DC Streetcars

DC Streetcars

In 2009, DDOT unveiled a proposed 37-mile DC streetcar system and stated its goals to:

  • Link neighborhoods with a modern, convenient and attractive transportation alternative;
  • Provide quality service to attract and reach new transit ridership;
  • Offer a broader range of transit options for District residents;
  • Reduce short inner-city auto trips, parking demand, traffic congestion and air pollution; and
  • Encourage economic development and affordable housing options along streetcar corridors.

The Committee of 100 supports a well-planned streetcar system. We have testified on several occasions before Council calling on DDOT to develop a realistic financial and governance plan for the system, and urging adoption of a state-of-the-art, environmentally-friendly wireless technology to preserve visual quality, not only for national monuments but also for neighborhood boulevards. In the temporary legislation for streetcars, Council adopted several of the Committee’s recommendations.

On Sept. 28, 2010, DDOT announced selection of a program management team “….to ensure the successful design, construction, and operation of the streetcar system across the District of Columbia.” We welcome their expertise in tackling the tough — and substantially unaddressed — issues to implement the finest streetcar system in the world. Toward this end, we call on the DC City Council and DDOT to:

  1. Show Us the Money: Develop a streetcar business, financial & governance plan.
  2. Tell the Whole Story: Develop a master plan for streetcar equipment & facilities.
  3. Move Out of the Past: Assess streetcar technology worldwide and move rapidly towards a wireless system.
  4. Buy for a Wireless Future: Only acquire new streetcars that can eventually be converted to wireless technology.
  5. Obey the Law: Comply with NEPA and all other environmental and preservation law.
  6. Banish the Devil from the Details: Develop a scaled street plan for each phase and rethink some routes.
  7. Don’t “Just Do It;” Do It RIGHT: Craft permanent streetcar legislation to ensure a world class system for a world class city.

Committee 100 Reports and Presentations

icon Building a World Class Streetcar System for a World Class City
October 2010, Prepared by Meg Maguire, Dorn McGrath, Monte Edwards, Dick Wolf
icon Streetcar Planning Requirements
June 14, 2010, Prepared by Transportation Sub-Committee of Committee of 100
icon A Streetcar Named…Desire?
March 18, 2010, Meg Maguire, Chair, Transportation Subcommittee, Committee of 100 on the Federal City
Presentation to the Capitol Hill Restoration Society.

