Skip to comments.Wired Up, Ready to Go: D.C. Council approves overhead lines for streetcars
Posted on 06/30/2010 2:20:09 PM PDT by Willie Green
The D.C. Council approved emergency legislation Tuesday that permits overhead power lines as part of the construction of the streetcar line along H Street and Benning Road. The move came after a transparent power play by National Capital Planning Commission Chairman L. Preston Bryant Jr.
Last week, Bryant -- who lives in Richmond, Va., 100 miles away from the impacted area -- asked the Federal Transit Administration to withhold federal funds from the District for the streetcar system because of the overhead wires.
While such wires were banned under 1888 and 1889 laws, Greater Greater Washingtons David Alpert argues that those laws applied only to the original territory of Washington City, not the entire District of Columbia, meaning Georgetown lines were already legal. The Council action Tuesday clarified that issue.
Alpert also rightly argues that Bryant is overstepping the NCPCs bounds. The commission is charged with protecting the federal interest in the District, which is generally thought to apply to the National Mall and major monuments. Georgetown is well outside that purview.
Has June been proclaimed Richmond Republican Power Grab Over Washington Month and nobody told me? Alpert asks.
(Excerpt) Read more at nbcwashington.com ...
next up, the horse and buggy returns
So laws don’t mean anything.
That makes this country an anarchy ruled by tyrants.
.....and then long black dresses and veils for the women.
We had those in Cleveland when I was a kid. They were just lovely to look at. The streetcars were just electric busses. I wonder what they’d look like today?
I can remember street cars with overhead lines in Washington in the 50s so we’ve come full circle!
What do they care, they’re spending other peoples hard earned money anyway.
Three times, I've heard mention by progressives that we don't need to go more than 40 miles from home for any reason - two of those times were on C-SPAN. Your horse and buggy comment may be accurate.
Is there any way these are going to able to justify themselves economically? If so, then great - I have a suspicion that it’s going to be just another financial sinkhole and 5 years from now we’ll be reading stories decrying the lack of ridership and noting service cuts. I work in DC and am mystified by this streetcar idea.
And when the traffic patterns change, they get to tie up traffic while they tear up and change the infrastructure.
If there was only a street car like vehicle that wasn’t tied down to cables and tracks, etc. Something that could carry large numbers of people but could have its route changed when needed.
We had those in Cleveland when I was a kid. They were just lovely to look at. The streetcars were just electric busses. I wonder what theyd look like today?
They still look like electric buses... only new buses, not old buses.
Here’s the thing. Metro runs the entire train line throughout DC, Arlington, Alexandra, and southern Maryland.
This “piece” won’t be part of Metro. It’ll only serve DC. And no one has yet to explain how it’ll make sufficient money or funding (without federal help) to operate on a real 18-hour day operation.
From a spending effort...buses (on natural gas of course)...would make much more sense and could be redirected when you find that the routes don’t entirely make sense. But from day one...it’s been about this electrical streetcar effort and nothing else.
..would make much more sense and could be redirected when you find that the routes dont entirely make sense.
I think steetcars are a better idea than buses, especially in DC.
A bus can be easily hijacked, or maybe the driver just decides to take it out for a joy ride or some detour on his own.
That can't happen with a streetcar... it's only going to go whereever the tracks take it and not racing down some side street where they'll have to set up roadblocks to stop it.
I’ve heard mention by progressives that we don’t need to go more than 40 miles from home for any reason -
In the old Soviet Union (the socialist workers’ paradise who’s passing Elena Kagan mourns) required special papers for someone to travel more than 50km from home. Agricultural workers were prohibited from air travel or staying at hotels.
What a snarky editorial comment.
If we don't have any say about what happens in DC why in the heck do we pay for EVERYTHING there?
Do those new ones run on tracks? The old ones in Cleveland didn’t. Regular rubba tires, and the drivers steered them to the curb for passengers. Just like a regular buss. Here’s a pic;
It looks like the ones in DC use tracks.
I'm just guessing, but I think that although steel wheel and track is more expensive, the rubber tire takes more driver skill and awareness to maintain contact with the wire.
Cool pic! The ones in C-town had these really log trapeze-like gadgets that connect to the wire by small metal wheels. So they had the ability to travel across probably three traffic lanes. There was an insulated rope hanging down that the drivers (or malicious pranksters) could pull on to disconnect the trolly bus from the overhead wires. I think you can see that in that pic.
Oh yeah! And they sparked, and you could smell the ozone!
The best use of electric light rail in Washington would be to use it in a reserved median right-of-way on streets where the bus routes are badly congested. It would also help if the trolleys had traffic signal pre-emption.
"I can remember street cars with overhead lines in Washington in the 50s so weve come full circle!"
I rode the trolleys in DC during the '50's. I remember the underground 3rd rail on most of the tracks. On the line out to Glen Echo the trolley had to stop so the driver could walk around back, unhook the overhead boom and guide it up so the shoe would engage the overhead cable. I can't remember if there were overhead wires inside the District line. Do you remember?
Ah - so that's where it's coming from.
“A bus can be easily hijacked, or maybe the driver just decides to take it out for a joy ride or some detour on his own.”
Okay, either you forgot the humor or sarcasm tag or you’re talking like a moron for real.
I have wonderful memories of going down to the ‘O’ Street Market with my grandmother on a streetcar in DC. This would be late ‘50’s into the ‘60’s.
It’s my recollection that the overhead wires were only outside the District, and as you said, the driver would have to stop, walk around, and engage the overhead cable when he reached the end of the 3rd rail.
And another thing I remember - going up an incline when on the overhead cable - some rowdy teenagers reached out the back window and pulled the boom down, disengaging it, and received a stern warning from the driver. :-)
I had morning paper routes back then, one around 14th & Military Rd/Missouri Ave NW and later, after we moved, one in Glover Park near 41st & W, NW. Saturdays after collecting from my customers I would get a bus/trolley transfer and head for the Smithsonian, Glen Echo or Klein’s Sporting Goods.
This was when I was in the 5th through 8th grades. You would not let a kid run around DC now! Times have changed!