(Washington, DC) – District residents, workers and visitors will soon get their first opportunity to step aboard one of the District’s new modern streetcars. The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will host the DC Streetcar Showcase from Wednesday, May 5 through Saturday, May 8, 2010 at City Center DC, the site of the old convention center.
“We are getting closer and closer to putting streetcars back on the streets of the District, and we know there are a lot of people who are just as excited about their return as we are,” said DDOT Director Gabe Klein. “This will be a great opportunity for them to see a modern streetcar up close, inside and out, and to learn more about how they will operate in the District.”
After a 50 year hiatus, streetcars will once again operate in the nation’s capital in 2012, and at the showcase next week Mayor Fenty and city officials are expected to make some significant announcements about the program and other transit services in the District. In addition to the Streetcar program, DDOT also operates the DC Circulator bus system and a bikesharing network.
The District owns three streetcars, which are currently stored at Metro’s rail yard in Greenbelt, Maryland. For the showcase, DDOT will transport one of the vehicles downtown where it will be set on temporary tracks in Lot B of City Center DC. The public will be able to access the lot from the intersection of 9th and H Streets, NW, which is just north of the Gallery Place Metro station on the Green and Yellow lines.
Admittance to the Showcase is free. The event schedule is as follows:
- Wednesday, May 5, 11am – 7pm
- Thursday, May 6, 11am – 7pm
- Friday, May 7, 11am – 7pm
- Saturday, May 8, 11am – 5pm
The DC Streetcar Showcase will coincide with several other related events in the District, including:
- A seminar on streetcar propulsion technology, hosted by DC Surface Transit (DCST), on Thursday, May 6, 2010, 5-7pm, at the Renaissance Hotel, 999 9th Street, NW. The seminar is free and open to the public.
- The National Train Day celebration at Union Station, on Saturday, May 8, 2010, from 11am – 4pm. For more information visit www.nationaltrainday.com.
What’s Past is Prologue
In the first half of the last century, the District had a robust streetcar network with more than 200 miles of track, but as bus service became more prevalent, the popularity of streetcars declined and the last day of streetcar service in the city was January 28, 1962.
Today, plans are well underway to restore this rich piece of the District’s history. DDOT is developing a 37 mile, 8 line system, and construction on two of the lines has already started. Streetcar service is expected to begin in 2012 in Anacostia and on H Street/Benning Road.
“Streetcars are not just part of our past, they’re also an important part of our future,” said Director Klein. “Today, even with our great Metro system - which was primarily designed to move people in and out of the city - there is still a need for more, high quality transit service that links neighborhoods together and helps residents circulate around the District.
For more information about the District’s Streetcar Program, please visit ddot.dc.gov/dcstreetcar.