Greater Greater Washington

Preservation


Landmark nomination, or DDOT snafus, may delay streetcar

The historic landmark nomination for Spingarn High School could delay the H Street streetcar by 3 months or even much more, said DDOT Director Terry Bellamy at a DC Council hearing today. But could DDOT have avoided this long ago? Councilmember Mary Cheh rebuked the agency for not planning effectively and not sharing its plans with the council or public.


Photo by dan reed! on Flickr.

The Kingman Park Civic Association filed a petition in September to designate the school. A landmark application prevents any action while it is pending, and if the building gets designated, it may be difficult to build a car barn in the open space between the school and Benning Road.

Bellamy said that they were shooting to open the line in "late 2013," but now that they have to deal with the historic issue, it will likely push the opening date back by 90 days or more. He did assure Cheh that DDOT would have 5 working cars, enough to run the line, by opening day (whenever that is).

Maintenance facility decisions fell through at the last minute

Some have charged that the association's true goal is to stop the streetcar entirely. Unfortunately, DDOT made this snafu possible by really blowing the planning for the maintenance facility for the H Street line.

Former streetcar head Scott Kubly spent years believing that the agency could put the facility in the underpass below the Union Station tracks, but Amtrak ultimately decided to use the space for its own Union Station plan.

At that point, DDOT turned around and said they would put the facility at Spingarn, because that's the only place they could get approval quickly enough. A far better choice would be the edge of the massive parking lots at RFK stadium, but that is federal land, which DC controls but can only use for recreational purposes.

WMATA was able to build the Orange and Blue Line through the parking lots on a long ramp from underground to a bridge over the river, and one can certainly argue whether giant parking lots are really a recreational use. Still, any effort to get permission for a car barn would be complex and take a long time.

It's hard to really fault area residents who are frustrated that DDOT didn't pursue alternatives for the car barn location, then had to put it at Spingarn because it didn't have time to pursue any alternatives.

Will car barns look attractive?

The very industrial look in DDOT's early sketches also doesn't do much to assuage residents' fears. DDOT now says they will be designing a more attractive facility that fits better with Spingarn's historic architecture. They should, but can residents feel confident a better design will actually come to pass?


Sketch of possible car barn. Image from DDOT.

DDOT is finishing the line under a design-build contract, which includes the maintenance facility. In a design-build process, DDOT picks a contractor and then works with that contractor to work out design details as they go. This can significantly speed up projects, but it doesn't always allow for a lot of public participation or transparency. A lot of details of the 11th Street Bridge project remained somewhat vague until very late in the process, often far too late to change anything.

DDOT spokesperson John Lisle says that the contractor has "commenced" the design process for the facility, and that "Additional opportunities for public participation/feedback will be scheduled over the next 90-120 calendar days." We just have to hope that this process is more participatory than DDOT's last few efforts, and gives residents real choices.

If DDOT ends up only offering unattractive designs and says they are the only possibilities because of the short time frame or limited budget, it will only validate the arguments of those who seek to landmark Spingarn.

Streetcar planning has been limited or secret

The fact is that most large transportation projects involve a lot of different pieces, and an agency must either plow ahead knowing it will probably encounter some hiccups, or the project may never get done.

Still, it has been years since DDOT promised to flesh out details of the streetcar system, with almost no progress. The agency promised a plan for financing the streetcar, and also for how it will procure cars that can run without overhead wires at least in key viewsheds. Bellamy alluded to a lot of work getting done on these issues at the hearing, but has never actually shared any of that work with the public.

The Committee of 100 has been arguing for such plans. They initially wanted to halt progress on the project until DDOT finished the plans. That could have killed the streetcar, and we pushed hard at that time to let DDOT keep moving forward. As the years pass without any more details, however, I find it harder to keep justifying this approach.

Business groups have been talking about setting up a "value capture" mechanism that applies some of the real estate appreciation, which the streetcar brings, toward financing the lines. The farther DDOT goes down the path of planning new lines, the harder it will be to set something like this up. Already, as Cheh pointed out in the hearing, it may be too late to do this on H Street.

Similarly, where will future maintenance facilities go? For some other lines, the best locations might take time to secure permission and build community support. DDOT needs to start far sooner than it did with Spingarn to plan for these locations and create designs that satisfy neighbors.

