If you were in the H St NE area today, you might have run into a bit of a snag. District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced in a traffic advisory that construction and installation of street car rails continues along H St NE. The construction is part of an ongoing street improvement through the Benning Road/H Street Great Streets Project. DDOT spokesman John Lisle indicated they are proactively laying the tracks in concrete during the road improvement so that DDOT does not have to dig up the road again once the issues surrounding the street car are resolved. Forethought, how refreshing. So, street cars next week?
Not so much. The street car element of the $65 million Great Streets project still has some unresolved conflicts, and the cars still gather dust in the Czech Republic. According to Lisle, there is still no final plan on where the cars will turn around to continue their loop. Also, the city's ban on overhead wires in the downtown area means DDOT will either have to find a way to power the street cars without overhead wires or have the law changed to allow them. Lisle said the Benning Road project is set to continue for two more years and anticipates the street car line will be running from 3rd and H St NE to Benning Rd and Oklahoma Avenue, NE, by 2011. Others are less optimistic about the timeline.
Today's street closures, with more Friday, will allow workers to lay tracks at the intersections. In addition, the eastbound curb lane on H Street, NE between 3rd and 5th Streets will be closed to traffic for the next day. On Friday, the intersection of 7th and H Streets, NE will be closed from 9 am to 5 pm, as well as the eastbound curb lane on H Street between 6th and 8th Streets. Have patience, its in the name of progress.