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May 19, 2010

Streetcars, All Named Desire

Dear Bill Payers:

On Monday, Katya Weir wrote a revealing Washington Examiner article,, on the cost of DC’s planned streetcar program: more than a hundred million dollars to build the first two short lines and $3.5 million to operate them in the first year. The full streetcar plan is projected to cost $1.5 billion dollars to build — and that’s the low-ball official figure that omits all the predictable “unexpected” and “unforeseen” overruns that will double or triple the cost before the system is completed. The fares will probably cover around 30 percent of the streetcar system’s operating costs, but the city will have to use its own taxes to cover the shortfall. Unlike the subway and bus systems that are part of WMATA’s regional transportation system, Maryland and Virginia won’t share the cost.

The streetcar controversy reminds me more and more of the sports stadium controversy, both in DC and in other cities nationwide. Proponents of building both of these kinds of costly municipal projects can always find a few economists who will promote the great financial benefits they will bring, a few urban planners who will predict how whole neighborhoods will develop or be revived around them, and several politicians who will give glowing speeches about the great civic pride they will engender. I haven’t seen any reason to change my mind about the wonderful spin-off economic benefits the baseball stadium was supposed to have brought to the District, and I don’t expect to change my mind about the golden age of transportation that the streetcars will usher in.

I have, however, changed my mind about one thing that I wrote in the last issue of themail. Throughout the 1940’s, bus companies displaced streetcar companies because they were cheaper to operate, their service lines were more flexible, and customers preferred them. In Sunday’s issue of themail, I predicted that the DC government would abandon streetcars again after two or three decades, perhaps leaving a few remnants to show to tourists. I’ve since had second thoughts about that. Buses replaced streetcars the first time around because bus and streetcar lines were, by and large, run by private companies, and the private companies were sensitive both to costs and customer preferences. But in 2010, both the streetcar and bus lines will be owned by the government — and the government doesn’t care about either cost or customer preference. The taxpayers will always pick up the bills, no matter how high they are, and the users of the system will ride what the government forces them ride. If consumers don’t use a short streetcar line because it covers just a small portion of a longer bus line, then the government will terminate the bus line at each end of the streetcar line, and force riders to make two transfers to complete their trips. If a bus line and a streetcar line run on the same street or parallel streets, the government will simply shut down the bus line to ensure riders will have to take the streetcar. The normal rules of free competition don’t apply when government’s heavy thumb is on the scale.

Gary Imhoff


Covering DC’s Budget Crisis
DJ Mallof,

The Current Newspapers’ innocuous May 5 front page headline, “Fenty budget critics float alternatives to fees, cuts,” and the copy following it buried the lead, which finally appeared in the nineteenth, closing paragraph: “Though [DC Council Chairman Vincent Gray] declined to describe how he plans to address the fiscal crisis, he said that finding a way — whether raising additional revenues or cutting spending — is crucial. ‘If we don’t address this now, there is a real possibility of a (federal) control board coming back,’ he said.”

Mr. Gray now joins the chair of the Committee on Finance and Revenue, Mr. Jack Evans, who also was quoted in the article. Interestingly, in mid-March Mr. Evans suddenly staked out a new rhetorical position by warning of the very real possibility of the federally constituted financial control board, which technically still exists, returning to run DC. Mr. Evans’ sleight of hand is an attempt to come across as a voice of prudence after having spent years as perhaps the top perpetrator of DC’s reckless, myriad, and reprehensible financial excesses. These practices have included wasteful and often corrupt overspending, the selected bleeding of tax revenues, rampant over-borrowing, and maintaining dangerously low cash reserves. He and other officials also have lied repeatedly about the significance of the higher bond ratings that were achieved for some new debt offerings recently as a result of DC agreeing to encumber and decrease its ability to manage our indebtedness.

Especially egregious has been the committee’s lead role in siphoning-off revenues and funneling the money — via repeated, ever larger, inequitable, and fiscally corrupt public subsidies using abatements, public indebtedness, and other tax schemes — into the private hands of a few who possess special, preferential access and influence in the offices of certain elected officials. Add to this the committee’s long standing lazy to often nonexistent financial oversight of DC’s finances, despite many repeated annual warnings published by the District’s independent auditor. The majority of DC’s fourteen elected officials at the Wilson Building have a congruent interest in smoothing over these looming truths as long as possible to get reelected this year. Come next year, expect the full brunt of reality to come to light, since all the financial tricks will have been attempted. These include recently extending principal debt repayments to pay interest only for the next four years, draining remaining restricted cash reserves no matter how illegal, and borrowing up to or even beyond the debt ceiling (especially damaging when the full extent of added spending on unapproved capital projects eventually comes to light, as in the still-emerging recreation center construction scandal).

