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DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Topics » Environment & Energy » Public Transportation and Smart Growth (Group) » D.C. Streetcar To Make Lo... » Reply #1

Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Dec 16, 2013, 12:17 AM

1. DC trolley/tram

It might prove too embarassing for the Democrats to go into WHY the trolleys/streetcars/trams disappeared from DC in 1962--the Democratic-controlled Congress required DC Transit to give up streetcars as a condition of continuing to have the franchise to operate the transit system in DC. DC Transit management wanted to keep some car lines operating (they used modern PCC-type streetcars with underground conduit current-collection downtown to eliminate overhead wires' interfering with the view of the Washington architecture) but Congress wouldn't let them.
It remains to be seen how this new line works out once it finally operates. Is it in a good location to get patronage? Why did it take so long to plan, construct, and test? I like streetcars and car lines but horrendous expense and long delays could doom the streetcar from situations where it is the best choice. The San Diego trolley got built fast (opened 1981) because they took no federal money and could order off the shelf equipment from Germany. The original DC system got built in months, not years.
Interstingly, there are now more streetcar systems operating in the US than there were in 1957.

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