Streetcar projects opening in 2016

Kansas City joins the small group of cities with operating streetcar systems this year, while a few other cities have new lines that have seen significant delays in their original opening dates. Here’s what 2016 holds:

DC Streetcar on H Street

H Street, Washington, DC (Early 2016) – OPENED FEB. 27, 2016

New leadership and a peer review has helped get this bad boy back in shape and a January opening seems very possible. Most transit projects survive bad reputations shortly after they’re operating, but it will take a long time for this one to recoup having been under construction since 2009.

  • Length: 2.4 miles
  • Implementation: Mixed traffic, both curb- and center-running
  • Vehicles: Modern (Inekon, Oregon Iron Works)
  • Peak headway: 15 minutes, no Sunday service
  • Fare: $1 (free initially)
  • Major transit connections: Union Station (subway, commuter rail, Amtrak), local bus
  • Funding: Local

Seattle streetcar

First Hill, Seattle, WA (Early 2016) – OPENED JAN. 23, 2016

We said it last year: This project is one to watch due to the combined bike and streetcar facility on a busy commercial street. Having seen the infrastructure up close, it’s a testament to a city’s focus on bike safety. Both Seattle and DC projects were on last year’s opening list.

  • Length: 2.5 miles (Expansions planned)
  • Implementation: Mixed traffic, curb-running
  • Vehicles: Modern (Inekon)
  • Peak headway: 10 minutes
  • Fare: $2.25
  • Major transit connections: Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel (local bus and light rail), new light rail station (
  • Funding: Local

Streetcar #801

Main Street, Kansas City, MO (Spring 2016) – OPENS MAY 6, 2016

Our baby finally opens this Spring! After decades of false starts with light rail, the little starter line succeeds.

  • Length: 2 miles
  • Implementation: Mixed traffic, curb-running
  • Vehicles: Modern (CAF)
  • Peak headway: 10 minutes
  • Fare: Free
  • Major transit connections: 11th/12th street “transit emphasis corridor”, 3rd & Grand transit center, Union Station/Crown Center (Amtrak, local bus)
  • Funding: Federal, local

Loyola streetcar

Rampart Street, New Orleans, LA (3rd Quarter 2016)

One of the few cities melding new and old streetcar implementations, New Orleans is home of the oldest line (St. Charles) and soon one of the newest (Rampart). All lines converge at historic Canal Street, which is a wonder to watch at all times of day. This new line will serve the French Quarter more directly.

  • Length: 1.6 miles
  • Implementation: Mixed traffic, center-running
  • Vehicles: Heritage replica
  • Peak headway: 15 minutes (estimated, based on existing service)
  • Fare: $1.25
  • Major transit connection: Existing streetcar and bus routes via Canal Street, Union Passenger Terminal (Amtrak)
  • Funding: Local

Cincinnati streetcar

Downtown, Cincinnati, OH (September 2016)

Our streetcar brethren — we’re sharing a vehicle contract — has held their September 2016 opening out for a long time, and it looks like they’re going to make it. Perhaps the most caustic political meddling in a transit project outside of Milwaukee (just Google them both).

  • Length: 3.6 miles
  • Implementation: Mixed traffic, curb-running
  • Vehicles: Modern (CAF)
  • Peak headway: 12 minutes
  • Fare: $1
  • Major transit connection:
  • Funding: Federal, local

Loop Trolley rendering

Delmar Loop, St. Louis, MO (Late 2016)

Despite having received a stern warning from the feds, it looks like the Loop streetcar (sorry, we don’t use the “T” word here) will at least finish construction this year, if not start operating. It helps to already have all of your vehicles on the ground.

  • Length: 2.2 miles
  • Implementation: Mixed traffic along curb and dedicated median-running
  • Vehicles: Vintage
  • Peak headway: 20 minutes
  • Fare: $1
  • Major transit connection: Two light rail stations (Forest Park and Delmar)
  • Funding: Federal, local


Oak Cliff Extension, Dallas, TX (Late 2016)

The initial segment is one of the smallest lines in operation (1.6 miles), but that was just to get the off-wire ball rolling (it’s the first in the US to operate a segment without overhead wires). This next phase will extend further into the Bishop Arts District.

  • Length: 0.7 miles
  • Implementation: Mixed traffic with off-wire segments
  • Vehicles: Modern (Brookfield)
  • Peak headway: 20 minutes
  • Fare: Free
  • Major transit connection: Union Station (Amtrak, commuter rail, light rail)

Projects starting construction this year include Milwaukee and Fort Lauderdale.

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