Thus Messrs. Evans and Gray are right in their newfound prudence. The fiscal Frankenstein-like reawakening of the control board is quite possible. If and when it happens, the District will have the same leadership re-ensconced and acting as if it’s just the economy and the recession that are to blame for the decrease in our self-governance.


Open Letter To AFT President Randi Weingarten
Willie Brewer, Agnes Dyson, and Sheila H. Gill,

This open letter was forward to American Federation of Teachers national union President Randi Weingarten on May 13: “As you well know, we are elected WTU Executive Board members who were laid off October 2, 2009. We have been denied our right to complete our elected term of office and right to continue our membership by WTU President George Parker. As a result, 265 other WTU members have been damaged by the loss of health insurance and other membership benefits directly attributable to these actions. Upon attempting to maintain those benefits, we were provided misinformation including a WTU parliamentary opinion, thereby robbing us of our rights as a WTU, AFT, and AFL-CIO members. At no time were we advised of AFT’s constitution addressing the laid-off member policy by the aforementioned or AFT personnel. AFT Constitution & Bylaws, art. III - Membership, Para. 6, cl. C.

After our own research yielded the above, President Parker undertook obstreperous actions to disallow WTU Executive Board members consideration of our concerns. Constitutionally mandated union meetings — executive board, delegate assembly, and membership meetings — are often canceled or they do not have voting quorums and are held in places from which we are barred (DCPS and the WTU offices). This complaint notice informs you that WTU is not being managed according to its constitution or AFT’s, and AFT’s representative agents, Mr. George Bordenave and Mr. Jody Easley, sit idle while these significant violations transpire.

Since a fair hearing of our concerns is not available at our local union level, we must exhaust all intra union remedies. We are requesting you to inform us in writing, with the necessary citations, of our rights to complete our elected term of office as WTU officers. Furthermore, we are requesting you to order all 265 wrongfully terminated teachers full membership rights reinstated immediately pursuant to AFT’s constitution at a dues rate of $6.00 per month remitted to the AFT. We look forward to your prompt response, as time is of essence.


Graffiti Prevention Public Arts Program Begins Third Year
Kevin B. Twine,

The DC Department of Public Works and Councilmember Jim Graham are launching the third year of the MuralsDC program, created to replace illegal graffiti with artistic works, to help revitalize communities and teach young people the art of aerosol painting. This initiative positively engages DC youth and has been successful in deterring future acts of graffiti vandalism on the property.

Commercial sites that have been tagged will be considered for a free mural if they are privately owned and highly visible from the street. Mural concepts are developed based on feedback from property owners and community members. Property owners must sign an agreement form authorizing use of this space for the mural (which will be approximately 10 x 20 feet) and agree to keep the mural intact for one year.

For more information, please contact Nancee Lyons at 671-2637 or send an E-mail to receive an application and release form. You may also visit for a slideshow tour of the 2009 murals.


How Sweet It Is
Dorothy Brizill,

For the past few months, Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh has worked to secure passage by the council of her Healthy Schools Act of 2010 (Bill 18-564), which received final approval on May 4. Under the bill “nutritional standards for school meals” would be established, with preference given to “locally grown, unprocessed foods.” In recent weeks, Cheh’s Healthy Schools Act has received renewed attention because she has proposed that the bill be funded by a one-cent-per-ounce tax on sodas and sweetened beverages.

It is against this backdrop that Cheh’s actions at the council’s administrative meeting on Wednesday should be viewed. During the council’s marathon meeting on the FY 2011 budget, lunch was brought in from a Chinese restaurant and served to councilmembers in Chairman’s Gray’s office. The lunch didn’t include a dessert, however, and Cheh said that it wouldn’t be a meal without dessert. Within thirty minutes of the budget meeting’s being reconvened in the afternoon, Cheh announced that she had dispatched her staffers to secure dessert. She walked into the conference room with two large boxes that she placed on the conference table. In one box were saucer-sized chocolate chip cookies, and in the other were gooey, oversized slices of chocolate brownies. Because the administrative meeting was broadcast on cable television, the councilmembers and their staffs can be seen devouring the sweets for the remainder of the afternoon.


