Can a Streetcar Save DC nightlife?

April 27, 2010 at 8:18 pm (Uncategorized)


14th Street, NW


Thomas Circle, NW


3rd and H, NE

Washingtonians looking for options outside of the Lopont*, Gtown, and Adams Morgan area are intrigued by the H Street Corridor.  Yes, that’s right, NE.  The one strip of bars, restaurants, coffee houses, and a concert venue has attracted Ward 2 NWesterners out of their row houses and high-rises.  The H Street Corridor is like the great Astoria Bohemian Hall and Beer Garden or P.S.1 to Queens-hating Manhattanites, minus a subway stop.  Getting there is a pain involving cabs or the free shuttle bus sponsored by area businesses.  A friend equated the mini-van shuttle experience with going to the airport.  It has clearly tarnished the H Street Corridor’s image as the hip, alternative DC neighborhood.    

Mayor Fenty and the DC Council have answered the call not with an expensive subway expansion, but with an old fashion Streetcar.  Starting in 2012, Washingtonians will have one less excuse to remain held up in one quadrant of their city.  If you want a sneak peek at the new, old-style car, the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is hosting a DC Streetcar show on May 5 through 8 at the City Center. 

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 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 has already started.    –DDOT Press Release

Will this bring us closer to mussels and beer at Granville Moore, shows at the Rock and Roll Hotel, wine at Sova, and sushi at Sticky Rice? I hope so, but given city planning and implementation 2012 could always be delayed.  If you want to go to H Street now at least DC cabs have ended the ridiculous “zone” system.

*Logan and Dupont Circles (a stolen phrase)

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