Cheh also harangued DDOT for dragging its feet on a governance plan. When the council approved the streetcar plan, it required DDOT to study and report on options for what authority or board would control the streetcar system in the long term. Bellamy has come to multiple hearings promising that such a report was just around the corner, but then nothing happened.

Today, he said they had such a report, but some unnamed "stakeholders" had asked DDOT to hold off on releasing it. When Cheh threatened to withhold a key authorization, however, Bellamy promised to give her staff copies of the draft report. Why can't the public see this report?

DDOT might be doing a lot of work behind the scenes, but it's high time the conversation moved out into public view. Former director Gabe Klein was moving very rapidly on the streetcar, sometimes so much so that he smashed headlong into some obstacles, but he and Kubly also were forthright with residents about the way they were operating. They also built public support for the streetcar program by sharing details and progress regularly.

As we saw with the battles over streetcar funding and council authorization in 2010 and 2011, residents eager for this very important project will forgive a lot of mistakes as long as they know what is happening. With a more secretive approach of late, DDOT risks squandering a lot of the enthusiasm from residents outside the line's immediate area.

That would be a shame, because the streetcar is an important project to shape the future of the District. We can't build Metrorail everywhere it doesn't serve today. A streetcar can stimulate transit-oriented growth that buses simply don't, but if the line doesn't work well, the maintenance facility looks ugly, or a value capture mechanism for funding never comes together, neighborhoods outside H Street will either oppose or never get streetcars of their own.

David Alpert is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Greater Greater Washington and Greater Greater Education. He worked as a Product Manager for Google for six years and has lived in the Boston, San Francisco, and New York metro areas in addition to Washington, DC. He loves the area which is, in many ways, greater than those others, and wants to see it become even greater. 

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You're right David that DDOT needs to be clear about its goals and its process for planning the streetcar. Apparently going fast but well documented has been replaced by slow and secret. But I still think its clear that a historic designation for the school has to do with the streetcar barn rather than the school (which isn't in danger of being torn down).

I'll still take exception to this though,
It's hard to really fault area residents who are frustrated that DDOT didn't pursue alternatives for the car barn location, then had to put it at Spingarn because it didn't have time to pursue any alternatives.

I'm still not ok with people who act like the sky is falling on a necessary piece of infrastructure. It's one thing to ask for a good design or for it to be integrated in a smart way. It's another to be wholesale against it under the pretext of "it can go somewhere else" without acknowledging that their are opportunity costs to any location and the costs for another location may be too high.

tl;dr DDOT is not entirely free from blame but the springarn car barn is probably still the best idea and the Historic designation process is clearly being abused.

by drumz on Oct 9, 2012 2:13 pm • linkreport

drumz: Agreed.

by David Alpert on Oct 9, 2012 2:18 pm • linkreport

Oh, the pit of manure that is incompetent inefficient blame-game Washington politics.

by Jasper on Oct 9, 2012 2:25 pm • linkreport

Uh, I'm no urban planner but why wouldn't you put in the tracks last, after everything else has been worked out? I'm talking as one of those people who got their bike caught in the tracks and took a grisly fall.

by Joe Flood on Oct 9, 2012 2:50 pm • linkreport

It should be pointed out that the campus was identified as historically significant in a long-ago completed survey of historic school buildings in the District. As such, DDOT was required to engage in consultation with the DC Historic Preservation office which pleaded with them to pick another location.

After months of citizens trying to get input, and DDOT ignoring the suggestions of the DC HPO for better designs, they kind of deserve what they get. I can't really blame a community that values this campus and tried early on to participate in the process only to be ignored. In this case they are not abusing the landmark process... they are not doing it simply to stop progress - they are having their rightful legal say as to what is going to be placed on public land adjacent to a historically significant building in their neighborhood. This is what the process was designed to do. Scapegoating it isn't fair.

If this was truly the only place for them to place the facility, DDOT should have done a better job of communicating this as well provided a list of the other alternatives it considered. Additionally, since they knew the historic nature of the campus up front, once they made the decision, they should have designed a better product to be more compatible.

The blame really rests on DDOT's shoulders here.Ultimately DDOT went ahead with the entire streetcar project without considering how to turn the cars around or where to store or maintain them... embedding the rails directly into the concrete rather than in removable sections which will necessitate the destruction of the street for repairs and replacement, and they bought cars that were obsolete from the beginning.

