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DC Streetcar Will Open as Soon as February 26, Officials Say

Photograph via iStock.

The DC Streetcar along H St. and Benning Rd., Northeast, will be ready to serve actual people on or after February 26, according to a letter from safety officials overseeing the 2.2-mile line’s final testing phase. While the District Department of Transportation is not confirming that date as when the streetcar will finally open to the public after more than a decade of missed deadlines and false promises, it’s the surest sign yet this thing will actually be real.

The streetcar’s six weeks of “pre-revenue operation” wrapped up Wednesday, according to the letter, which was first reported by WAMU. From there, the State Safety Oversight Office, a unit of the DC Fire and EMS Department, will submit the streetcar’s safety documentation to the Federal Transit Administration, which will make the final determination for whether it can start passenger service.

The letter states that “all potential hazards and vulnerabilities have been identified and reduced or eliminated to the lowest practical level,” perhaps the cleanest bill of health the $200 million streetcar program has ever received. While further delays are possible, the safety officials also write that “this seems unlikely.”

Still, just to be sure, Washingtonian will update its log of the streetcar’s many promised openings over the years.

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Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.