March 08, 2012

T Street renovations reveal old streetcar tracks

Old streetcar rails being removed from the 600 block of T St NW

The Howard Theatre is set to open in April. While construction crews are finishing the theater’s historic restoration, the District government is renovating the entire street in front of the theater. The streetscape project involves replacing the sidewalks, curbs, road pavement, storm drains, and lamp posts on the 600 block of T Street NW and along the one-block Wiltberger Street NW, which abuts the Howard Theatre.

Construction work started at the beginning of February. We were able to get this photo of construction crews removing the old streetcar tracks that were paved over after the streetcar system ceased operation in 1962. In fact the old tracks still lie under many of Washington’s streets; paving them over was cheaper than tearing them up.

Though the streetcars ran along 7th Street/Georgia Avenue and along Florida Avenue, a 1958 streetcar map shows that a short connector linked both of these routes along the 600 block of T Street NW.

DDOT’s plans for the block are ornate and are designed to complement the restored arts venue. The street will feature decorative pavement for both the sidewalk and the roadway. We certainly hope the decorative pavement can withstand the stress of traffic once the street reopens.

Below is the plaza section where T Street intersects Florida Avenue in front of Zenebech.  Earlier today we noticed that the sculpture plinth is in place already. The deciduous tree will certainly be a welcome addition to what is now an uninterrupted expanse of concrete.

Categories: Development Projects, Howard Theatre, Streetcars, Transportation
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4 Replies

  1. Very nice. But only one bike rack? Reall? It would be nice it something could be done with the vacant lot/used car lot accross the street, but there’s only so much you can do with private property.

    What does decorative pavement mean? Pavers? Stamped asphalt? Stamped concrete?

    dano - March 8, 2012 @ 1:40 pm
  2. Gold…

    Whatever “decoration” is there, it will be better than it has been in 50 years.

    CA - March 9, 2012 @ 12:16 pm
  3. @dano. I’m pretty sure that the supposed vacant / used car lot on the north side of T at Florida is actually a National Park Service parcel. I can’t believe that it’s going to lie fallow through all this.

    anon - March 9, 2012 @ 5:21 pm
  4. There are actually many miles of old tracks around the city. When the system was shut down, most of the tracks were paved over. They are still there except on streets that have been rebuilt. For example, when PA Ave from 15th to 17th was rebuilt several years ago, the tracks were pulled up.

    Dan Gamber - March 10, 2012 @ 10:24 am

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