I am sure this will work itself out. Granted people are rightfully getting impatient. But lack of planning, communication, or frankly common sense should not mean we overlook substantial concerns and rush to what could be a precedent setting conclusion.

by EH on Oct 9, 2012 2:52 pm • linkreport

why wouldn't you put in the tracks last, after everything else has been worked out?

Because in a city as inefficient, corrupt and incompetent as DC, you would never get anything done.

by Jasper on Oct 9, 2012 2:53 pm • linkreport

Perhaps this has been discussed already, but I'm still unclear on what's happening at the western end of the tracks. Have they figured out a way to turn the trains around?

by Teyo on Oct 9, 2012 2:55 pm • linkreport

Jasper: Yeah, who needs to really think or talk about the process that leads to good or bad outcomes, or what to do about it, when one can just throw up hands and blame "Washington" and "corruption" for everything?

There is absolutely no evidence anyone has taken any bribes or gotten any kickbacks for anything in the streetcar. I'm all for criticizing where criticism is due, but let's criticize what's actually wrong instead of relying on the stereotype a lot of non-residents have from 25 years ago.

by David Alpert on Oct 9, 2012 2:58 pm • linkreport

This is the best kind of planning, in disorganized bursts with time in between for politicians to cancel the project.

When Metro was built, there was always a constituency that had either just gotten or was about to get service. I bet that's a useful kind of political capital to have.

by Neil Flanagan on Oct 9, 2012 3:03 pm • linkreport

I don't think the streetcars will run until Tommy Wells is mayor. So they may never run.

by LoLo on Oct 9, 2012 3:06 pm • linkreport

"uh, I'm no urban planner but why wouldn't you put in the tracks last, after everything else has been worked out?"

IIUC the street was getting a repaving anyway, and it made sense to not tear the street up twice.

Had they waited, people would be complaining about the idiocy of tearing up the street again.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Oct 9, 2012 3:08 pm • linkreport

@Joe Flood
why wouldn't you put in the tracks last, after everything else has been worked out?
They put the tracks in because the street was being completely ripped up and redone anyway.

@Teyo
Perhaps this has been discussed already, but I'm still unclear on what's happening at the western end of the tracks. Have they figured out a way to turn the trains around?
The trains do not need to turn around, they only need to cross over to the other track. They can be controlled from either end.

by MLD on Oct 9, 2012 3:10 pm • linkreport

@MLD

Perhaps I should have been more clear. I know the trains can run in either direction but as far as I can tell, there is no place for them to cross over to the other track on the western end. Did I miss something or will this be added later?

by Teyo on Oct 9, 2012 3:13 pm • linkreport

@AWiTC - exactly. Although it was a total rebuild of the street, new utilities, sidewalks etc. Had to be done at that time

by H Street LL on Oct 9, 2012 3:15 pm • linkreport

@ David Alpert:There is absolutely no evidence anyone has taken any bribes or gotten any kickbacks for anything in the streetcar. I'm all for criticizing where criticism is due, but let's criticize what's actually wrong instead of relying on the stereotype a lot of non-residents have from 25 years ago.

I was speaking of the city, not specifically the streetcar project. Did Harry Thomas not just get convicted for theft? Was the Kwame Brown not slapped with fraud charges? Is the mayor not under investigation for corruption charges?

These are no allegations from 25 years ago. This is ongoing right now.

And speaking of 25 year old charges. Has Marion Barry paid his taxes yet? Has he registered his cars yet? Oh, no that was not 25 years ago, but last year.

This all may not pertain to the streetcar project. But DC is by no means a straight-by-the-book city of clean politics. It is a constant cesspool of fraud, theft and corruption. A consequence is a lot of incompetence and inefficiency.

Oh, and I was actually defending the way DDOT started the streetcar project, filling in the details as they went.

by Jasper on Oct 9, 2012 3:55 pm • linkreport

Meanwhile, the streetcars sit in Greenbelt racking up rental costs for the city and getting older and more obsolete by the day.

Now the latest idea is apparently to scrap the cars the city already bought and instead go with "historic" looking cars?

Even better are the "Streetcar Crossing" signs on Firth Sterling St by the Anacostia Navy Annex.

At least this will make a great case study for future public administration students.

by dcdriver on Oct 9, 2012 4:24 pm • linkreport

Agreed that Bellamy and company aren't handling this very well, but a whole lot of the blame can be placed on Dan Tangherlini, Michelle Pourcieau, and Emeka Moneme.

