The District Department of Transportation plans to move one of its streetcars to H Street NE on Friday night, then begin testing the streetcar along H Street and Benning Road.
The move — on a flatbed truck coming from the storage yard in Anacostia — will mark the return of this form of transit to D.C. streets after a half-century’s absence.
Passenger service won’t begin till next year, but the testing phase will be attention-getting, especially if you are a driver, pedestrian or cyclist along the busy corridor where the rails are embedded in concrete pavement.
By comparison, the actual arrival of the car on H Street will be more like watching paint dry. The truck that transports the streetcar will unload it very slowly and carefully, repeating the pattern we observed this year when the three streetcars arrived by truck at the Anacostia yard off South Capitol Street. It will take about three hours.
To accommodate the unloading, DDOT plans to close H Street between North Capitol and Fifth streets NE from 7 o’clock tonight till 1 a.m. Saturday. The unloading will occur between Third and Fifth streets, then the streetcar will be pushed into a siding on the Hopscotch Bridge, on the north side of Union Station.
Local traffic will be allowed into and out of the Union Station garage and the Kaiser Permanente loading dock entrance. Watch for the city’s traffic control officers, who will be directing pedestrians and vehicles.
Through traffic will be detoured around H Street.
Metrobus riders should use the bus stop at H and Sixth streets. Look for signs with directions at any bus stop not in use during the closing.