The Soda Tax and Healthy Foods in Schools
Martin Andres Austermuhle,

I’m in favor of the soda tax, even more so after having read a New York Times article ( that pointed out the following: “The typical American consumes almost three times as many calories from sugary drinks as in the late 1970s. This increase accounts for about half the total per capita rise in calorie consumption over the same period. Remember, many of these drinks have zero nutritional benefit — unlike meat, cheese, or juice. As Kelly Brownell, a Yale researcher, says, the link between obesity and soda is scientifically stronger than the link between obesity and any other type of food or beverage.”

The column also linked to a local blog ( that has images of some of the stuff that local kids get served in school cafeterias. The pictures alone are enough to make a supporter of Mary Cheh’s Healthy Schools initiative out of anyone.

Gary, you may think that people who promote healthy living are part of an “anti-pleasure cult,” but given the very direct links between what kids drink and eat and their health (not to mention the cost it has on society as a whole), this is something our elected officials have to be addressing head on. Kale and cauliflower may not sound exciting, but serving that to kids is undeniably better than chicken fingers, French fries and cans of soda.


Decorum in themail
Gabe Goldberg, gabe at gabegold dot com

Must editor Gary mock and demonize people and opinions with whom he disagrees? Recent extreme stridency and scorn isn’t calculated to generate reasoned discussion and exchange of ideas. I’m sure it’s fun to write and it clearly elicits responses (themail was indeed too quiet for a while), but it’s less productive, less informative, and much less collegial than simply expressing opinions with supporting facts and reasoning. Language such as, “Whenever I think of the misbegotten enthusiasms of the food police,” “In a capsule, that is the hair shirt nutritionalism,” and “A photograph . . . epitomizes the excesses of the anti-pleasure cult” [themail, May 16], hardly respects people (readers of themail, public figures, etc.) who hold opinions being mocked. Why attribute such malign motivations? To deliberately irritate and put on the defensive people whom Gary would presumably like to hear from, to continue discussing issues raised and give themail a reason to exist? How about showing as much respect for others as Gary (presumably) would like to receive? How about recognizing that others have as much right as Gary to hold opinions, that Gary doesn’t have a uniquely accurate and valid view of the world, and that others might be right where Gary is wrong? Is pointless vitriol Gary’s preferred conversational style, nasty and personal, rather than substantive and polite? Or is it all just to keep the pot boiling? I’m not sure which reason for the nastiness would be worse.

[I would like to second Martin’s recommendation of the column by David Leonhardt in the Times, because it makes very clear what is at stake. Leonhardt argues that foods of which he disapproves, such as sodas, are a health danger. Just as with tobacco products, Leonhardt argues, there is no individual right to use dangerous products, and people should not have the freedom to choose their own diets. On the contrary, bad health imposes costs on society, so the government should prevent people from choosing foods that it deems to be unhealthy — if not with an outright ban, at least with taxes high enough to be punitive. Having government dictate what you can and cannot eat is an attractive prospect to Martin and to Mary Cheh, but it makes me sick to my stomach. After all, the school lunches in the photographs that Martin deplores are the result of putting government in charge of people’s diets.

[Gabe disapproves of my humor, but I hope that even the most humorless anti-food crusader at the Center for Science in the Public Interest would recognize and appreciate that it’s funny to try to entice middle school students into the Brave New World of painful school diets that awaits them by treating them to a yummy, yummy lunch of steamed kale and garlic cauliflower. I suggest that Gabe review — it’s eighty-four years old, but still funny (at least to me) and still accurate. — Gary Imhoff]


Sue Hemberger, Friendship Heights,

Let me preface this statement by pointing out that I’m pushing fifty, have never had a driver’s license, live in an affluent but car-less household and that we have sustained this lifestyle while raising a kid. I’ve spent my whole life getting where I wanted to go without relying on cars and I’d like to see that project get easier — not harder — as I grow older. That’s where my opposition to DDOT’s streetcar project is coming from.