It was under Tangherlini that the huge ($1M IIRC) DCAA Transit Expansion study was carried out by DMJM+Harris for DDOT. It was also under Tangherlini that DDOT agreed--quite correctly, IMHO--to include streetcar tracks in the H Street reconstruction project, because it was clear that H street was a high priority for streetcars in any analysis, and because it's better to tear the street up only once.

But it was also under Tangherlini that these two ideas were never reconciled; the DCAA's projection for actual operations would have had idle tracks on H street for at least a decade.

Michelle Pourcieau was in a bit of a bind--finishing out DDOT director for the remainder of William's term, too long to just continue as 'acting' DDOT director, too short to lay out an independent vision. But it was under her directorship that the DCAA final report came out, completely missing any mention of the work going on on H street.

And Emeka Moneme didn't see any urgency to the lack of any plans to actually run streetcars once the H Street tracks were in. The streetcar materials that came from his directorship weren't particularly detailed, timely, or ambitious.

It was finally Gabe Klein who realized that there was a problem and he and Scott Kubly and their staff worked very hard to make up for the several lost years of planning. They had been handed an impossible situation and nearly made it possible.

I'm not sure where the fault with the bridge location lies--whether Amtrak wouldn't talk to Gabe Klein or whether Vince Gray wouldn't talk to Amtrak.

But it does burn me up that the 11th street bridge can get planned, engineered, and built well inside the timeframe since the DCAA started and before the first streetcar actually makes a revenue service run.

by thm on Oct 9, 2012 4:27 pm • linkreport

dcdriver: The city is NOT looking to scrap the cars it bought. They are just thinking about maybe getting a few heritage cars for a future line. Those cars would not be for the H Street line and might never happen at all; it was just an interesting option that DCist noticed in a larger document.

by David Alpert on Oct 9, 2012 4:29 pm • linkreport

Jasper: I do not think DC is a constant cesspool of corruption and inefficiency. I think 99% of employees do their jobs very honestly and there are a few bad apples who should (and often do) get caught and punished.

Any public works project is large, complicated, and often inefficient. The DC government is not particularly less efficient or more wasteful than any other I have seen.

by David Alpert on Oct 9, 2012 4:30 pm • linkreport

thm: Great points and thoughtful history. One other factor that people should know is that for a lot of time DDOT was focused on the Anacostia line instead of H Street.

I don't know the details of how that got decided, but David Catania at one point claimed credit, saying he wanted to make sure the first line was in Ward 8, but the problem is the location in Ward 8 was about the most useless place for a line.

It took a lot of pushing for DDOT to switch to H Street, and as a consequence they got way behind.

by David Alpert on Oct 9, 2012 4:32 pm • linkreport

FWIW, the historic preservation process is exactly set up to deal with something like this, and isn't an abuse of the process wrt justifiable concerns that a crap building is going to be slapped up in the yard of a high quality, attractive and eligible for designation building.

In fact, a Sec. 106 review should have to have been required anyway, since it's likely that some federal monies are being spent on the streetcar.

And yes, thm is of course correct on all the problems. The H Street track initiative was one thing, the Anacostia issues another (that CSX didn't control trackage rights they thought they did, etc.). In any case, DDOT hasn't handled things very well.

WRT thm's point about the DCAA study. It came out in 2003. So did Seattle's study. Seattle's streetcar opened in 2007.

Oh, and the cars don't get obsolete all that quickly. They have a likely 40+ year useful life.

by Richard Layman on Oct 9, 2012 5:59 pm • linkreport

DDOT should have known that that sketch wasn't going to pass muster, it looks like something out of SimCity. It's not even good 90's architecture.

(Speaking of which, I'm hoping that someone's planning to excoriate/thank Maxis for creating in SimCity 5 yet-another digital Silicon Valley, complete with roads, bigger roads, token transit, a dinosaur (apparently), and nary a bike to be seen)

by Steven Harrell on Oct 9, 2012 6:08 pm • linkreport

Besides the historical problem, I do not understand how DDOT can build this maintenance shed on a plot zoned R-5-A (residential). Clearly this maintenance facility is a light industrial use.

by goldfish on Oct 9, 2012 7:01 pm • linkreport

What's amazing is that DDOT spent millions of dollars laying track and acquiring rolling stock without figuring out the basics like how to power the system (where to put the wires) and where to locate storage and maintenance barns. And whose bright idea was it to end the H Street line at Union Station without checking with the landlord (Amtrak)?

