Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Friday, February 26, 2016

This should have been promoted much earlier than February 26th...

This was twittered earlier today by DDOT, in association with tomorrow's launch of the streetcar in DC.

-- DC Streetcar launch page

Maybe like how Seattle did a soft launch of the First Hill streetcar line a few weeks ago, because it had been delayed by more than one year because of manufacturing and mechanical issues, and they were tired of the bad publicity, the city needs/needed to do a big promotion of the new streetcar, although late February for weather reasons is never a good time to make a big splash outdoors.

In any case, announcement of this one day before is an example of not adequately addressing promotion and marketing of the new service in advance of its launch.

Apparently there is a brochure on the service available in local establishments.  It doesn't not appear to be downloadable on the DC Streetcar website.

And while I can't find an official brochure online for the "H Street Passport" promotion in association with the launch, the H Street Great Street blog has an entry, "Streetcar services kicks off tomorrow 10 am, H Street celebrates opening with passport promotion & specials," recounting the specials.  If you get the passport stamped at 7 of the establishments listed, and turn it in, you're eligible for a prize drawing.

In general, DC's area transit agencies aren't particularly good at marketing, although Arlington County is an exception:

-- "Making transit sexy," (2005)
-- "More on Metro and rethinking transit marketing," (2006)
-- "WMATA, the Marketing Imagination, and the weekend service-constant repair dilemma," (2013)
-- "Transit, stations, and placemaking," (2013)
-- "One big idea: Getting MARC and Metrorail to integrate fares, stations, and marketing systems, using London Overground as an example," (2015)

As I mentioned in the earlier piece this week, failure can get international attention as much as success, and sadly while H Street has received great press internationally in the Financial Times, New York Times, and other media, the debacles of the DC streetcar bring a different sort of attention, including this article, "A streetcar in the mire," from The Economist.



At 5:01 PM, Anonymous h st ll said...

Not sure this can be categorized as a failure. If you look on twitter the streets (and streetcars) were packed. Seems like it went well

At 5:15 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

I was there too. I took some photos. There were many hundreds of people, but no way near 1,000.

After the first three streetcars, the crowd waiting for a ride was pretty small.

I didn't wait figuring I can ride it later.

It was good to see some people I haven't seen for awhile though.

DK if you know Robt. Pittman. Why the f* he spoke and Anwar didn't is beyond me. I let out some raspberries about that.

I will do a brief blog entry.

I guess I didn't make myself clear, although the timing was bad (feb. vs. the spring).

When the Tucson Streetcar opened they had a massive equivalent of an open house, the local newspaper published a special section, there were tons of events.

I don't know if the real link will come through. If it doesn't, click through on the side to the "editions" tab and you can find the one on the streetcar.

Of course that streetcar connects UA and the Downtown and there are lots of places to have activities.

The H St. streetcar isn't there yet for that kind of promotion.

Note though what was newsworthy is that both Leif Dormsjo and Muriel Bowser said the line would be extended, both east and west. Yvette Alexander also spoke, also about streetcar extension.

I also got to talk for a bit with Rick Gustafson, who launched Portland Streetcar and is a personage in the field.

I figure that Anwar didn't get to speak because he supported Vincent Gray...

At 5:16 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

sorry, this is the link:

At 12:28 PM, Anonymous h st ll said...

ha, interesting observations


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