I had a laugh yesterday sitting on the overcrowded “5” MUNI as we rounded the corner onto Market street and a flashy mint-ice-cream-green vintage streetcar pulled up next to us with the words “D.C. Transit” painted on the side in juicy melon orange.
Photo from Flickr user Jay Galvin
Just before I moved here from Washington, DC a couple months ago, I was lucky enough to try and bike down H Street, site of a new/old trolley line that would head to and from the central railroad station. It was virtually impossible – the entire middle of the street was surrounded in orange plastic netting, heavy eath moving equipment, and there was a cut in the pavement several feet deep. Funnily enough, there used to be a trolley going up and down H street, a long time before people considered putting in the current one. The original streetcar was eventually abandoned in favor of automobiles – and of course, probably also affected by the urban decline of that neighborhood in the aftermath of “white flight” to the surrounding Maryland suburbs after the riots of the late 60s and businesses began to abandon the neighborhood. I remember doing a public policy project on the H street corridor all the way back in 2007, and being very excited to find out that the trolley would be put in. I do find it pretty amusing that I got to see a streetcar – one of the originals that most likely puttered back and forth on H street in the 1950s – running strong, full of local residents, up and down Market Street in San Francisco. You can find out more about the DC Streetcar project here, and I’ll believe it when I see it 🙂