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Zipcar Acquires The UK’s Streetcar, Car Sharing Across The Pond

Photo courtesy of
courtesy of ‘NCinDC’

Zipcar, the world’s largest car sharing service, announced it has acquired Streetcar, the UK’s fastest growing car club. The acquisition will benefit both Streetcar and “Zipsters” (Zipcar members) by offering more vehicles, a greater variety of hybrid and other green cars, and more locations, and give members access to both networks’ vehicles located in cities in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom.

Zipcar currently offers hundreds of cars in the Metro DC area that members can rent out by the hour or day.  Car sharing services, like Zipcar, are a fantastic way to get the benefits of having a car without all of the associated costs.

The Daily Feed

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. Continue reading

Dupont Circle, History, Mythbusting DC, The Features

DC Mythbusting: The DC Streetcar System

Photo courtesy of
‘Washington, DC View east down F Street NW no date’
courtesy of ‘army.arch’

Welcome to another edition of DC Mythbusting.  In order to avoid thinking about the terrible accident on Metro yesterday, I’m going to transport you back in time to when DC had another transit system.  That’s right, our fair city was served by a streetcar system beginning in 1862, and the last of the trains ran a hundred years later in 1962.  Then, as was the trend at the time, the transit system was forced to switch to buses, and the streetcars were no more.  There are many legends about the streetcar– it’s hard to imagine a transit system just leaving town with no marks, but you look around the city today and it’s hard to imagine the thriving streetcar system that existed just a few generations ago.  However, we’re lucky enough to have some very cool remnants of the old streetcar system.

Have you ever walked around Dupont Circle and seen those things that look just like New York City subway entrances?  Well, those are old streetcar entrances.  They were not all fancy like our Metro entrances (no one is standing to the right on escalators here), they’re just simple stairwells down to the streetcar platforms.  Passengers would descend into the station, where the streetcar would run in half-circles.  The Mount Pleasant Line of the streetcar system shut down in 1961, and by 1964 the station entrances were paved over.  But that’s not the end of the story for Dupont’s old streetcar station– in 1995, the station opened as a food court called Dupont Down Under, but apparently people don’t like eating in windowless underground lairs when they could be eating outside in one of DC’s great urban parks.  The project failed within a year, and the area was once again abandoned.  A couple years back, Jim Graham suggested that the space be used for adult clubs; however, neighborhood residents weren’t too excited about that and the space has remained vacant.

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The Daily Feed

Street Car at Washington Monument, 1938

Streamliner: 1938

Streamliner: 1938

From Shorpy, the historic photo blog: a DC street car near the Washington Monument in 1938. The view seems to be looking west from 15th St, and could almost be a modern view, aside from the street car, rails, and old-timey automobiles parked on the ramp — right up to the base of the Monument, something you couldn’t do today, what with the ha-ha wall.