It’s a dangerous oversimplification to frame the choice as “optimizing automobility” versus investing in mass transit. It begs what should be our fundamental question — not “should we invest more in public transportation?” (yes, of course) but “how should we invest in public transportation?” From a transit perspective, in DC, streetcars are a stupid investment. They’re costly, inflexible, and offer inferior service not only to Metrorail, but even to buses. Yet we’re talking about diverting sorely needed funds from WMATA to create a system that DDOT has allegedly spent fourteen years planning but, in its own words, “does not currently have the capacity or capability internally to deliver.” (See “Streetcar Management RFQ,” March 2010). Thus far, “Ready, Fire, Aim” seems to have been the mantra of our streetcar “planners.” As a result, our streetcars, purchased in 2005, were out of warranty before they were even shipped to DC. (Don’t worry, we paid to extend that warranty and to warehouse them in the Czech Republic where they had to be run regularly to be kept in working condition). Now that they’ve arrived, we still have no place to use them. Meanwhile, DDOT has laid various segments of track without having first resolved such basic issues as funding, power sources, lane alignments, and the location of storage facilities and turnarounds. Such actions have been justified as economically efficient (let’s piggyback on Portland’s streetcar order; while we’re doing roadwork anyway, let’s lay track) yet the result is we find ourselves being backed into a project that, frankly, looks likely to provide substandard transit at a premium price.

While the increased capacity of a streetcar compared to a bus is often touted, the fact is that buses (even the forty footers) have more seats than the streetcar (38-43 versus thirty). The extra capacity is achieved by imagining another 120-140 people standing during the ride. And when this extra capacity is pitched as a way to reduce operating costs, the bottom line is that the only way to achieve such savings is to replace two buses with one streetcar. From a rider’s perspective, that means I’d wait twice as long for a streetcar as I do for a bus, and have access to thirty seats rather than eighty. Not fun when you’re schlepping groceries, traveling with kids, short (not many good handholds for standees), or have difficulty standing in a moving vehicle (e.g., have a sprained ankle or need a cane for balance). And, as with a bus, I’m still caught in traffic (even more trapped, in fact, since lane changes and detours are out of the question with a streetcar) and still standing outside while I wait.

Under the circumstances, it strikes me as insane to invest at least $1.5 billion in capital costs alone to bring such a system on line. That’s money much better spent on service upgrades to Metrorail and Metrobus. As a public transit reliant District resident, I want more frequent service, more reliable service, quicker travel times, longer hours, and more and better routes. From a mobility standpoint, we’re much better off continuing and increasing our investments both in Metrorail and in cleaner and more fuel efficient Metrobuses with enhancements like traffic signal priority and dedicated rights-of-way. If you want to get people out of their cars, you have to give them viable transit alternatives — not just a shiny new toy whose novelty will soon wear off.


Jim Feldman,

I’m with the pro-streetcar group. They are more pleasant to ride than buses. They are much more pleasant for surrounding pedestrians than cars or buses, since they do not make roaring noises or spew noxious fumes. And they are much better for sound development, since investors naturally prefer fixed streetcar stops as development sites rather than spread-out and uncertain bus stops. But I am writing because, in all the talk about streetcars in American cities, I am surprised no one has mentioned Philadelphia. I know that West Philadelphia has a network of streetcar lines, which run partly underground to go downtown. I believe other parts of the city have streetcars as well. Ditto Boston, which, at least as of a few years ago, used streetcars (which also run partly underground) as an important part of its transit system.


Streetcars Were Us
Gabe Goldberg,

[See the article in the AARP Bulletin, “Streetcar Revival: Will Your Town Be Next?,”, and the letters to the editor in the next issue, The letters follow.]

“Kudos for the fine article ‘Streetcar Revival,’ which highlighted the growing interest in streetcar technology. Although many cities — including my home state capital, Boise — were not successful in the most recent round of federal funding for streetcar development, it is encouraging to finally see an administration that gets multimodal transportation and puts streetcars on a level playing field with roads and highways. — Jon Cecil, Meridian, Idaho”

“I take issue with the statement that the streetcars in Washington, DC, were ‘dirty, noisy and unreliable.’ I was a DC resident from 1942 to 1972. I rode the streetcars every day from 1942 until their demise, both to school and to work. They were very quiet and extremely reliable. They were as clean to ride in as buses. Getting rid of the streetcars in DC was one of the dumbest things ever to happen in the city. — W.G. Walters, Chandler, Ariz.”


Streetcar Planning
Harold E. Foster,

I originally was going to post a rebuttal of Gary’s comments about the DC Streetcar program. But there were so many effective rebuttals to the substance of your original post in the last themail that I, as someone who was a transit planner and WMATA (Metro) oversight project administrator in DC government for twenty years, felt both preempted and vindicated. More to the point, I think the recent rebuttals effectively demonstrated why the idea of a comprehensive supplemental (supplemental, mind you) light rail (a.k.a. streetcar) system in a built-up, car-choked, older horse-and-cart-based urban center like Washington is not only necessary. It is clearly the only way this city can redevelop and rebuild its way out of the Soweto-by-Beverly Hills urban schizophrenia that has characterized DC almost all of the 59 years I have lived here.

