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Waiting for the Streetcar in NoVa


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#1 The Davy Crockett

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 09:08 AM

From the WTOP article linked here:

There has been much discussion about the planned Columbia Pike streetcar, but there’s another streetcar project in Arlington that’s looking more likely to get built sooner than the Pike streetcar.

Arlington and Alexandria are jointly planning a five-mile streetcar line to run from the Pentagon City Metro station, across 12th Street to Crystal Drive, down Crystal Drive to Potomac Yard, and then down Route 1 to the Braddock Road Metro Station.


While DC is still saying that its streetcars will start rolling in 2013 (really?), and Maryland's DC suburban counties are still talking up the Purple Line - but it is still just talk, Northern Virginia keeps claiming that the streetcar is just around the corner. Only this time it is going from Pentagon City to Alexandria. We will see, but as the article states, at least there is funding that can be tapped for this line.

So when is the next car due? :unsure:

Edited by The Davy Crockett, 18 March 2012 - 09:19 AM.

I wish I was a headlight on a northbound train.

#2 Nexis4Jersey

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 11:16 PM

From the WTOP article linked here:

There has been much discussion about the planned Columbia Pike streetcar, but there’s another streetcar project in Arlington that’s looking more likely to get built sooner than the Pike streetcar.

Arlington and Alexandria are jointly planning a five-mile streetcar line to run from the Pentagon City Metro station, across 12th Street to Crystal Drive, down Crystal Drive to Potomac Yard, and then down Route 1 to the Braddock Road Metro Station.


While DC is still saying that its streetcars will start rolling in 2013 (really?), and Maryland's DC suburban counties are still talking up the Purple Line - but it is still just talk, Northern Virginia keeps claiming that the streetcar is just around the corner. Only this time it is going from Pentagon City to Alexandria. We will see, but as the article states, at least there is funding that can be tapped for this line.

So when is the next car due? :unsure:


Parts of the DC streetcar system is under construction , there are some terminus changes which have delayed the opening. The NOVA network is still in planning but gaining traction..... They keep shifting the Purple line , the red line is just about wrapped up and just needs funding.

#3 The Davy Crockett

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 10:25 PM

Arlington walks the talk, Alexandria balks?

According to The Washington Post, Arlington and Alexandria have reached a comprimise on building the Crystal City - Potomac Yards streetcar line.Article Link

The article is not clear on the details, but it looks like Arlington is moving forward with the plan and Alexandria is waiting while it does a more comprehensive city-wide study of how it will move forward in improving public transportation in certain key corridors.

From the article:

Arlington will continue to plan for a streetcar to run from Pentagon City to the border with Alexandria. The city will focus on building a Potomac Yard Metrorail station and decide later whether to apply for federal funds to extend the streetcar line or choose a bus or trolley connection.


It is true that both jurisdictions have different agendas in the area. Arlington County Board chair Mary H. Hynes:

not[ed] that the county and city have different challenges. Crystal City is in its second generation of development, while Alexandria’s Potomac Yards is just being built. Despite the differences, Alexandria and Arlington agree that working together on mass transit is critical, she said.


So much for working together on this project. :ohboy:

Guess I better sit and get comfortable while I wait for the next car. Its going to be a while longer.

Edited by The Davy Crockett, 14 June 2012 - 10:34 PM.

I wish I was a headlight on a northbound train.

#4 Anderson

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 01:10 PM


From the WTOP article linked here:

There has been much discussion about the planned Columbia Pike streetcar, but there's another streetcar project in Arlington that's looking more likely to get built sooner than the Pike streetcar.

Arlington and Alexandria are jointly planning a five-mile streetcar line to run from the Pentagon City Metro station, across 12th Street to Crystal Drive, down Crystal Drive to Potomac Yard, and then down Route 1 to the Braddock Road Metro Station.


While DC is still saying that its streetcars will start rolling in 2013 (really?), and Maryland's DC suburban counties are still talking up the Purple Line - but it is still just talk, Northern Virginia keeps claiming that the streetcar is just around the corner. Only this time it is going from Pentagon City to Alexandria. We will see, but as the article states, at least there is funding that can be tapped for this line.

So when is the next car due? :unsure:


Parts of the DC streetcar system is under construction , there are some terminus changes which have delayed the opening. The NOVA network is still in planning but gaining traction..... They keep shifting the Purple line , the red line is just about wrapped up and just needs funding.


