Washington Post takes a look at DC's looming streetcar construction. I'm excited about this but, as they say, "Streetcars share lanes with automobiles and ride on rails built in existing streets."
We should really be aspiring to have our streetcars run at least substantial portions of their routes in dedicated lanes. A streetcar in a dedicated lane not only can hold a lot of people but will hold a lot of people -- running quickly and reasonably frequently, thus presenting itself as an attractive option that takes a lot of cars off the roads. A streetcar that spends a lot of time stuck in traffic isn't necessarily going to be a very useful option, but the routes most prone to heavy congestion tend to be the routes where it makes the most sense to consider locating a line.
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