Here’s an example of a streetcar line I would propose. I used the following criteria for creating the line:
1. Follow Lee Highway whenever possible. There were two locations where I diverted to fit goal 2 better.
2. Go through urban density sections when possible. I diverted from Old Dominion Drive to stay on Lee Highway (just west of Cherrydale) to ensure that the apartment complexes there maintained their station, currently served by the 3s bus line. I diverted from Lee Highway to Key Blvd at Courthouse to ensure that the high density residential properties there had adequate service.
3. Have a station or stop about every half mile, at a major intersection, or where there is a collection of commercial property that can be redeveloped.
This line is about 6 miles end-to-end, and would likely cost $120-150 million to construct. Travel time would be about 25 minutes from East Falls Church to Rosslyn, which means two vehicles could provide half-hour headways. More likely, you would want to have three vehicles operating each direction at all times, with a reserve vehicle in the maintenance yard, and a pocket track vehicle stored at Rosslyn. This would provide ten minute headways.
The shortcoming with this proposal is the lack of a facility for a maintenance barn. I think one would fit on the parking lot of either the East Falls Church Metro Station (at the back of the property next to I-66), or on the parking lot of the Verizon central office, or on the old Hollywood Video location at the corner of Lee and Harrison Streets. I’m not a transit engineer, so I welcome any information that might help me understand the requirements for such a location. I assume that the capacity would have to be about 15 cars (6 double car consists, plus spares), and would have to include vehicle lifts and offices.
If you’re looking at a more extensive network, this line could be connected to the rest of the Arlington network by way of Glebe Road or Quincy Street to Columbia Pike, or by Kirkwood Road and Washington Boulevard to the Pentagon City area. That would allow the use of the maintenance facility planned for the Columbia Pike line at Skyline, on Jefferson Street near Route 7.
I invite any comments you have on my streetcar line idea. It’s the first time I’ve done one of these so it was a great learning experience.