1) Could someone remind me what the Red Line is in this context? When I think DC and "Red Line", I think the Metro's red line...but while I know that there's some ongoing work there, I didn't remember hearing about an extension or anything like that.
2) I do like the streetcar idea for Arlington/Alexandria. Right now, that part of town is a bit of a mess, transport-wise. Is there any ambition for this to be an actual system, though, rather than just an odd, isolated line?
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#5 The Davy Crockett

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 03:21 PM



From the WTOP article linked here:

There has been much discussion about the planned Columbia Pike streetcar, but there's another streetcar project in Arlington that's looking more likely to get built sooner than the Pike streetcar.

Arlington and Alexandria are jointly planning a five-mile streetcar line to run from the Pentagon City Metro station, across 12th Street to Crystal Drive, down Crystal Drive to Potomac Yard, and then down Route 1 to the Braddock Road Metro Station.


While DC is still saying that its streetcars will start rolling in 2013 (really?), and Maryland's DC suburban counties are still talking up the Purple Line - but it is still just talk, Northern Virginia keeps claiming that the streetcar is just around the corner. Only this time it is going from Pentagon City to Alexandria. We will see, but as the article states, at least there is funding that can be tapped for this line.

So when is the next car due? :unsure:


Parts of the DC streetcar system is under construction , there are some terminus changes which have delayed the opening. The NOVA network is still in planning but gaining traction..... They keep shifting the Purple line , the red line is just about wrapped up and just needs funding.


1) Could someone remind me what the Red Line is in this context? When I think DC and "Red Line", I think the Metro's red line...but while I know that there's some ongoing work there, I didn't remember hearing about an extension or anything like that.
2) I do like the streetcar idea for Arlington/Alexandria. Right now, that part of town is a bit of a mess, transport-wise. Is there any ambition for this to be an actual system, though, rather than just an odd, isolated line?


Anderson,
1) I don't know what the other poster's reference to the Red Line is. It has been completed for quite a while. The only work I know of on the Red Line is repair/rehab work, which is very much needed, as the Red Line was the first Metro line to open (partially) for revenue, and it is showing its age.

2)Arlington County is planning two streetcar lines, which they would like to connect. Here is a link to the Arlington Co. Govt. Streetcar webpage. The City of Alexandria is currently in the planning process for the future of improved public transportation in the city. There are several different modes of transport being looked at. Here is a link to more information: Local Motion

IMHO:
It would make a whole lot of sense for Arlington and Alexandria to work together on a comprehensive plan for both jurisdictions, as they share a long twisted common border and neither jurisdiction is very large in land mass. Unfortunately it seems that they are both going their own way. While it would make a lot of sense to integrate their systems, so that they are seemless and one would not have to board a different mode of transport at the dividing line, little fifedoms have troubles doing this unless some sort of regional transportation authority, which has real teeth, is agreed upon and set up by the jurisdictions.

One thing about the Crystal City - Potomac Yards streetcar line is that it roughly parallels Metro's Yellow and Blue Lines between Merto's existing Crystal City Sta., the proposed Potomac Yards Sta. and the existing Braddock Rd. Sta., so there is some talk that the line would be redundant, but I think the idea of it is to be a 'local' connection between these stops. With Alexandria balking, I think the usefulness of the line, if it only would serve Arlington Co., is greatly dimminished.
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#6 Eric S

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 05:58 PM



From the WTOP article linked here:

There has been much discussion about the planned Columbia Pike streetcar, but there's another streetcar project in Arlington that's looking more likely to get built sooner than the Pike streetcar.

Arlington and Alexandria are jointly planning a five-mile streetcar line to run from the Pentagon City Metro station, across 12th Street to Crystal Drive, down Crystal Drive to Potomac Yard, and then down Route 1 to the Braddock Road Metro Station.


While DC is still saying that its streetcars will start rolling in 2013 (really?), and Maryland's DC suburban counties are still talking up the Purple Line - but it is still just talk, Northern Virginia keeps claiming that the streetcar is just around the corner. Only this time it is going from Pentagon City to Alexandria. We will see, but as the article states, at least there is funding that can be tapped for this line.

So when is the next car due? :unsure:


Parts of the DC streetcar system is under construction , there are some terminus changes which have delayed the opening. The NOVA network is still in planning but gaining traction..... They keep shifting the Purple line , the red line is just about wrapped up and just needs funding.


1) Could someone remind me what the Red Line is in this context? When I think DC and "Red Line", I think the Metro's red line...but while I know that there's some ongoing work there, I didn't remember hearing about an extension or anything like that.
2) I do like the streetcar idea for Arlington/Alexandria. Right now, that part of town is a bit of a mess, transport-wise. Is there any ambition for this to be an actual system, though, rather than just an odd, isolated line?

