DC Streetcar Pedestrian Danger?
Washington DC’s long delayed Streetcar debuted on February 27, 2016. It’s running, but can it run safely? Are H Street pedestrians in danger?
The streetcar project has been delayed five years, raising significant questions about planning and safety – questions which may be answered if the streetcar is a success. In Toronto, a similarly designed streetcar has claimed the lives of five pedestrians since November, 2013.
The DC line will run on H Street, NE, from 6 a.m. till midnight, six days-a-week, and at least initially, it will be free. Trains are scheduled to run every 15 minutes and have an average speed of five miles per hour. Initially, DC Streetcar planned 80 miles of track, crisscrossing the entire city.
Those plans have been paired back, with the H Street section the only portion sure to be built.
Delays have included fires, minor accidents, and structural problems with tracks, platforms and doors. Initial traffic safety measures were insufficient, and there was scant effort to anticipate safety hazards and mitigate them.
The biggest concern: the Streetcar does not have its own dedicated lane, and must share traffic with buses, cars, cyclists and pedestrians.
New DDOT director Leif Dormsjo has made the DC streetcar a top priority, trying to work through the engineering and safety issues. Dormsjo says the problems have been fixed and the streetcar is ready to roll. Other have their doubts.
The ceremonial opening was held on Feb. 27 at the corner of 13th and H Street, NE. This Streetcar is either going to be the beginning of a memorable change in transportation or a day to forget, depending on how the $200 million dollar DC Streetcar project pans out.
Streetcar safety is a major concern, especially for a city which has seen several major incidents on its underground rail line, DC Metro.
The legal team at Zukerberg & Halperin, PLLC has a collective 50+ years of experience representing people and families
injured in rail, car, bus and bike collisions in DC, Maryland and Virginia.
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