The streetcar, ultimately, is an economic development tool with transportation benefits, rather than strictly a mobility tool. A streetcar makes new development more desirable and increases the value of existing homes, offices and stores.

To pay for the streetcar, the District should set up mechanisms to capture this added value from the neighborhoods that benefit. Before promising a line to any corridor, policymakers should work with local businesses and residents to set up a financing plan.

In other corridors, like Wisconsin Avenue, where access isn’t the obstacle to growth, bus priority is a better transportation tool than the streetcar.

The streetcar is not about speed

The streetcar is not going to be faster than a bus. It may be slower, since the streetcar could get stuck behind other vehicles more often. Some plans even suggest that in future corridors, the streetcar run the local service and most buses switch to limited-stop.

[Continue reading David Alpert’s post at Greater Greater Washington.]

David Alpert is founder and editor of Greater Greater Washington. The Local Blog Network is a group of bloggers from around the D.C. region who have agreed to make regular contributions to All Opinions Are Local.