D.C. Streetcar Expected By End of Year

D.C.'s long-awaited streetcar system should start running by the end of the year, the head of the D.C. Department of Transportation said.

"Based on what I know now, I anticipate that we will have passenger service by the end of the calendar year," Acting DDOT Director Matt Brown told News4 Friday.

Promises about starting service along H Street and Benning Road in northeast D.C. have been made time and time again, with some stating that streetcar service would start in 2013, but deadlines have been missed and still residents along H street wonder when the streetcar actually will start running.

"I have no idea where they are," longtime H Street resident Kevin Bryant said. "I see them every day near union station, but now I don't even see them."

DDOT recently moved the streetcars on H Street NE back to its testing and maintenance facility in Southeast.

But the agency is once again promising the day is close when you will be able to ride on a streetcar.

"I think we have solutions to the engineering challenges associated with running streetcars in traffic," Brown said. "And the winter is over. There were a number of delays caused by this brutal winter."

Issues with the design of a "car barn" at the site of Spingarn High School also slowed down the process, Brown said.

Just the promise of the streetcar has proved to be a catalyst for the H Street corridor, which has seen an infusion of bars, restaurants and shops. One advertisement for a new building along the corridor lists a one-bedroom apartment "from the 300's."

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