My guess, maybe the proposed Baltimore Red Line?

#7 afigg

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Posted 15 June 2012 - 06:04 PM

1) Could someone remind me what the Red Line is in this context? When I think DC and "Red Line", I think the Metro's red line...but while I know that there's some ongoing work there, I didn't remember hearing about an extension or anything like that.
2) I do like the streetcar idea for Arlington/Alexandria. Right now, that part of town is a bit of a mess, transport-wise. Is there any ambition for this to be an actual system, though, rather than just an odd, isolated line?

In this context, the reference has to be to the Baltimore light rail Red Line project. It is further along in the engineering design and obtaining an FTA Record Of Decision process than the MD Purple Line. The Balt Red Line will end up competing with the Purple Line for both state and federal funding, unless MD can raise the state gas tax or other state revenue to be able to pay for both LRT projects construction phases at the same time. Both projects have good web sites with maps and documents.

The Arlington view of the street car vs BRT project under discussion is the Cystral City Transitway project (http://www.ccpytransit.com/maps.htm). The debate has been between starting it as a bus system then streetcar much later or starting it as a streetcar system, which much of it running in dedicated lanes either way. The northern and southern ends of the system shown on the map on the link are not that far along in planning AFAIK, but the center segment will connect to the Pentagon City, Crystal City, future Potomac Yards in-fill DC Metro stations. If the TOD is done well, the streetcar system and Metro connections should make it a popular area to work and live.

#8 Anderson

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 09:01 AM

I will agree that the lines might be sort of redundant in this area, but I don't know that they're totally so. I will say that a line up near the Orange Line might also be necessary, if just to pull local traffic off of a swamped subway (the Orange Line is already slammed; I don't want to imagine what the Silver Line is going to do to capacity on that stretch). The large amounts of TOD along the line there also seem to make a surface line up there increasingly desirable (as a string of development "pockets" could be turned into a complete corridor).

As to fill-in stations, I'm just wondering...how are the lines on that side of the system doing, on-board capacity-wise?

One thing that has always bugged me is these zig-zag lines. I don't know why, but it drives me a little crazy seeing a line veering back and forth between a couple of streets. I'm pretty sure some of that is going around a shopping center, but it still...ugh, it drives me nuts.

As to Arlington and Alexandria not cooperating...this is reminding me of Norfolk and Virginia Beach going to pieces on the Tide, and Norfolk ultimately plowing ahead without VA Beach's cooperation.
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#9 The Davy Crockett

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Posted 16 June 2012 - 06:10 PM

I don't have numbers to back this up, but I think the new streetcar/brt line would not reduce numbers on Metro, but would actually be a component in increasing Metro ridership, as it would be part of the plan to allow higher density development with 'transit oriented development.'

If riders are forced to change from streetcars to brt in the proverbial 'middle of nowhere' - at the Alex./Arl. boundry - instead of, say the proposed Potomac Yards station (which would be in ALX) I think they would be like two seperate systems, each with its own ridership, and almost no one transferring between the streetcars and the brt. OTHO, if they met at the proposed Potomac Yards station it would still be like two seperate systems, but at least that would work better...

Edited by The Davy Crockett, 16 June 2012 - 06:16 PM.

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#10 The Davy Crockett

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 07:47 AM

Here is a link to posts about the relatively recent history and issues involved with the Crystal City/Potomac Yards redevelopment:Greater, Greater Washington Potomac Yard Posts. Here is a link to the Potomac Yards EIS, while THIS article in ArlNow explains the new agreement pretty clearly, even if it glosses over the frictions between Arlington and Alexandria over the proposed streetcar line.

I'm speculating again :ohboy:, but IMHO I think Alexandria wants to put its near-term resources into building the Potomac Yards Metro Station as 'Alternative D.' This option is seen as ultimately getting greater Metro ridership than the other options, but would cost more to build.
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#11 afigg

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 11:09 AM

As to Arlington and Alexandria not cooperating...this is reminding me of Norfolk and Virginia Beach going to pieces on the Tide, and Norfolk ultimately plowing ahead without VA Beach's cooperation.

I would hardly compare Arlington and Alexandria to Norfolk and VA Beach. Both Arlington and Alexandria have been leaders in TOD and taking advantage of the DC Metro stations and lines in their jurisdiction. They have been jointly working together on the Crystal City - Potomac Yard Transitway studies and design for years. Taking the lead on it while the state of Virginia and other northern VA counties have not been focusing on transit improvements other than the Silver Line extension to Tysons and Dulles.