Committee 100 Testimony

icon C100 Comments Concerning Union Station To Georgetown Streetcar Extension
December 12, 2016, Nancy MacWood/Monte Edwards
The Committee is concerned that a part of the route is being planned with overhead wires and this decision appears to be due to the limitations of the streetcar technology being considered.
icon C100 Letter DDOT Director Dormsjo Streetcars
June 2, 2016, Monte Edwards
Transmittal memo.
icon C100 Comments On Benning Road And Bridges Streetcar EA
June 2, 2016, Monte Edwards
Our comments explain that the section of the draft EA concerning streetcars is outdated, biased and in some places, just plain wrong. Our comments concerning improvements to bridges and intersections agrees that improvements are needed, but questions the cost responsibility of CSX for the Viaduct Bridge replacement and questions whether the intersection redesigns adequately improve those intersections.
icon C100 Testimony DC Council DDOT Oversight Streetcar-Commuter Rail
April 29, 2014, Monte Edwards
C100 recommendations concerning three items: 1. The need for an appropriation to prepare a comprehensive freight, passenger and
commuter Rail Plan for the District of Columbia. 2. The need to restrict DDOT’s expenditure of any further money for engineering and
design of streetcar extensions beyond the H Street/Benning Road line until the requirements of DC Code§ 9-1171 and 9-1173 have been satisfied. 3. The need to provide a streetcar propulsion technology assessment as required by DC Code §9-1174.
icon C100 Letter DDOT Direcdtor Bellamy Streetcar Planning
April 22, 2014, Monte Edwards
C100’s review of the Draft Environmental Assessment and Section 106 Review the Anacostia Streetcar Extension finds that it neither acknowledges nor complies with DC law.
icon C100 Comments On Anacostia Streetcar Extension Draft Environmental Assessment and Section 106 Review
April 17, 2014, Monte Edwards & Meg Maguire
The errors and omissions pointed out in the Committee of 100’s response to the Draft Anacostia Environmental Assessment, and the resultant inadequate and meaningless analysis, require the preparation of a revised Draft Environmental Assessment.
icon C100 Testimony DC Council DDOT Performance Oversight
March 21, 2014, Meg Maguire
Testimony of Meg Maguire, Transportation Subcommittee Chair, before the DC Council on issues of DC Department of Transportation Oversight.
icon C100 Press Release about its Testimony before HPRB regarding Spingarn School
November 29, 2012, Meg Maguire
Today the Committee of 100 on the Federal City testified before the DC Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) in support of designating Spingarn High School at 26th and Benning Road NE, overlooking the Langston Golf Course Historic District, as a historic landmark to be listed on the DC Inventory of Historic Sites.
icon C100 Comments to Council Committee regarding Streetcar Amendment Act of 2012
October 9, 2012, Monte Edwards
The Committee of 100 continues to seek solid evidence that DDOT and its contractors will produce a true world-class streetcar system, carefully planned and soundly financed. Yet, even at this early stage before the first car has launched, DC residents are being told to get over our concerns and just live with the consequences of poor land use and outmoded technology.
icon C100 Response to Adverse Impacts of Streetcar Barn on Spingarn/Phelps Academic Campus
September 21, 2012, Meg Maguire
DDOT and the SHPO are correct in their conclusion that the installation of the overhead catenary system (OCS) within L’Enfant’s Plan of the City of Washington, the introduction of the car barn into the setting of the historic Spingarn/Phelps school campus; and the placement of above-ground mid-line power substations within public space will have adverse effects on historic properties.
icon C100 Letter Regarding Locating a Streetcar Maintenance Facility on the Spingarn Campus
July 13, 2012, Meg Maguire
I am writing on behalf of The Committee of 100 on the Federal City regarding DDOT’s decision to proceed with a design/build proposal for a large industrial streetcar maintenance facility on the Spingarn/Phelps campus on Benning Road, NE. Location of this industrial 15,000sf car barn — with its numerous exposed train tracks outside the building and abundant overhead wires (not shown in the drawings) — is not appropriate or welcomed by residents of the area for many reasons.
icon Monte Edwards CHRS Testimony DC Council Streetcar Landuse Study
February 1, 2012, Monte Edwards
Monte Edwards testifies on behalf of the Capitol Hill Restoration Society raising several concerns about the Streetcar Land Use Study.
icon C100 Testimony before City Council regarding the Office of Planning’s Streetcar Land Use Study
February 1, 2012, Meg Maguire
Meg Maguire testifies on behalf of the C100 noting that the streetcar system offers a permanent improvement that says to investors: “We are here for the long haul.” But ultimately, land development should not revolve around maximizing assessed value to generate tax revenue. We have one of the last great opportunities to create new, healthy, demographically diverse communities with convenient access to stable, high quality jobs and an enviable mix of public transportation that historically have made this city so desirable.
icon C100 Testimony before City Council regarding the Office of Planning’s Streetcar Land Use Study
February 1, 2012, Meg Maguire
Meg Maguire testifies on behalf of the C100 noting that the streetcar system offers a permanent improvement that says to investors: “We are here for the long haul.” But ultimately, land development should not revolve around maximizing assessed value to generate tax revenue. We have one of the last great opportunities to create new, healthy, demographically diverse communities with convenient access to stable, high quality jobs and an enviable mix of public transportation that historically have made this city so desirable.
icon Committee Testimony Before DC Council Regarding DDOT Oversight
February 28, 2011, Monte Edwards
Monte Edwards testified on behalf of the Committee of 100 before the DC City Council regarding oversight of the District’s Department of Transportation.
icon Testimony on Well’s Streetcar Legislation
June 22, 2010, George Clark
icon Public Oversight Hearing on Transportation Infrastructure Amendment Act 2010
June 22, 2010, George Clark and Meg Maguire
icon Letter on DDOT Oversight Hearing to Council Members Graham & Wells
March 3, 2010, Meg Maguire
icon DDOT Oversight Hearing
February 26, 2010, Meg Maguire
icon DDOT Oversight Hearing
February 26, 2010, Meg Maguire

Additional Documents

icon C100 Article In Hill Rag Streetcar Funding
July 1, 2014, Meg Maguire
All of us are responsible to see that the streetcar system is done well. Residents and their elected Council members must demand better planning; and DDOT must communicate to a skeptical public how the department will get the streetcar system from here to there.
icon Monte Edwards CHRS Testimony DC Council Streetcar Landuse Study
February 1, 2012, Monte Edwards
Monte Edwards testified on behalf of the Committee of 100 before the DC City Council regarding oversight of the District’s Department of Transportation.
icon Statement of Monte Edwards On behalf of the Capitol Hill Restoration Society
June 22, 2010, Monte Edwards
icon Testimony Before City Council DDOT Budget Hearing Regarding Overhead Streetcar Wires
April 26, 2010, Monte Edwards
Testimony of Monte Edwards on behalf of the Capitol Hill Restoration Society before the D.C. City Council regarding DC DOT plans to use overhead wires for streetcars.
icon What’s Good for the “Monumental” City Is Good for All the City: Why DC Should Adopt A Wireless Street
April 7, 2010, Monte Edwards
icon Testimony to the Council of the District of Columbia
February 26, 2010, Monte Edwards
icon Charlotte Streetcar Showcase Report
January 28, 2010, 
icon Unpublished Letter to Editor of Washington Post
2010, Monte Edwards
icon Letter to Councilmember Wells
July 30, 2009, Monte Edwards

Federal Comments on Overhead Wires

icon NCPC Letter to Federal Transit Administration
June 25, 2010, 
icon NCPC Letter to DC City Council
June 24, 2010, 
icon NCPC Staff Streetcar Report 2007
January 25, 2007, 
icon NCPC 2007 H St. Streetcar Comments
January 25, 2007, 

Links

DC Streetcars