Saturday, August 09, 2014

Model railroad of proposed Arlington County streetcar line shown at fair

Two weeks ago, the Metro opened a major new line in northern VA (Fairfax County). Today, at the Arlington County Fair, I saw a little “Z Scale” model railroad of the proposed streetcar line to run on Columbia Pike in south Arlington, site here.  I won’t get into the local politics of funding right now.  The railroad was superimposed right on a street map.

It’s about five miles from Ballston (where the Orange and now Silver lines run) to Crystal City, where the Blue and Yellow lines run (Yellow crosses the 14th Street Bridge above ground) after stopping at the Pentagon.  Logically, a line would belong along I-395, or perhaps Columbia Pike.  There’s a major bus line from the Pentagon along Columbia Pike now out to Annandale, but no rail.
The H Street streetcar line in NE Washington DC is near testing (website).  The line anticipates real estate development in NE Washington like that has occurred near Nationals Park (and hopefully a stadium next door for DC United soccer).  An Olympics bid would mean renovating RFK Stadium.  Northeast Washington is obviously the next target of gentrification, which of course drives low-income people out, enlarging the wealth gap in the City, which has come back in spectacular fashion since the 1968 riots.  Union Market, in NE, near Gallaudet, is also attracting attention, as Angelika Theaers has moved there, but right now it isn’t close enough to either the streetcar like or to the red line to be convenient.  

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