Frankly, after calming down and rereading your original criticisms as dispassionately as I could, I conclude that the only substantive fault you find, or found, with the current DC streetcar program is the current city leadership that is implementing it. Note I did not say “conceived” or “planned” it. That is because a late coworker of mine — Richard Bennett — was the author of this program. In 1988, he and I wrote a staff white paper proposing essentially the very light rail (streetcar) network and route system that the city is trying to scare up the money to put into service. In effect, all Adrian Fenty, Neil Albert, Gabe Klein, and Harriet Tregoning are doing right now is a good job of reading Richard’s handwriting. And, by the way, no one took Richard (okay: Richard and me) seriously when we broached this concept of going back to the streetcar future over two decades ago. We were often dismissed with the cavalier comment that streetcars, something this city had for almost a century until 1962, were ohhh, so retro that no one would ride them once they had been spoiled by Metrorail, which was still bright and shiny new back in the late 1980s. Besides, the logic went back then, the region needed money to complete Metrorail.

And, as the two of us were often told as we were booted out the policymakers’ door, the city leadership at the time did not want to be fiscally or programmatically distracted. They could not, or would not, divert even intellectual resources to having to plan ahead (as every other jurisdiction in this region was doing at that time) for the day when Metrorail was complete, up and running, and DC had to figure out how to transport those transit-dependent residents here who could not, or could not afford to, use Metrorail.

I have a range of problems with the Fenty Administration, but having the good sense to consolidate the expensive, environmentally unfriendly, and operationally out-of-date city transit bus system into a more efficient, twenty-first century multi-modal public transport network is not one of them. I suggest that, before you condemn the streetcar system, you direct your criticisms to the estimated 42 percent of working DC residents who either do not have a car, or do not have reliable enough access to one to be able to use it to commute to work.


More Misinformation
Bill Potapchuk, Community Building Institute,

Gary, you continue to provide misinformation on public transportation in the United States. Talking about streetcars alone is like talking about SUVs without talking about the broader category called “automobiles.” Streetcars are a part of a broader category called light rail transit. Here are two links for you and others to learn more:,

If you take the average automobile occupancy in this area of 1.1 occupants per car (MWCOG) and the average ridership of one of the cities with just one light rail line, we would be taking somewhere between twenty and thirty-five thousand car trips off the road, per day! And what might a new streetcar/light rail line get us? Less traffic, cleaner air, and safer travel. Sounds like something wise to do, not lambast. Gary, which of those public benefits are you opposed to?

[There are two problems with this analysis. First, streetcars don’t compete primarily with cars; they compete with buses. Few people whose transportation needs are better served by cars than by buses will find that their needs are better served by streetcars, but some bus riders may find that a particular streetcar line provides a more convenient commute. “Cleaner air” is also a questionable advantage. Streetcars in most cities are powered by electricity that is generated by far-off coal-powered plants. That certainly puts the pollution out of sight, and thus out of mind, for city dwellers. But I’m not convinced that a streetcar system generates less total pollution than a bus system; it just displaces it. — Gary Imhoff]


Lawrence Miller,

FYI, Philly, too: 


DCGOP Fully Supports Gandhi for the BOEE
Paul Craney, DC Republican Committee,

On behalf of the thirty thousand registered Republicans in the District of Columbia, we fully support the nomination of Mital M. Gandhi to serve on the District’s Board of Elections and Ethics. The DC Republican Committee strongly believes confirming Mr. Gandhi, a Republican, to the Board, is a step in the right direction of bringing open government to the District of Columbia. Every mayor since the beginning of Home Rule has nominated a Republican to the Board. We are pleased Mayor Fenty has nominated a Republican who has the full support of the local Republican Party.

It is important in any democracy to have a viable two party system, to ensure that we have checks and balances. The Board is no different. Election integrity is one of the most fundamental principles of a healthy democracy. It is our hope that with the addition of Mr. Gandhi our Board will operate more effectively and with more transparency. District residents deserve a Board with a member of the minority party, that is endorsed by the minority party, to ensure we have minority representation.

Mr. Gandhi has served the District well. He has been an ANC Commissioner for nearly six years, a member of the DC ABC Board, with full council confirmation, for the past three and a half and has served as an International Election Observer in Ukraine’s Presidential Election. He has shown his integrity and experience to serve on the Board and we urge the Committee on Government Operations and the Environment, chaired by Councilmember Cheh, to approve his nomination expeditiously.


