David Alpert at Greater Greater Washington has a great find regarding the never-ending streetcar debate. This week the DC Council passed emergency legislation authorizing the use of overhead wires for the H Street-Benning Road streetcar line. During the debate about the legislation, Councilmember Marion Barry (D-Ward 8) brought up the “lack of planning” angle again, stating that all along he’s been surprised the H Street line has even been on the table. This was the same argument present back in May when the streetcar funding was temporarily cut. Barry back then, on May 26 said:
Our original plan was to go from Bolling Air Force Base down to Anacostia station. … Down Martin Luther King, up Good Hope Road, and maybe across the 11th Street bridge to Capitol Hill. All of a sudden I hear from somewhere that H Street is on the agenda.
Interestingly enough, however, planning for the H Street line has been in the works for over a decade. In fact, the H Street line appears in DDOT’s 1997 transportation plan, a report stamped with “Marion Barry, Mayor.”
Perhaps DDOT could be criticized for a lack of communication in the past, but the planning has been there. And within the last few years, there have been many community meetings and planning reports issued. It’s amazing to see members of the DC Council, and in the case of Barry–a former Mayor–ignore the years of work DDOT has done to make this plan a reality.