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District of Columbia Streetcar Land Use Study, Phase One

Letter To Residents

The District of Columbia is committed to bringing a streetcar system to the city to improve transit services available to residents and create walkable, vibrant communities. In the spring of 2010, the DC Office of Planning (OP) initiated a land planning study to ensure that the city and its residents gain the greatest possible benefits from the new system, and that the overarching vision and goals for the District are furthered by the new system.

Goals of the DC Streetcar system:

  • Link neighborhoods with a modern, convenient and attractive transportation alternative.
  • Provide quality service to retain and grow transit ridership.
  • Offer a broader range of transit options for District residents.
  • Reduce short inner-city auto trips, parking demand, traffic congestion and air pollution.
  • Connect people to jobs and services with frequent, affordable, reliable transit service.
  • Encourage economic development and affordable housing options along streetcar corridors.

The Streetcar Land Use Study provides an assessment of the citywide benefits of the system in terms of access to jobs and schools, quality of life, transportation costs for households, job growth, and real estate impacts. The study also considers potential challenges to the introduction of streetcar service such as the impact on historic and cultural resources, housing costs and small business retention. The report examines the benefits and challenges along each proposed corridor and proposes adjustments to phasing and small segments to maximize mobility and economic development benefits of the investment.

In the months ahead, the Streetcar Land Use Study will provide an initial foundation of analysis that OP, DDOT and other involved agencies will use to make recommendations regarding the District’s streetcar system. Future elements of the Streetcar Land Use Study will examine specific land use recommendations at the corridor and neighborhood level including zoning, retail and residential uses, streetscape and urban design. The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) will lead the system design, financing, construction and operation of the streetcar, and DDOT is moving forward with the initial phase of the streetcar system with construction of the H Street/Benning Road line. As DDOT completes system planning for each corridor, extensive public outreach to local residents and businesses will take place. The findings supported in this study will further the dialogue between communities and District agencies as we continue planning for future lines.

Harriet Tregoning Director, Office of Planning