DDOT’s final alternatives analysis for a premium transit route from Union Station to Georgetown calls for a streetcar using a dedicated transitway along K Street. 

The analysis recommendations confirm earlier planning that had included K Street in DC’s proposed 37-mile network, and long-time plans for a K Street Transitway.

Other alternatives that were analyzed and rejected would have followed I and M Streets, or used buses rather than streetcars.


Streetcar route. Image from DDOT.



The selected route begins on the Hopscotch Bridge as an extension of the H Street streetcar. From there it runs west along H Street, New Jersey Avenue, and K Street, until it reaches its end at Wisconsin Avenue under the Whitehurst Freeway in Georgetown.

From 10th Street to 21st Street NW the line runs as the K Street transitway, in dedicated lanes fully separated from cars by medians on most blocks. Although the transitway has been planned for years, DDOT did consider other options.


K Street section through downtown. Image from DDOT.


Since federal rules prohibit overhead wires in most of the L’Enfant City, DDOT’s analysis included a report on wire-free propulsion. Wire free technology is improving, and seems possible for segments of up to 2.5 miles long.

Since the route from Union Station to Georgetown is a little over 3 miles long, rapid battery recharge stations may be necessary, unless the technology improves or overhead wires are allowed.

Construction is still a couple of years away, and will most likely move forward after DDOT hires a private firm to design and build its 22-mile premium transit system.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.