally preferred option in the EIS went through Tysons. That was not the original proposal, however. The original concept was to build rail in the middle of the DTR. By the time the EIS was written, local officials had been persuaded to move the Silver Line through Tysons in order to get mega density. Most elected officials in Virginia would tell you off the record, that rail has not been about transportation in many years.

by tmtfairfax on Jun 29, 2011 3:24 pm • linkreport


2013 H Street NE streetcar

by Trulee Pist on Jun 29, 2011 3:27 pm • linkreport


Ha. 3 essentially identical options, and one batshit crazy one.

by andrew on Jun 29, 2011 3:33 pm • linkreport

2013 H Street NE streetcar

Oh man I really want to get a handcar and cruise down H Street on it now. The epitome of hipster transportation.

by MLD on Jun 29, 2011 3:39 pm • linkreport


I've seen you continually bring up the "well, do you know how much it would cost if it was dug up a year later". I am sorry...but that canard only gets to be used the first 2 or 3 years a project is FUBAR.

You ignore what would have been the most logical solution which was, not to raze H street at all until the i's had been dotted and t's crossed. The businesses along H have suffered far more living in a constant construction zone now going on 2.5 years than they would have living with the status quo.


They simply could have upgraded the utilities/streetscape as planned and been done in a year. Had that been the case, the best case scenario as we see for going back and putting tracks was not "one year later", but now 5 years later at a minimum.

The DCIST just told us that DDOT now has it slated to finish LATE 2013, 4 years after the original 2007 Plan and a solid 2.5 years past the revised/revised plan. My money is on closer to 2015. Not only is it a huge financial burdern to the city as the construction costs have steadily increased, but it is an enormous economic burden to H street businesses.

So no Oboe, there is "no" case to be made for jumping the shark on projects like these half-assed, destroying the economic viability of blocks and blocks of businesses and raiding the District treasury, because this happens. an 18 month project becomes almost a 5 year project (we hope).

But thats ok...we will have had the streetcars in storage for more than 4 years at that point...if it finishes in late 2013.

by Freely on Jun 29, 2011 3:51 pm • linkreport

Why can't they just have dedicated bus lanes instead of spending tons of money on obsolete streetcars?

by Anon on Jun 29, 2011 4:04 pm • linkreport

obsolete streetcars?

If streetcars are obsolete, then so are buses.

by JustMe on Jun 29, 2011 4:14 pm • linkreport


Why can't they just have dedicated bus lanes instead of spending tons of money on obsolete streetcars?

Please read the FAQ.


by oboe on Jun 29, 2011 4:41 pm • linkreport


They simply could have upgraded the utilities/streetscape as planned and been done in a year. Had that been the case, the best case scenario as we see for going back and putting tracks was not "one year later", but now 5 years later at a minimum.

I'm not sure I follow your argument. You seem to be claiming that the entire project would have taken 18 months: stripping H street down to the roadbed, all the utility work, and the streetscape work.

Instead the project took, what, 2.5 years (i.e. 30 months)?

Not to get into an Internet cat-fight over who's got the most hyperlinks, but do you have any support for your claim that a) the project sans-rails would have taken 18 months; and b) that the project sans-rails would have experienced no delays whatsoever?

I'm asking on the square here: if that information is out there, I certainly haven't come across it.

by oboe on Jun 29, 2011 4:57 pm • linkreport


Sorry, not 18 months: 12 months.

by oboe on Jun 29, 2011 4:59 pm • linkreport

1. I didn't say the project wouldn't experience delay. I said it would have been done in a year.

2. My proof is on 14th street NW, where they proceeded to completely replace all the utilities, and included time consuming ancillary work like half a mile of sidewalk pavers, side streets and pocket parks with fountains. Time to complete, 53 weeks.