The issue of bus versus streetcars and how much of the route can be dedicated lanes have been in the discussion all along, from what I know of the project. Much of what is creating some tension in the overall project is that Arlington wants to re-boot Crystal City development with the project in the nearer term while Alexandria and the developers are still in the long process of deciding where the Potomac Yard in-fill station will go and what will go where the "temporary" strip shopping mall was built some 10 years ago. If they can build a streetcar line with a lot of separated ROW/dedicated lanes, with reasonable trip time performance, provides easy transfer connections to the DC Metro at Pentagon City, Crystal City, Potomac Yards, and Braddock Road, and to a Columbia Pike Streetcar line at Pentagon City, it can serve as a vital link to an expanded high density office, residential and retail corridor. Like the Purple Line in MD, the DC Metro system can provide a foundation and act as an multiplier effect to a street car or LRT line that connects to the Metro at multiple stops.

As for the Potomac Yard infill station, Alternative D is certainly the boldest proposal. But I expect the cost will result in the decision process leading to Alternative B or a version close to it being selected.

#12 George Harris

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Posted 17 June 2012 - 05:57 PM

Columbia Pike WMATA Line, yes there was a maybe someday possibility of such.

The Pentagon Station, not the Pentagon City Station was designed and built with a stub out on the south end to permit an underground WMATA line to be built under Columbia Pike. Hint: When built as part of the Blue Line, the north end was built with an equivalent stub out which is where what is now the Yellow Line ties in.

#13 The Davy Crockett

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 09:49 AM

Columbia Pike WMATA Line, yes there was a maybe someday possibility of such.

The Pentagon Station, not the Pentagon City Station was designed and built with a stub out on the south end to permit an underground WMATA line to be built under Columbia Pike. Hint: When built as part of the Blue Line, the north end was built with an equivalent stub out which is where what is now the Yellow Line ties in.


To go completely OT, the 'Pentagon stub' reminds me of the urban legends about there being a secret Metro stop at the White House that I've heard numerous times over the years. The most outlandish have it that there is a secret Metro line to Andrews AFB...
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#14 afigg

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 11:20 AM

Columbia Pike WMATA Line, yes there was a maybe someday possibility of such.

The Pentagon Station, not the Pentagon City Station was designed and built with a stub out on the south end to permit an underground WMATA line to be built under Columbia Pike. Hint: When built as part of the Blue Line, the north end was built with an equivalent stub out which is where what is now the Yellow Line ties in.

In all the alternate possible DC Metro extensions listed in the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) recent presentations for traffic analysis looking 30 years out to 2040, there were none using the stub tunnels for a Metro line running down Columbia Pike to Bailey's Crossroads that I recall. The TAG presentations included a Blue Line re-route to Georgetown & then M street to Union Station; a Silver Line reroute from East Falls Church to Rosslyn to Georgetown to M street; new N-S Yellow Line routes; the Beltway Line; the Brown Line; extensions of the Orange, Yellow, Blue, Green lines; in-line connectors; and several other I'm forgetting about. But nothing about a Metro line spur using those stub tunnels.

If the project moves forward, Columbia Pike will get a streetcar. Those Metro stub tunnels will be there for a future generation to connect to. If NYC can build subway tunnels and stub connections that don't get put to use for many decades, if ever, DC can have a pair of stub tunnels that can be part of the (true) urban lore about the DC Metro system.

#15 afigg

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Posted 18 June 2012 - 03:32 PM

To go completely OT, the 'Pentagon stub' reminds me of the urban legends about there being a secret Metro stop at the White House that I've heard numerous times over the years. The most outlandish have it that there is a secret Metro line to Andrews AFB...

If there was a secret Metro stop at the White House, I think someone would have observed it through the windows on the Red Line or WMATA maintenance workers would have talked about it by now. :lol: I would not rule out a secret pedestrian tunnel from the White House bunkers to the Red Line tunnel for evacuations in case of an emergency, but even a short side alcove with a platform on the southern side of the Red Line tunnels would be hard to hide. We should be glad the Red Line was built well before 9/11. I can see the Secret Service, during the design phase, demanding the Red Line be re-routed further from the grounds of the White House, no matter how badly it would complicate routing the line or what it did to construction cost.