DC is building, quite literally, a streetcar to nowhere. The line doesn't connect with Metro, it doesn't go downtown, and it doesn't go to any major job centers, or venues (like the Convention Center, Verizon Arena or Nationals Park), or tourist destinations.

DC has spent the better part of a decade and millions of dollars on this project. All they have to show for it are some tracks to nowhere and 3 mothballed streetcars. And now this Springharn controversy could stall it even longer. Considering the capital investment so far and the repeated delays and snafus, the only reason to complete this project is to keep DC from looking even more ridiculous for not finishing it.

Believe it or not, I support the streetcars. But more and more it's looking like the extent of planning for the DC streetcars was limited to someone arriving at work one morning and saying "The Mayor and I agree it would be really cool if DC had streetcars. Let's get to work!".
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"Your answer for the spam-blocking captcha was not correct. Please try again".

Metro Center isn't on the Orange Line? Since when?.

by ceefer66 on Oct 9, 2012 7:13 pm • linkreport

Has any effort been made to get permission for the RFK site yet? As DC is a branch of the federal government this shouldn't be that hard, or never has been before.

As for "recreational use" I would think that preserving recreational use at Spingarn by using land under the Metro ramps would be a good argument.

My suspicion is that some people who publicly support the streetcars are less supportive in private and unwilling to make a few calls and call in a few favors.

by Tom Coumaris on Oct 9, 2012 7:26 pm • linkreport

@ David Alpert: I think 99% of employees do their jobs very honestly and there are a few bad apples who should (and often do) get caught and punished.

You're probably right, however the problem is that it's the ones at the top who behave badly. And unfortunately, that tend to trickle downwards. If the leaders do not lead, the underlings can be good, but they will not be efficient.

The DC government is not particularly less efficient or more wasteful than any other I have seen.

Other than Illinois, and maybe PG county I am not aware of a large government that has the legal trouble that DC has.

by Jasper on Oct 9, 2012 8:40 pm • linkreport

Why not finish the rest of the route up Benning Road and just build it somewhere else. The time since this portion has been completed could have got the tracks to Minnesota Ave at the least. Off the top of my head there are many options for land that DC could buy if not owned further up Benning RD.

1 Pepco site buy/lease a portion for a building)

2 Boys and Girls Club there is a giant open field (they built a makeshift library there)

3 KFC Lot (KFC Closed years ago)

4 Benning RD Station

5 Median of East Capitol Street at Benning RD

6 Fletcher Johnson School Site

7 Many empty sites along East Capitol Street near DC/MD line.

by kk` on Oct 9, 2012 11:47 pm • linkreport

I hate to say I told you so, but...

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/15953/breakfast-links-youre-out/#comment-152353

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/15953/breakfast-links-youre-out/#comment-152366

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/15953/breakfast-links-youre-out/#comment-152387

Vince Gray's successful play in simultaneously being 'for' the streetcar while also ensuring that it never actually goes anywhere continues apace. Why anyone remains shocked by this is beyond me.

@thm

I'm not sure where the fault with the bridge location lies--whether Amtrak wouldn't talk to Gabe Klein or whether Vince Gray wouldn't talk to Amtrak.

Considering that Lorraine Green, Mayor Gray's "closest friend, and Gerri Mason Hall, Gray's former chief of staff who fell on her sword for him and resigned, were both former high-ranking executives at Amtrak... if Vince Gray wanted to talk to Amtrak, either when he was Council Chair or as Mayor, he would have been taken very seriously. Nor would Gray have been surprised that Amtrak had its own plans for the area underneath the Hopscotch Bridge; I'm sure his closest friend would've clued him in on that little matter. That things transpired as they have is no coincidence.

by Dizzy on Oct 10, 2012 1:33 am • linkreport

@Tom Coumaris

My suspicion is that some people who publicly support the streetcars are less supportive in private and unwilling to make a few calls and call in a few favors.

Bingo

by Dizzy on Oct 10, 2012 1:39 am • linkreport

Bellamy should be fired over this. Failure to plan and mitigate the continuing and increasing problems associated with one of DDOTs biggest projects reflects poorly on his ability to manage.

by andy2 on Oct 10, 2012 9:35 am • linkreport

@Dizzy: you may think the Mayor and DDOT are moving this way by design; I am still not convinced that their actions are better explained by a lack of motivation and ineptitude -- they really don't care that much. We may never know. In any case, at the rate things are going, the H St Streetcar project is in limbo, and the "three month delay" is an underestimate. My spidey sense says 2-3 years.

by goldfish on Oct 10, 2012 10:00 am • linkreport


Had they waited, people would be complaining about the idiocy of tearing up the street again.