It's ok Oboe, you can admit it. H Street has been a DDOT disaster, the city should be embarrased for blowing time lines by a minimum of 4 years and forcing H Street businesses to suffer greatly for years longer than they should have had to.

by freely on Jun 29, 2011 5:24 pm • linkreport


My proof is on 14th street NW, where they proceeded to completely replace all the utilities, and included time consuming ancillary work like half a mile of sidewalk pavers, side streets and pocket parks with fountains. Time to complete, 53 weeks.

Well, actually "proof" would be at least a rudimentary argument that the scope of work for the two projects was comparable. From what I can tell, at least, the H Street project was going to be much broader in scope regardless of whether streetcar rails were laid.

I think suspect your argument is a bit like the guy who yells, "Why the Hell's it taking so long to pave a road and change some light bulbs? I did my driveway last year in three days!!!"

Maybe some third party who knows what they're talking about can jump in and arbitrate our disagreement.

by oboe on Jun 29, 2011 6:47 pm • linkreport


Virginia officials are exactly right if they're saying that rail (or roads) should not be about transportation (which is usually defined as moving the most people the greatest distance cheaply). Rail should be about economic development -- adding high paying jobs and tax paying residents. Thats the only way the investment can pay off. Put another way, its not about getting people from point A to B. Its about building a point A worth staying at. That said, given the othet post about tysons development, it sounds like fairfax is letting developers ruin tysons such that people aren't going to want ti buy expensive condoa there.

by Falls Church on Jun 29, 2011 9:11 pm • linkreport

For those that are suggesting that a tunnel through Tysons would have been a better chose. Fact is, if a tunnel alignment had been chosen the project would have been killed because of the costs. I never believed the propaganda that Tysons Tunnel Inc. made stating the tunnel would have been cheaper.

The stacked stations in the design that Tysons Tunnel Inc was proposing violated virtually all of WMATA basic design specification. As most here know I am a Harry Weese design purest. What Tysons Tunnel Inc was proposing was in my opinion an architectural abortion What MWAA is proposing for the station in subway at Dulles Airport falls into the same category.

I still think Dulles Transit Partners could have shave some more off the costs of Phase I had they made the tunnel between Tysons 123 (Tysons Center) and Tysons Central 7 (Pike Seven Plaza) a shallow cut and cover tunnel. Put the west portal roughly where the present cut and cover tunnels begin. And built Pike Seven Plaza station as an elevated station instead of the station in the ditch that they are now building.

In the end I don't thing all parties will be totally satisfied. But the only thing that will really matter is how many people actually end up passing through the fare gates.

On a side note:
Lifting gantry #2 was moved from where it was building the elevated between the Tysons Center station and the Capitol Beltway last week to just west of the Pike Seven station. Within the next week or so it should start working it's way west to the Spring Hill Road station. Lifting gantry #1 should be almost done if not done assembling the last span east of the Tysons McLean station. It will crawl over the Tysons McLean station and build the spans to where Lifting gantry #3 is assembling the spans over the Capitol Beltway.

by Sand Box John on Jun 29, 2011 10:35 pm • linkreport


Another data point:
The 18th Street construction project (from Mass Ave to FL Ave) took well over a year to complete, it was a half mile long. H Street from the end of the bridge to 15th St is a little over a mile. I guess I'm not surprised it took them twice as long.

The stretch of 14th (plus Irving) you're talking about was four tenths of a mile long. I'll give you half a mile if you include all the other stuff they did. Surprised that it took less time?

by MLD on Jun 30, 2011 8:27 am • linkreport

I'm not positive (how's that for a GGW admission?) but I also think the "utility work" that was done for 14th street was limited to updating the existing street lights.


The H Street Great Streets project entailed a complete utility overhaul, and total street reconstruction down to the bed--which would have been the case even if the streetcar rails had never been involved.

In that case, the argument you want to make is that the street should never have been given the full "Great Streets" treatment, since that's what accounted for the lion's share of the delays.