A quick check of the map puts the White House about 11 miles from Andrews AFB in a direct line. That is pretty far to dig a Metro line size tunnel - or any tunnel - in complete secrecy in the middle of a major metropolitan area with a large and nosy press corp. But some people are capable of believing any crazy rumor they hear.

#16 The Davy Crockett

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 03:57 AM

Yes, this thread was last active over two years ago...

 

...but I'm STILL waiting for the streetcar here in the "Commiewealth of Northern Virginia." :giggle:

 

BUT...

 

I still have hope that it will arrive one day :excl:

 

From this article linked here at WTOP:

 


The Arlington board on Saturday adopted a 10-year capital improvement program that includes funding for both the Columbia Pike and Crystal City streetcar lines, a pair of major transit projects that are seen either as important economic initiatives or massive boondoggles.

As expected, the board approved the capital improvement project by a 3-2 vote. Chairman Jay Fisette, Walter Tejada and Mary Hynes, all Democrats, voted in favor. Independent John Vihstadt and Democrat Libby Garvey were opposed.

"The streetcar will get us a much better return on investment that will help fund that school growth and other services across the community," Fisette said prior to casting his vote.

 

The 4.9-mile Columbia Pike streetcar will cost Arlington an estimated $268.1 million, and Fairfax County roughly $70 million. The 2.5-mile Crystal City line will run $217.4 million. In the case of both, the vast majority of spending comes in fiscal years 2017 through 2020, when the lines are expected to start passenger service.

Arlington and Fairfax have agreed to forgo federal funding for the Columbia Pike line, a decision — made possible by Virginia's recent decision to toss in another $65 million to the streetcar pot -— that is expected to shave $25 million off the final price tag and a year from the project timeline. But those savings have not quelled opposition to the project.

Vihstadt, the only Republican on the Arlington board, condemned the decision, calling the streetcar a "financial and operational albatross." Vihstadt won his seat in an April special election largely on the strength of his anti-streetcar platform.

"Regardless of the mix of federal state or local funds, it's the public's money after all and it is an unwise public expenditure," he said. "Regardless of where the streetcar is, north or south, east or west Arlington, that will not solve our transit woes, or be a panacea for our school capacity crisis, or economic development or affordable housing."

Streetcar supporters say it is a desperately needed option on a congested corridor (the most heavily traveled bus corridor in Virginia) that lacks fixed rail. They say, citing a study the county commissioned, that it will attract more than three times the private investment than "enhanced bus service."

"Fixed rail is more comfortable, it's more accessible, more environmentally friendly and it will ease congestion along this corridor," Fisette said.

Fisette compared Saturday's vote to Arlington's decision in the 1970s to eschew an Interstate 66 alignment for the Metro in favor of service underground, creating the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor as a result. The county must not "shy away from strategic investments," he said, even if those investments are unpopular in some sectors, more expensive and more disruptive.


Edited by The Davy Crockett, 02 August 2014 - 03:58 AM.

I wish I was a headlight on a northbound train.

#17 The Davy Crockett

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Posted 23 August 2014 - 06:03 PM

This morning at the farmer's market in Old Town Alexandria a couple of folks had a table set up with goodies to promote the soon to open BRT that will run between the Braddock Road Metro Station in Alexandria and the Crystal City Metro Station in Arlington County.  The line has been given its own name - Metroway, and a slick logo in blue and grey, which was plastered on the promoter's t-shirts, plus water bottles, tote bags and even hand sanitizer.  Mrs. Crockett and I stopped and talked to the folks at the table for a bit. 

 

Later in the day Mrs. Crockett and I had errands that had us driving the length of Columbia Pike, where the proposed streetcar would run.  The line would be in both Fairfax and Arlington Counties.  While driving I passed by an Arlington County transit bus, which are known as ART, which stands for Arlington Transit.  Partially due to the interaction with the Metroway folks, I got to thinking what name the streetcar should get, if it ever comes to pass.  Then it hit me!  Not the ART bus, but the name for the streetcar line.  Since it would connect Fairfax County with Arlington County, obviously it should be called FART.  :rolleyes:      


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#18 afigg

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Posted 26 August 2014 - 12:00 AM

While the wait for a streetcar in Northern Virginia goes on, the Greater Greater Washington blog has a report with a link to photos on the new Metroway transit service: Alexandria's Metroway BRT: Open and carrying passengers. Only a portion of the planned transitway is completed, so the BRT route is very much a work in progress. As is the construction of TOD around the BRT and DC Metro corridor.


Edited by afigg, 26 August 2014 - 12:02 AM.




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