Truer words were never spoken.

by oboe on Oct 10, 2012 10:01 am • linkreport

@ceefer66: DC is building, quite literally, a streetcar to nowhere. The line doesn't connect with Metro, it doesn't go downtown, and it doesn't go to any major job centers, or venues (like the Convention Center, Verizon Arena or Nationals Park), or tourist destinations.

I would hardly say that H Street is "nowhere." Part of what's spurred the just crazy amount of development in the area over the past few years has been promise of the eventual streetcar running (also why streetcars are preferable to buses: actual fixed infrastructure is theoretically a better guarantor of permanent service and thus a development driver).

Hell, I would consider living around there now myself if there were more currently-functioning options than the X2.

by WMATARage on Oct 10, 2012 11:11 am • linkreport

@Richard Layman--Minor point, but the DCAA began in 2003, and the final report is dated October 2005.

Seven years ago.

by thm on Oct 10, 2012 1:13 pm • linkreport

WMATARage,

The H Street line definitely IS a streetcar to nowhere because it doesn't go anywhere. It doesn't connect to Metro and it doesn't go to any "destination" It's local service to the the bars and restaurants along the H Street corridor. An area that's well served already by the bus. anyone who wants to go to a bar in the H Street "metropolis" can get there already.

And I beg to differ from the mindset that anticipation of the the streetcar has been some saving grace for H Street. The area has been rebounding for over a decade - a natural offshoot of the gentrification of Capitol Hill and nearby areas of NE.

And quite frankly, I don't consider a handful of new bars and restaurants to be some great urban renaissance. High-rise apartments? Sure. Major employment centers (besides DC government branch offices)? Definitely. Retail? Of course. But not a bunch of bars and restaurants.

It would have made better sense to extend the line to a destination - Union Station, the Convention Center, downtown, etc. I puzzled why DDOT hasn't done so.

by ceefer66 on Oct 11, 2012 12:38 pm • linkreport

@ceefer66

Maybe you need to do some more homework. Before the streetcar is ready to go, a connection to Union Station will be built. Currently the plan is to have the streetcar go up the hopscotch bridge and stop at the garage. We've been over this on this site before.

http://www.dcstreetcar.com/h-street--benning-road-line-segment.html

Also, if you think H Street is just "bars and restaurants" maybe you need to walk the corridor again. There are a ton of new "high-rise apartments" going up along the western part of the corridor.

A major problem with this project has been that they installed the rails but didn't put out a project timeline. So everyone (pro and anti) assumed that streetcar service was imminent. They should have made it clear that the track installation was happening because they wanted to plan streetcar service sometime in the next decade.

It would have made better sense to extend the line to a destination - Union Station, the Convention Center, downtown, etc. I puzzled why DDOT hasn't done so.

They didn't do so in the first place because the H street reconstruction project did not touch the hopscotch bridge.

by MLD on Oct 11, 2012 1:12 pm • linkreport

A far better choice would be the edge of the massive parking lots at RFK stadium, but that is federal land, which DC controls but can only use for recreational purposes.

Sure, better if you exclude cost, time, and ownership issues. Just as flying by private jet is better than flying commercial if you ignore cost.

But of course, we can't ignore these things, so it isn't better.

by David C on Oct 12, 2012 11:07 pm • linkreport

This streetcar project seemed useful in theory when first proposed. But the actual cars are far too long and industrial in appearance for small scale H Street and will make traffic -- including bicycle traffic -- a constant nightmare. Unsightly overhead cables throughout H St and Benning Road would destroy much of the hard won "Main Street" appeal that has recently emerged. Certainly, Ward 6 and the city needed more east-west mass transit in the worst way -- and that is just what we are (eventually) getting.

by cwm on Oct 16, 2012 10:27 am • linkreport

Why not work with federal agencies, or even seek a Congressional bill, that would moderate the uses of the RFK parking lots? That area is being discussed for other uses (neighborhood development, Redskins facilities, etc.) - why not try working with Congress to discuss overall development and planning in the RFK area. This approach might be less onerous than building long Metro ramps, relocating the car-barns, etc.

by Ann Wilcox on Oct 19, 2012 8:18 am • linkreport

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