Generally speaking, calling the H Street project "streetcar construction" is a rhetorical ploy to discredit streetcars. It's as though DDOT decided to completely rebuild the Rainbow Bridge from the foundation up, but added some ornate guardrails to the plan, and guardrail opponents kept complaining about how "guardrail construction" was affecting traffic and business owners.

by oboe on Jun 30, 2011 9:07 am • linkreport


You have the wrong part of 14th. Your link takes you to the improvements on 14th in U Street.

I was talking about the entire rebuild in Columbia Heights.


The Columbia Heights Streetscape Improvements included complete reconstruction (utilities, street/sidewalk)of

1. 14th street between Columbia and Newton (.5 mile)
2. Park Road between Hiat and Holmead (Giant to the Shrine of Sacred Heart) .3 mile.
3. Irving between 15th and 14th (.25 mile)
4. Community Park and water fountains at Park and 14th.

So road wise we are pretty close to equivalent, add in the 300K pavers and water fountains and we are equivalent.

Point is, had they just done the road improvemetns sans tracks, they would have been done awhile ago.

by freely on Jun 30, 2011 9:28 am • linkreport

Point is, had they just done the road improvemetns sans tracks, they would have been done awhile ago.

You'll need to show your work.

by oboe on Jun 30, 2011 9:52 am • linkreport


The other thing you're missing in the "it took too long" argument is some kind of proof that there was serious negative harm to businesses because of it. Were there notable beloved businesses that closed because of lost business due to the construction?

The reality is that the streetscape improvements give immediate benefit to businesses, and in a few years when the streetcar is running down H street that will bring even more benefit to businesses.

Business is a long-term investment, and if somehow they're going to complain about long-term investment in their community I don't know what to say to that.

The total time probably would have been longer if they had done the street improvements and then gone back and done the tracks later, right?

by MLD on Jun 30, 2011 10:46 am • linkreport

@freely, also you misused the term "jump the shark". It is not the same as "jump the gun." It refers to an inflection point when something (primarily a TV show) starts on the path to sucking.

by David C on Jun 30, 2011 11:20 am • linkreport

Thanks for posting this! Lol @ Norfolk being in our "region" though. New York is closer to DC and Baltimore. Maybe we should include projects in DE, PA, NJ, and NY then.

In my opinion the most important/sensible of all these projects is the Purple Line. Yes, even more so than the mismanaged Silver Line. It will be awesome to see all three Maryland light rail projects running by 2020. I still think that there should be another running from the Branch Ave to Waldorf/Southern MD.

Except for the Silver Line and Potomac Yard Metro are the only likely projects to be completed in VA prior to 2020 considering the conservative politics on the state level, unless the feds and Arlington/Alexandria are willing to foot the entire bill.

by King Terappin on Jun 30, 2011 11:40 am • linkreport

IMHO, Purple Line should just be scrapped til further notice. Energy, money, and planning should be focused on the Beltway line, which will take more cars off the road and make our rail network more cohesive.

by John M on Jun 30, 2011 4:26 pm • linkreport

@John M

The Purple Line is the most important transit project in the region serving densely populated lower Montgomery and Northern Prince George's. Even the Silver Line goes straight into ugly sprawling suburbs.

As for cohesiveness the Purple Line connects all three MARC lines, two Amtrak Lines, and four Metrorail branches (3 lines).

by King Terappin on Jun 30, 2011 5:45 pm • linkreport

@John M:

A Beltway line will not take cars off the roads. The vast majority of the folks that use the Capitol Beltway originate and terminate their trips miles away from the Capitol Beltway. I should know as I was one of them for most of the years I lived in the Washington Region.

by Sand Box John on Jul 1, 2011 12:38 am • linkreport

Add a Comment

Name: (will be displayed on the comments page)

Email: (must be your real address, but will be kept private)

URL: (optional, will be displayed)

Your comment:

By submitting a comment, you agree to abide by our comment policy.
Notify me of followup comments via email. (You can also subscribe without commenting.)
Save my name and email address on this computer so I don't have to enter it next time, and so I don't have to answer the anti-spam map challenge question in the future.


Support Us