First stop was South Capitol Street at the intersection with Firth Sterling Avenue, Anacostia. On my last visit there had been no progress on this line. Alas, there was only slightly more this time: Work had begun on laying the second track in Firth Sterling. That was a revelation in itself; past observation had not convinced me the digging in the street across from the finished track was not utilities work. Happily, I was wrong.
What puzzled me was why the line had not been advanced southward beyond its end on South Capitol Street, nor north at the opposite end where Firth Sterling crosses Suitland Parkway. Not one shovelful of earth had been picked up in either location. A possible explanation may be that in a period of tight budgets, funds may have been diverted to speed completion of the H Street line. It's in a much busier part of town, with one end near Union Station, not far from Capitol Hill. The chance of it receiving more, faster patronage--not to mention notice by politicians--seems pretty likely. And yet, an inquiry made to a city official at the DC Streetcar Showcase (May 5) got the response that they both would be finished by 2012.
Let's get started. We begin with a half-dozen shots in Anacostia along Firth Sterling Avenue. I skipped South Capitol Street since nothing had changed since my last report:
Okay, time to head downtown . . . After visiting the moribund Anacostia job, I made my way across Capitol Hill to H Street NE at the intersection with 3rd Street, the western end of the line. After taking a few shots while on foot, I got back in the Jeep and began driving east on H Street, shooting pictures through the windshield. (Don't be surprised if you see bug smears in the pictures.) When I reached the eastern end of the line, I reversed and drove back to the beginning. Track-laying is substantially finished at the opposite ends of the line, partially finished in the H Street blocks between 8th and 13th, but nil in the block between 13th and 14th. There are new streetlight poles along the route; I'm wondering if they'll be used to support catenary.
And here we are at my usual starting point: H Street and 3rd NE, these pictures taken on foot. After the first three I'll be back in the Jeep headed east on H Street: