Fifty-four years after streetcars stopped dinging their way through the District — and nearly a decade after the city blew through its first deadline for bringing them back — Washington should finally be ready to launch passenger service in as little as two weeks, according to city safety officials.
District officials declined to give a precise date for their grand opening.
But in a letter this week to the Federal Transit Administration, the District’s Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department, which has safety oversight of the system, said the time has come.
“The date will be on or after Feb. 26, 2016,” the letter read, “provided all final requisite activities are successfully completed by” transportation and safety officials.
As befits a project marked by repeated delays and broken promises — passengers were first supposed to be able to ride in 2006 — a host of caveats remains.
Namely, final safety walk-throughs and documentation have yet to be completed.
“Just to clarify,” the letter continued, if the District Department of Transportation “is unable to complete the requisite activities and/or documents,” or the State Safety Oversight Office, which is part of the Fire Department, “identifies any serious safety or security concerns … this projected opening date could and most likely would be impacted.”
But, the letter continues, based on the progress of the past few months, such a delay “seems unlikely.”