DC Streetcar Project construction begins

A project to make getting around parts of the District a little easier and a bit more fun kicked off Monday.

Work on the DC Streetcar Project began on H Street and Benning Road and will continue through the middle of June.

"Workers can now install new track, relocate utilities,” say Ronaldo Nicholson, chief engineer at DDOT. “Re-striping and reconfiguring of the intersection of 3rd and H.”

Nicholson says this phases will be more disruptive. Traffic patterns will change as construction crews build a western turnaround to the tracks from 3rd street to the top of the Hopscotch Bridge.

“I really need all users, no matter what mode of transportation you are in, to really slow down and pay attention to the traffic control devices, the signals, the barriers, the cones,” says Nicholson.

Construction is no longer an issue outside Sidamo, a specialty coffee shop.

“One of the first people to open a new business in the 400 block,” says owner Kenfe Bellay.

Bellay says the construction has taken too long, keeping patrons away and hurting his bottom line. But despite the short term pain, he thinks the DC Streetcar will be a good thing because people will be able to come from all areas. He also hopes it will relieve traffic in the area.

“I’m concerned because, for one thing, we don’t have parking,” he says.

Mary Thomas, who lives in the neighborhood, doesn’t see how the street car will help.

“If you’re going to take a lane away, too, that’s going to be so congested. It’s already congested,” she says.

Warning signs will be up, but here’s the latest update on construction along with traffic and parking restrictions:

DC Streetcar Construction Update

Significant Impacts April 1 - mid-June:

H Street, NE from the Top of the Hopscotch Bridge to 4th Street, NE
(Washington, DC) Construction work along H Street/Benning Road to ready the corridor for DC Streetcar continues. Phase 1 of the Western Turnaround work is set to begin on Monday, April 1 and continue through mid-June. The Western Turnaround refers to the extension of the streetcar tracks from 3rd Street, NE to the top of the Hopscotch Bridge. Elements include construction of a streetcar platform where passengers may board or leave the streetcars with access to Union Station and tracks to allow the streetcar to reverse course and proceed eastbound through the corridor.

Traffic and parking restrictions and changes are as follows:

I Street, currently one-way east, will be made two-way from 3rd Street to 5th Street, continuing until October.

The 800 block of 3rd Street, between H and I Streets, will be restricted to local traffic only. Entrance to and exit from this block of 3rd Street will be at I Street only.

The 700 block of 3rd Street, between G and H Streets, also will be restricted to local traffic only. Entrance to and exit from this block of 3rd Street will be at G Street only.

Parking will be temporarily removed on 3rd Street between H and I Streets, except for spaces in front of the residences on the northeast portion of 3rd Street near I Street.

No turns onto 3rd Street will be permitted from H Street.

As alternatives, motorists are encouraged to use 4th Street, which is one-way south, or 5th Street, which is two-way, to reach streets north and south of H Street to proceed to 3rd Street and other points west.

Parking will be temporarily removed on H Street between 4th Street and the Hopscotch Bridge, eastbound and westbound.

The Kaiser Permanente building and the Union Station loading dock will be right-in, right-out only. This is a permanent change.

Advance warning signs will be posted. The schedule is subject to change due to weather, material and equipment availability and other unforeseen conditions.

DDOT encourages all motorists to Stay Alert and follow all signs as they travel through this corridor.

More detailed construction related notices, including specific dates and locations, are available by request. Please send an email to and indicate you wish to receive H/Benning updates.

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For more information: DC Streetcar