Iíve been among the many critics of the plan for the DC streetcar
line. Itís too expensive, Iíve written, and too badly planned. It will
carry too few passengers at too high a price. It will duplicate routes
that are already served by buses, and those lines could be better and
more cheaply served by increasing bus frequency.
Obviously, I donít understand. Eric Jaffe writes in The Atlanticís
http://tinyurl.com/kd3vn9v, that there is really an alternate
rationale for building a streetcar. Streetcars are mainly for tourists:
ďAre Streetcars Mainly for Tourists?: Evidence that Streetcar Ridership
Is Unrelated to Service Frequency, Bus Connections, and Job Proximity.Ē
Streetcars arenít supposed to be part of the cityís practical
transportation system, carrying the cityís residents to and from work
and their daily errands. Like in New Orleans and San Francisco, they are
supposed to be part of the cityís tourism infrastructure and a tourist
attraction in themselves.
That might make sense for DC, where tourism is the second largest
industry, after government. If we were building the streetcar just to be
a tourist attraction, like the trains that go around Disneyland and
Disneyworld or like the Capital Wheel (the ferris wheel at National
Harbor, where itís not important for the wheel to go anywhere), then we
could have a sensible debate about its economic costs and benefits. But
our politicians and urban planners assure us that Jaffe is wrong, and
that the streetcar line isnít meant for tourism at all, but is meant as
a replacement for busses and cars. In fact, one of the side advantages
for our urban planners of building a streetcar line is that the street
gets torn up and the streetcar rails make driving more difficult for
busses and cars, like permanent potholes.
Cameras, Cameras, Cameras
Clyde E. Howard, Jr.,
Cameras everywhere. Where will they place a camera next? Now that we
have a plethora of cameras, what is the Metropolitan Police Department
doing? It seems that Police Chief Lanier is blowing smoke up peoplesí
pants legs, in that cameras are being used in place of police presence.
Is the MPD short of personnel? The crime stats in Thursdayís
Washington Post indicate that MPD is unable stop the amount of crime
that is being carried out.
With the number of cameras, I am not surprised that there are some
speed traps like the one set up on 18th Street, NW, where a driver must
accelerate to climb the grade where the camera is located. There are
other speed traps in the city to catch unsuspecting drivers.
If anything, it seems that the powers-that-be are anti-car and
pro-bicycle, or are they just greedy for the money? I have a friend who
refuses to enter the city for any reason because of the cameras. He
intends to stay in Maryland, shop in Maryland, worship in Maryland and
continue to live in Maryland. He will not drive into the city even to go
to a funeral. Yes, itís sad to say that there are many people just like
I am not interested in hearing from misguided Tregoningites regarding
why we need to alter DC's historic and iconic skyline. Recently,
concerned citizens packed DC council and National Capitol Planning
Commission hearings to advocate vociferously for keeping the Height of
Buildings Act of 1910 as it is. The Tregoningites do not appear to
comprehend our message. They continue to believe we simply do not
understand the breadth and genius of their vision to destroy our
skyline. They persist in their anti-historic thinking and, coupled with
the highly intrusive and overbearing Congressman Issa, give us livable
penthouse space. This is not only ridiculous, it is disrespectful to DC
I would urge the [Catholic University architectural] students [themail,
May 14] to engage in fruitful activities that we actually care about.
Creating makeshift skyscraper models that defile our historic and iconic
skyline isn't something I care about. What about you?
CLASSIFIEDS ó WANTED
This message is being posted on behalf of a student at the University
of the District of Columbia. He wants to buy a used car in good
condition, and would like to pay between two and three thousand dollars.
If you have such a car for sale or know someone who does, please contact
Gratinot Campy at email@example.com.
Housing Sought for Incoming UDC Law Students
The new University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School
of Law class will begin school in August. Some of them are already
looking for places to live. Others will be coming in June, July, and
If you or someone you know has a room, apartment, or house to rent,
please reply to this E-mail and I will post your listing in our student
housing blog. Because there is a very substantial in-District tuition
break that students can receive after living in DC for one year, DC
spots are coveted ó and, of course, the closer to the Van Ness campus,
the better. However, a substantial number of our students do live
outside of DC, and I will post all listings received.
Please don't forget to include such basics as price; whether
utilities are included; security deposit, if any; amenities (cable,
wireless, dishwasher, laundry, washer/dryer, parking, etc.); date
available; lease terms (month-to-month, one year, etc.); smoking rules;
pet rules; gender preference, if any; location (need not be exact
address ó but enough to give them an idea of where it is); public
transportation nearby, if any; furnished or not; any work for rent
option; information on housemates, if any (as in a group house
situation); and how to contact you (E-mail, phone, best times to phone,
themail@dcwatch is an E-mail discussion forum that is published every
Wednesday and Sunday. To change the E-mail address for your subscription
to themail, use the Update Profile/Email address link below in the
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E-mail edition. An archive of all past issues is available at