First Streetcar Arrives on H Street for Testing

Crews will haul the first streetcar to H Street NE on Friday night

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    NEWSLETTERS

    News4's Darcy Spencer is live on H Street NE, where the streetcar made its official return to the city for the first time. It's currently in the testing stages and won't be used by the public until next spring. (Published Friday, Dec 13, 2013)

    We've been talking about streetcars for years, but on Friday night, one finally hit the tracks in Northeast D.C.

    Crews hauled a single streetcar from a testing facility in Anacostia to H Street NE between 3rd and 5th, where it was used to test the new tracks in what's become a booming neighborhood for the city.

    Streetcars Coming to H Street

    [DC] Streetcars Coming to H Street
    It's been years in the making, but Friday, a streetcar will be placed on the streetcar tracks on H Street in Northeast. The DC Department of Transportation says it will move a streetcar from its testing facility in Anacostia to H Street. On Saturday or Monday, testing will start to get the streetcar ready for service on H Street. (Published Friday, Dec 13, 2013)

    H Street NE between N. Capitol and 5th streets will be closed in both directions between 7 p.m. Friday and 1 a.m. Saturday. (Scroll to bottom for full list of detours.) Pedestrian access will not be affected by the closures.

    D.C.'s First Streetcar Headed to H Street for Next Test Run

    [DC] D.C.'s First Streetcar Headed to H Street for Next Test Run
    News 4's Transportation Reporter Adam Tuss looks at preparations for moving the city's first streetcar from the testing site in Anacostia to the new tracks along H Street NE. (Published Friday, Dec 13, 2013)

    The streetcars will begin carrying passengers in early 2014 along a two-mile stretch along H Street and Benning Road. "Turnaround" tracks are in place north of Union Station, and traffic signals along the route will control the flow of traffic and streetcars.

    "I think it's a good thing. It's going to be a little congested, though, I think, but it's a good thing," said Olayla Ruffin, who lives near H Street. "It will attract a lot of people to this area, because we need that."

    D.C.'s First Street Car Moves To H Street Tracks

    [DC] D.C.'s First Street Car Moves To H Street Tracks
    News4's Tom Sherwood reports on the District's first streetcar and its move to the new tracks on H Street NE. (Published Friday, Dec 13, 2013)

    The tracks have been laid in place on what was once one of the city's bumpiest streets, but has now been reconstructed, and overhead power lines are ready to provide electricity to power the streetcars.

    Crews began testing them at a facility in Anacostia in early May, but once they hit H Street, it'll be a different story as they mix with the real world.

    D.C.s First Streetcar to Arrive on H Street

    [DC] D.C.s First Streetcar to Arrive on H Street
    The city's first streetcar in half a century will hit the tracks on H Street for testing Friday evening. (Published Friday, Dec 13, 2013)

    Drivers and pedestrians will have to get used to sharing the road with streetcars, something many of them may have never done before. While many other cities have streetcars, the D.C. area hasn’t seen them in half a century.

    Streetcars Coming to H Street

    [DC] Streetcars Coming to H Street
    It's been years in the making, but Friday, a streetcar will be placed on the streetcar tracks on H Street in Northeast. The DC Department of Transportation says it will move a streetcar from its testing facility in Anacostia to H Street. On Saturday or Monday, testing will start to get the streetcar ready for service on H Street. (Published Friday, Dec 13, 2013)

    Before that, though, streetcars ran throughout the district and its suburbs for about a hundred years, from 1892 to 1962.

    "The attitude at the time [when they were phased out] was that streetcars were slower than buses; they weren't as flexible as buses," said Eric Madison, a trustee with the National Capital Trolley Museum in Colesville.

    DC Streetcar Test Gets Stuck in Traffic

    [DC] DC Streetcar Test Gets Stuck in Traffic
    Transportation reporter Adam Tuss witnessed the physical obstacles facing the streetcar during a test along H Street NE. (Published Thursday, Nov 21, 2013)

    The rides also tended to be shaky, because streetcar drivers didn't steer the cars as they ran the tracks; they could only power them on and off. The newer cars are designed to ride more smoothly.

    Streetcars: A Look Back to the Future

    [DC] Streetcars: A Look Back to the Future
    How did people get around back in the days before Metro? News4's transportation reporter Adam Tuss takes us to the National Capital Trolley Museum in Colesville, Md., to see the history of streetcars and how the city is reviving them. (Published Thursday, Jun 27, 2013)

    Madison said earlier this year that he believes they will spur economic development by connecting communities. The H Street corridor in particular has seen astronomical growth and skyrocketing real estate prices as the neighborhood has become a popular dining and entertainment destination just a couple miles east of Union Station.

    The cars are styled to resemble the city's Circulator buses: bright red, with a gray and yellow double helix. District officials want to have streetcars eventually running all across the city.

    Across the river, Arlington is also gearing up to welcome streetcars to Columbia Pike and Crystal City.

    DETOURS FRIDAY EVENING:

    Eastbound traffic on H Street NE traffic, west of the Hopscotch Bridge, will:

    • turn left on North Capitol Street NE going north
    • right on K Street NE going east
    • right on 5th Street NE going south
    • left on H Street NE going east

    Westbound traffic on H Street NE, east of the Hopscotch Bridge, will:

    • turn right on 5th Street NE going north
    • left on K Street NE going west
    • left on N. Capitol Street NE going south
    • right on H Street NE going west

    During the westbound closures, traffic on southbound 4th Street NE attempting to go west on H Street NE, will:

    • turn left on H Street NE going east
    • left on 5th Street NE going north
    • turn right on K Street NE and follow the detour signs back to H Street NE

    Those riding Metrobus:

    • should use the bus stop at H and 6th street NE for both eastbound and westbound service

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