Street Car Named DC(ire)

Photo courtesy of
‘Peter Witt 1′
courtesy of ‘Bobolink’

Apparently back in the 60′s Washington, DC used to have a fairly cool little streetcar system running throughout certain parts of town. Since I hail from Toronto, which has a robust streetcar system, and even have great-grandparents who drove the streetcars, I’m a huge fan of them! Well it would appear as though I may not have to go back to the true north to ride one because Fenty’s transportation director, Gabe Klein, is working to revitalize the DC streetcar project that started under Anthony Williams but has since stalled.

According to Washington Business Journal, the District is preparing to search for federal funding to assist with the project. Streetcar tracks are currently being laid along South Capitol Street in Anacostia, and H Street NE near Capitol Hill for two pilot lines that were supposed to be operational by 2009, but are now anticipated to be ready by 2012. DC’s still figuring out how to get around the whole ban on overhead wires in the areas governed by the L’Enfant Plan, but let’s not sweat the small stuff, eh? Let’s be excited that this is being talked about again!

The city currently owns a few street cars, which it stores in the Czech Republic, where they were made. With any luck, and a little help from Federal Transportation Director Ray LaHood under the New Starts program, Klein can get those bad boys back to the District and into action soon. He’s also got the Downtown Business Improvement District behind him, which is the partner and organizer of the increasingly popular, and oh-so-cheap Circulator bus line.

As optimistic as we might be about this, Klein admits that “the streetcar system is a very complicated animal,” so it might not be quite as easy as I’m making it sound…

Liam Darmody moved to DC in 2001 by way of Boston, Beverly Hills, and Toronto, Canada (his home and native land) to pursue his dream of becoming a politician. He changed his dream upon meeting actual politicians and has since been seen eating, drinking, shopping, golfing (poorly), blogging, and goofing off in general around our fair city. By day he works socially as a product manager, and by night he’s all over the place. Connect with him digitally via Twitter, Yelp, LinkedIn, or Facebook, or by e-mail at ldarmody at welovedc dot com.

3 thoughts on “Street Car Named DC(ire)

  1. Gabe Klein will be speaking about the progress on the planned H Street streetcar line tonight at 7 at the Atlas Performing Arts Center, which is located at 1333 H Street NE.

    More information here:

  2. BTW – the DC street car museum was bulldozed to make way for the new hyperspace bypass, um, I mean… the ICC in Montgomery County… I drove by the old location yesterday on the way home and was shocked at what is now there… first a fire, and now a bulldozer… blech…

  3. Pingback: Road Closures for Streetcar Installation » We Love DC