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Posted at 11:25 AM ET, 01/31/2011

Cmte. of 100 issues streetcar report

By Luke Rosiak

A group focused on historic preservation inside the central city that was a vocal opponent of a streetcar system that, like the original system, would involve the construction of overhead wires along some major roads, has taken a broader look at the under-construction transit mode in a 91-page report.

The report, released this morning, is supportive of streetcars in the District, but presses officials to hammer out and disclose details of the plan, and cautions them to buy only equipment that can be upgraded--especially from wire-based to wireless--as technology advances.

Tracks have already been laid along H Street up to the start of the Hopskotch Bride at 3rd St. NE, but plans get complicated when it comes to connecting streetcars to Union Station. Other details have raised questions in the minds of residents, such as how the streetcars will cross the street and reverse directions during the first stage of the H Street route, which will terminate on the western end at 3rd Street NE.

The Committee of 100 earlier adamantly criticized any plan that would have overhead wires on historic routes, claiming it would mar the city's vistas.

The Committee of 100 pressed Mayor Vincent Gray not to retain Gabe Klein, Adrian Fenty's transportation director, and Harriet Tregoning, the director of the Office of Planning. They claimed that they were not receptive to input by individuals and groups. Though popular with urban transportation aficianados, Klein was not retained by Gray, while Tregoning was.

Construction of the streetcar line has caused hardship for businesses and residents along the affected area--though the route most torn-up, H Street, was actually undergoing a much broader streetscaping--but they are expected to spur development along certain corridors and better connect neighborhoods and enable District residents to get around town for short trips, freeing up space on the Metro for longer hauls.

In recent weeks, an official Web site and Twitter account for the streetcar project were created.

By Luke Rosiak  | January 31, 2011; 11:25 AM ET
Categories:  District, Streetcar  
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I am concerned that the majority (85%) of the Committee of 100 lives in Georgetown, Upper Northwest, and Chevy Chase yet are empowered to make important decisions about affairs in Northeast! Many of these people are septuagenarians and octogenarians, which means they have experienced a Washington DC that no longer exists!

Posted by: microsoft | February 2, 2011 3:39 PM | Report abuse

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