Arrival of D.C.'s First Streetcar is Cause for Civic Celebration

On a dark and cold December night, D.C. residents celebrated the delivery of a holiday gift a half-century in the making when a gleaming red streetcar was lowered into place along the city's new line for testing.
December 16, 2013, 6am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Michael Laris reports on the giddy scene in Northeast D.C., as a 66-foot-long Czech-made streetcar was lowered into place along H Street. “'This is a good holiday gift. It’s dressed up in red and white, just like Santa,' said [Anwar] Saleem, who worked with three mayors to help bring the streetcar to a 2.4-mile stretch of Washington running east on H Street from behind Union Station, then along Benning Road to Oklahoma Avenue."

The H Street/Benning Road line may eventually become part of a 37-mile network of streetcar lines crisscrossing D.C., if city officials have their way. 

"Terry Bellamy, who heads the District’s Department of Transportation, said the growing city has no place to put new roads. He said it needs new ways to get people around, and city residents have proven to be enthusiastic adapters, as with Capital Bikeshare," adds Laris. 

“'Three years ago, when we brought out the bicycles, people said, ‘Will they ride the bicycles?’ ' Bellamy said. And they have, millions of times, he said. 'The community wants to have options.'”

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Published on Saturday, December 14, 2013 in The Washington Post
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