Correction on Nominee Gandhi
Hetel B. Patel,

In a prior issue of your weekly E-mails, you incorrectly stated that Mr. Mital Gandhi, nominee to the DC BOEE, hosted a meet and greet fundraiser for Mayor Adrian Fenty in August of 2009. I wanted to respond to you and your readers about the truth. Mr. Gandhi has and continues to be involved in Asian American outreach to District residents. In part of this outreach he has helped to organize or facilitate meet and greets with publicly elected and appointed officials. This was not a fundraiser. He helped on a similar one three years ago that I attended as well. I for one appreciate his outreach to the Asian American community in Washington.

You insinuate that after he hosted this fundraiser he was nominated to the Board of Elections and Ethics. Clearly, even from the web site you link to, it states its simply a meet and greet with three sponsoring organizations, The Network of South Asian Professionals (NetSAP), South Asian Bar Association of Washington DC (SABA-DC), and the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI). In addition, Mr. Gandhi didn’t even attend the meet and greet with the mayor this past August. You may have known that if you were there. I spoke in favor of his nomination at his confirmation hearing and I can assure you he has the full support of many Asian American District residents whom he has worked tirelessly for. In addition, if you would like to hear from other Asian Americans in DC regarding your blatantly false E-mail, please let me know and I will forward it on to them.



National Building Museum Events, May 21-22, 24
Johanna Weber,

May 21, 6:30-8:30 p.m., CityVision Final Presentation. Come hear the middle school students of Burroughs Education Campus and Stuart-Hobson Middle School present their innovative design ideas for the DC waterfront, developed in collaboration with the National Capital Planning Commission. Free; registration not required. Refreshments will be served following presentations. At the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square Metro station.

May 22, 10:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m., Construction Watch Tour: Smithsonian Institution Horticulture Services Greenhouses. Work is nearing completion on fourteen new greenhouses and support facilities being built by the Smithsonian Institution to house and maintain its horticultural operations and preserve its orchid collection. Paul Lindell, landscape architect with the Smithsonian Institution, leads a tour of the 64,200-square-foot facility, located in Suitland, Maryland. $25, members only. Prepaid registration required. Register for events at

May 24, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Building in the 21st Century. Building the Green Economy: Drexel Smart House and University Research in Sustainable Systems. Join Drexel University professor Eugenia Victoria Ellis for a lecture on the student-led Drexel Smart House (DSH). Ellis is a co-director of the Drexel Engineering Cities Initiative and the faculty advisor for the DSH, a multidisciplinary student organization committed to researching and inventing alternative energy systems and smart technologies for residential living. Free; registration required. Walk-in registration based on availability. At the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square Metro station. Register for events at


Walking Town DC, May 22
Joe Browne,

Join Franklin School Coalition Steering Committee Chair, Joe Browne, for a neighborhood walking tour that will begin at the Charles Sumner School and end at the Benjamin Franklin School, with an update on its future.

Saturday, May 22, 10:30 a.m. till noon. Meet at the Sumner School Museum entrance, 1201 17th Street, NW (Farragut North Metro station), and end at Franklin School, 13th and K Streets, NW (near Metro Center). Fitness: low; .75 mile distance; wheelchair/stroller accessible. No reservations required.

The two flagship buildings of Washington’s public schools will be the beginning and end points for this walk. Beginning with a brief visit to the Charles Sumner School Museum and Archives, see how neighborhoods emerged and changed in the post-Civil War years. We will attempt to recreate the most prestigious residential neighborhood in the 1870s — K Street — and end at Franklin School which, like Sumner, was designed by German-American immigrant Adolf Cluss. The architect also designed ten other buildings in the K Street Corridor between 13th and 16th streets. Presented by Cultural Tourism DC member organization Goethe-Institute Washington in partnership with the Adolf Cluss Exhibition Project, and led by local historian and director of the Adolf Cluss Exhibition Project, Joseph Browne.


Dupont Circle Citizens Association, May 22-23
Robin Diener,

Open Studios spring art event by Mid City Artists. Mid City Artists is a diverse and talented group of nearly forty professional artists who have come together for the purpose of promoting their art and the Dupont and Logan neighborhoods they call home. The artists consider their union as an opportunity to integrate their art with the fast growing retail and commercial concerns that are located in the area. This year, twenty-two artists will open their studios to visitors. More information at


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