If you live or work in Arlington, chances are you've heard more than a little discussion about streetcars in the past several weeks. Back in July, the Arlington County Board voted in approval of plans to develop a streetcar along Columbia Pike. Once completed, the streetcar will serve a 5-mile route from Pentagon City, out toward Bailey's Crossing along Columbia Pike. The new transportation initiative is intended to spur economic development along the corridor while providing increased mobility access to residents of Columbia Pike.
Across the Potomac, the District is forming their own ambitious streetcar plans - calling for a system of 8 lines, totaling 37 miles to be built by 2020. There are 2 lines currently under construction, with the first segment, along H St. NE, expected to begin operation in 2013.
Streetcar mania is not just limited to our region. The Wall Street Journal yesterday published a very interesting article about the trend toward developing streetcar plans in cities all over the country. Places like Kansas City, Los Angeles and Cincinnati are all vying to implement streetcar plans to further promote sustainable transportation, and build on the success of streetcar pioneers such as Portland and New Orleans.
It is an exciting time for public transportation in many cities. Streetcars are certainly a trendy topic, and the hope is that they can deliver on the promise of increased access to jobs, a rise in economic development more vibrant, walkable communities.
Check out the article here, and learn more about streetcars from a national perspective!