A Metro stop in Georgetown may still be a pipe dream, but D.C. officials now have concrete plans to build something comparable: a line of electric streetcars with a stop on the Georgetown waterfront. The streetcars should be up and running within the next five to 10 years.
The line will run from eastern D.C. past Union Station to the intersection of K Street and Wisconsin Avenue.`Georgetown’s line is only part of a complex planned streetcar network that will stretch across the city.
“Streetcars are a permanent investment and as a result can spark economic development and revitalization along the corridors they serve,” John Lisle, a spokesman for the District Department of Transportation, wrote in an email. “They will also help connect neighborhoods within the District and provide better transportation options in areas that are underserved by Metrorail.”
The DDOT has already started constructing the eastern end of the line that will eventually run to Georgetown and another line in Anacostia. Lisle predicted that the first streetcars would begin carrying passengers in 2012.
Bill Starrels, vice chairman of the Georgetown Advisory Neighborhood Commission whose district includes the planned Georgetown streetcar stop, welcomes the addition to the neighborhood.
“The one negative of Georgetown now is not having the Metro. The circulator’s helped to a degree, but I think streetcars would really help address that,” Starrels said.
Starrels said that the new lines should fit in with the character of the neighborhood.
“The main concern from a negative standpoint is the overhead wires . ,” he said. “The city itself has a lot of historical rules on why wires need to be buried underground, and that’s been one of the stumbling blocks up to now.”
Lisle, though, said he wasn’t worried about the fate of the project.
“There is tremendous support for streetcars in the District,” he said, “and as we move forward we will be working very closely with the various communities to ensure their concerns and preferences are given full weight.”