When I went to interview Jack Evans, I discovered this map which hangs in his office. It’s a 2003 map, apparently produced by WMATA, showing the Silver Line and a potential separated Blue Line alignment. Blue Line maps, such as this one in the Post, never showed a lot of detail about station locations; this one does.

Click to enlage.

Of course, just because WMATA produced it doesn’t mean they’ll definitely put stations in these places (if the line were ever even built), but it’s an interesting window into their thinking at the time. Despite what some have hypothesized, this line does go down H Street (the logical place). I still prefer merging the new back into the current one at River Terrace over a connection at Stadium-Armory. The former enables routing trains in from the east onto either line. On the other hand, since the segment around Stadium-Armory is actually north-south, this arrangement could allow eastbound trains on the Blue Line to immediately continue westbound on the Orange and vice versa.

This map shows no direct transfer at Union Station, since it’s fairly far from H to the Red Line platforms, though I hope they’d try to build a tunnel. There doesn’t appear to be a transfer at the Convention Center either, possibly for the reasons discussed here. Making the transfers work would enormously increase the value of the line, and ought to be a part of any plan. Finally, a station at Thomas Circle would be really useful.

Of course, tunnels and stations add cost. A new subway line would cost billions, anyway (not unlike new or widened freeways as our suburban jurisdictions are still building). Is light rail more important? Can we have both? Would Virginia pay for much of the line, since it adds capacity in from the west? Will federal spending priorities change if we have an Obama-Biden administration? We can hope.

David Alpert is Founder and President of Greater Greater Washington and Executive Director of DC Sustainable Transportation (DCST). He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He lives with his wife and two children in Dupont Circle. Unless otherwise noted, opinions in his GGWash posts are his and not the official views of GGWash or DCST.