Thursday, November 17, 2011

Can Streetcar Program Expand to Silver Spring?

I, along with Councilmember Hans Riemer, sent a letter to District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray and Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett asking them to explore the possibility of extending the District’s planned streetcar system to the Silver Spring Metro Station/Transit Center. The letter continues Montgomery County’s interest in finding transportation alternatives that would benefit the Washington region beyond jurisdictional boundaries.

The complete text of the letter:

November 16, 2011

The Honorable Vincent C. Gray, Mayor
District of Columbia
1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 316
Washington, DC 20004

The Honorable Isiah T. Leggett
Montgomery County Executive
101 Monroe Street
Rockville, MD 20850

Dear Mayor Gray and County Executive Leggett:

Recently we took time to review the final report of the District of Columbia Department of Transportation (DDOT) entitled “DC’s Transit Future System Plan” (April 2010). The report outlines plans for a comprehensive streetcar system within the District.

One of the proposed lines would run from Buzzard Point, north through downtown, continuing north on Georgia Avenue to Butternut Street, and then east to the Takoma Metro Station. Instead, would the District of Columbia consider the possibility of re-routing this line so that it proceeds north on Georgia Avenue to the Montgomery County line, and from there north to the Silver Spring Metro Station/Transit Center? While the terminus of each route is at a Metro Station, Silver Spring is also served by MARC Commuter Rail, as well as 46 bus routes and approximately 120 buses per hour in the peak hour—versus 15 bus routes and approximately 50 buses per hour at Takoma. Silver Spring will also be served by the Purple Line. Finally, there are many more opportunities for redevelopment along Georgia Avenue north of Butternut Street and in South Silver Spring that could be spurred and served by this extension.

If there is interest in both our jurisdictions, we would propose that our two DOTs engage in a sketch-planning exercise, in coordination with Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Maryland Transit Administration, and Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission staffs, to determine the design and operational feasibility of this route. Given our other respective transportation priorities, we are not under the illusion that this route would come about in the next few years, or even the next decade. But we think it is important to explore this idea now to determine whether we should revise our master plans accordingly. We look forward to hearing your response.


Nancy Floreen, Councilmember
Hans Riemer, Councilmember


Anonymous said...

Don't stop there.

Think of a Connecticut Avenue line connecting Dupont Circle to Kensington and Wheaton.

Think of a Wisconsin Avenue line that joins Rockville and Bethesda to Chevy Chase and Georgetown.

There are so many possibilities, and many of them are simply re-installing what was once there.

Adam L said...

Silver Spring? Sure, that makes sense. But Kensington, Wheaton, Rockville, Bethesda?

The DC Streetcar is an urban transportation system meant to better serve DC neighborhoods that were left out of the Metro expansion. There's no need to duplicate service everywhere it once was, especially in places that have minimal urban fabric to support a streetcar.

Anonymous said...

The street car system on Conn Ave makes perfect sense, as there is not metro access until you get all the way to VanNess. Wisconin Ave doesn't make as much sense b/c the metro runs directly under it from rockville all the way to tenley

Anonymous said...

To be against specific routes at this point, when nothing has really gotten off the ground is to be a/ the positive social implications of streetcars, as far as the lifestyle they promote. Yes, they could cause more automobile traffic short to medium-term; But, we are going to have to move away from fossil fuel heavy transportation options anyways, and this gives us a good excuse.

It is not feasable for me to take public transportation often but when I do take it (Metro and buses) it comes with peace of mind and spirit--letting the reins loose a little, figuratively.

It is valuable that we are having this discussion. Nancy, Councilmember Reimer, Vince Gray and their compatriots should not be looked to for the answers to are lives. But, this is a valuable accounting: which is one of a legislators two main duties...

I am by no means saying that the second or third commenters in this thread do not present valuable opinions, but, it is easier to criticize than to provide real solutions to problems.

In peace,

Peter R.
Silver Spring