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.

Dan Malouff is a transportation planner for Arlington and an adjunct professor at George Washington University. He has a degree in urban planning from the University of Colorado and lives in Trinidad, DC. He runs BeyondDC and contributes to the Washington Post. Dan blogs to express personal views, and does not take part in GGWash's political endorsement decisions.